Guide to Accessible Beaches in St. Pete/Clearwater
The award-winning beaches of St. Pete/Clearwater are places every visitor will want to enjoy. Read our guide to beach accessibility for visitors who use wheelchairs or have mobility challenges.
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.
Don’t miss our guides to Accessible Parks, Museum Accessibility and Attraction Accessibility – other projects that Beth contributed to.
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.
Top Picks for Accessible Beaches in St. Pete/Clearwater
Besides its gorgeous white sands and emerald-green waters, Clearwater Beach is one of Beth’s top picks for accessibility because it’s the only beach in St. Pete/Clearwater that offers power beach wheelchairs, which can make exploring a lot easier.
She also loves Clearwater Beach because, she says, “Pier 60 is easily accessible and fun, and it’s a good way to see the Gulf and sunsets, and also to shop at booths, starting in the late afternoon. You can see pelicans, egrets, other shorebirds and many times, dolphins from the pier.”
Beth cautions that finding accessible parking here can be difficult because Clearwater Beach is so popular – so your best bet is to come early. Here's additional information about beach accessibility at Clearwater Beach:
- Location: There are many access points and parking lot locations, but Beth parked near Pier 60 (Lot 31), southwest of the roundabout, beachside.
- Parking: Pier 60’s public parking lots fill up quickly, so as noted above, it’s best to come early. Public lots are paved. Other private parking lots are available, but can be expensive, and they’re further from the beach.
- Ramp and beach access: There is ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk, and from the sidewalk to the beach access points. Concrete sidewalks lead to the beach.
- Beach wheelchairs: Four manual beach wheelchairs and three power beach wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The wheelchairs are available at Beach Lifeguard Station #0 (if you cannot get to the station in the sand, call 727-462-6963). The lifeguard station is officially staffed from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. seven days a week, but there may be someone available to assist you as early as 9 a.m. Note that you’ll need to return the wheelchair before the lifeguard station closes. If you would like to use a power wheelchair, it's wise to call ahead to ask about availability, as they are sometimes out for maintenance. Power wheelchairs cannot go into the water.
- Bathrooms: There are ADA compliant bathrooms.
Gulfport, Beth’s hometown, is most definitely worth a visit for its funky and free-spirited vibe – but it also has a small-but-lovely bayside beach with easy access, making it one of her top picks. “I love Gulfport Beach because there are lots of dolphin and bird sightings, nice accessible bathrooms and shaded picnic shelters – and it’s an easy roll or walk to quite a few accessible shops and restaurants, Williams Pier and Veteran’s Park.”
Here is some additional information about beach accessibility at Gulfport Beach on Boca Ciega Bay:
- Location: 5500 to 5800 Shore Blvd. S., Gulfport, FL 33707
- Parking: Four accessible parking spots with stripes are available on either side of the bathroom.
- Ramp and beach access: There is no ramp, but it’s flat access from the sidewalk to a Mobi-Mat on the beach (the mat goes close to the bay, but not in the water). There are also five covered picnic pavilions near the bay, accessible from the sidewalk via cement paths.
- Beach wheelchairs: There are no beach wheelchairs at Gulfport Beach.
- Bathrooms: There are two bathrooms. Each has one ADA compliant stall with ample room to turn around in a wheelchair. Beth notes that the outside door to enter the bathroom is heavy.
The tiny town of Pass-a-Grille Beach offers amazing sunsets, beautiful dunes with sea oats and a quieter atmosphere than some of the bigger beach hotspots.
Beth enjoys Pass-a-Grille for many reasons. “It has accessible sidewalks with tables and umbrellas practically on the beach, it offers live music – and it has great shelling.”
Even better: You'll have access to beach wheelchairs later into the evening here than at most beaches, because they're managed by Paradise Grille staff rather than by staff at lifeguard stations (lifeguards typically leave at 5 p.m.). And the city of St. Pete Beach recently added a Mobi-Mat on Pass-a-Grille Beach at 22nd Avenue, further increasing beach access.
Beth also notes that Pass-a-Grille Beach is an easy roll or walk to several shops and restaurants – and it’s only about a quarter mile to the accessible Merry Pier on the bayside.
Here's some additional information about beach accessibility at Pass-a-Grille Beach:
- Location: 900 Gulf Way, Pass-a-Grille Beach, FL 33706
- Parking: There are six disability parking spots with stripes in front of Paradise Grille, as well as on-street paved parking along Gulf Way.
- Ramp and beach access: There is ramp access from the parking area to the cement sidewalk. The sidewalk leads to a ramp up to Paradise Grille, with an accessible cement deck that has tables with umbrellas (food, drinks and live music with a view). There is a recently installed Mobi-Mat at 22nd Avenue.
- Beach wheelchairs: Three beach wheelchairs are available at Paradise Grille, available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Two styles of chairs are available: one that is upright, and the other is more of a lounge chair. Both can go into the water. You must return the chair before the restaurant closes (which is typically 15 minutes after sunset).
- Bathrooms: The bathroom has one ADA-compliant stall with good turnaround space and grab bars. The sink is in the stall.
More Information on Wheelchair Access to Local Beaches
Belleair Beach (Morgan Park)
This tiny, wealthy beach community has only one public beach access point for non-residents. No umbrellas or other temporary shade structures are allowed on the beach here.
Location: 2650 Gulf Blvd., Belleair Beach, FL 33786
Parking: Two handicapped parking spots with access stripes.
Ramp and beach access: There is ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk. The sidewalk stops at the sand, with no Mobi-Mat. There is a picnic shelter with tables that is accessible before you get to the beach.
Beach wheelchairs: There are no beach wheelchairs available at Morgan Park on Belleair Beach.
Bathroom accessibility: The bathroom stall is ADA-compliant and has grab bars, with a sink in the stall.
Caladesi Island State Park
Many visitors escape to Caladesi Island to be on “island time” – indeed, this beautiful state park is accessible only by boat. People in manual wheelchairs can board the Caladesi Connection ferry, though once on the island, paths are sandy and natural, so it will be necessary to transfer to a beach wheelchair to get around.
Location: Find the ferry to Caladesi Island within Honeymoon Island State Park at 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin, FL 34698
Parking: There are disability parking spaces available.
Beach wheelchairs: Request a beach wheelchair when you buy your ferry ticket. It will be waiting for you when you arrive at the island.
Bathrooms: There are ADA-compliant bathrooms.
Fort De Soto Park
Fort De Soto Park is much more than a beach – visitors can visit a historic fort, paddle a quiet waterway, and explore trails here. The park has a gorgeous, expansive beach, but no Mobi-Mats.
Off the beach, a nearly seven-mile, multi-use paved trail is great for wheelchair users, but be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen or avoid the middle of the day, as the trail is in full sun. Expect to see bicyclists, rollerblades, runners and walkers on the trail. “Be careful of e-bikers and stay to the right,” Beth recommends.
Beth has visited several times and says that the staff at Topwater Kayak Outpost inside the park has been very accommodating to her. “They’ve helped me get in and out of the kayak and safely watched my wheelchair until my return.”
Accessible areas of the park include the gift shop, snack shop, fort, Gulf pier, bait shop and the 2,200-foot barrier-free nature trail. “The Gulf pier is a great place to see shorebirds, dolphins and manatees in spring and summer,” Beth says.
Fort De Soto Park offers ferries to Shell Key and Egmont Key, but these ferries are not wheelchair accessible.
Here is some additional information about beach accessibility at Fort De Soto Park:
- Location: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715, 727-582-2100
- Parking: There are several beach parking lots at Fort De Soto, and they all offer disability parking spots (2-6 spots) with access lines. The park recently went to a kiosk or app-based paid parking system, but note that visitors with disability plates or placard can park in a disability spot for free.
- Ramp and beach access: There are ramps from the parking lot to the sidewalk. There are no Mobi-Mats.
- Beach wheelchairs: There are five beach wheelchairs at Fort De Soto Park. During the week, visitors can call 727-582-2100, ext. 2 to request a beach wheelchair. On weekends, you must go to the campground office to request one.
- Bathrooms: The bathrooms are ADA-compliant and have grab bars.
Honeymoon Island State Park
This gorgeous coastal retreat earned its name from the honeymoon cottages that were built here in 1940. Today, it’s a popular beach and park destination that can be reached by car via the Dunedin Causeway.
On her visit, Beth explored the Osprey Trail and visited the Rotary Centennial Nature Center as well as the beach. “The Osprey Trail is 2+ miles but only the first mile was doable with strong arms in a manual chair. It could be difficult for some – it’s hard-packed dirt with some softer sand areas.” She notes that the nature center is accessible and has a deck with a pretty view of a lake.
Here is some additional information about beach accessibility at Honeymoon Island State Park:
- Location: 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin FL 34968
- Parking: There are several paved parking lots, and all offer disability parking.
- Ramp and beach access: There is ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk, then a boardwalk over to the sand. There are no Mobi-Mats.
- Beach wheelchairs: Honeymoon Island State Park has four manual beach wheelchairs available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. When you stop to pay the entrance fee at the park kiosk, tell the ranger that you would like a beach wheelchair. Park rangers typical recommend the Oasis or North Beach beach accesses.
- Bathrooms: There are accessible bathrooms located near the parking lots.
Fred Howard Park
This small, scenic beach isn’t accessible for people who use wheelchairs.
Location: 1700 Sunset Drive, Tarpon Springs, Florida, 34689
Parking: There are six disability parking spots with access stripes. The parking lot is paved.
Ramp and beach access: There is ramp access from the parking area to the sidewalk. The sidewalk goes directly into the sand, with no Mobi-Mat.
Beach wheelchairs: No beach wheelchairs are available at Fred Howard Beach.
Bathroom accessibility: The bathroom has one ADA-compliant stall with good turnaround space.
Indian Rocks Beach Access County Park
You'll find that this beach has a serene, family-friendly vibe. Here are more details about accessibility:
- Location: 1700 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785
- Parking: Go early because accessible parking is limited (two accessible parking spots with stripes). The parking lot is paved.
- Ramp and beach access: There’s ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk. There is a Mobi-Mat from the sidewalk about halfway to the water.
- Beach wheelchairs: Beach wheelchairs are not available at Indian Rocks Beach.
- Bathrooms: There are ADA-compliant bathrooms with grab bars and plenty of room to maneuver in a wheelchair. The sink is in the stall.
Indian Shores Beach (Tiki Gardens Beach Access)
Location: 19601 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores, Florida, 34635
Parking: There are five accessible parking spots with access stripes at a paved lot.
Ramp and beach access: There’s ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk. Note that you need to cross the street from the parking lot and bathrooms to get to the beach. Once on the west side of the road, there’s a ramp across sand dunes that leads to the beach, but it ends at the sand with no sidewalk or Mobi-Mat available. Beth notes that this is not a very accessible beach if you have mobility challenges.
Beach wheelchairs: Beach wheelchairs are not available at Indian Shores Beach.
Bathroom accessibility: There are large, ADA-compliant stalls with a turnaround area, as well as grab bars.
Madeira Beach (Archibald Memorial Beach Park)
Madeira Beach was named the #9 beach in the U.S. by Tripadvisor in 2021. It's known for its fun atmosphere, as well as John's Pass Village & Boardwalk, just a short drive south of Archibald Memorial Beach Park. Find details about accessibility here:
- Location: 15100 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach, FL 33708
- Parking: Accessible parking is available at two lots (one lot has three disability parking spots; the other lot has seven disability parking spots). The parking lots are paved.
- Ramp and beach access: There’s ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk, then a boardwalk over dunes, then a Mobi-Mat. The mat extends 42 feet towards the Gulf, with a 25-foot wing extending to the south. There is a snack shop, tables with umbrellas and a picnic shelter that are all accessible.
- Beach wheelchairs: Beach wheelchairs are not available at Archibald Memorial Beach Park in Madeira Beach.
- Bathrooms: There is one accessible bathroom stall with grab bars. However, the stall is long and narrow, with no sink or soap in the stall.
This is a quiet, pretty beach, but doesn't offer easy access to visitors with mobility challenges.
Location: 18200 Gulf Blvd., Redington Shores, FL 33708
Parking: Eight disability parking spots with access stripes are available at a paved lot.
Ramp and beach access: There’s ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk, then two ramps over dunes that end in the sand, with no Mobi-Mat.
Beach wheelchairs: Beach wheelchairs are not available at Redington Shores.
Bathroom accessibility: There is an accessible stall with grab bars. However, the stall is fairly small, with no sink or soap in the stall.
St. Pete Beach Public Access
St. Pete Beach was named Tripadvisor's #1 Beach in the U.S. for 2021. This public beach access recently added a Mobi-Mat to increase accessibility. Find more details below:
- Location: 4700 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
- Parking: There are nine disability parking spots with access lines in a paved parking lot.
- Ramp and beach access: There’s ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk, then three ramps over dunes that end in the sand. One of the ramps leads to the newly installed Mobi-Mat.
- Beach wheelchairs: Two beach wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Paradise Grill at St. Pete Beach’s public beach access at 4700 Gulf Blvd. They can be used in the water, and just need to be returned before the restaurant closes.
- Bathrooms: There is one accessible bathroom stall with grab bars with good turn-around space. However, there is no sink or soap in the stall.
St. Pete Beach (Upham Beach)
This little slice of sandy paradise is just a few blocks from Corey Avenue, a small dining and shopping area loved by locals. There's a rocky fishing area on the north side of Upham Beach. A Mobi-Mat was installed in November 2022.
- Location: 6850 Beach Plaza, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
- Parking: Come early: There are only two disability parking spots with stripes at a paved lot.
- Ramp and beach access: There’s ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk, then a boardwalk over dunes that ends in the sand. There’s accessible seating by St. Pete Beach’s Paradise Grille location on a wooden deck that offers a good view of the beach. There is a new Mobi-Mat at Upham Beach.
- Beach wheelchairs: You can borrow a beach wheelchair at Paradise Grille. Two beach wheelchairs are available, first-come, first-served, during the hours Paradise Grille is open (typically 8 a.m. until just after sunset).
- Bathrooms: There is a large, ADA-compliant bathroom stall with grab bars with good turn-around space. There is a sink, soap and paper towels in the bathroom stall.
Sand Key Park
Beth likes this expansive, beautiful beach because it has a lot of accessible parking, and it’s usually not crowded. It's just across from bustling Clearwater Beach.
Location: 1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33767
Parking: Visitors will find a paved lot with accessible parking available in several areas. Boardwalk #1 area has two disability spots with access stripes. Boardwalk #4 has eight disability spots. Boardwalk #7 has eight disability spots.
Ramp and beach access: There’s ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk, then boardwalks onto the beach. However, Beth notes that the boardwalks end in the sand quite a long way from the water, so having an able-bodied companion to push the beach wheelchair will be essential. There’s a concession stand on the beach (again, only accessible if you have someone to push the beach wheelchair).
Beach wheelchairs: Two beach wheelchairs are available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis near Boardwalk #4. You’ll need to call the park ranger at 727-582-2100 to ask a ranger to open the locked shelter to get the chair. If no one answers the phone, you can go to the ranger/maintenance building to ask for assistance (it’s a brown building off the road to the beach parking area).
Bathrooms: Beach Pavilion and Boardwalk #4 has several accessible bathrooms – one is larger, with a sink in the stall. There’s also an accessible changing room with a bench.
This friendly little spot on the southern tip of Treasure Island is especially popular with the local LGBTQ+ community. Find information about beach access below:
- Location: 8000 West Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island, FL 33706
- Parking: The Sunset Beach Pavilion lot is accessible. There are three disability parking spots in the street and two in the paved parking lot.
- Ramp and beach access: There’s ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk. The pavilion near the beach is accessible, as is a public scenic boardwalk along the beach. Beth notes, "This is a spot where you can have a good view. However, most of the beach access points at Sunset Beach have steps, meaning you can’t actually get down on the beach or to the water [at those spots]." One ramp off the scenic boardwalk goes down directly into sand, allowing access, but there is no Mobi-Mat.
- Beach wheelchairs: Beach wheelchairs are not available at Sunset Beach.
- Bathrooms: There is one accessible bathroom stall with grab bars.
The community of Treasure Island is known for its nostalgic charm, and its very wide, white-sand beach. Find details on beach access below:
- Location: 10400 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island, FL 33706
- Parking: Go early, as there are only three disability parking spots with access stripes at this paved parking lot.
- Ramp and beach access: There’s ramp access from the parking lot to the sidewalk, then a ramp across dunes. The ramp leads to a long Mobi-Mat that goes about half-way down this very wide beach. The Mobi-Mat is located next to trampolines and a large inflatable slide for kids.
- Beach wheelchairs: There is one beach wheelchair that is stored at City Hall (call to reserve and have it brought to the beach: 727-547-4575, ext. 237).
- Bathrooms: There is one accessible bathroom stall with grab bars, but the stall is long and narrow. There is no sink or soap in the stall.
You can also find beach access at 11260 Gulf Beach Blvd., Treasure Island, FL 33706, where two beach wheelchairs are available at no cost from the concession stand (727-360-3278). There is no Mobi-Mat. There is an accessible bathroom.