Living with a disability can make getting to the ocean a hassle this summer, but the Boston area features a wealth of beaches accessible to people of all abilities. Many state parks and beaches offer free use of beach wheel chairs, which feature balloon tires that allow them to move with ease across the sand and travel through the water. Wheelchairs even include a rod holder for those who love to fish! Use of the chairs is free, although reservations can be required; for a full list of beaches that offer wheel chairs/reservation details, visit the DCR Accessible Beaches page.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation is also working hard to make public beaches more accessible before you even hit the sand. Boston favorite Nantasket Beach now features ramps that go straight to the beach from the sidewalk and centrally located handicapped parking. At Ashland State Park and Erving State Forest, ramps lead into the water, making it easy to cool off, and at Bradley Palmer State Park the wading pool features a gradual slope for easy wheelchair access.

Headed to the Cape? The Cape Cod Disability Access Directory provides helpful guides and tables outlining beach accessibility for each region of the Cape. If you hate the squawk of seagulls or getting sand out of your bathing suit, the DCR also offers a list of more than 20 accessible pools. Boston offers many accessible ways to cool off this summer; just remember to pack your sunscreen!

For information on accessible beaches, lakes and pools, as well as operating hours and wheel chair reservations, visit the Department of Conservation and Recreation Universal Access Program home page.

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