The world is your oyster. That is until you run into uneven terrain filled with gravel and inaccessible restrooms. The outdoors is meant for everyone to enjoy any time of the year. Some workers at national parks dedicate some of their time to making the parks accessible for all to experience. There are also organizations, such as the RVing Accessibility Group, and individuals who travel around to campsites to recommend changes that they can make, for those campsites that haven’t taken this step yet. While much of the world is catching up on accessibility, we have compiled some suggestions for where you can take your next outdoor trip.
Some national parks’ websites have accessibility information on their website, such as the Grand Canyon. With a quick internet search, you can also find blog articles written by travel sites and others from the perspective of travelers in motorized wheelchairs. You may also consider joining a forum and asking your questions about accessibility ahead of time, to hear about real experiences from other travelers who have been there, done that and got the t-shirt. As always, when planning a trip, even if the website says that a place is accessible, we recommend calling ahead and discussing with someone your accessibility needs and expectations.
In addition to finding accessible national parks, you can even experience them for free on certain days known as Free Entrance Days. You can find more information on how to save money by planning your trip during Free Entrance Days on the National Park Service’s website.
Dark Sky Parks
Have you been wanting to go stargazing? Although it can be done from your home, there are parks around the world with low light pollution that are protected for a variety of reasons. This protection allows for quality stargazing. Dark Sky parks can be found all over the world, with several of those parks being found within the United States.
One of the most famous Dark Sky parks is Cherry Springs State Park, located in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Cherry Springs State Park is one of the best places on the eastern seaboard for stargazing and astronomy because of its exceptionally dark skies. The DCNR cites Cherry Springs as ADA accessible but suggests contacting the park ahead of time to talk about what accommodations you will need, as well as possible obstacles.
If you enjoy hiking, some trails are accessible for power wheelchair users. Sometimes trails have shared use paths that are designed for bicycles, pedestrians and wheelchairs. These paths are also known as multiuse trails.
To find an area with accessible trails near you before your next trip, you can check out the following websites:
Winnebago launched accessibility enhanced motorhomes that give wheelchair users comfort and privacy of having their own space, making their travels more enjoyable. If you aren’t one for flying, long TSA lines and worrying about delays, but don’t enjoy the potential discomfort that comes with a long car ride, an accessible RV might be an investment worth making. Another benefit of owning an accessible enhanced motorhome includes being able to bring your service animal with you during your travels. This means not having to worry about finding a place that is both accessible and accommodates service animals. There are several RV parks and campgrounds across the country that you can visit.