Cape Cod's wheelchair accessible beaches give everyone a chance to enjoy the sun, sand and surf!
There's no doubt about it ...
Navigating across loose sand poses an epic challenge for anyone who relies on a wheelchair, a cane, crutches, or a walker to get around.
For those with limited mobility, Cape Cod's wheelchair accessible beaches make it possible to get right to the water's edge ... and beyond.
Thanks in large part to the generosity of wonderful organizations like SMILE Mass (smilemass.org), dozens of beaches across Cape Cod have been equipped with special assistive devices that are available for use during the summer months.
Using a MobiChair floating wheelchair, anyone - no matter how limited their mobility might be - can enjoy a cooling dip on a hot summer day.
These are over-sand chairs. They don't float. Instead, they're built to roll on pavement, boardwalks, and across the beach.
Important: Beach wheelchairs are available only when attendants are on duty.
Here on the Cape, most beach attendants are college kids, home on summer break from mid-June to mid-August.
If you be here in early June or late August, be sure to call ahead to ensure that an attendant will be on duty and a beach wheelchair will be available! (Phone numbers provided below.)
At many beaches on Cape Cod, a system of boardwalks, ramps, or hard-surfaced mats provide a stable surface for wheelchairs to navigate on top of the sand.
These access points also come in handy for folks who use a cane, crutches, or a walker. And for moms and dads pushing strollers, too!
I learned a lot while doing my research for this page. Perhaps most importantly, I discovered that ...
There's a big difference between a beach that's technically accessible (because it has a Mobi-mat, for example) and one that's easily accessible.
This realization hit me like a ton of bricks one day, when I went to snap some photos at a beach that's widely promoted as "handicap accessible".
What did I find? A brand new Mobi-mat ... laid over a steep dune.
I'm sure it's possible to maneuver a wheelchair along that mat. But why hassle with the hill, especially when there's an easier-to-access beach nearby?!
Unless I've noted otherwise, these amenities and services are available (in-season only) at the beaches shown below:
The beaches you'll see below (one in each of our 15 Cape Cod towns) are the best, most easily accessible as a practical matter.
For details about other accessible beaches in each town, be sure to see my town-by-town beach guides.
** Important: With one exception (Brewster), beach wheelchairs are offered for use at no charge.
Known locally as "Mo Beach", this is the only beach in Bourne that's relatively simple to get on and off using a wheelchair.
The parking lot here is level with the beach, and there's a relatively gentle grade at the shoreline - a bonus for anyone who wants to enjoy the warm, calm water.
There's no food available on-site. The beach is lifeguarded in season, and the rest room facilities are handicap accessible.
Monument Beach has a MobiChair on loan during the summer. To borrow it, see the lifeguard when you arrive.
Note: In-season parking requires a parking pass issued by the Town of Bourne.
Scusset Beach Road
This long, wide stretch of Sandwich MA beachfront is the crown jewel of Scusset Beach State Park.
From the large, level parking lot, access to the beach is via paved sidewalks leading to a wide wooden boardwalk. There's a moderate grade up and over a gently sloping dune.
Seasonal services include accessible restrooms, shower facilities, lifeguards, and a snack bar.
To reserve a beach wheelchair for use at Scusset, call (508) 888-0859.
Note: In-season parking requires a daily fee or MA State Parks Pass
North Falmouth MA
Facing the warm, calm waters of Buzzards Bay, Old Silver is easily one of the prettiest beaches in the town of Falmouth.
Wheelchair access is via a ramp. There's very little grade to navigate across the beach and a gentle slope into the water.
In season, amenities include restrooms, bathhouse, a snack bar and lifeguards. Handicap parking spaces are limited at this very popular beach. So it's a good idea to get there as early in the day as possible.
To reserve an oversand chair or Mobi-chair, call (508) 548-8623.
Note: In-season parking requires a daily fee or a beach parking sticker issued by the Town of Falmouth.
Great Oak Road
Bordered by Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, South Cape is a beautiful, expansive beach overlooking Vineyard Sound in Mashpee.
A newly constructed 6-foot-wide boardwalk leads to an observation deck, giving all visitors a chance to take in the gorgeous views at South Cape.
From the public parking lot, hard-packed paths lead to the beach, and an oversand wheelchair is available for transport right to the shoreline.
South Cape is lifeguarded in the summer months. Seasonal facilities include accessible rest room facilities (porta-potty), a handicap changing booth, and wheelchair-friendly picnic tables.
To reserve a beach wheelchair or for more information about Waquoit Bay Reserve, call (508) 457-0495.
Important: There are two parking lots at South Cape Beach. One is managed by the town and is for town residents only in-season. The other lot is managed by the state and is open to everyone in-season (parking fee/pass required). For beach wheelchair accessibility, the state-managed lot is the one you want.
Note: In-season parking requires a daily fee or MA State Parks pass.
Ocean St. and Hawes Ave.
No matter what time of year you're here, a day in Hyannis should always include a visit to Kalmus Beach!
This "two-sided" beach has great views of Hyannis Yacht Club and Lewis Bay from one side, and open views of the famous Kennedy Compound and Nantucket Sound from the other.
Wooden boardwalks lead from the parking lot to the beach, rest rooms, changing facilities and snack facilities. A Mobi-Chair is available during the summer months for anyone who wants to enjoy the warm, placid waters that lap the Kalmus Beach shoreline.
For Mobi-Chair reservations, call (508) 790-6345.
Note: In-season parking requires a daily fee or a parking sticker issued by the Town of Barnstable.
South Shore Drive
South Yarmouth MA
Whether you're yearning to lounge in the sun, or you're hoping to catch a seafood feast for your dinner table, Smugglers Beach in Yarmouth is a great place to do it.
From the big, level-terrain parking lot, visitors with limited mobility can take the boardwalk to the beach or onto the Bass River fishing pier.
In the summer months, this beach has lifeguards, accessible restroom facilities, and food is available.
If you'd like to use the Mobi-Chair here, ask the gate attendant or call (508) 398-2231 to reserve.
Note: In-season parking requires a daily fee or a beach parking pass issued by the Town of Yarmouth.
For those with physical disabilities, this wonderful family beach on Cape Cod Bay is one of the easiest Dennis beaches to access.
Although its popular neighbor, Mayflower Beach, is also equipped for wheelchair users, Corporation has everything a beachgoer could ask for - and the facilities are newer than Mayflower's.
In season, Corporation Beach is staffed by lifeguards. Ramps and sidewalks lead to the snack bar, picnic tables, bathhouse and beach.
To reserve a Mobi-Chair for use at Corporation or Mayflower, call (508) 385-1558.
FYI: On the Nantucket Sound side of town, West Dennis Beach is also wheelchair accessible. To reserve an oversand chair for West Dennis Beach, call (508) 760-6240.
Note: In-season parking requires a daily fee or a beach parking pass issued by the Town of Dennis.
As you can see in the photo below, Bank Street is a spacious beach with great open-water views. It's one of my favorite beaches in the town of Harwich.
At Bank Street, it's quite easy to get from the parking lot to the wood boardwalk and onto the beach. There's virtually no grade change at all from pavement to sand, and very little slope from the beach to the water.
During the summer months, Bank Street Beach has lifeguards, a mobile food concession, and restroom facilities that are accessible via a ramp.
Beach and floating wheelchairs are available. For information, call (508) 430-7552.
Linnell Landing Road
The most accessible portion of Brewster's scenic Cape Cod Bay shoreline can be found at Linnell Landing.
Although vehicle parking here is limited, it's worth the effort to go early enough (or wait until later in the day) to find a spot!
Access to the beach is via a wooden ramp system. Linnell isn't lifeguarded. A mobile ice cream truck comes by on summer days. Seasonal restroom facilities consist of a handicap-accessible porta-potty.
There are 3 beach wheelchairs available for use at all Brewster beaches: 2 Mobi-chairs and one oversand chair. One of the Mobi's remains at Long Pond all summer. The other two chairs are available for loan at the Council on Aging.
To reserve a chair, call the Council at (508) 896-2737.
Important: Borrowed chairs must be picked up and returned to the Council on Aging at 1673 Main Street in Brewster. The Mobi folds up for easy transport. The sand chair does not. A $10 donation is requested for loan of a chair.
Hardings Beach Road
Imagine a shoreline that appears to stretch on forever. When you get your first peek at Harding's Beach in Chatham, you'll see what I mean.
This lovely beach is rimmed by low dunes and looks out onto Nantucket Sound.
Beach wheelchairs allow visitors to travel without difficulty from the large, paved parking lot onto the sand.
In season, bathhouse and restroom facilities are available, food is provided by vendor trucks, and the beach is lifeguarded. A Mobichair is available at the lifeguard station.
Skaket Beach Road
From Skaket's ample parking lot, a ramp winds gradually down toward the shoreline ... to a beach that "grows" exponentially as the tide goes out and the sandflats appear.
No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. That's a mom pushing a stroller across the sandflats at Skaket Beach.
Now, that's what I call a wheel-able beach!
Seasonal services at Skaket include a snack bar, restrooms, outdoor rinse-off showers, and lifeguards. A Mobichair is available on a first-come-first-served basis.
Note: On the Atlantic Ocean side of town in Orleans, Nauset Beach is also accessible by people with disabilities via a rampway over the dunes. Just be aware that the surf at Nauset can be quite rough at times - not suitable for anyone who isn't a strong swimmer.
On Cape Cod Bay in Eastham, First Encounter holds an important historic distinction. It's the site of the first encounter between the Mayflower settlers and the native residents on Cape Cod.
Now, nearly 300 years later, visitors and locals still meet on this scenic beach!
Although First Encounter isn't lifeguarded and no food service available, there's a seasonal porty-potty, and a beach wheelchair is available.
Note: For anyone who's wondering why I didn't choose Coast Guard Beach as Eastham's best accessible beach, it's pretty simple ...
Yes, Coast Guard one of the most magnificent beaches on all of Cape Cod. It's wheelchair accessible. And it has services that First Encounter lacks, such as lifeguards and "real" restrooms.
But remember, we're talking about practicality here.
At First Encounter, parking is on beach level. At Coast Guard, the lot sits high above the shore, and handicap access to the beach is via a long, sloping boardwalk. IMHO, that makes Coast Guard more of an effort to access with a wheelchair.
As glorious as Wellfleet's ocean-side beaches are, the simple truth is: they're inaccessible by anyone who's not able to climb a steep set of stairs or a shifting wall of sand.
That's why my choice for the most easily accessible beach in Wellfleet is Mayo Beach, on the Cape Cod Bay side of town.
Mayo isn't a large beach, by any means. But it's family friendly, and it's a nice place to spend a little time enjoying the sun, the salt air, and the scenery. It's also fun to watch the oystermen tending their traps at low tide.
Seasonal services at Mayo Beach are limited. It's lifeguarded during the summer, and a beach wheel chair is available by advance reservation. Call (508) 349-9818 as far in advance as possible to reserve.
FYI: Food (including fresh-from-the-sea Wellfleet oysters) is available across the street at Bookstore Restaurant, or right around the corner at the pier.
Corn Hill Road
Truro is also blessed with some of the most spectacular beaches on all of Cape Cod. Unfortunately, the thing that makes Truro's shoreline so breathtaking - the towering dunes - also makes many Truro beaches a challenge to get to.
One notable exception is Corn Hill Beach on the Cape Cod Bay side of town.
Although Corn Hill does have a bit of an incline to navigate on the way to the water, it's do-able via a ramp from the paved parking lot to the high tide line. Corn Hill also has a mobi-mat that makes the going easier for those who use a wheelchair, cane, walker or crutches.
The beach isn't lifeguarded. But there are accessible rest room facilities (porta-potty), and beach wheelchairs are available at Corn Hill daily, in season.
Rt. 6A and Provincelands Road
Provincetown is graced with two wonderful, accessible beaches - Race Point and Herring Cove.
As much as I adore Race Point for its wide-open spaces and incredible vistas, I have to go with Herring Cove here ... simply because Herring Cove has more helpful features for folks with physical challenges.
Seasonal amenities at Herring Cove include accessible restroom facilities, changing rooms, and showers that'll accommodate a wheelchair. There's a snackbar, and the beach is lifeguarded in the summer months.
Access from the parking area to the beach is via sidewalks and ramps.
FYI: Although there have been some major storm wash-outs in Herring Cove's parking lot and seawall over the last few winters, repairs are made as quickly as possible.