10 of the most wheelchair accessible beaches in the world

10 of the most wheelchair accessible beaches in the world

Many locations throughout the world offer beaches that are wheelchair friendly, but it can often be difficult to find them. Some offer access through boardwalks or ramps and some even offer specially designed beach wheelchairs that you can rent. Following is a list of the top accessible beaches around the globe.

California, USA
Located on the west coast of the United States, California boasts one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Many people are familiar with hot spots such as Santa Monica and Malibu. Those offer boardwalks and ramps, but are crowded much of the time due to their popularity as a travel destination. Another thing that Santa Monica offers is a very eclectic mix of people. I’ve even had Cheetos thrown at me by a homeless man on the Santa Monica Pier before. Other beaches such as Rehab Point in Oxnard, feature a paved path that is approximately 900 feet long. The path winds around sand dunes offering great views of the ocean along the way, and you shouldn’t have a lap full of Cheetos afterwards either.

California, USA

Virginia, USA
Located on the other side of the country, the east coast state of Virginia boasts some of the most picturesque beaches to be seen. Virginia Beach, in particular is quite popular as a tourist destination. Boardwalks span much of the terrain, making travel easy and convenient. There are a few levels on the parking deck that offer direct access to the boardwalk so be sure to look for those when you go. Several Virginia beaches also offer beach wheelchair rentals, but be sure to call ahead to reserve them. Virginia Beach may still offer free use of beach wheelchairs that were used in their pilot program a few years ago. They only have two though so make sure to reserve them in advance.

Virginia, USA

A-One Pattaya Beach Resort, Thailand
One of the more popular tourist destinations for globetrotters (and my number one dream destination!), Pattaya offers luxury and quality at every turn. The entire property is connected by ramps that stretch out over the water connecting the massive property. All of the rooms are accessible and the beach offers ramp and boardwalk access. This is one of the few resorts in Thailand that has disabled travelers in mind.

A-One Pattaya Beach Resort, Thailand

Sirens Resort, Loutraki, Greece
Sirens offers one of the best wheelchair travel experiences in the world. This Mediterranean resort is equipped with wheelchair accessible rooms throughout as well as showers that offer roll in access. The property features nice wide walkways that make navigation easy. It also has the distinction of being one of the only resorts in the world that offers direct access to the ocean. A ramp extends into the sea. Yes, it really is as epic as it sounds! You can roll right into the ocean for a total immersion experience, but I recommend not doing so in a powered chair unless you want a bit of a shock.

Sirens Resort, Loutraki, Greece

Freedom Shores, Isla Aguada, Mexico
A war veteran who was injured in the Vietnam War created this resort property. This entire development was crafted with wheelchair users in mind. Beach access is made possible via a large promenade designed specifically so disabled travelers could enjoy the beach. Many other perks such as scuba diving and local taxis were made to transport wheelchair users back and forth on the property.

Freedom Shores, Isla Aguada, Mexico

Hanauma Bay, Honolulu
This beach is located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. They offer free use of its specially equipped beach wheelchairs for users with special needs. Wet or dry sand is easy to navigate with these special chairs. The resort here is also more than accommodating featuring accessible rooms and walkways.

Hanauma Bay, Honolulu

Cancun, Mexico
In addition to offering some of the most stunning scenery on the planet, Cancun is one of the most wheelchair accessible beach destinations. Plenty of boardwalks are located along the beach, and the resorts offer wide paths (enough space for you and the countless iguanas that are plentiful in Mexico) and private beach access as well. Umbrellas can even be rented for a small fee if you want to spend the day on the sand without roasting like a lobster.

Cancun, Mexico

Key Largo, FL, USA
The beach is accessible via ramps and wooden walkways. However, one of the strong appeals to this area for disabled travelers is the ability to go snorkeling and diving. A few local companies specialize in outfitting wheelchair users for underwater experiences. Boats feature lifts for easy transfer on and off, making this a great, safe way to explore the underwater sea life.

Key Largo, FL, USA

Manly Beach, Australia
A short ferry ride from the mainland will land you at Manly Beach. Very accessible with a plethora of cafes, restaurants, and shops, there is plenty to see and do beyond just spending time on the beach itself. Be sure to eat some pizza at Hugo’s if you visit. I ate it back in February and am still thinking about it… Delicious!! However, if lounging seaside is on the agenda then there is a nice walkway between Manly and Shelley Beach with beach wheelchairs available if you desire.

Manly Beach, Australia

Tuscany, Italy
This great Italian region has several accessible beaches. Ramps and boardwalks are abound in this tourist Mecca with the top four most accessible beaches in Tuscany being Alcione Beach, Bagno Auroria, Fossa Maestra, and Stella del Mare. A few of them offer showers and changing rooms. Many of the resorts in Tuscany offer accessible rooms as well. Make sure you call ahead to check availability or you might get booked in a regular room even if you requested an accessible room online.

Tuscany, Italy

The world is becoming a lot friendlier for us now thanks to communities and countries that seek to include all types of people as a part of their tourism programs. The beaches and resort areas on this list are some of the best in the world, but they are by no means the only accessible beaches. The only way to find the others is for you to continue traveling. You never know what undiscovered gem you might find waiting for you in a small corner of the world.

By Cory Lee

This article was first published on Cory Lee’s website.

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  • Sam-Ottawa Canada

    About
    Cancun Royalton 5-star luxury Resort and no wheelchair for seniors and
    handicaped travellers

    Dear Editor,

    I came across http://disabilityhorizons.com/

    and have signed up for newsletters to learn more. Just came back from Cancun

    Royalton Riviera Hideaway resort: acceptable place and great staff, most things

    were quite good, 7/10 overall. The only drawback and regretable experience:

    Royalton Riviere resort doesn’t have wheelchairs for handicaped folks like

    myself, 66 + polio + knee osteoarthritis.

    I plan to write to Royalton Riviere owner (Kyle Hunter?)/ management. I
    believe

    they have lost a big segment of travellers that can afford the travels:

    seniors.

    I’m turning to you to find out if there are other vacation spots –in the
    South and

    Europe or where else– which would provide a wheelchair, as it’s not convenient

    for me to bring my own wheelchair or walker. I can only bring my cane.

    Looking

    forward to hearing from you. I do appreciate your good tips and advices.

    Sam-Ottawa/ Canada

    Some other travellers had bad experience:
    http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g150807-d6958510-r246712674-Royalton_Riviera_Cancun_Resort_Spa-Cancun_Yucatan_Peninsula.html

    To be fair, I believe that Royalton Riviera has potentials —
    thanks specially to the service staff– if it gets it acts together and improve
    things so not as to loose patrons and gain new ones, seniors who have $ to
    travel and mobility-challenged who definitely need a wheelchair to move around
    and enjoy the place from end to end.

  • Bob Levine

    Can you please provide names of hotels at these locations?

  • Cyprus beaches are accessible in the Paphos area. We have decking and sea trac entry. We also have Villa Ampelitis, completely accessible with heated private pool up to 32 degrees, pool hoist, wet rooms and beachside Villa Timily, private pool with pool hoist, wheel under hob and sink, accessible wet room. Both have level access of course. Find out more about Cyprus here: http://sundancevillas.co.uk/page.asp?page=disabilites or call me, Irene in London 02084406219. Please read my reviews on the villa pages, they are descriptive and helpful. Here is a snippet from Ampelitis: ”

    Hi Irene,

    Thank you. We had a lovely holiday at Villa Ampelitis, the handicap
    equipment and the warm indoor pool was great for us and we do consider coming
    back there next year. We really appreciate the tranquility that Villa
    Ampelitis offers, we are so tired of the usual tourist resorts. Nicole
    was really helpful. She even organized a masseur who came to the Villa and did
    great massage on me and my mother.

    We found the local winery Makkas in the village. We just showed up there
    and they were really kind and helpful, they invited us in, me and my mother with
    wheelchairs and all, and showed us a little how they work and explained the
    process of how they make the wine, we also got to taste all the wines, really
    nice.

    And yes, we would recommend Sundance Villas for
    everybody.

    Kindest regards,

    Nina Voimäki”