Handicapped Accessible Vacation Ideas Featured Images

Posted on Friday February 7, 2020

National Plan for Vacation Day encourages Americans to plan their vacations at the start of the year. Why is this so important?

  • 46% of Americans admit to not planning for vacation
  • 768 million vacation days went unused in 2018, 9% more than 2017
  • 86% of Americans say they have not seen enough of their own country

Taking a vacation can provide many benefits including stress reduction, heart disease prevention, improved productivity and better sleep. Planning a handicap accessible vacation can provide its own challenges however. Click here for tips that will ensure a safe and enjoyable traveling experience.

Planning an accessible vacation can take a little extra effort. Here are some popular handicapped accessible vacation ideas, spots and tips.

The Royal Resorts – Cancun and Riviera Maya, Mexico

The Royal Resports - Handicapped Friendly Vacation

Six resorts located on the beach in Mexico, the Royal Resorts have ramps throughout their hotels. They also offer Amigo motorized carts available to rent onsite.

Planning on visiting the beach while you’re there? Wheelchair ramps are offered from the pool to the beach. This means no trying to maneuver through the sand to enjoy the beach!

Disney World and Disneyland

Disney - Handicapped Friendly Vacation

Disney amusement parks can be the Most Magical Place on Earth for all guests. With a variety of accommodations for guests with disabilities, including:

  • Disability Parking Lots
  • Accessible Ride Passes
  • More than 40 wheelchair-friendly attractions
  • Accessible activities both insides and outside of all parks

Guest services at both parks have lists of services to help a person with disabilities, including:

  • Stroller, wheelchair and ECV rental
  • Advance ticket purchase
  • Quiet areas
  • Dietary accommodations
  • Other services to assist with: visual and hearing disabilities, light sensitivity, cognitive disabilities and autism

Handicap Accessible Vacation Ideas: Beaches

San Diego, California

San Diego - Handicapped Friendly Vacation

The City of San Diego brings the sun, surf and sand to all. You’ll find endless ocean views and opportunities. Manual, powered and floating beach chairs are available at various beaches. As well as, sand access mats.

Free beach wheel chairs are available throughout the city. You will need to plan ahead to get one. They are claimed quickly. Power wheelchairs are a hybrid of a power wheelchair and dune buggy that can get through the soft sands. For the manual chairs, you’ll need a friend to help you.

Mission Beach

  • Beach Wheelchair: Yes
  • Parking: Yes
  • Restroom: Yes
  • Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes

La Jolla Shores

  • Beach Wheelchair: Yes
  • Parking: Yes
  • Restroom: Yes
  • Accessible Picnic Table: Yes

Imperial Beach

  • Beach Wheelchair: Yes
  • Parking: Yes
  • Restroom: Yes
  • Picnic Table: No

Key Largo, Florida

Key Largo - Handicapped Friendly Vacation

Florida state requires a minimum of 5% of the guest rooms in all licensed lodging facilities be handicap accessible. Click here for Florida Keys accommodations. Local attractions have followed suit and worked to make themselves handicap accessible. You’ll find staff to assist with your needs, and many offer wheelchair-wide entrances for ease.

A visitor favorite is Tranquil Adventures. Florida Keys fishing boats, specifically equipped for wheelchairs. They have accessible restrooms, and powers lifts to lower passengers with disabilities in shallow waters for snorkeling and swimming.

Hanauma Bay, Hawaii

Huanama Bay - Handicapped Friendly Vacation

Can you imagine traveling through a dormant cone volcano crater? That’s just what you’ll get to do when you visit this 100% accessible Hawaiian attraction. Visitors can take the transport shuttle to get to the beach that is accommodating of wheelchairs, it only costs $1. 

There are two beach wheelchairs available to reserve at no cost. It is recommended to take the shuttle to and from the beach. Power wheelchair motors may struggle going up the hill.

Wheelchairs are available from the beach information kiosk from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. year around.

Handicap Accessible Vacation ideas: National Parks

Everglades National Park – Florida

Everglades National Park - Handicapped Friendly Vacation

This Florida National Park protects 1.5 million acres and is open 365 days a year. Reservations can be made in advance for tours. Most boat tours are wheelchair accessible. The tram tour and multiple other stops in the park are too.

Handicap Accessible Visitor Centers:

  • Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center
  • Royal Palm Visitor Center – Free wheelchair rental
  • Shark Valley Visitor Center – Free wheelchair rental
  • Gulf Coast Visitor Center

Trails (all wheelchair accessible are less than ¾ of a mile in distance):

  • Anhinga Trail
  • Gumbo Limbo Trail
  • Pineland Trail
  • Pa-hay-okee Overlook
  • Mahogany Hammock Trail
  • West Lake Trail
  • Bobcat Hammock

Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona

Grand Canyon - Handicapped Friendly Vacation

The Grand Canyon is somplace we hope everyone has the chance to visit. Keep in mind, most of the buildings were built prior to today’s standards. But that does not mean that a person with a disability can not visit.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon meets ADA laws. Here you’ll find handicapped parking, food options, restrooms, trail maps, and a wheelchair friendly path. Pipe Creek Vista Trail is around 1.5 miles long, and will lead you to multiple lookout points.

Sequoia National Park – California

Sequoia National Park

You’ll know you made it to Sequoia National Park when you come to the “Four Guardsmen.” Four towering sequoia redwoods. The park has stated they are committed to continuing to improve the accessibility of the park. The Lodgepole Visitor Center and Giant Forest Museum have wheelchairs available at no cost.

Accessible Trails:

  • General Sherman Tree Trail – only a few hundred feet of trail will lead you to the largest tree on Earth
  • Big Trees Trail – surrounded by giant sequoias.
  • Zumwalt Meadow Trail – a portion of this trail is accessible to wheelchairs.
  • Roaring River Falls – this short and shady trail will lead you to a powerful waterfall 
  • Muir Rock Trail – named after John Muir.

Zion National Park – Utah

Zion National Park

Visitors will find themselves in one of the most fertile places in the State of Utah here. Free in-park shuttles can get you around the park. But you’ll want to get out and explore one of the two handicap accessible trails for the full experience.

  • Pa’rus Trail – 3.5 miles long and accessible from the Visitor Center. This relatively flat, paved trail is full of desert landscapes and canyon views.
  • Riverside Walk – the last stop on the shuttles, this 2.2 mile trail provides more shade than the Pa’rus Trail. You’ll also experience more change in elevation. Some sections do have a light layer of sand that can make gripping a challenge. 

For visitors who don’t want to explore on their own, you can book a two-hour-long-ranger-led tour on the shuttle. Reservations must be at least three days in advance, seating is limited.

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