By Lauren Tjaden
Florida promises a glittering paradise of sandy beaches that welcome mobility challenged beachgoers with perks like beach access ramps, beach wheelchairs and ADA parking. Check out these favorites from all around the Sunshine State.
The classic Florida beach town of Hollywood Beach delivers the ultimate in convenience, with its 2 ½ mile long Broadwalk delivering stress-free pedestrian, bike, roller blade and wheelchair access to its restaurants, shopping, bars and entertainment. Navigating out to the beach is also convenient, with eight Mobi-Mat beach access points. Most of the locations offer handicapped accessible parking nearby, and some are close to a high volume parking garage (although these will fill quickly on the weekends). The Hollywood Mobi-Mat locations, from North to South, are:
- Carolina Street (Parking available at the Hollywood Beach Marriott)
- Connecticut Street (Parking available at Garfield St. Parking Garage)
- Johnson Street (Parking available in the Margaritaville Resort)
- New York Street
- Tyler Street
- Harrison Street
- Oregon Street
- Between Iris Terrace and Magnolia Terrace (limited parking available, with some nearby surface lots)
To reserve a Beach Wheelchair from The City of Hollywood Fire Rescue/Beach Safety Division, please call 954-921-3423. This service is provided at no charge and is first come, first served.
Known for its natural beauty, serene white sands and clear turquoise waters, Navarre Beach prioritizes accessibility for all visitors, offering ADA-accessible ramps and beach mats for improved access to the sand and water.
The Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center provides free beach wheelchairs loaners. It requests that you reserve one at least 24 hours in advance.
This laid-back, award-winning beach is renowned for its white, 99% pure quartz sand and clear waters. It offers a 400-foot-long mobi-mat; beach wheelchairs at the park concessionaire from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and wheelchair-accessible facilities that include restrooms, concession stands, covered seating areas, and boardwalks.
At other lifeguarded county beaches (which include Lido, Nokomis, North Jetty, Venice, and Manasota Beaches), you can get a beach wheelchair from the lifeguard towers, free of charge, every day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Here’s more information about accessibility at area beaches and attractions.
Colorful and energetic, Clearwater Beach is dedicated to fun—and to ensuring its beaches are accessible to everyone. Here, you can check out free beach wheelchair loaners, which boast inflated balloon tires that can roll across Clearwater Beach’s famed white sands and even into the crystalline water (but no deeper than six inches). Plus, the chairs are under 36 inches wide, so they fit into restrooms.
Accessible and handicap parking perks include a freebie: vehicles with handicap tags or placards don’t have to pay for parking at city-owned paid or timed spaces in Clearwater.
Clearwater Beach delivers three beach access mats, sited at:
- Lot 32 Beach Access, 420 S Gulfview Blvd.
- Pier 60 Parking Lot Beach Access, 160 S Gulfview Blvd. (Closed for maintenance)
- Lot 36 Beach Access, 4 Rockaway St.
Pensacola Beach makes it easy for disabled beachgoers to enjoy its sugary-white sand and emerald hued waters. It boasts five different Mobi-mat paths on five separate beaches, providing access for wheelchairs, strollers, and pedestrians on insecure surfaces.
- Casino Beach: One Mobi-Mat is located east of the Public Safety Building, and another is stationed west of The Dock Bar. Casino Beach is wheelchair accessible and ADA Compliant. Beach wheelchairs, both manual and motorized, are available for rent from several vendors along the beach.
- Park West: One mat is located on the sound (north) side near the two pavilions.
- Quietwater Beach: A Mobi-Mat is stationed near the lifeguard tower.
- Boardwalk Beach: A mat is located just east of the Quietwater Beach shell, on the sound side.
- Baby Beach: Located off Avenida 18 on the sound side, this beach, dubbed ‘Baby Beach’ for its placid waters, offers a Mobi-Mat.
Here's more information about the beaches of Pensacola and the accessible amenities they offer.
On Amelia Island, Fernandina's Main Beach is the star of the show, winning the honor of 'Most Accessible Beach' from Wonders Within Reach. This popular beach park features a Mobi Mat that invites visitors to roll out to the Atlantic, in addition to all-abilities playgrounds, accessible river cruises, and an accessible historic fort. It even offers the first fully accessible mini golf experience-- complete with a handicap-friendly putter!
The City of Fernandina Beach Parks & Recreation Department offers free-to-use beach wheelchairs and also a Mobi-Chair that can float in water. Reserve one by calling Atlantic Recreation Center at 904-310-3350. Here’s more information about Amelia Island accessibility from its visitors services. This parking information and beach accesses list includes ADA accessibility.
If you don’t have a vehicle to transport the city’s free beach wheelchair loaner from the rec center, splash over to historic Fort Clinch, promising a beach wheelchair on site.
In Miami Beach, you’re always close to a glorious selection of famed beaches, and the city makes it simple to access them with a generous array of accessible amenities.
The Beachwalk, a wide, hard-surface pathway that spans the length of Miami Beach on the west side of the dunes, offers more than 20 beach access points with disability parking that connect the path with the ocean side of the dunes. Each offers either a boardwalk or a specially designed mat that allows wheelchair users access to the beach. Here’s a list of the access points, starting from the south end of Miami Beach, along with the length and material of the pathways to the sand, and which are near ADA-compliant bathrooms. The City of Miami Beach also offers two manual beach wheelchairs free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Here’s information.
Energetic, colorful Pier Beach, directly across from Pier Park, is a happening spot that invites you to kick back on its soft, white sands or swim in its turquoise waters. It welcomes mobility-challenged beachgoers to sightsee or fish from handicapped accessible Russell-Fields City Pier, and offers three beach-accessible wheelchairs for free use. Beach Access #56, sited on the west side of the ticket office, has a handicapped-accessible ramp that allows the chairs to get to the beach.
Here’s information about other area accessibility, including beach wheelchairs, beach accesses and attractions.
Infused with a vibrant surfing culture, in bustling Jacksonville Beach the vast Atlantic is an accessible playground. Jax Beach Pier is wheelchair accessible, plus beach wheelchairs are available at the Lifeguard Station (2 Oceanfront North) on a first come, first served basis (call 904-270-1685 for more information).
Wheelchair accessible ramps to the beach include:
- 5th Avenue North (Pier Parking lot)
- Beach Boulevard and 1st Street – Access from the Boardwalk (Lifesaving Station)
- 6th Avenue South
- 16th Avenue South
Flagler Beach Municipal Pier anchors the beaches in this quirky, hip surfing hotspot. Accessible amenities include a handicap ramp at the Pier, beach wheelchairs, a semi-recliner chair for use in the water and wheelchair accessible benches on the Flagler Beach Municipal Pier. All chairs are available to the public free of charge.
To utilize the mobi-chair or the beach access chairs, contact the on-duty Flagler Beach Pier & Bait Shop Attendant, open 6 a.m. through midnight (phone: (386) 517-2436).
On the south end of town, Gamble Rogers State Park promises a beach wheelchair and accessible boardwalks to the beach, as well as accessible grills, picnic tables, camp sites and kayak launch.
Lively, colorful Daytona Beach has 26 beach access points and numerous parks, and many offer beach driving, making it simple to get to a prime spot by the waves. This PDF map has locations where you can drive on the beach. Handicap vehicles get free access to the beach.
In addition, numerous Daytona Beach parks feature handicap access, including Breakers Oceanfront Park, sited just south of the iconic Daytona Beach Main Street Pier. Breakers boasts handicapped beach and pier access, and free beach wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first serve basis.
Here’s more info about Daytona Beach accessibility.
Nestled at the southernmost end of St. Pete Beach on the Gulf of Mexico, historic Pass-a-Grille is a tiny, quaint beach town that offers mom-and-pop boutiques, outdoor art markets, and rooftop bars—plus stunning sunsets, rolling dunes, and beautiful beaches.
The oh-so-accessible Paradise Grille anchors the village, offering six disability parking spots as well as on-street paved parking along Gulf Way. You’ll find ramp access from the parking area to sidewalk, as well as a ramp up to Paradise Grille, with an accessible deck that boasts tables with umbrellas in addition to food, drinks and live music with a view. Paradise offers three water-friendly beach wheelchairs at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. You must return the chairs before the restaurant closes, typically 15 minutes after sunset.
The bathroom has one ADA-compliant stall with good turnaround space and grab bars. A Mobi-Mat is located at 22nd Avenue.
Here’s information about other accessible beaches in the Clearwater/St. Pete Beach area.