Henderson Beach State Park is the most wheelchair-accessible park I’ve come across so far. Something that would have pleased my Mother, had she been able to visit. They’ve made a real effort to improve accessibility.
Take a close look at the sign in the photo above. In the last post I mentioned that these campsites don’t have ocean views. In fact they’re a good walk from the Gulf shore. Behind the sand dunes. Beach access is over a wide walkway that winds for nearly a quarter-mile through the interesting sand dune habitat. More on that in a moment.
And even this walkway is wheelchair-accessible! Indeed, according to this sign, the Park offers the use of wheelchairs especially designed to travel on the walkway, and on the beach. The site paving projects under way that I mentioned in the previous post too are creating more wheelchair-accessible campsites. Great to see.
Speaking of that walkway, here’s a photo that gives some idea of just how accessible this quarter-mile long feature actually is. Note the smooth surface and the hand rails. It’s this way throughout its length!
Along the way durable metal signs are posted that explain the immediate environment. Here, not far from the walkway entrance, is one that offers a general explanation of the “scrub community.” What a name! But it really is interesting. Unlike anything I’ve seen. Indeed, a few of the plants growing here are unique, said to be found nowhere else.
Here at the end of the walkway is the beach, looking east. Look at that white sand! A fellow visitor said the large house down the beach a ways was owned by members of the Henderson family. The folks who sold this land to the state in 1983.
Oh, how does the Florida Park Service manage to keep this difficult-to-maintain facility in such good condition? Well, they rely on the Volunteer Hosts for that.
In this 30-site loop alone there are two Host couples. Carefully selected for their abilities and for their dedication to the Park. It was a joy to meet them.
Both retired couples – one from Rock Hill, South Carolina! – who assume responsibility for maintenance and cleaning. As well as some larger projects. That’s why the facilities are perfectly clean, and everything remains ship-shape.
Competition for host positions here, as you might imagine, is intense. With careful screening. Folks just looking for a free campsite need not apply, I imagine. It’s a system that state parks in South Carolina and other states might consider implementing, or expanding.
Next post we’ll visit the Fort Walton Beach Temple Mound and its museum. So stay tuned.