Expert Advice on Beach Access for People Who Use Wheelchairs
This article came together with the help of Beth Stombaugh, who has been a manual wheelchair user all her life. In spring of 2022, Beth visited public beaches in St. Pete/Clearwater to provide first-hand insight on accessibility. A resident of Gulfport, Florida, Beth is an avid wildlife photographer, sings in St. Pete's One City Chorus, and is an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and other marginalized groups. Before retiring, Beth was a special education teacher in Ohio for 24 years.
About Beach Wheelchairs
Manual beach wheelchairs require a companion to push them. It's ok to take a manual beach wheelchair into shallow water, but don't go in deep water with them: They aren’t suitable as flotation devices because they tend to tip or roll. Beach wheelchairs are available for free at many local beaches, but if you would like to rent one to use during your vacation, contact All Season Beach Stuff Rentals, 727-557-6902.
You can rent a power beach wheelchair from Sand Helper, 727-213-5700, to get around independently on the beach in locations from Clearwater all the way south to Tierra Verde. However, you can't take it in the water. Sand Helper will deliver to your hotel, home or condo.