Wheelchair Travel – Accessible ‘on’ the Beach

beach-wheelchairRecently, we attended a conference on the Alabama-Florida border – at the beach. We have been to this conference a number of years and always enjoy this lovely trip to the Perdido Beach Resort and the Gulf Shores area.  We also enjoy the resort’s complimentary manual beach wheelchair.

This year we took our wheelchair travel to an entirely new level by renting a powered beach wheelchair from beachpowerrentals.com.

Let me tell you – a powered beach wheelchair is the bomb! The freedom to move around on the beach, walk your canine assistant and hold your husband’s hand is absolutely exhilarating! What a wonderful experience to use a beach wheelchair with power and have sandy independence. The experience of a mile long walk/roll down the beach without someone pushing me was priceless!


On our honeymoon and many times since, Brent, my husband, and I have walked on the beach together in a manual beach wheelchair, but never in a powered one. The power gives a sense of independence even when parked on the beach. I can’t explain why, but knowing that you have the ability to adjust your position or move a couple of feet makes a difference in the way you feel about your independence. Not only that, Brent was able to easily walk out to the beach with me and I carried beach supplies while he enjoyed the sand.

Manual beach wheelchairs are great, but they are not always easy to maneuver! They require extra effort on top of the work walking in soft sand requires. Having power makes all the difference in maneuverability and independence. This chair was a blast and could go fast.

I learned of such powered beach wheelchairs at local parks when we were in San Diego, but had never seen anything like it on the East Coast.

More about the beach wheelchair travel

– There is plenty of power and stability in this chair.
– The seat and back are padded.
– The joystick can be adjusted for left or right-hand maneuvering.
– The foot rests are adjustable and the back can recline slightly.
– The company adjusts the footrests, joystick, armrests, etc for individual comfort upon delivery.
– Multiple sizes are available to accommodate different bodies/frames.
– The battery life was never an issue although a charger is delivered with the chair.
– Thankfully there are wheelie bars to prevent tipping over when climbing in soft sand – and when driving like crazy to soak in every moment.
– For five dollars a day an umbrella is supplied. It is a large umbrella that shields the sun from everywhere except perhaps your feet. Well worth it, even in October.
– These chairs are also sold by the company…just bring a truck or trailer to transport it.

I suspect that people who have never driven a wheelchair might have a learning curve, but an experienced wheelchair driver can go directly on the beach without difficulty.

More on the experience

I used the chair three times for about two hours each! I would’ve stayed longer but the sensitive skin on my bottom could not handle the cushion that came attached to the chair longer than about two hours. It would have been advantageous if I could have put my own custom cushion on the chair – there would have been no stopping me for a 12 hour day on the beach.

The company brings the large chair 15 to 20 miles from their location and multiple day rentals were discounted. Also, to defer delivery charges you can drive to their location and enjoy a large area of undisturbed beach parkland at Ft. Morgan, AL.

Yes. We will do it again.
I can’t say enough about how much fun it was to be on the beach in a power chair! I will definitely do this again and am forever grateful for this priceless experience. If we ever lived on the beach there’s no way we would be without a powered beach wheelchair!

If you are planning a trip to the beach, consider the area around Gulfshores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, Alabama. All I can say is I’m thankful and wish all beach towns offered this fabulous service.

Do you know of beaches where powered beach wheelchairs are available?  Please share!

Where Were You on 9/11/01?

A few tears rolled down my cheek this morning as I struggled to confidently pull out of the garage for a meeting.  Driving my van, my independent transportation for 15 years, has become a challenge.  Wheelchair and seating changes in conjunction with a sleepless night shattered my plans. A few more tears and prayers, then I stopped, thankfully realizing that a new van is in the works (oh the months it takes).  My adversity is so insignificant compared to the that which transpires for others…especially on this day of remembrance.

It was the day that time stood still. A younger generation saw tragedy in a way they had never experienced.

…Everything stopped.

…People stared at television monitors and could barely make contact with the news websites.

…The airspace was cleared of all traffic.

…Then there were those who were in the thick of it. Time was moving for them too quickly. The smoke and ash darkened the morning as people ran both away and toward the disaster. Heroic rescue efforts were underway immediately. It would be a long journey. The journey still goes on.

Thank you to all who served our country that day and today. Those who risk their lives to protect us never get enough appreciation, prayers or recognition.

So as I take time to pray for those who lost loved ones during our national tragedy eleven years ago, I ponder with gratitude those who have served and who are serving our communities, states, and country. Today we offer thanks to all military and public servants who protect us and our freedom.

Let us not forget. Let us to continue to appreciate. Let us pray for our country.

I will not forget 9/11/01. It was two days after our first wedding anniversary and we were at Disney World attending a user conference for my company. This was one time I was glad that I could not travel alone because my husband went with me. He would venture out into the different Disney park venues while I worked during the day. At night we enjoyed time together and even celebrated our first anniversary in Orlando at Cirque de Soleil before that dreadful day.

On that dark morning I was in a large meeting with thousands of people. An enormous ballroom with multiple gigantic screens suddenly projected what seemed like life size CNN live stream coverage of the two towers with smoke billowing right before our eyes!

There was a sense of terror among everyone. I tried to call Brent in the hotel room then quickly made the short trip back to the room to be with him.

We glared at the television in disbelief. As the first tower crumbled I was numb.

NO. This cannot happen…Shortly it happened once again.

All Disney property quickly closed down as it was considered a potential target and people wandered around like lost children.  The theme parks were immediately evacuated. Stunned grief was Disney’s new theme.

With business meetings canceled, our conference hotel and planners fed us meals and prepared us for travel back to Atlanta and other destinations. People from all over the country struggled through the rental car shortage pairing up with strangers to get back home to hold their loved ones. Anyone who had flown had no other option.

“You can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy.” -Colin PowellBus arrangements were made for those of us who had no way back to our Atlanta headquarters — I believe it was the second day when we safely took a charter bus from Orlando to Atlanta.

It’s a time of our lives and our marriage that we will never forget.


“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” -President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001

Where were you on 9/11/01? -Madge

Tahoe Loves a Trip

When we take a trip like our recent Florida family beach gathering, Tahoe’s attachment to ‘dad’ increases as Brent is in charge of late night or early morning walks if I’m in bed and has increased responsibility with Tahoe as we navigate new situations such as a trek on the beach.

…or time by the pool when I can snap a quick photo. Thank God for my iPhone.

A bench by the beach is the perfect ‘cool’ resting place and time for a snapshot of the duo.

Tahoe loves Sand Key’s Dog Park where he can run forever with his Kong. He needs an occasional break to lay in the shaded sand. I’d be there too, but sand + power wheelchair = disaster, so I stay on the paved platform and grassy areas if we aren’t sporting a beach wheelchair (available for free at the park).

Once I get into the beach wheelchair Tahoe helps by pulling it across the sand as Brent pushes.  Some areas have powered beach wheelchairs, but not here in Clearwater Beach…

Tahoe loves time with everyone – but especially mom and dad together!

Tahoe enjoys a sunset…even if birds kept swooping down toward him. One night a bird actually hit my head! Whoa!

Tahoe looks like he is a little sleepy and ready to leave his zoo of hotel towel creations. Swans, elephants, cats, dogs and flowers all visited our room.

We can’t wait for our next beach adventure…For now, Tahoe’s sticking right by me like the devoted helper he is…until our next adventure with his dad.  Hope you have summer family adventures planned, my friends.  Enjoy.

With love  -Madge

The Best Dog Park

When we go out of town we look for nearby dog parks where Tahoe can freely run and enjoy some playtime. As we rolled in to the parking lot of Nassau Humane Society Dog Park in Amelia Island, we had no idea that Tahoe would enjoy the best dog park we have ever visited.

It took less than a minute for Tahoe to make his way to the pool.  Such a happy dog. “Why don’t you come in, mom?”

“Okay, while I’d rather play with mom and dad, I’ll cautiously check out the the other dogs!”

There are nice benches and tables under grand oak trees for human parents.

Tahoe prefers to play with mom and dad over other dogs with few exceptions! He sure loved to swim in between fetching his Kong across the large grassy fenced-in field.

A moment for a happy family photo opportunity. We came to the park every morning after breakfast.

Tahoe habitually dropped his Kong in to the deep end and waited for Brent to fish it out with a net. After Brent was forced to wade waist high to retrieve Tahoe’s Kong we went to Petco and bought a floating Kong to use for the remainder of our trip! See Tahoe in the background just waiting to run for the Kong again!

Tahoe wasn’t a fan of doggie diving and enjoyed the floating orange Kong.

At 60 lbs, Tahoe qualifies as a ‘Big’ dog! There was a separate agility training area fully equipped with tunnels and jumps!

When you are on your way out, stop for a quick bath in one of four bathing areas. Complimentary shampoo, conditioner and towels are available in case you forget your own.

This black lab named Goose was our favorite doggie friend. He entertained us by diving for toys and he and Brent were instantly best buds. Ashly, we are still his godparents, right?

Say goodbye..until next time.