28. July 2015 · Comments Off on 7 tips on how to plan the perfect beach trip for families with special needs! · Categories: advocacy, parent education, published elsewhere, sites to visit

No money exchanged hands for this guest post for Dads of Disability.

Make your family beach trips fun and relaxing this summer by using these beach hacks for a fun day out with your child with special needs!

1. Call ahead to reserve a beach wheelchair.

Beach wheelchairs are a fun way for your child who uses a mobility-aid to walk along the shore. Most of the time, beaches will be stocked with only one or two beach wheelchairs, so make sure to reserve yours ahead of time!


Via accessible San Diego

2. Accessible entry points.

Do your research beforehand to make sure you’re headed to the accessible entry way to the beach. Most beaches will have parking spots designated for families with special needs right next to one of the ramp entrances to get to the sand. The closer you are to the ramp, the less stress!

3. Mobi-Mats.

Some beaches on the coasts have hard-surfaced mats for wheelchair users to cruise smoothly on the sand. The mats make for a great way for you and your child to explore more of the beach without feeling limited to the space around you.

4. Big beach umbrellas to save your skin.

Renting a big umbrella from beaches is a well worth investment. You won’t have to worry about melting in the sun all day. It’s a great way to keep cool and protect your precious skin.

5. Keep your energy going.

Snacks and water are a must-have for beach trips, so be sure to pack healthy snacks to keep the little ones happy. You can set up at accessible picnic grounds to enjoy your meal, but if you want to pack light, choose a beach with food vendors or restaurants nearby that are wheelchair accessible.

6. Lifeguards on duty.

To ensure your family’s safety, it’s a good precaution to check if your beach has lifeguards on duty to keep an eye out for you and your family. Lifeguards can guide you to accessible restrooms and ramps, and will know the best places for your family with special needs to dine in after a great day at the beach.

7. Accessible restrooms and changing rooms.

Thanks to the ADA, the most common accessible areas in public spaces are the restrooms. However, you can never be too certain all beaches will be accommodating. Be sure to double check the beach you want to go to has wheelchair-friendly facilities if you’re planning a day out with a person using a mobility aid.

This year is the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 25th Anniversary, so please consider supporting full inclusion of people with disabilities by donating to The Arc, or any other disability advocacy non-profit. A great way to give back is by donating through Goodshop, where you can shop at online stores like Old Navy, Expedia, or Vista Print and they will donate a percentage of your purchase to the ADA non-profit, at no cost to you.


Janessa Dayan
Cause Outreach Associate, Goodshop

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