I share my blog today with Candy B. Harrington, a fellow member in the Society of American Travel Writers, who is an expert on accessible travel, from people using wheelchairs to slow walkers. Her slogan: Have Disability, Will Travel, and she’s giving us a Top-10 list of little-known accessible places. I haven’t met Candy, who writes from California, but for years I’ve been impressed with her work and uncompromising dedication to her topic. In the world of travel, staying uncompromised is a major feat. She recently released the third edition of her classic book “Barrier Free Travel: A Nuts And Bolts Guide For Wheelers And Slow Walkers.” From the book site, you can check out Candy’s own blog. Photos (except Lake Powell) are by Mr. Candy, aka Charles Pannell.
During the past 16 years I’ve traveled the world in search of appropriate vacation choices for my readers. Although they have a wide range of tastes, preferences and budgets, my readers all have one thing in common; for the most part they are physically disabled — slow walkers to wheelchair-users.
Over the course of my travels I’ve seen a good number of accessible hotels, attractions, resorts, spas and even bus tours, but I’ve also discovered some unconventional accessible finds along the way. These are the things, that really made me step back and say “Wow, I can’t believe they made that accessible.” And although I keep adding to my wow list, here’s my current Top 10.
Located just three miles north of Newport, Ore., this Bureau of Reclamation project features barrier-free access on paved walkways down into the Quarry Cove tidepool area.
These gardens in Richmond, Va., feature a cool treehouse with ramped access to all areas. Think Swiss Family Robinson on steroids.
White Water Rafting
In Northern California, everyone can enjoy white water rafting on the American River, thanks to the folks at Environmental Traveling Companions. This San Francisco based company can accommodate wheelchair-users (even folks who use a power wheelchair) and slow walkers on their exciting white water rating trips.
Houseboating on Lake Powell
Forever Resorts offers a wheelchair-accessible houseboat on Lake Powell, in Utah. You can rent the houseboat for a few days or a week. The accessible model features level boarding, a bathroom with a roll-in shower, an oversized master suite complete with a portable hoyer lift, elevator access to the top deck and a beach wheelchair.
Docked at the Great Falls Tavern, near Potomac, Md., the replica Charles F. Mercer canal boat features incline lift access to both decks and an accessible restroom on the lower deck. The canal boat is pulled along by mules and offers passengers a colorful look at 1870s canal life.
Baja Sport Fishing
Larry Cooper designed his En Caliente sport fishing boat with access in mind. Docked in Los Barriles, Mexico, it features removable lockdowns, hoist access to the flying bridge and custom tackle designed for anglers of all abilities.
John Dillon Park , near Tupper Lake in upstate New York, features wheelchair-accessible back country lean-tos.
Endeavour Safaris offers wheelchair-accessible safaris in a ramped Toyota Landcruiser, through Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.
In a Cavern
Billed as America’s only ride through caverns, Fantastic Caverns features ramped access to their tour vehicles. Just roll-on and enjoy this cool site near Springfield, Mo.
If you want a little adventure, the folks at Taupo Bungy in New Zealand can accommodate you. It takes very little adaptive equipment, but a whole lot of guts!
Thanks, Candy. The world of travel (and beyond) needs you and your advocacy work!