After a really terrible spring season I became desperate to end the cycle of yuckiness. A chronic cough for one of the girls was a part of the crud. I always feel like salt air and salt water clears that up, so I did what seemed like an obvious fix:
We packed the wheelchair van for a beach day in Ocean City, NJ.
I almost always make a spring day trip to reassure myself that the ocean is still there and all is right in the world after a long winter. I never had time to do that this year so I definitely needed the reassurance!
While it may not have changed anything physically, It sure helped us mentally!
After recently reading about blue space and green space, I believe in the real benefit of time spent at the ocean! I find it to be such a healing place. Anyone else?? According to a study placed in Health & Space:
Living in a neighborhood where you have lots of opportunity to gaze at blue spaces — bodies of water like the sea — is associated with lower levels of stress, researchers found.https://www.today.com/health/blue-spaces-beat-green-spaces-when-it-comes-mental-health-t90601
Regardless of the colors, I found peace and rejuvenation simply because OCNJ made the experience SO accessible!
Our first positive moments occurred finding accessible parking. We drove north on the Island to where the rides begin on the boardwalk and where the community center is located. In no time flat I entered the gated lot, known as the Foxtrot lot on 5th street, and found an easy spot. It was so close to the ramp onto the boards, bathrooms, and in front of the community center where beach wheelchairs are rented for free. For whatever reason, they were not collecting parking fees that day. I would happily paid for such a convenient spot.
*You can reserve beach wheelchairs for free in OCNJ!
FREE SURF CHAIR PROGRAMhttp://www.ocnj.us/handicapped-accessibility/
Beach-accessible wheelchairs are available at the Sports & Civic Center, 6th Street and Boardwalk from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The program is for individuals of all ages. “Surf Chairs” provide an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the surf and sand. The chairs must be used at Sixth Street Beach or picked up at the facility. You must have a large vehicle for transportation. Available Memorial Day to Labor Day. Daily or 1-week maximum. Call 609-525-9304.
This location, right on Ocean City NJ boardwalk, was ideal for us to access our day’ plans.
First, I was impressed that the area is given a broad access to the ramps onto the boardwalk while traffic is blocked off. I am often anxious about traffic when unloading wheelchairs and getting distracted by the mom busyness that entails.
If we had chosen to rent (free) beach wheelchairs, the center was immediately in front of us. That would also be convenient to return the chairs. We have rented chairs during other weekend trips and it was appreciated!
The bathrooms in that area are large, clean, attended and include TWO accessible family rooms! That was a great thing to access! The health aide and I were able to divide and conquer several times!
After enjoying some time on the boardwalk, we walked back to the beach at 6th Street because it sports a great blue mat to the ocean!
After grabbing a few items from the van and hitting up the bathhouse, we drove the POWER chairs down the beach ramp and onto the mats. We transferred the girls onto beach chairs we set up just a few feet away.
*Please note, 6th and 7th Street beach is a surfing beach and does not allow for swimming. That was ok for us, we didn’t plan to swim that day. It was a beautiful spot to take in the ocean air and the waves were so close on this narrow stretch of beach.
After having our fill of sun and surf, we drove back up the mat and ramp. We quickly hit up the family bathrooms once again to clean up for dinner.
With our van parked within fob distance we could easily share in the job of stashing things back in the van. Then off we went for our pizza, Kohrs brothers ice cream and a few last shops.
If there is anything that is an accessible difficulty, it would have to be getting seats in a pizza shop.
In fact, getting into a pizza shop at all is a trial. Most shops are deep and narrow with bench or booth tables. (Remember we have two wheelchairs). We were eventually able to find a place at the far end of the boardwalk. Lunch was probably a better decision when we ate at an outdoor food court with plenty of tables.
After such a great day, we are looking forward to another trip (or two) “down the shore” this summer!
I hope to share some other beaches we have accessed recent years. You can find more accessible informations for OCNJ HERE
If you have any beach tips or locations you enjoy with accessibility we would LOVE to hear about them in the comments below!