Accessible Vacations

May 30, 2018

wheelchair on beach

Ah, summer. Three months of sunshine, enjoying the outdoors and planning some fantastic trips. Are you a laid back and R&R type of vacationer or do you prefer new adventures and sightseeing? I personally enjoy both! Beaches can really help me hit the reset button but this nation is full of some awesome national treasures that I can’t help but try to see them all!

However, if you are limited in your mobility, going on vacation may sound like a daunting task rather than a relaxing or fun activity. Whether it’s trying to tackle the crowds or finding accessible hotel rooms and attractions, all the planning may make a stay-cation sound more appealing. A stay-cation is where you stay at home and enjoy all that your local area has to offer. I personally enjoy these vacations just as much (and often sneak in some home projects while I’m at it), but I tend to reserve these for the cooler months. When it’s summer, I want to enjoy the great outdoors!

Luckily, there are plenty of places that ensure accessibility for all – from beaches and national parks to museums and casinos! So no matter which type of vacationer you are, our list will surely include something for you! So what are you waiting for – start reading and start planning!

National Parks

yellowstone national park

“National parks belong to all Americans, and the National Park Service will welcome all Americans to experience their parks.” – National Park Service Management Policies 2006

In 1979, the National Park Service approached the issue of accessibility, lending themselves to become the leader in creating experiences for people with disabilities. In 2012, it was estimated that 282 million people visited a national park with 10% – 15% being disabled. That equates to a conservative estimate of 28 million visitors with disabilities visiting a national park annually. Resultingly, the National Park Service has created the Access Pass – a free lifetime pass for individuals who have a permanent disability. The Access Pass provides admittance to more than 2,000 places!

Yellowstone National Park is the world’s first national park – and perhaps the most diverse. From colorful hot springs, shooting geysers and rumbling mudpots, there is plenty to see and do between the mountains, forests and lakes. Some of the highlights include Old Faithful and the Mammoth Hot Spring, which offer wheelchair rental and accessible restrooms and parking. Most attractions include wheelchair-friendly boardwalks to get you around, including a 1.5 mile (or 3 mile roundtrip ADA trail beginning at the visitor’s center and ending at the Morning Glory Hot Springs.

Although Rocky Mountain National Park is known for its steep terrain, a variety of accessible trails have been created to ensure access to all. Coyote Valley Trail, Lily Lake, Bear Lake, Sprague Lake and the Holzwarth Historic Site are all great stops to make along your tour.

Beaches

beach pier

At first thought, sand probably doesn’t sound like the friendliest of surfaces to try to navigate when mobility is limited. Fortunately, there are plenty of places and assistive devices to let you be beachside and work on your tan!

San Diego boasts over a dozen accessible beaches. Wanting to share its beauty with all, may of these beaches offer both powered and manual beach wheelchairs free of charge. While the manual wheelchair may require a buddy to give you a push, the powered versions are part motorized and part dunebuggy, allowing for independent exploration of the Southern California beaches.

If you’re coming equipped with your own chair or walker, try Panama City Beach, Florida offers the red carpet treatment with the Mobi-Mat. The Mobi-Mat creates a smooth surface so anyone using a wheelchair, walker or mobility aid can safely navigate the sand. Panama City also offers users the ability to try out the Mobi-Chair at zero cost (you just have to be one of the lucky ones to grab it as they only have two available on a first come, first served basis). The Mobi-Chair is basically a floatable wheelchair allowing anyone to enjoy the ocean. Simply strap the wheelchair user into the seat and have a buddy push you in and float with you.

Other Tourist Attractions

las vegas

Las Vegas may seem too busy to try and maneuver. But, actually “Sin City” is one of the most accessible US cities. Not only are there thousands of accessible hotel rooms to stay in, everything from the casinos to shows are wheelchair-friendly. If gambling isn’t your thing, take a hot air balloon ride, ride the High Roller (the world’s tallest observation wheel) or fly high on a wheelchair-friendly zipline, the SlotZilla.

Nashville doesn’t just possess some of the best music venues in the nation, but it has manifested itself into a highly accessible city. From the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame, “Music City” ensures all of its guests get the full tour, including a craft brewery tour, the Nashville Brew Bus with handicap seating.

If you’re looking for a calmer destination, opt for one of the many national monuments. Gettysburg National Military Park has more than 26 miles of paved roads making it possible to tour in the luxury of your own vehicle. You can even get a licensed battlefield guide to join you in your car! From Pennsylvania, head up to the Statue of Liberty and take an elevator up to the Fort Wood observation level.

No matter what types of adventure you’re looking to fulfill this summer, there is something for everyone – literally. Plus, Handicare offers a full line of mobility aids that are travel friendly to ensure you can make it to your destination safely and comfortably. From our portable FST-300 ceiling track to assistive walking devices, we’ve got you covered.

Want to learn more? Speak to one of our mobility experts today! Call 888-637-8155 or request a callback.