The Husband lives life in a wheelchair; he is a quadriplegic who functions more like a paraplegic. He has never let that chair get in his way of living life and in that spirit, we have traveled a lot throughout our marriage. Traveling is something that just soothes my soul and The Husband is always a willing participant! (i.e. he funds my obsession, lol)
We have stayed in places that are extremely wheelchair accessible. We’ve stayed in places that are absolute NOT wheelchair accessible. And many places that fall somewhere in between. No matter the circumstance, The Husband has been able to maneuver most obstacles, make do with what we have available, and just enjoy our time discovering new places.
We recently returned from a trip to Tybee Island! This was a first visit there for all of us and none of us were disappointed!
Really, it was a bit of a last minute, spur-of-the-moment trip after another reservation fell through. We booked a condo without doing much research; really no research! I strictly went with the recommendation of a friend who knew Tybee well – aren’t those just the best trips sometimes?!?
My disclaimer is that we knew IN advance that the condo we rented was not ADA accessible! There was a ramp and an elevator for the building but once you were inside the unit, none of the doorways were wheelchair accessible. I repeat, we knew this in advance! The rental agency, Ocean Front Cottage Rentals, was kind enough to go out of their way and measure all the doorways for me before we signed the rental agreement. Thankfully, I married a man who doesn’t let his wheelchair ruin the spontaneity in life. I told him of the narrow doorways but he was game for the challenge!
Over the years, we have learned ways to maneuver through accessibility obstacles and it’s just become second nature to us all. Now, I do realize these options won’t work for everyone or in every situation so we are just sharing what works for us; and maybe some will work for you as well!
I’m sensing this “quick” blog post I sat down to write just turned into a blog-series, as I would really like to give this topic space to grow and cover many aspects of accessible travel!
I think I’ll just cover some basics tonight then go into more detail throughout the series (hint; please come back for more!). Our ocean-front condo was spectacular! Even though we had a few extra steps in our movements throughout the unit, that beach-front balcony really made up for it all!
We really were beachfront! Our teenagers were able to go out on the beach on their own, yet still be within our view. We literally lived out there!
When The Husband didn’t feel like going out on the pier, he was able to sit on the balcony and still feel like a part of the family fun. He enjoyed just relaxing, listening to the water, and having no cares in the world!
Most of our evenings were spent out on the pier, which was completely wheelchair accessible (and just outside our building), watching the amazing sunsets and the surf. The kids and I would venture down the steps to wade in the rising tide and collect sea glass along the shoreline. I was free to walk back up the steps and visit with The Husband as the Twigglets continued exploring their new turf. It truly was an amazing and peaceful time for us.
After breakfast, we would head out to the beach and The Husband was able to sit on the pier and still enjoy watching his family play in the sand and water.
Now, Tybee Island does have accessible access points with ramped piers and Mobi Mats which we look forward to trying out on our next visit. Unfortunately, the most recent hurricane had piled sand dunes over the Mobi Mats and the Island was still working to restore the shoreline from all the damage. The Tybee Island police department was incredible in pointing us in the right direction and updating us on the status of the access points! We were so grateful that our condo was right on the water, though, so that The Husband really didn’t have to miss out on much of the fun!
The Savannah Beach and Racquet Club Unit 118a was our address for our stay. I didn’t understand the lay-out of the island before exploring it for ourselves, but this location lends itself to calmer bay waters and a spectacular view of the local dolphin antics! We had enjoyed watching the dolphins from the pier nearly every evening but they truly saved the best for last! On our last morning, we made one more trip out to the pier and the dolphin show was fantastic! They were showing off right off the pier – it seemed like you could just reach out and touch a dolphin!
This trip was about so much more than wheelchair accessibility though. Our entire family enjoyed such a nice relaxing vacation and everyone has their own favorite memories of the trip!
I hope I’ve been able to give you a glimpse into the beauty and accessibility of this little corner of Tybee Island! I’ll continue this series and give you more insights into our stay inside the unit and the tricks we used to make it a working option for The Husband!
Do you have a favorite beach location with handicapped accessibility? Please share your favorite spots with us as we love trying out new places!