Home Senior Products The Best Beach Chairs for Older Adults – 2024

The Best Beach Chairs for Older Adults – 2024

by Leona Small

Family fun at the beach doesn’t have to exclude grandma and grandpa. The challenge can be in mobility, however. Navigating sand and getting out of beach chairs is difficult for some seniors. Buying the right beach chairs suitable for older adults in advance might help.

Chairs of this type will offer better stability, comfort, and the proper height to make getting in and out of the chair easier. This can benefit not just the older adult sitting in it, but anyone else that is lending a helping hand.

Many beach chairs are built to be lightweight and easily portable. They’re fine for kids or young adults sunbathing, but older adults are going to appreciate a bit more comfort. It’s worth the extra weight and – possibly – cost. Let’s see what some of those chairs look like.

best beach chairs for elderly feature image of an older woman sitting in a folding chair during a beach day with a friend standing beside her

Features of Beach Chairs for Seniors

The ideal beach chair for the average older adult will have a seat cushion over 13″ from the ground, a strong and supportive base, sturdy armrests, and is solidly constructed.

When I used to work at a long-term care facility we would take the more able residents out to sit at the beach and get an ice cream in the warmer weather months. We would do it toward the end of the day when the crowd had died down and the sun wasn’t as hot. However, even when using beach chairs well-suited to seniors, they often struggled to get out of them.

an older couple walking on the beach while the woman uses a walker, which has a slight learning curve while using on a beach

Granted, these were residents of a long-term care facility. They were living there because they had more challenges. However, the pain (literally) is real. You will only get so much comfort from a beach chair, so you want to get the best one you can, particularly if you’re older.

So what should you look for in a well-designed chair?

Height, Width, and Depth

Most beach chair seats are 8-12″ from the ground. Low beach chairs are much closer to the ground, and although they allow the beach-goer to stretch out on the sand, they are much more difficult for seniors to sit down and stand up from. You want high beach chairs that are more than 13″ from the ground. These are the easiest to get in and out of for most individuals. 

Although less important than the height from the ground, the width and depth also need to be considered. Most beach chairs average 18-25″ wide, while the seat’s back can range from 24-48″. Plus-size beach chairs are more expansive and designed to hold more weight. 

Make sure to find a wide enough chair that is comfortable to sit in and provides enough back support. 

a portable chair with wooden armrests, a towel bar on the back, and multiple reclining positions providing all day comfort

Material Construction

The material that the beach chair is made from will determine how durable and comfortable it is. Wood is a common material but is heavier and less weather-resistant than other types.

Aluminum beach chairs are weather-resistant, light, and sturdy. If you need to carry the chair for any distance, you’ll appreciate its weight. Steel beach chairs are less weather-resistant than aluminum and heavier but sturdier overall.

Although plastic seems like a cheap and flimsy material to make beach chairs from, nowadays, you can find recycled plastic chairs that are ultra-durable and weather-resistant. 

Other Features

There are a variety of other features that you might consider when picking out your next beach lounger:

  • Folding chairs with shoulder straps and backpack beach chairs are easier to carry.
  • Canopies or umbrellas can provide much-needed shade.
  • Armrests can aid in getting into and out of the chair.
  • Side pockets for a book and sunblock are nice to have.
  • A built-in drink holder for your beverage will help ensure you stay hydrated.
Versa-Brella UPF 50+ Personal Sun Shade - Portable Umbrella for Sports & Outdoors - Secure Clamp, 360-Degree Swivel Adjustable Position for Maximum Sun Protection - Compact with Carry Case
  • STAY SHADED ANYWHERE: The Versa-Brella features a heavy-duty clamp that opens up to 1.5 inches, allowing it to securely attach to various tubular and squared surfaces on chairs, wagons, strollers, golf carts, and more
  • SUPERIOR SUN PROTECTION: Made with UPF 50+ material, this personal compact sports umbrella shields your skin from 99.5% of UV rays during outdoor activities

If the chair you want lacks a built-in umbrella, consider the optional Sport-Brella. It attaches to any chair, making it very versatile. If the sun doesn’t call for it, you can leave it in the car and save carrying the extra weight.

The importance of being able to keep aging skin from UV rays cannot be understated.

Picking the Best Beach Chairs for Older Adults

Generally, the best beach chair for an elderly person falls into two categories, zero gravity or camp chairs, sometimes called high boys (or hi-boy). Standard beach chairs are far too close to the ground for an older person to manage without considerable assistance.

You also want to avoid using general camp chairs for beach use, particularly for seniors. These often come with 4 legs with small bases.

However, a quality beach chair is going to rest on two long bars that stretch across the sand. These provide more contact with the ground and reduce the odds of one leg sinking into softer sand and tipping over.

an example of two beach chairs with one being much more suited for the elderly (the rio beach chair) - a folding chair with specific features such as comfortable armrests, a large pouch, and a cup holder

The camping chair on the left has 4 “pointy” legs. The beach chair on the right has 2 “bar” legs. Which do you think adds more stability in soft sand?

You can also see in the picture above the difference in armrests. The camping chair on the left has fabric armrests whereas the quality beach chair on the right has hard plastic armrests. The latter is much stronger and better for seniors who need to push off in order to rise from a seated position.

Tall Beach Chairs

Many beach chairs are low to the ground and challenging for older adults to get out of. If you are looking for a beach chair high off the ground, probably the overall best beach chairs for the elderly, then take a look at these models. 

two chairs on the sand, perfect for a beach day, although lacking in sun protection and backpack straps for easy carrying

ONIVA – a Picnic Time Brand Portable Folding Sports Chair

The folding sports chair from ONIVA comes in a variety of colors. It is constructed from lightweight aluminum and polyester canvas and has several pockets to stash your cell phone, sunglasses, or book. It also has an insulated beverage pouch and a fold-out side table tray for drinks. The seat is 19 ½ inches wide, and the seat is 16 inches from the ground.

ONIVA - a Picnic Time brand - Sports Chair with Side Table, Beach Chair, Camp Chair for Adults, (St. Tropez)
  • THE ADULT CAMPING CHAIR- The Sports Chair with Side Table by Oniva, a Picnic Time brand, is a lightweight, outdoor folding chair with sturdy aluminum frame made to withstand some heavy, grownup relaxing
  • FEATURES GALORE - The accessories panel on this picnic chair offers a variety of pockets to hold personal items, an insulated bottled beverage pouch, zippered security pocket, and a sturdy side table that folds out


  • Made of Aluminum Frame and Durable Polyester Canvas With Padded Armrests
  • Lightweight and Sturdy Folding Outdoor Chair With Fold Out Side Table
  • Offers Variety of Pockets and Pouches to Hold Personal Items along with a Zippered Security Pocket
  • Easy to Transport
  • 300-lb Weight Capacity

The armrests are sturdy and padded. The ONIVA beach chair can be carried using the under-seat handles or the detachable shoulder strap. It weighs just over ten pounds, so transporting it is easier than other models. Additionally, this chair comes with a lifetime guarantee from the manufacturer.

RIO Gear Beach 17″ Extended Height 4-Position Folding Beach Chair

The Rio Beach 17-inch higher seating beach chair is one of the highest beach chairs we have found. The 17-inch folding beach chair has 4 different reclining options. The molded armrests include the built-in SAFE-ADJUST technology that prevents fingers and hands from getting pinched while adjusting the chair recline. Additionally, the molded armrests are extra wide and contoured to provide maximum elbow and forearm comfort. 

Rio Brands Extended Height 4-Position Folding Beach, Camping, Lawn Chair, 17", Graphic Traffic Blue/White/Multi Stripe
  • EXTRA TALL BEACH CHAIR: RIO Beach chair features an extended seat height and sits 17" off the ground and has a rust-proof aluminum frame for durability
  • CUSTOMIZED SEATING: Easily recline to 4 different positions without getting your hands or fingers pinched with the SAFE-ADJUST technology built into the molded armrests


  • Store personal belongings inside the insulated storage with a mesh pocket conveniently located on the armrest
  • Rust-proof, heavy-duty aluminum frame
  • Seat height is 17″ off the ground
  • 250-lb Weight Capacity
  • 4.6/5 overall rating
  • Note that different colors can be priced higher or lower

Rio Beach Big Boy

This Rio beach chair has solid reviews and for good reason. It’s solid! The chair is 13″ off the ground, it comes in a variety of colors, it’s wide and deep, and reclines. The arms are sturdy, not fabric like in many cheap camping chairs. This makes them more stable to push off from.

RIO beach Big Boy 4-Position 13" High Seat Backpack Beach or Camping Folding Chair, Pop Surf Stripes
  • TRAVEL HANDS-FREE: The RIO Big Boy backpack chair offers hands-free portability and it's lightweight aluminum frame makes it easy to carry
  • EASY TO RECLINE: Features an easy 4-position Safe-Adjust recline design, allowing you to adjust the reclining position without the worry of getting your fingers or hands caught in the brackets


  • Lightweight Rust-Proof Aluminum Frame and Hands-Free Portability
  • Easy to Carry and Recline
  • 4-Position Safe-Adjust Recline Design
  • Extra Wide Seat Width
  • Adjustable Backpack Shoulder Straps With Large Storage Pouch
  • 300-lb Weight Capacity

Zero Gravity Beach Chairs

These are nice. We have one on the deck at our house and use it all summer long. Zero gravity chairs are designed to hold your body in a position so that it receives equal gravity pull on all parts. In contrast, a traditional chair leaves your legs dangling. The only problem with these chairs is they are on the heavier side, making them less portable.

Zero gravity chairs are best for individuals who suffer from edema, varicose veins, or other conditions that cause swelling. The hammock-like structure also reduces the strain on the vertebrae, easing back and neck pain. If you are looking for the perfect beach chair for an older person, zero gravity might be the way to go.

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Recliner Padded Patio Lounger Chair

Amazon Basics Outdoor Textilene Adjustable Zero Gravity Folding Reclining 3-Piece Lounge Chair Set with Side Table, 35 x 26 x 43 inches, Beige
  • 2 adjustable zero-gravity outdoor chairs in Beige provide a weightless feel for optimal relaxation
  • Each chair includes a removable padded headrest pillow and a detachable side table with cup holder; set includes a free-standing side table with 2 integrated cup holders


  • Pack of 2 Chairs With Side Table Made of Durable Steel and Textilene Fabric
  • Heavy-duty steel frame
  • Fold Flat Design for Compact Storage and Ease of Transport
  • Extra Wide Seat Width
  • Adjustable Backpack Shoulder Straps With Large Storage Pouch
  • 300-lb Weight Capacity

The best deal we found for Zero Gravity Chairs is the Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chair with Side Table. It comes with two chairs and a side table that has two cup holders. The headrests and cup holders are removable. The chairs and table fold flat, making them easier to transport and store. Perfect for senior couples.

The chairs are adjustable and have a lockable recline position. They are constructed of Textilene fabric and steel framed. The chairs measure 26 inches in length and up to 43 inches in height. These chairs come in a variety of colors and have a weight limit of up to 300 pounds. The set comes with the Amazon Basics one-year limited warranty. Each chair weighs about 20 pounds, so moving the chairs might be cumbersome for an elderly individual. 

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chair with Side Table

EVER ADVANCED Oversize XL Zero Gravity Recliner Padded Patio Lounger Chair with Adjustable Headrest Support 350lbs, Blue
  • OVERSIZED DIMENSIONS: 29.5" L x 32" W x 45" H, off ground seat height is 22", height of the chair back is 30", seat width is 21", folding dimensions are 31" L x 7" W x 38.5 " H; weight: 19.8 lbs
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN: The length of chair when fully reclined is 72 inches making it large enough for larger people up to 6'2"; maximum loading capacity is 350lbs


  • Made of a Heavy-Duty Steel Frame Specially Designed for Tall and Large People
  • Easy Folding and Compact Structure That Requires No Assembly
  • 0-170 Degrees Adjustable Positions With Locking System
  • Fully Padded Seat and Adjustable Padded Pillow
  • 350-lb Weight Capacity

This oversized beach chair is an excellent option for those willing to spend a bit more to ensure an extremely comfortable option. It’s price tag is about $150, however it has the highest weight capacity of any of our options (350 pounds), and the length of the chair when fully reclined is 72 inches, making it large enough for individuals up to 6’2″ in height.

The oversized dimensions of the entire chair are a plus for larger adults, as the height of the chair back is 30″, the seat width is 21″, and the off ground seat height is 22″. It weighs just under 20 pounds, and has a fully padded foam seat with an adjustable padded pillow for both a headrest and lumbar support.

Lastly, this zero gravity recliner is designed with a locking system and can be adjusted to any desired positions from 0-170 degrees.

Wheelchair Beach Chairs

a beach wheelchair allowing a person with a disability to enjoy a relaxing beach day full of rest and sun!

“Wheelchair” beach chairs could be a possible free option.

The picture above is one I took at a state park in Maine. It’s a wheelchair/beach chair, designed to more easily move across beach sand than a conventional wheelchair ever could despite any wheelchair accessories that might make life easier. I have seen these types of chairs at every state park I’ve been to, and they are always sitting unoccupied. I’ve never seen one in use.

They are always chained up, as in the picture above, so no one can just take it and use it without speaking to park staff. They are reserved for handicap use, free to use, and could save you money from buying a beach chair designed specifically for seniors.

Of course, these are at state parks. Other beaches may or may not have such beach wheelchairs. It can’t hurt to call ahead and ask, however.

That said, you can also buy a beach wheelchair such as this one (better even), but they are pricey. Still, for someone who has mobility issues and visits the beach all summer long, it could be a wise investment. It would also be great for facilities that take residents to the beach.

Consider these options from ACTIVEnABLE:

  • DeBug Beach Access Wheelchair – This is an adapted all-terrain recreational wheelchair. It has balloon-like wheels to make it easier to operate on beach sand, gravel, etc.
  • DeBug Beach Access Walker – Similar to a wheelchair but a walker that is significantly easier to operate on sand, snow, gravel, etc. It comes with the same, albeit smaller, balloon-like tires.
Homevative Folding Tall Backpack Beach Chair with 5 Positions, Towel bar, Cooler and Storage Pouch, Cup Holder and Phone Holder, High Tide Blue
  • HIGH height seat makes it easier to get in and out.
  • MAXIMUM COMFORT with lace-up seat suspension and extra side padding.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best beach chair for someone with bad knees?

A zero-gravity chair is an excellent option for someone with bad knees, as they can offer a comfortable, elevated position for the legs while enjoying a beach day. Additionally, it’s important to look for a sturdy beach chair with a high height and sold wood armrests – both of which will assist a person with bad knees in easily getting in and out of the chair.

two older adults standing in front of a wave break enjoying a beach day with their thumbs up!

What is the best beach chair for older adults?

In addition to the chairs we’ve discussed in detail above, the Homevative Folding Tall Backpack Beach Chair is an excellent option. It offers five reclining positions, a carrying bag, an adjustable pillow for added comfort, a small insulated cooler pouch with multiple built-in coolers and pouches along the sides and back for small items, and a towel bar to hang towels off the back. The price of this chair on Amazon is just under $100.

Why are Tommy Bahama beach chairs so popular?

While the Tommy Bahama beach chair has been around for a long time and is consistently praised for its durability, portability, and comfort, we do not agree that they are a popular (or ideal) top pick for older adults looking to enjoy their beach day (and would argue they’re much better suited for kids!).

They typically don’t offer reclining options, have a very low profile and are very low to the ground, are priced high therefore not the best value, and don’t provide sun protection or storage options for other items.

In Conclusion: Sit Down and Relax

Choosing the right beach chair for older adults is essential for ensuring comfort, safety, and enjoyment during beach outings. With features like sturdy construction, ergonomic design, adjustable positions, and portability, the best beach chairs provide the support needed for a relaxing day by the sea.

By considering factors such as weight capacity, ease of use, and additional features like cup holders and storage pouches, older adults can find the perfect chair to suit their needs and make their beach experiences more enjoyable.

Whether it’s soaking up the sun, watching the waves, or simply spending quality time with loved ones, investing in a quality beach chair tailored to their needs can make all the difference in creating cherished memories for years to come.

two adults enjoying the sun protection their umbrella is providing while they relax and look at the water while enjoying the breeze with their feet up

About the Author

Leona Small is a freelance writer and former caregiver. She has experience working with people with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and has spent years working alongside both patients and caregivers in Hospice. Additionally, she’s worked as a Professional Organizer helping people and families to purge, organize, manage, and prepare for various life transitions such as moving, downsizing, and the passing of loved ones. Her passions include writing about healthy aging, innovative resources to help older adults and caregivers, and traveling.

two adults sitting on the sand with their drinks, but without the support of a chair, enjoying the breeze coming off the water

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