The waves crash against the rocks and the spray leaps to the sky. Each droplet of salty water glistens in the rays of the warm summer sun. I sit in the front yard of our magnificent beachfront rental located in Rincon Beach Park, a quiet gated community in Ventura, California, reveling in the magnificent beauty of Mother Nature.

It took me months to find my way to this accessible, affordable, and pet-friendly ocean-side rental. I had very specific criteria to meet my needs. It had to be oceanfront; cruising on the sand is difficult on wheels and steps away from the beach means I couldn’t enjoy the ocean from the comfort of my dwelling. It also had to have an accessible entrance, main floor, and bathroom. Pets must be allowed because our three pups are a part of the family. And finally, it needed to comfortably sleep 8-10 people; the only way to afford a rental like this was to share the cost with friends.

My list was long and my dreams lofty. I wasn’t just looking for a one-time rental. I wanted to find a place that could become an annual vacation spot. I love the beach and the idea of creating an experience that could become a family tradition solidified my desire to find the ideal spot.

I searched several beach vacation rental site and finally found There was a listing for, “Beach & Garden House between Malibu & Santa Barbara on the water! Vacation rental house. Sleeps 8, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Cats, Dogs allowed.” The description said nothing about accessibility but the pictures showed a ground-level main floor, a huge master bath with a roll-in shower, and a ramp from the front porch down the beachfront yard. It looked perfect. I called Kristina at Remax and discovered that the house was conditionally accessible and available.

Concerned, I asked what “conditionally accessible” meant. I was told that there were no stairs to get in and that the main floor had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, one with a roll-in shower,  but they were small. The kitchen, dining, and living area were also on the main floor and there were no steps to access the deck or the beachfront yard. There was a concrete path along the side of the sandy yard that went down to the fire pit and the beach wall. The master bedroom was up a step and had a high threshold but once in, the bathroom was huge and had a newly remodeled roll-in shower. It wasn’t perfect but it was close so I gave my deposit immediately.

The house was even nicer when we got there. My family and I took the master bedroom and navigating the two steps in at night was no problem, with a little lift from my friends. The main floor bathrooms worked for daily use but they were a tight squeeze for my 16″ chair. All-in-all it was a great place to stay and the location was ideal. It was only 10 minutes from my daughter’s surf camp.

I have always dreamed of surfing so when my daughter, Zoe, expressed an interest, I knew I wasn’t the only one that longed for a week at the beach. I did some researched and found This organization had a great reputation as well as a week-long surf camp that fit the bill for Zoe. To top it off, they were also capable of meeting my needs. Chipper “Bro” Bell, the Big Kahuna, of Surf Class had no qualms about helping my paralyzed body onto a board and into the waves. It was amazing!

I had watched Zoe every morning as she battled the waves. The wake crashing into her small frame as instructors helped her paddle out. I shouted with delight as I saw her push in and then stand on the board, riding the surf to the shore. I saw several wipeouts but even more successes. My daughter loved the ocean and was taking to the surfboard like a fish to water. 

Thursday, It was my turn. Chipper and my husband, David helped me onto the beach and into the water.  I crawled my way onto the board and was guided out to sea. Chipper would shout, “Over” as he jettisoned me into a vertical position to go over the wave. He would also shout, “Under” and I would have to confront the wake face first. It was freezing, frightening, and completely exhilarating. When we finally got passed the break, I took stock of my situation and reveled in the glory of the ocean. I swam a bit and then eased myself back onto the board. Chipper signaled ready and gave me a shove. I paddled, caught the wave, and rode it to shore. It was incredible.  

My next ride ended with a wipeout but my final attempt had me easing into the curl and landing safely on the sand. I was exhausted but renewed. We wrapped up our day, watching the sunset while being serenaded by the sound of the ocean crashing against the rocks.

Next year, we are going two weeks!

Avatar photo Ellen Stohl (1 Posts)

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