"Vacationland" Maine is known for idyllic seaports, rocky oceans and, of course, great-tasting lobster. While the water may be cold most of the year, Maine's beaches provide a welcome respite for travelers of every ilk. If you need a beach with wheelchair accessibility, there are plenty to choose from in coastal Maine.
State Park and Historical Site Beaches
When it comes to Maine's many state parks and historic sites, the Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands ranks each park and site in terms of "good," "limited" or "no" accessibility. Parks then are assessed in terms of ADA compliance. At publication, beaches with a "good" ranking and perfect-scoring ADA wheelchair access include Aroostook State Park in Presque Isle; Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth; Lamoine State Park in Ellsworth; Peaks-Kenny State Park in Dover-Foxcroft; Range Ponds State Park in Poland; and the beach at Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site, in New Harbor.
According to Maine's Office of Tourism, the state offers many "handicap accessible" beaches, including Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick and sections of beach at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor. Ogunquit Beach, one of Maine's most famous tourism hot spots, is wheelchair accessible, as is the Marginal Way boardwalk that runs along the beach.
If your preferred Maine beach is not wheelchair accessible, try a beach that rents sand-friendly wheelchairs on site. At publication, beach wheelchairs are available at three Maine beach locations in Saco, Raymond and Augusta. These wheelchairs are four-wheel, balloon-inflated models that come with a drink holder and umbrella stand. For information on how to rent a beach wheelchair for the day, contact the Bureau of Parks and Land in Augusta, the Ferry Beach Park Association in Saco or the Town of Raymond in Raymond. According to the Maine's Division of Parks and Public Lands, beach wheelchairs also are available for day rental at Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Mt. Blue State Park in Weld, and Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg.
Tips and Considerations
If you do not live near one of Maine's wheelchair-accessible beaches -- or a beach that offers beach wheelchair rentals -- consider buying a beach wheelchair. You can purchase your own beach wheelchair from a variety of specialist retailers, including De-Bug, Sportaid, Hotshot Products and Landeez. Used models are available online.
Many of Maine's state park beaches also have limited wheelchair access or access that requires assistance. For the complete list and ADA ranking of each beach, visit the Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands website.