7 Special Accessible Vacation Spots
7 Special Accessible Vacation Spots
“Special Vacation Spots”
We’ve put together a list of seven special accessible vacation spots for families whose children have special needs. With these resources, you’ll be able to plan your getaway and get ready to travel. There are many fun family vacation options waiting for you and your family. Enjoy planning your getaway.
Splore, Moab and Salt Lake City, UT
This not-for-profit organization is focused on adventure and inclusion. Splore is open all year round andactivities vary depending on the season, but include snowshoeing, rafting, horseback riding, rock/wall climbing and canoeing to name a few. They offer scholarships to those with financial need. Their mission is to bring together people of varying abilities for adventures that empower them to connect with Utahs great outdoors and experience the dignity of risk. The Office of Tourism releasedAccessible Utah, a guide to places and activities for travelers with special needs.www.splore.org
Winter Park Resort, CO.
This family friendly resort has lots of activities for people of all ages and abilities including scenic chairlift rides, snowcat and snowshoe tours, ice skating, NASTAR racing and free guided mountain tours. They offer a variety of different adaptive lessons including skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, etc. They also offer a service that allows your child to go with a trained volunteer for the day on a support/push ski outing (adaptive skiing, riding on a ski sled and more) and/or take them to the kids club for the day. www.winterparkresort.com
Smugglers’ Notch Resort, VT.
This resort is hailed as America’s Family Resort. They offer a host of activities for everyone including scheduled activities and a wealth of both indoor and outdoor recreational options. The Smugglers Notch Adaptive Program (SNAP) offers nineadaptive adventure activities including swimming, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing/kayaking and wall climbing. They also offer an inclusion program in their daily children’s programs to help integrate children with special needs into group activities. The resort is open year round and has adaptive indoor and outdoor recreational activities and adventures specific to each season. www.smuggs.com
Shared Adventures, Santa Cruz, CA.
This is a non-profit organization with a variety of programs throughout the year for children and adults with special needs. In July they host an annual Day on the Beach which offers adaptive or assisted kayaking, outrigger canoeing, scuba diving, and beach wheelchair rides. The day is replete with live music, entertainment and free food. Their web site contains an Accessibility Guide to Santa Cruz for special needs accommodations in the area. www.sharedadventures.org
Park City Mountain Resort, UT.
This resort works with the National Ability Center to make adaptive skiing and tubing a whole family experience. They have trained instructors, specialized equipment and offer snowboard and ski lessons for people with any type of disability. All instructors are specially trained in the adaptive techniques of 3-track, 4-track, mono-ski, bi-ski, guiding skiers who are blind, and teaching people with cognitive and developmental disabilities. The revamped lift, with rubber and wood platform, enables tubers to sit on their tubes on the lift. www.visitparkcity.com
Dollywood, Gatlinburg, TN.
This park has all the adventure and excitement of a huge amusement park with the added scenic benefit of being located at the base of the Great Smokey Mountains. Many rides and attractions are accessible to guests who can be lifted from their chairs with assistance from a member of their party such as Barnstormer, a swing ride which has seats. Some rides can accommodate guests who must remain in their wheelchairs, two of which are River Battle and Adventure Mountain. There are many other rides and attractions available to guests with disabilities; a complete guide can be found on their web site which provides information on rides that are appropriate for people with special needs. www.dollywood.com
Hershey Park, Hershey, PA.
This park has over 60 rides and lots of attractions although Hershey is probably best known for its chocolate wonders. They have an Attraction Accessibility Program for people with special needs. The wristband allows that person and three guests to bypass the long ride lines, with set ride times on up to ten specific attractions. The Boardwalk is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend and is included in the admission price. The park is also open on several other times during the year for special occasions such as Christmas and Halloween. Hershey posts the ride accessibility guide, and the questionnaire online; information should be filled out prior to arrival for ease of admittance. All guests with special needs should inquire at the ticket window about reduced admission price to the park. www.hersheypark.com
There are many other places, parks and resorts for people with special needs to vacation and explore. Cruising is a great way to spend quality family time and both Disney disneycruise.disney.go.com and Carnival Cruise Line offer excellent options www.carnival.com (camp carnival). All inclusive beach resorts are another wonderful way for families to stay together and play together. Beaches is the all inclusive family side of Sandals, they have several resorts in Jamaica and one in the Turks and Caicos. www.beaches.com
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- 10 Things Every Parent of a Special Needs Child Should Have Before Traveling
This post originally appeared on our May/June 2012 Magazine