Miami Beach, Florida boasts some of the most beautiful coastline in the United States. Pair the soft, sandy beaches with temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees, and it’s no wonder why tourists flock to the Sunshine State.
Now, thanks to investments made by the City of Miami Beach, Florida’s iconic South Beach is accessible to wheelchair users too.
At numerous points along Ocean Drive, accessible mats provide a barrier-free path from the Beachwalk, across the dunes and to the edge of the beach. Note that after exploring nearly two miles of the South Beach coastline, I did not find a Mobi-Mat that extended all the way down to the water (disappointing).
For those who would like to venture out onto the beach and to the ocean, the city provides manual and powered beach wheelchairs, which are free to use.
Beach wheelchairs can be checked out from two locations: the Beach Patrol Headquarters at 1001 Ocean Drive, and the Beach Patrol location inside South Pointe Park.
Beachchairs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. can be checked out during the months of February through October and from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the months of November through January. You can call ahead to check on availability at +1 (305) 673-7714.
Manual chairs require the assistance of another person, so I checked-out an electric beach chair. The process couldn’t have been easier. A friendly staff member took a copy of my photo ID, then offered to help me transfer into the powered beach wheelchair. The beach wheelchair’s armrests are movable, making a safe, lateral transfer possible.
My personal wheelchair was safely locked in the Beach Patrol’s shed, and I made my way to the beach.
The beach wheelchair maneuvered well on the sand, and it had enough power to ensure I didn’t get stuck. With this free beach wheelchair rental, I was able to enjoy exploring South Beach for the first time on wheels.
If you’d like to lay down and catch a tan in the beautiful coastal sunshine, vendors offer beach chairs with cushions and umbrellas for a fee.