In recent years, the City of Gulf Shores has been working diligently to improve access to local beaches and activities. It’s important that whether you’re a vacationer in a wheelchair or you have limited mobility, you have ample access to the picturesque wind-sand beaches. Keep reading to learn about wheelchair-friendly Gulf Shores beaches and other easily-accessible locations.
For a complete guide to all the best things to do in the area, refer to our Activities Guide!
Gulf Shores cares about wheelchair users. Keep reading to learn about wheelchair-friendly Gulf Shores options!
Thanks to the installation of an AccessMat, it’s now an easier trek through Alabama’s soft, sandy beaches to the water. The AccessMat is found on the west end of the main Gulf Shores Public Beach area and is the first of its kind on Alabama beaches. The 200-foot mat stretches from the sidewalk towards the water and runs parallel to the Gulf of Mexico for 150 feet. It is part of the Gulf Place Revitalization Project on the main public beach, including boardwalk, green spaces, shade structures, and restrooms.
Wheelchair traveler and blogger, Cory Lee, lists the Alabama Gulf Coast as one of his favorite destinations. Regarding the addition of mats on the beaches, he said, “The Alabama Gulf Coast is already one of my favorite destinations in the country because it offers many accessible attractions and activities, but the new AccessMat makes me love Gulf Shores and Orange Beach even more. With the mat, wheelchair users will be able to enjoy a day on the beach without arranging anything (like a beach wheelchair) in advance. Spontaneity is not something that I often experience as a wheelchair traveler, so I thoroughly appreciate this wonderful addition. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is way ahead of most other beaches when it comes to accommodating all visitors, regardless of their abilities, and that’s why I’ll continue to visit the area.”
Beach Power Rentals is a company offering motorized beach wheelchair rentals in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. These custom-made beach wheelchairs allow users to have the freedom and mobility to experience a day at the beach to the fullest! Oversized wheels on the motorized beach chairs make it easy to ride through the soft sand. In addition, the seat is padded and partially reclines. Starting at $60 a day, vacationers can wheel through the sand and enjoy a day at the beach with family and friends.
With the combination of AccessMat and powered wheelchairs, beach accessibility on the Alabama Gulf Coast has never been better!
If you don’t want to spend all your time up close and personal with the sun, sand, and surf, there are many more wheelchair-friendly attractions throughout the area.
Nature lovers will enjoy a ride through the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails. Twenty-five miles of paved trails wind through six distinct ecosystems from Orange Beach to Gulf Shores and includes part of Gulf State Park. Restroom facilities are available along the trails. You can dive in and learn about the flora and fauna with a two-hour guided tour available through the City of Orange Beach. You’ll hear about the history of the area and experience the pristine woodlands and natural habitats of the Backcountry Trail. You might even be lucky enough to spot an alligator soaking up the sun in the nearby water.
Ready to get wild? Then, you’re ready for a day at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The zoo is home to more than 500 exotic animals, including lions, tigers, primates, leopards, and more. Also, animal encounters allow you to get up close and personal with baby kangaroos, lemurs, and reptiles. If you visit with the lemurs, they might borrow your camera for selfies! The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo offers wide and smooth pathways to allow for foot traffic, wheelchairs, and strollers.
If you want to explore further out into the water, then take an adventure with WildNative Cruises. They offer fun-filled dolphin and nature cruises that are perfect for the whole family. You’ll cruise through the waterways of coastal Alabama on their large wheelchair-accessible boat. You’ll have the opportunity to see osprey, pelicans, and dolphins.
History lovers won’t be able to resist a visit to historic Fort Morgan. This fort played a significant role in the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864 and was used during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. This historic site is accessible to wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. The ground can be uneven in spots but is generally navigable. The on-site museum is fully accessible, where you’ll find numerous artifacts portraying the artillery, uniforms, and history of the area.
Barefoot is an eight-bedroom beach house with direct beach access that is a short drive from downtown Gulf Shores. This spacious home has an open floor plan, allowing for easy flow from the kitchen to the dining and living room spaces, as well as the beachfront deck. It also boasts an elevator, which gives easy access to the main floor bedroom and living spaces. The bedroom suite on the main floor features a convenient roll-in shower.