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Beach Wheelchair Guide: Pro Tips for Buying, Renting & Much More

By Maurice

Beach Wheelchair Guide

There's no better feeling than having the coastal breeze sensation over your skin, taking a swim or even basking in a sandy beach. However, not everyone has the same opportunity to experience the joyous feeling that may be evoked by spending the day at the beach.

Beaches may be challenging to navigate for people who use wheelchairs, particularly when it comes to traversing sandy areas and gaining access to the water. But the experience doesn't always have to be frustrating. Beach wheelchairs allow those with disabilities to navigate easily. Even better, some types of beach wheelchairs allow you to access the water safely and conveniently.

This article will guide you through what a beach wheelchair entails and the various types available in the market today. It will also point you to the best beach wheelchair brands available and the price range of each brand. This way, you'll be able to weigh your options before deciding on your ideal choice.

What is a Beach Wheelchair?

A beach wheelchair has smooth, wide tires to glide comfortably over sand without creating trenches. The type of tube doesn't necessarily matter, as long as the outer tire surfaces give a surface area that increases upon contact with sand.

What Does a Beach Wheelchair Look Like?

Features of the Beach Wheelchair

Robust Frame

The purpose of a beach wheelchair is to maneuver through unmanageable terrains like sandy or rocky areas. As such, its frame is sturdy for safe movement across these terrains while also protecting the user from bumpy surfaces. Additionally, depending on the model, the wheelchair can hold up to 500 pounds, thanks to its robust frame.

Large and Wide Wheels

The beach wheelchair's bigger tires make maneuvering on the sand simpler. Battery-powered propulsion on some models makes this feature even better, giving you a more comfortable and relaxing ride on the beach.

Easily Adjustable Leg Rests

Depending on the desired degree of comfort, you may raise or lower the leg rest using the elevating leg rest function. This feature allows you to adjust the height in small increments until you achieve the desired level, which can come in handy if you have problems with blood circulation to your legs.

The Braking System

The beach wheelchair features a unique braking system for use in sand and other soft landscapes. Its aluminum-lined P.V.C. legs extending from the back serve as anchors when buried beneath the ground. These legs are entirely retractable, meaning they'll not hamper the wheelchair's mobility.

Types of Beach Wheelchairs

Beach wheelchairs are of two broad categories; the sunbathing beach wheelchairs and the floating wheelchairs. Sunbathing wheelchairs have a design that inhibits them from floating on water. On the other hand, floating wheelchairs have floating armrests and footrests, preventing the wheelchair from submerging into the water.

However, these are just the broad categories. Below is a guide on some common types, including their features and where they're best suited.

The Portable Beach Wheelchair

A portable beach wheelchair is a less cumbersome option than a standard one. It's simpler to move around than a regular beach wheelchair due to its light construction material. Additionally, you can easily disassemble this wheelchair, allowing for easy transportation in the trunks of most vehicles without a fuss.

What Materials Make a Portable Beach Wheelchair?

Portable beach wheelchairs are commonly made of aluminum, giving them a lightweight nature, but they're more susceptible to structural problems over time. Recently, several companies have been making portable beach wheelchairs out of carbon fiber. These chairs are extremely light for easy portability, but they're brittle, and it's hard to mold them into shape.

Motorized Beach Wheelchair

These wheelchairs operate on battery power with a joystick as the controller. They also have larger and wider wheels with more rugged treads, which improve traction to better withstand the sand and uneven terrains.

The benefit of this wheelchair is that it is self-operating and doesn't require any use of manual power during its operation. 

As a result, the user becomes independent, eliminating the need for a caregiver's assistance.


Additional features of the motorized beach wheelchair include:

  • Adjustable armrests, footrests, and seat
  • Safety belts and wraps
  • Anti-tip balance features

The Floating Beach Wheelchair

The primary purpose of these wheelchairs is to float on water, allowing users to access the water safely and conveniently. Most floating beach wheelchair models have aluminum as the frame, preventing rusting and corrosion from salty water.

 Even better, they play a duo role in that you can also use them on the sandy beach areas to relax and sunbathe, thanks to their reclining features and adjustable armrests.


Additional Features of the Floating Beach Wheelchair


Convenience

Transportation and storage of the floating beach wheelchair is easy and convenient. Some models, like the A.T.R. Beach Chair, have quick-release pin options and joints. As such, you can easily assemble and disassemble per your liking. It also occupies less space when it comes to storage.


Safe Transition

Transitioning from a wheelchair to a beach chair is a breeze with most floating chairs. They have rounded edges eliminating the chances of injury or discomfort during this process.


Adjustable Parts for Floatability

The light aluminum frame of the floating beach wheelchair allows it to remain afloat without the risk of sinking. Additionally, the wheels and the armrests are made of floating materials, enhancing the chair's floating capabilities. The armrests are also equipped with built-in handles for enhanced stability.

All-Terrain Beach Wheelchair

The purpose of an all-terrain beach wheelchair is to traverse terrain that is inaccessible to standard wheelchairs. It allows you to go out and enjoy the great outdoors by easily maneuvering through soft sand, mud, gravel, and uneven terrain.

Distinguishing Features of the All-Terrain Wheelchair 

Low-Pressure Tires

This feature allows the wheelchair to give you a smooth and comfortable ride, protecting you from shock resulting from bumpy terrains. Moreover, these tires lower the possibility of sharp items penetrating them.

Effective Braking System

As an extra security measure, the anti-tip bar has a positive lock/release bar to help keep the chair firmly in place during use. When activated, the brake bar secures the wheelchair's wheels, preventing the chair from tipping over.

Manual Beach Wheelchair

Unlike the above mentioned motorized wheelchair, the manual beach wheelchair is manually operated, and you'll need third-party support from the caregiver. 

Moreover, its wide wheels allow for easy movement on the sandy beach surfaces, giving you an experience that would otherwise have been impossible with a standard wheelchair. These wheelchairs also come with a wide range of seating configurations and designs, and some even have a place to attach an umbrella for protection from the scorching sun.


Basically, the precise kind and design of chair you choose largely depends on your individual preference and financial stability. For instance, if you want a reclining chair that tilts to stretch your legs, you will have to pay more than a non-reclining one.


There are also manual models that act as floating chairs to give you the swimming experience. However, most don't allow you to get into the water independently, and someone must help you navigate it. The few that allow users to propel themselves require the use of a lot of upper body energy, which might be unhealthy.

Collapsible/Foldable Beach Wheelchair

Most collapsible beach wheelchairs often have relatively light frames with a foldable function. With a folding back, retractable push bar, and detachable wheels, beach wheelchairs like the Hippocampe are perfect examples of collapsible chairs. 

Additionally, the transportation of these components is easy, as they weigh 14 kilograms, excluding the battery. 


Weight is a critical factor as you'll spend considerable time transporting your wheelchair from home to the beach and back.

Bariatric Beach Wheelchair

These are wheelchairs whose design is for the benefit of heavy individuals, and they can hold up to 550 pounds. Additionally, they have a wider seat design than typical beach wheelchairs. 

If you're tall and weigh over 250 pounds, chances are you'll need a bariatric beach wheelchair.


Persons with the following health conditions may also find bariatric wheelchairs to be more comfortable:

  • Spinal injuries
  • Heart issues
  • Muscular dystrophy

Comfort and Security of Bariatric Beach Wheelchairs

The purpose of bariatric beach wheelchairs is to benefit individuals with muscular-related health conditions. For this reason, the chair's seat and back have additional reinforcement and upholstery material for comfort.


Additionally, they are larger than a standard wheelchair, providing more comfort and support for the user's sitting posture, upper and lower back. You can also adjust the seat and backrest to accommodate your center of gravity, giving you the necessary support.

Major Brands & Models of Beach Wheelchairs

Echo All-Terrain & Beach Wheelchair

The design of this wheelchair is for use on all terrains, including on water, soft soil, or sandy soil. It is lightweight and easy to assemble and disassemble, allowing easy transportation. 

Other features of the wheelchair include:

  • Non-corrosive plastic bearings and high flotation heavy-duty wheels
  • Impervious P.V.C. material on the frame. It's also stain-resistant, maintaining a high hygiene standard.
  • Rounded edges that allow for a smooth transition from a wheelchair to a beach chair and vice versa without causing injuries.

Comfort and Security of Bariatric Beach Wheelchairs

The purpose of bariatric beach wheelchairs is to benefit individuals with muscular-related health conditions. For this reason, the chair's seat and back have additional reinforcement and upholstery material for comfort.


Additionally, they are larger than a standard wheelchair, providing more comfort and support for the user's sitting posture, upper and lower back. You can also adjust the seat and backrest to accommodate your center of gravity, giving you the necessary support.

Debug Beach Wheelchair

All DeBug beach wheelchairs have low-pressure WheelEEZE tires that easily move sand, grass, and gravel.

Additionally, they have a 316L stainless steel frame which is durable and resistant to corrosion, keeping in mind the saline conditions of the beach area.

The wheelchair's additional features include:

  • Adjustable leg rests available on the Deluxe variant. The leg rests on the standard model are fixed.
  • Weight capacity of up to 600 pounds
  • Umbrella and drink holders. Hence, you may further increase your comfort level at the beach by purchasing extra accessories, such as an umbrella.
  • Reclining backrests and hip support.
  • Quick-release pins for easy disassembly.

Sand Rider Beach Wheelchair

The Sand Rider's purpose is specifically for use on the beach, which is made possible by the low-pressure tires and a sturdy aluminum frame.


Adjustable Armrests

The wheelchair has armrests that swing away, allowing the user to access the seat easily. Similarly, if you want to egress, you'll raise the armrests, exit from the wheelchair, and swing the armrests back in place.


Easy Disassembly and Reassembly

The Sand Rider allows for easy disassembly during transport or storage. Just detach the wheels and the frame, and store them in a duffle bag, which you can purchase for as low as $225. After disassembly, the heaviest component weighs 12 pounds, meaning that the parts will easily fit in your car's trunk. Additionally, you can reassemble the Sand Rider in less than 2 minutes, which is very convenient.

Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair

Every outdoor excursion becomes easier when you have the Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair by your side! Comfortable and flexible, it adjusts to your activities so that you and your loved ones may spend time together relaxing and catching up. Additionally, the Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair has a low seat, allowing easy user access.

Thanks to its double-width wheels, the wheelchair is also adapted for use on the sand, creating a large surface area with the sand. Even better, it has sleeves on the aluminum tube frame for protection from the scorching effects of the sun and to prevent rusting due to the saline nature of the beach water.

Beach'n Buggy's Electric Beach Wheelchairs

Every Beach N Buggy's beach wheelchair is built to meet the individual customer's demands. They're run using one hp motors and a 24 volt 120 amp controller/joystick combo; hence they're meant to last. Additionally, you get to choose between four-wheel and three-wheel wheelchairs, as well as custom-built beach carts for those who prefer a more classic form.

However, a chunk of your money will go into the maintenance of the motors, control systems, and tires. These components aren't easily obtainable, and the few available ones are costly.

Waterwheels Floating Beach Wheelchair

The design of the Waterwheels Floating Beach Wheelchair is in such a way that it ensures you enjoy a great outdoor experience. Whether at the beach, ocean, waterpark, lake, or poolside, the wheelchair allows its users to enjoy their surroundings' sights and sounds.

Features of the Waterwheels Floating Wheelchair

The front fork of the wheelchair is composed of stainless steel, which is both shock-absorbing and long-lasting. Additionally, it folds and disassembles quickly, allowing easy transportation and storage. Its weight capacity is also desirable as it can hold up to 250 pounds despite its lightweight.


However, there's no ideal model for small children, yet.

Deming Designs Beach Wheelchair

This beach wheelchair is perfect for sunbathing and traversing across sandy beaches. It has an articulating rear suspension, ensuring that all four wheels maintain touch with the ground on uneven terrains.

Additionally, the caster rear wheels guarantee that the wheelchair can maneuver and engage tight corners.

The Seating Material 

The seats of the Deming Designs Beach Wheelchair have phiffertex nylon as the material, which is U.V. resistant and has anti-absorbent properties. It is also detachable from the seats for easy washing.


The Wheels

The low-pressure, 3-ply polyurethane tires provide excellent traction on various surfaces, including grass, gravel, sand, snow, and rocky terrain. In addition, users can adjust the tilt angle of the wheelchair, making it comfortable and easy to turn.

Joy on the Beach Wheelchair

Air-filled balloon wheels of the Joy on the Beach (JoB) Wheelchair allow it to ride over sand and snow with ease. They are also beneficial because they give the wheelchair its floating capabilities in swimming pools or beach water.

  • The non-corrosive aluminum alloy makes the J.O.B. lightweight and strong.
  • You can easily disassemble and store the chair in the duffel bag, easing transportation.

Landeez Beach Wheelchair

Thanks to its revolutionary low-pressure P.V.C. pneumatic wheels, the Landeez glides over terrain that standard wheelchairs can't. Additionally, the 360 degrees front wheels assist users in engaging tight corners. This wheelchair can hold up to 425 pounds, thanks to its sturdy frame that disassembles easily for transportation and storage.

Rolleez Beach Wheelchair

The Rolleez Beach Wheelchair comes in handy if you have lower mobility problems and spinal cord injuries. The front wheels are about 49 cm in diameter, allowing them to smoothly glide over rocks and sand. Moreover, you can conveniently dismantle the P.V.C. frame, allowing easy transportation from your home to the beach and vice versa.

Mobi Chair Floating Beach Wheelchair

Mobi-Chair Floating Beach Wheelchair is a universal chair suited for all persons, including children. It has the following features:

  • Seatbelt for safety when moving on the beach's rough terrain
  • Pneumatic rubber tires for shock absorption and comfort.
  • Adjustable seat
  • Easily foldable for storage and transportation
  • Reclining backrest primarily beneficial if you have spinal pain or injuries
  • Floatable armrests, tires, and rounded edges to safely move the user from the beach to the water.

Hammerhead All Terrain Electric Beach Wheelchair

The Hammerhead has a three-wheel design that allows it to turn on a dime and puts the rider considerably closer to the ground. As a result, your legs will be straight in front of you, which isn't possible on brands whose seats are high.

Additional features include:

  • Detachable footrests
  • Steel frame with stainless steel fasteners
  • A maximum speed of 6mph
  • Batteries that can cover up to 10 miles on a single charge

How Much Does a Beach Wheelchair Cost?

Purchasing a beach wheelchair might be the better option, especially if you are a regular visitor to the beach, making renting an expensive option in the long run. Depending on the brand and model, you can pay as low as $1000 and as high as $4000.

In short, the price depends on the particular wheelchair specifications. For instance, the cost of some manual beach wheelchairs may go below the abovementioned price range, while some motorized beach wheelchairs with floating features may cost more than $4000. The E.Z. Roller Floating Surf Wheelchair is a perfect example where the price is as high as $9000.

Beach Wheelchair Rental: Companies That Rent Beach Wheelchairs in the U.S.

An excellent place to look for beach wheelchair rentals is at private companies that rent surfboards, bikes, or umbrellas for the beach. Below are some of these companies:

Sand Helper

This company offers wheelchairs for hire in seven states and more than 30 coastal locations. Some of the areas the company serves include:

  • Delaware
  • Virginia
  • Florida
  • The Carolinas
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey

Visit the company's locations page and make reservations for your beach wheelchair. Alternatively, you can call the office at 855-743-5737 and make inquiries.

Beach Mobility Rentals and Manufacturing

This company has been in the beach wheelchair sales and renting business for years. As a result, it has the experience of what it takes to provide quality services. The B.M.R. Company believes that memories are integral to the well-being of people with disabilities. As such, it ensures that these persons have access to the beach, especially those without the financial ability to purchase new wheelchairs.

Primarily, B.M.R. serves people within the East Coast Central Florida and Space Coast Florida. For inquiries and reservations, visit their website here, or call their office at 386-882-7263.

DeBug Mobility Products

This company sells DeBug beach wheelchairs and partners with various enterprises across the United States for wheelchair rental services. Currently, these services are in the following locations:

  • California
  • Alabama
  • Hawaii
  • Florida
  • Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Virgin Islands
  • Oregon
  • New Jersey
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

There are also international partnerships in the United Kingdom and Australia. Visit their website to access the exact locations and contact details.

Beaches with Beach Wheelchairs in the U.S.A.

The most common beaches with rental beach wheelchairs include:

  • Texas (Packery Channel, Michael J. Ellis Beach & Seawall,  Whitecap Beach, and McGee Beach)
  • South Carolina (Myrtle Beach)
  • San Diego (Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Pacific Beach)
  • Pensacola (Johnson Beach)
  • Maine (Crescent Beach, Webb Lake Beach, and Ferry Beach State Park)
  • Florida (Emerald Coast)
  • California (Santa Monica)

Note that these are only a handful of the many beaches offering these services. As a result, you can confirm whether a beach near you offers rental services by:

  • Contacting the local tourist information center
  • Calling 211
  • Visiting the city hall

How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Beach Wheelchair?

When renting a wheelchair for the beach, spending between $70 and $100 each day is not unusual. However, this price may vary greatly depending on your location and additional costs associated with delivery if the service provider ships the wheelchair to your address.

Below are the typical price ranges for some popular models by Beach Mobility Rentals and Manufacturing Company:

  • DEBug Beach Wheelchairs ($65-$70)
  • MobiChair Beach Wheelchairs ($75-$80)

Beach Wheelchair for Sale - Where to Buy Used Beach Wheelchairs

Most online and offline retailers have beach wheelchairs. Even better, you may get these products directly from the manufacturers, either in person or through their websites. Purchasing from the manufacturer or authorized retailers ensures you benefit from warranties and free assembly services.

The websites below sell both new and used beach wheelchairs:

  • Amazon 
  • eBay 
  • Used for sale. This is the best website since it lists on-sale beach wheelchairs from various retailers. Hence, it will be easy to find the one that interests you.

Alternatively, you can visit the abovementioned beaches that offer rental services, as they may also provide sales services.

Free Beach Wheelchair: How to Get a Beach Wheelchair for Free

Beach wheelchairs are most often available for free on state and national parks' beaches. Usually, at the entrance of these locations, there are kiosks and convenience shops for inquiries and payment of entrance fees. You'll also likely find free beach wheelchairs at these locations. The best thing to do is to call ahead of time and confirm.

Other locations where you can access free beach wheelchairs include:

  • Galveston, Texas
  • Hanauma Bay, Hawaii, at the local beach kiosk
  • Muskegon, Michigan, at the State Park Beach
  • Seaside, Oregon, at the Sunset Empire Parks.
  • Clearwater Beach, Michigan, at the lifeguard station

Tips for Buying a Beach Wheelchair: What to Look For

The tips below will give you a perfect guide when purchasing your beach wheelchair:

The Wheels

Wide wheels help the wheelchair maneuver efficiently on the sand and remain afloat on water due to increased contact surface area. Balloon wheeled tires are even better due to their exceptional floating capabilities.

Weight Capacity

Beach wheelchairs have different weight capacities, and it's up to you to choose the one that best fits you. The frame must also be sturdy to withstand your weight, preventing unexpected wheelchair breakdowns, which might lead to further injuries. This includes the rear suspensions, which must allow for even weight distribution. The good thing is that you will definitely find a perfect wheelchair for your choice regardless of your weight, as some models, especially bariatric beach wheelchairs, can hold up to 500 pounds.

Size

Depending on your body size, you can choose between a small, medium, or large beach wheelchairs. However, in most cases, the size of the wheelchair and the purchaser's weight are directly proportional. For this reason, small-sized wheelchairs are usually available for children, while large-sized ones, like the bariatric beach wheelchairs, are for large persons.

Is the Wheelchair Manual or Electric?

Choosing a manual and an electric beach wheelchair entirely depends on your finances. Typically, electric beach wheelchairs are superior in that they're self-propelling. As such, they enhance independence, and you'll not require a caregiver to push the chair across the beach. However, they're costly. On the other hand, manual wheelchairs are affordable, but you must be in the company of a caregiver to assist in moving the wheelchair.

Armrests and Footrests

Adjustable armrests and footrests make it simple for the users to access and egress from the seat. They help prevent trips and falls and make it easy for caregivers to assist the user without impediments.

The Wheelchair's Weight

The lighter a beach wheelchair is, the easier it is to move about on the beach. A lightweight wheelchair also comes in handy during transportation or storage as most of them are either foldable or allow for easy disassembly.

Seat Size and Material

The seat size and surface material are crucial components of your wheelchair, and you should be keen on them before purchasing. An adjustable seat that swivels allows for a change in sitting position, which is crucial in dealing with back problems. Additionally, ensure the seat material is made of either vinyl or nylon since they're long-lasting and easy to wash.

Beach Wheelchair F.A.Q.s

Can You Push a Wheelchair on The Beach?

Beach wheelchairs have huge, wide wheels to glide through the beach without sinking. They frequently need the presence of someone pushing the user, especially for manual wheelchairs. However, motorized wheelchairs are self-propelled, and you don't necessarily need a caregiver's assistance.

On the other hand, standard wheelchairs are impossible to push on the beach as most of them have small and narrow wheels. For this reason, they'll sink and get stuck.

Wheelchair Accessible Beach near Me

Besides beach wheelchairs, some beaches are accessible to standard wheelchairs as there are mobility mats on some sections. Several websites provide in-depth details about these beaches, and the links below will direct you to some of the websites:

  • The Palm Beaches. This is a group of several beaches in Palm Beach, a town in South Florida, accessible to all persons, including wheelchair users. Visit one of these wheelchair-accessible beaches when you're in the city, and enjoy the oceanic breeze and the sandy beaches.
  • Scootaround. Unlike the above mentioned website, which primarily focuses on beaches in Florida, Scootaround provides links to some of the U.S.A.'s best wheelchair beaches in different states. These locations have features like boardwalks and long rubber mats, easing accessibility.
  • SmarterTravel. This website will guide you through nine United States beaches that welcome wheelchairs. These beaches also have on-site rental beach wheelchairs to help you get to the sandy areas.
  • SpinalCord.com. The beaches on this website have long-stretching Mobi-mats covering most parts of the beach, in addition to floating beach wheelchairs for water access.

Conclusion

Going to the beach shouldn't be impossible because of a disability. Often, it's only a matter of making a few adjustments. If you're a regular visitor to the beach, purchasing a beach wheelchair is ideal. The abovementioned stores will guide you through until you find a model that best suits you. On the other hand, renting is a great option when you are an irregular visitor to the beach or on a tight budget. With this article as a guide, you can forget about your beach access challenges for good!


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