All Questions

Beach Access

Q: I heard that the ADA applies to public beaches, but I don’t see requirements in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design about how to provide access over the sand. Am I missing something?

A: The 2010 Standards for Accessible Design do not directly address public beach access. However, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if no standards exist, the general non-discrimination and program accessibility requirements for state and local governments still apply.

As a result, for public entities wanting to provide ADA program accessibility to a beach, a recommended resource is the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Standards for Outdoor Developed Areas. These standards address how to provide access to federal beaches and contain scoping and technical requirements that can be applied by entities that manage public beaches. Note that the ABA Standards allow for either permanent or removable beach access routes over the sand.

Our fact sheet about Beach Access Routes has more information.


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