At the end of May, I went on a girls’ trip with three of my friends. It was my best trip yet! Going on vacation is often correlated with relaxion. When you have a disability, however, a vacation can be quite the opposite! There is a lot of preparation required and there are concerns related to accessibility.
With three girls who use power wheelchairs and one who has a visual impairment, it was important to travel somewhere accessible. After much research, we picked Treasure Island in Clearwater, Florida. We stayed in an ADA condo right off the water and made memories that will last a lifetime.
Treasure Island has condo-style hotels along the beach that have multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and two bathrooms. We got an ADA condo, which means the master bath had a roll in shower and there were grab bars for the shower and toilet. Our resort also had a chair lift for the pool and a paved walkway to the beach.
Accessibility at the Beach
One of the things that drew us to Treasure Island was that the beach had a paved walkway along the hotels and restaurants. This allows you to enjoy the view while roaming around the island. One thing to note is that the path is not well lit at night, which makes nighttime roams along the beach difficult.
When we wanted to get closer to the beach, there is a wheelchair friendly path. Plus, the beach snack bar has beach/sand manual wheelchairs that requires another person to push. These are free for all to use on first come, first-serve basis. For greater independence, we rented two sand friendly power wheelchairs from a third-party vendor for the day!
The Restaurants and Shops
What makes Treasure Island so accessible is that everything is within walking distance. The island is a strip of restaurants and hotels, which means you can move around the island without needing to worry about finding accessible transportation. Every night we went to different restaurant or bar and the food did not disappoint.
We flew into Tampa and took accessible taxis to our condo (warning: the taxi fare is pricy). Due to our limited stay, we only mobilized within Treasure Island. There is the Jolley Trolley, which is a form of public transportation that is fully accessible and stops along the different beaches in Clearwater. The Jolly Trolley runs from 10 A.M. to 10 P.M. and only cost $2.50 a day for unlimited rides for people with disabilities. For non-disabled people, the cost is $5 a day.
Overall, planning a trip for multiple people with different accessibility needs can be overwhelming. Treasure Island was a definite win and we cannot wait to go back next year. Memories were made and of course, four disabled women traveling together doesn’t happen without some good stories.
Until next year, Treasure Island!
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