Tag Archives: National Parks

Wheelchair Accessible Vacation Ideas

Summer is officially in full-swing, kids are out of school and many people will be planning a getaway. For people with disabilities, finding the right vacation spot may be a little bit tricky, particularly if they require wheelchair-accessibility. For those looking for the best travel options that can accommodate, consider the wheelchair-accessible vacation spots below.

The beach is a popular choice when it comes to taking a summer getaway. Luckily for wheelchair users, more beaches are becoming accessible all the time. Many beaches now offer special wheelchairs, mats or boardwalks so people with disabilities can be near the water.

If you prefer an adventure in nature, 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 and then stay in overnight. These modified RVs often come with extra accommodations for seating, sleeping and bathing, as well as offering extra aisle room for maneuvering with the camper. When it’s time to head outside, many campgrounds around the country also offer wheelchair-accessible facilities and activities.

Theme Parks
Some may not think theme parks are accessible vacations for people with disabilities, but many of the nation’s biggest parks are wheelchair-accessible. In fact, Disney World, for example, is famous for accommodating those with disabilities with things such as accessible ride passes, wheelchair ramps to attractions, accessible resorts and transportation services for those in wheelchairs or scooters.

Most cruise lines take special care to make sure their ships are wheelchair-accessible. That includes accommodations in cabins and restrooms as well as elevators and ramps throughout. Some lines also offer special activities for disabled passengers and help facilitate on-shore activities at the different destinations.

National Parks
Parks can be a great wheelchair-accessible vacation spot, as they usually offer open space and great scenery. Some national parks even have special accommodations to allow wheelchair users access to more areas. For example, 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.

Whatever you do and wherever you go for your vacation, make sure you plan ahead and make whatever arrangements necessary to make your trip comfortable and enjoyable. A summer trip should be relaxing and fun, and you don’t want to end up somewhere that can’t accommodate.

Proposal Would Allow Service Animals In National Parks

Service dogs, and in some cases miniature horses, may be welcome in national parks, even when other animals are not.

That’s according to a National Park Service proposal to update regulations regarding service animals.

Officials are seeking public comment through June 17 on the proposed regulations.

The National Park Service “protects park resources and visitors by regulating pets and other domestic animals within park areas,” the agency says.

While service animals are allowed in parks now, the regulations have not been updated in some time. Officials said the agency proposed changes to provide “the broadest possible” accessibility to those with disabilities.

The regulations would define a service animal as a dog or a miniature horse trained to perform tasks directly related to a person’s disability.

A dog used solely for comfort or emotional support would not be considered a service animal and would be subject to regulations governing pets, the proposed rule states.

Other species also would not be considered service animals.

The proposed rule gives park officials authority to require proof of vaccination against diseases that can be transmitted from service animals to wildlife.

The National Park Service and other federal agencies have had some provisions for service animals since the 1960s. But over the years, the definition of a service animal has changed.

At times, a broader definition was used. Some national parks got requests from people for everything from reptiles to primates, the agency reported.

Park officials, however, had the authority to close an area to service animals if the animals posed a threat to people or wildlife.

Regulations now under consideration would allow park superintendents to allow the use of miniature horses trained to help people with disabilities. Miniature horses, which can be around the same size as dogs, are an alternative for some people, such as those with allergies, the agency said.