More than 40 million Americans are living with a disability, and around half of those people have difficulty walking or climbing stairs. In the past, those challenges may have severely limited travel options, but today numerous destinations welcome the differently-abled with open arms.
Check out these vacation ideas that involve plenty of access and minimal walking.
Adventure and accessibility don't always go hand in hand, but you may be surprised how luxurious and accessible an African safari can be. There are safari vehicles with hydraulic lifts for those in wheelchairs and lodging equipped with ramps and accessible facilities. You'll be able to see much of the wildlife from the safety of your hired jeep or truck. Your guides will likely prefer you stay put — saving you the frustration and disappointment of being left behind while others in your group venture onward. It's a refreshingly inclusive way to travel off the beaten path.
New York City
NYC is a walker's paradise, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other ways to get around and enjoy the Big Apple's interlocking network of neighborhoods. Hail a taxi — they pick up passengers almost anywhere — and head to a park where you can take your time walking to the center or stay on the outskirts where there are still plenty of places to read a book, have a picnic or engage in some all-important social interaction. Book a sightseeing tour (there are buses and boats, your choice), catch a play or musical on Broadway or try for tickets to a taping of a show like Saturday Night Live. Though most major businesses and destinations like museums and churches are accessible, this is still NYC, and some smaller locations have narrow entryways or cramped seating that make it challenging to maneuver wheelchairs in and out.
We often equate cruises with tropical climes, but Europe's river cruises are an adventurer's dream come true, especially if distance walking is an issue. Rather than trekking from train station to hotel, to tour bus, and back as you explore the major port cities along the Danube or Rhine, you can cruise straight to the dock. Then it's a quick hop on a bus or hailing a taxi for a door-to-door tour of the top museums, villages, shops, vineyards, restaurants, and more. Besides, the ships themselves tend to much smaller than their Caribbean counterparts, so once you're on board, you can rest and relax.
The city of London encompasses a sprawling 607 square miles, which seems like a daunting task for tourists with limited mobility, but locals have taken great pains to ensure sights both big and small are accessible to anyone interested. General navigation is relatively easy thanks to an advanced public transportation system that includes buses, light trains and many Tube stations designed to accommodate wheelchair users. Take a boat tour down the Thames to get a different view of the city without having to take a single step. But, be sure to plan for major attractions like the British Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the British Parliament. These destinations all have special entrances, so you can usually get dropped off curbside.
The Hawaiian Islands
Say aloha to one of the most accommodating states in the U.S. Hawaiian officials take great pride in offering a welcoming retreat for tourists of all abilities. Numerous beaches, such as Ala Moana, Lydgate, and Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, offer all-terrain wheelchairs for those who crave some one-on-one time with the water but can't walk across the sand to get there. Should you decide to rent a car or wheelchair-accessible van, you can bring your disability placards from home to legally avail of handicapped parking. As for activities, there's sea kayaking, luaus, whale watching, volcano visits, helicopter tours and eateries galore, none of which require much, if any, walking.
Science tells us that travel makes us healthier, relieves stress, and boosts happiness. Book your next trip and celebrate independent living somewhere special.
Travel with Brightview Senior Living
Brightview Senior Living communities frequently provide local travel opportunities for our residents. These excursions are carefully planned with our resident’s abilities and desires in mind. In addition, many residents of our Brightview Communities enjoy taking their own trips with their fellow neighbors. This is an essential part of our SPICE program philosophy, touching on each resident’s Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Cultural, and Emotional well-being.