Summer is officially in full-swing. People everywhere have getaways and long weekends on the brain. But for people with wheelchairs and their caregivers, planning a vacation can be tricky. Check out some of our ideas below.
Soak Up the Sun
The beach is a popular choice when it comes to taking a summer getaway. When researching which beach to visit, check on a couple things before you make a decision.
First, ensure that a parking lot is close enough to the sand. If you’re traveling from out of town, find out how far wheelchair rentals are from the beach or boardwalk.
Many beaches offer special wheelchairs, mats, or boardwalks so people with disabilities can spend time along the waterfront. For example, AccessRec offers Beach Access Mats specifically developed to be rolled out onto the sand and create a route before settling into a spot.
If you’d like to take a dip, investing in a WaterWheels may be worth your while. It’s designed to act as a floatation device to avoid falling into the water. It even has inflatable armrests and tires. As a safety precaution, chat with a lifeguard before getting wet.
Go on a Camping Trip
If you’d prefer a trip to the woods, car camping is one of the best wheelchair-accessible vacations for families or groups of friends. You can rent wheelchair-accessible RVs to take on a road trip. These modified RVs often come with extra accommodations for seating, sleeping and bathing, as well as extra aisle room for maneuvering within the camper.
When it’s time to head outside, many campgrounds around the country offer wheelchair-accessible facilities and activities. Consider finding a campground near a lake to go fishing. (Staying on a dock or along the shore is a good place to start.) Today’s boats are stable enough for a person in a chair to transition from pier to boat. Pontoons work well, too, allowing wheelchairs easier access onto the water.
Skip the line for the Roller Coaster
Roller coasters are incredibly popular during the summer. And for good reason — they’re a great way to spend time with the kids and add a little excitement to your life. Many of the nation’s biggest parks go beyond being ADA-compliant — they offer accommodations to keep people with disabilities coming back for more.
Disney World, for example, is famous for providing disabled guests with special ride passes to skip long lines, wheelchair ramps to attractions that avoid crowds, accessible resorts, and transportation services for those in wheelchairs or scooters. Six Flags builds upon that by allowing a guest with a wheelchair to bring three companions along on the ride.
Find Accessibility Onboard a Ship
For ultimate rest and relaxation, try looking at cruises. Most take special care to make sure their ships are wheelchair accessible, designing them with wheelchairs in mind from the beginning. That includes accommodations in cabins and restrooms. Many liners are also built with ramps throughout the ship and wide elevators. Some cruise lines offer special activities for passengers with disabilities and help facilitate on-shore activities at stops or destinations.
Cruise lines publish accessibility information on their websites. When picking a specific ship, know that newer models are more likely to have great accommodations for people with disabilities. Older ships can still be considered if they’ve been refurbished — many builders use that opportunity to make the vessel more wheelchair accessible.
Visit a National Park
Parks can be a great wheelchair-accessible vacation spot, as they usually offer open space and great scenery. Some national parks have special accommodations to allow wheelchair users access to more areas. Though many weren’t originally built with accessibility in mind, a few have made great strides in ensuring disabled guests are allowed to traverse the park without issue.
For example, the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado has accessible campsites, trails and boardwalks with great views. Plus, if you have a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, you can easily get to the parks and around the driving trails.
Whichever option you choose, a summer trip should be relaxing and fun. For more tips, check out this handy vacation infographic. Enjoy!