You are certainly not looking for a “maybe” or “it depends” as an answer, so let’s dig a little deeper for a more detailed explanation, considering that you are thinking of beach sand (most likely).
If not, this will apply.
Standard wheelchairs, battery-powered or manual, are not the best options to ride on the sand.
The compact sand that you see in parts of a beach might help keep the standard wheelchair moving despite not being adapted for sand, but most likely will get the casters/front wheels stuck in most of the areas of the beach where the sand is soft.
Sand requires wheelchairs with wider tires (all-terrain tires) for a smoother ride.
There are some types of wheelchairs out in the market designed to help users ride on sand that might be a good help, depending on what the user expects from the chair.
Some chairs for sand are designed to ride on packed sand only, facing the same challenges as any standard wheelchair.
As you will see here in this article, other wheelchairs have tires large enough to ride well on sand.
Can a wheelchair user try to go to the beach with a standard wheelchair?
The word out there calls for: Do not go due to the challenges ahead of the user.
But if the wheelchair user wants to try, why not?
It is worth trying but make sure this is not done alone.
Always go accompanied by an able-body person to assist in case the wheelchair user gets stuck in the sand, and have your cellphone handy and with plenty of battery life, just in case.
If you are a caregiver and want to give it a try with the loved one you take care of, take some time to plan.
Study the place, the beach.
Go there yourself and try to map where you could push the wheelchair freely without getting stuck or facing the risk of falls.
Then you make your decision, with good judgment.
Once back home, do not forget to thoroughly clean the wheelchair, keeping the wheels, tires, frames and axels free of sand and salty water to avoid damages to the chair due to corrosion.
Electric Wheelchairs on the Sand
Most standard battery-powered wheelchairs are not designed for outdoor rides.
They are built to perform very well as long as the surface is flat and obstacle-free.
Manual beach wheelchairs are expensive items.
Imagine the cost of an electric one?
You can certainly check the cost of some electric beach wheelchairs to have an idea.
As said, if you leave by the beach and want (and can) invest, it is certainly worth it.
For most families that live far from the coast and get a chance to enjoy the ocean a few days per year, renting beach wheelchairs are the best alternatives.
Manual Wheelchairs on the Sand
Manual Beach wheelchairs are the most accessible alternative to enjoy the sand, the water, and the sun in your vacation.
Their prices are lower as they do not have to carry all the technology around motors, electric and electronic panels.
But it can still be a bit salty.
The majority of manual beach wheelchairs do not allow self-propelling, requiring a caregiver, a companion to push the wheelchair on behalf of the user.
But you can still find manual solutions that allow self-propelling.
Just need a little more work searching for places to rent one at the beach of your choice.
They are not as popular as the pushchairs usually seen on beaches, but you can still find them.
What Makes a Wheelchair Easy To Handle On Sand?
Beaches are the top destinations in most people’s minds when the subject is vacation.
For wheelchair users, planning fun times at the beach requires a careful approach.
Special attention is needed on technology.
Proper equipment is a must.
Like in other types of terrain, the combination of bigger/wider wheels, types of tires for sandy areas, and battery-powered traction covers most of the items necessary for a smooth and pleasant ride to enjoy the outdoors.
This configuration can be found on All-Terrain wheelchairs. Just as explained in the article about riding on grass.
At a glance, the basics fall into the tire width.
The wider the tire is, the easier the ride is on the sand.
Of course, there are more items to consider where make, model (and consequently prices) will, in the end, determine how well the wheelchair performs on the sand.