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Accessible Destinations for Spring Travelers

Spring travel is a time for relaxation, exploration, and making unforgettable memories. However, for individuals with disabilities, planning a vacation can come with its set of challenges, especially when it comes to finding wheelchair-friendly destinations, accessible accommodations, and transportation options. We’ll help make the process smoother by highlighting top accessible travel destinations for spring travel, along with tips on accommodations and transportation.

Accessible Travel Destinations

  1. Orlando, Florida
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Orlando is renowned for its world-class theme parks, and many, such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, go above and beyond to accommodate guests with disabilities. These parks offer wheelchair rentals, accessible ride entrances, and assistive listening devices, making them fantastic options for travelers seeking both adventure and accessibility. When planning your trip, be sure to check out information to obtain an Individual Accessibility Card and Universal Studios’ Attraction Accommodation Program.

  1. San Diego, California
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With its pleasant climate and beautiful beaches, San Diego is a great choice for an accessible spring travel destination. The city’s Balboa Park, home to gardens, museums, and the famous San Diego Zoo, offers wheelchair-accessible paths, sensory programming, audio tours, films with captioning, and more. Moreover, Mission Beach and Coronado Beach have free manual or power beach wheelchairs available (on a first come, first serve basis), ensuring everyone can enjoy the sand and surf.

  1. Washington, D.C.
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As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is rich in history and culture, with an emphasis on accessibility. The Smithsonian,  consisting of 17 museums, galleries and the National Zoo provide free admission and are fully accessible, offering a wealth of learning opportunities. All Smithsonian buildings are accessible with free manual wheelchairs, open captioning and audio description are incorporated into the exhibition videos. Sign language interpretation for the public programs can be arranged by contacting the hosting museum in advance. Download the free Aira app to connect to the museums free Wi-Fi and check out Access Smithsonian for individualized programs for people with disabilities.

The city’s public transportation system, including buses and the Metro, is also wheelchair-friendly, making it easy to explore. Need an accessible taxi? No problem. Check out either Royal Taxi or Yellow Paratransit that offer wheelchair accessible taxis.

  1. New Orleans, Louisiana
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New Orleans, often celebrated for its vibrant party scene, is also a fantastic choice for families planning their spring travel. Among its highlights are the Audubon Aquarium, that was the first aquarium in the country to be certified a sensory inclusive aquarium.

Audubon Insectarium and Audubon Zoo that captivates children and adults alike with its diverse range of animals and exhibits. Moreover, New Orleans boasts an array of museums that are both fun and informative. Wheelchairs are available at the Aquarium/Insectarium and Zoo information booths.

The National World War II Museum offers a deep dive into history and is certified sensory inclusive with KultureCity. Check out their accessibility page for more information or email accessibility@nationalww2museum.org. The Old U.S. Mint provides a unique look into the nation’s coinage and jazz history. The building is wheelchair accessible with elevator access to each floor.

Additionally, the Louisiana Children’s Museum stands out as a place where interactive exhibits blend learning with play, ensuring that every family member finds something to enjoy. The museum offers Sensory Friendly Playtime twice a month. Admission is free but registration is required. These attractions exemplify how New Orleans combines educational opportunities with entertainment, making it an ideal destination for families seeking a rich, engaging spring travel experience.

  1. Atlanta, Georgia
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The delightful spring climate alone draws tourists to this city in the South, where the absence of a beach goes unnoticed amid the plethora of activities. Home to the United States’ biggest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium showcases a variety of marine life including sharks, dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds. Check out the aquarium’s accessibility page for information regarding wheelchair and golf cart availability, audio tours, tactile elements within the education stations, immersion encounters, and more. Additionally, prior to your arrival, check out the Georgia Aquarium’s social story to assist you in preparing for your visit.

Visitors can also explore the World of Coca Cola, experiencing tastings and more in the city that hosts the company’s headquarters. Their accessibility page provides information regarding wheelchair and mobility assistance, service animal policy and accommodations for the visually impaired or the blind. For those needing sign language interpreters, email woccattraction@coca-cola.com at least two weeks prior to your visit.

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The Lego Discovery Center offers fun for the whole family. Their accessibility page provides information regarding wheelchair access, tactile activities, and a Certified Autism Center. Download their Sensory Guide here.

Accessible Accommodations

When booking accommodations, look for properties that have clear accessibility features listed. Many hotels offer rooms adapted for guests with disabilities, which may include features like roll-in showers, grab bars in the bathroom, and lowered furniture. Websites like Airbnb have filters to search for listings that are wheelchair accessible, making it easier to find suitable lodging.

It’s important to contact accommodations directly before booking to confirm specific needs can be met. Whether it’s ensuring the room is on the ground floor or verifying the width of doorways, a quick conversation can help avoid potential issues upon arrival.

Transportation Options

Air Travel

Many airlines offer assistance for travelers with disabilities, from priority boarding to assistance with transferring to seats. When booking flights, inform the airline of any specific needs to ensure they are prepared to provide the necessary assistance. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also has programs in place to aid travelers with disabilities through security screenings. The TSA website has a dedicated page for people with disabilities and medical conditions for additional information and those who may need assistance through the screening and boarding process.

Public Transportation

Many popular spring travel destinations offer accessible public transportation options. This includes buses with wheelchair lifts, trains with dedicated seating, and taxis or ride share vehicles equipped to accommodate wheelchairs. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public and private organization must meet ADA requirements. Researching the public transportation system of your destination ahead of time can provide insights into the best ways to navigate the area.

Rental Cars and Accessible Vans

For those who prefer to drive, many car rental agencies offer vehicles equipped with hand controls and other adaptive equipment. It’s recommended to book these vehicles well in advance, as they are often in limited supply.

Enterprise offers a range of adaptive driving devices such as hand controls, left foot accelerators, spinner knobs and pedal extenders, at no additional charge. Call ahead at least 2-3 days should you need an adaptive device. They do not offer lift-equipped vans for rental.

Alamo offers adaptive driving devices and surrogate drivers for those with disabilities who do not have a driver’s license. Alamo does not offer lift-equipped vans. For more information contact 1-800-651-1223 or TTY 1-800-522-9292.

Wheelchair Getaways is an online network for van rentals. Check out their site to find a location near you: www.wheelchairgetaways.com or call 866-884-1750.

Wheelers Accessible Van Rentals is a rental company that offer wheelchair lifts and other devices for both short-term and long-term rental. Contact Wheelchair Getaways at and Wheelers Accessible Van Rentals at reservations@wheelersvanrentals.com or (800)-456-1371.

Planning and Preparation

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A successful and enjoyable spring vacation begins with thorough planning and preparation. This includes:

  • Researching Destinations: Beyond finding accessible attractions, consider the overall walkability of the area and availability of accessible restrooms.
  • Booking in Advance: Whether it’s accommodations, transportation, or attractions, securing reservations ahead of time can help ensure availability and accessibility.
  • Travel Insurance: Opting for travel insurance that covers medical needs and equipment loss or damage can provide peace of mind.
  • Packing Essentials: Ensure you have all necessary medications, supplies, and any portable mobility aids or equipment that might be needed.

Spring travel is an opportunity to get away from the daily routine and enjoy new experiences. With the right planning and resources, individuals with disabilities can find accessible travel destinations that cater to their needs, offering both fun and relaxation. By focusing on accessible and inclusive destinations travelers can enjoy a wide range of accessible attractions, accommodations, and transportation options, ensuring a memorable and hassle-free vacation.

Remember, the key to a successful trip lies in careful planning and communication. By doing the necessary research and reaching out to services and accommodations in advance, you can pave the way for a smooth and enjoyable adventure.

Like this content? You may also like these travel-related articles:

Airbnb Announces New Updates to Better Serve Travelers with Disabilities

Holiday Air Travel Can Be Dangerous for Passengers with Disabilities

The Best National Parks for Accessible Travel

Best Florida Destinations for Travelers with Disabilities

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