Spring State of Mind

Man in Wheelchair Enjoying a Sunset

Though winter weather persists in many parts of the U.S., signs of spring are all around us.  Soon, we’ll find ourselves and our children itching to get outdoors to enjoy the warm temperatures, and sunshine. But when your child uses a wheelchair, finding accessible outdoor activities can be challenging. That needn’t discourage you. With a little research and ingenuity, you and your loved ones will be basking in the glow of spring!

1. Take a Hike
Enjoy family hikes before the weather gets too hot. These days, many trails can accommodate wheelchairs. If you aren’t sure which trails are accessible, visit Traillink.com. The website is the place to find out which trails in your area are designed with wheelchair users in mind and it also provides descriptions and other valuable information about each trail.

2. Find an accessible playground
Though not nearly as common as we would like, accessible playgrounds are more common than they were in the past. Accessibleplayground.com includes a listing of wheelchair accessible and inclusive playgrounds all over the country. Hopefully, there’s one in your neck of the woods.

3. Take a long weekend away
These days, many online resources cater to the need of travelers with mobility challenges. Whether you’re seeking accessible lodging, transportation options, restaurants or recreational facilities, websites such as spintheglobe.net, easyaccesstravel.com and accessiblejourneys.com can help you organize a trip that will offer fun, adventure and relaxation for every member of the family.

4. Embrace Adventure
Though there aren’t a ton of venues where wheelchair users can enjoy the freedom and excitement of ziplines, high ropes courses and adventure-based learning, these facilities do exist. Check out The Root Farm in Saukwoit, N.Y. Note: some summer camps also offer accessible ropes courses.

5. Try Adaptive Sports
Being a wheelchair user no longer means that sports aren’t accessible. In fact, nowadays almost every sport is available to people with physical disabilities. Visit disabledsportsusa.com to find out how your child can participate in outdoor sports including archery, basketball, canoeing, cycling and more.

6. Go fishing
Fishing Has No Boundaries believes the joy of fishing should be available to all, regardless of ability level. A national nonprofit, the organization now has 27 chapters in 13 states. Hopefully, one is located in your area of the country.

7. Visit a Botanical Garden
Nothing says Spring like a trip to a botanical garden. Most have wheelchair accessible paths and facilities, but check individual sites before heading out.

8. Attend an outdoor concert
Hearing a favorite band or musical ensemble outdoors is one of spring and summer’s greatest joys. But when you can’t access the park or stadium where the concert is being held, it’s far from fun. Mobilityworks.com recommends researching the venue ahead of time; asking questions; purchasing tickets beforehand and arriving early. After the concert, says Mobilityworks, be sure to review the venue online at sites like Yelp, Facebook and Google “to help improve accessibility awareness.”