By M. Gacioch © 2002
While disabled travelers may rarely consider the world of camping, there are amazing opportunities available to explore the great outdoors, which may surprise even the fussiest traveler.
isn't necessarily anything as rustic as pitching a tent and using a
squat toilet—although I know a few disabled people who enjoy the
challenge of such an approach. No, camping in the 21st century
encompasses everything from using a tent in a modern campground with
roll-in shower facilities, to renting an accessible cabin or merely taking
your own accessible RV or camper van. Of course, the latter method
provides all the accessible amenities of taking your home along with you.
The other options offer the same type of surprises we encounter when
booking a supposedly accessible room in an unknown hotel. Access varies
with every camping location, so recommendations and/or prior inquiries are
start with tent camping. If you’re a US resident and you’re serious
about exploring the National Parks, which range from
Haleakala, Hawaii and from Arizona’s Grand Canyon to the
Florida Everglades, pick up a copy of
Easy Access to National
Parks by Wendy Roth and Michael Tompane,
404-page book includes access data on forty-five national parks, two
national historical parks, four monuments, two national parkways, and
dozens of state parks and national forest campgrounds.
disabled residents are eligible to receive a Golden Access Passport,
provides a lifetime entrance pass to all national parks,
monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges
that charge an entrance fee. The Golden Access Passport admits the pass
owner and any accompanying passengers in the vehicle if a park has a per
vehicle entrance fee
Golden Access Passport also provides a 50% discount on federal use
fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming,
parking, boat launching and tours. In some cases where use fees are
charged, only the pass holder receives the 50% price reduction.
pass may be obtained in person at federal national parks, historic sites
and wildlife refuge areas where an entrance fee is charged.
Showing proof of a permanent disability entitles an applicant to
the pass. For further information, visit www.nationalparks.org
Many US state parks may also have accessible facilities. For instance, I live in California and every state park has at least one disabled campsite. There is one not far from me at San Elijo State Park, which is right on a gorgeous beach.
California parks are still in the process of creating better access, so I
never assume that each park has a completely accessible bathroom or
roll-in shower without checking with the specific park first. To reach
State Parks, call 800-777-0369 where you can request free information.
Visit their website at http://www.parks.ca.gov/
Or contact the
Accessibility Office at (916) 445-8949 or e-mail them at: email@example.com
an accessible log cabin in the woods is more to your liking, consider
Iris Shore in Wisconsin. http://www.homestead.com/wildiris/
If an accessible log cabin in the woods is more to your liking, consider Wild Iris Shore in Wisconsin. http://www.homestead.com/wildiris/
Other states offer accessible cabins as well. Check out Texas State Park & Historic Sites website for a listing of accessible cabins. http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/facilities/indoor.htm#cabin
in the US is extremely popular, and there are many very active disabled
Rvers with accessible vans and motor homes. Hope Sykes who operates the Enabled
Rver is one of them. Visit her site for a multitude of suggestions and
links at http://maxpages.com/enabledrver
In 1973 the Handicapped Travel Club was established in 1973 by a group of disabled people who use RVs. Visit their site at http://www.handicappedtravelclub.com/ for a list of accessible RV parks in the U.S.
you want to RV around Canada but don’t own an RV,
RV Rentals in Vancouver rents them. Visit their site at http://www.accessiblerv.com/
the U.S. has a multitude of accessible camp sites, Europe also
offers some lovely facilities.
At his Access4Wheelies website Dany Aendenboom, of Belgium, provides excellent access data on campgrounds in Spain, France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Dany also has links to accessible hotels and self-catering facilities. To learn more, visit http://www.access4wheelies.org/
1999, Dany sent us an excellent article on Accessible Camping in Europe,
which can be viewed in the Global Access archives at http://www.geocities.com/Paris/1502/accessiblecampingineurope.htm
additional information on camping in the Netherlands,
consider Camping De Ruimte in Dronten, the Netherlands.
Their 3-year-old campsite is reportedly100% accessible. They offer private
bathrooms with chair, toilet and alarm, six toilets for wheelchair users,
and everything in the camp shop can reportedly be reached from a
wheelchair. To view the campsite facilities, visit their web page, which
is only in the Dutch at the moment. www.campingderuimte.nl
& Wendy’s Information Pages for the Less Able
is a superb website that chronicles their many caravan trips throughout
Germany, Rolli-Mobil rents
a caravan (trailer) or RV is extremely popular in Britain as well. The Caravan
Club provides a great online list of accessible caravan parks in the
UK and Ireland at http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/
rents accessible caravans
in the UK. Contact them at 56 Middle St, Brockham, Dorking, Surrey RH3
7HW. Telephone: 01737 842735.
for the Disabled
helps arrange camping trips for the physically disabled and produces lists
of accessible campsites in the
UK and France.
20 Burton Close, Dawley, Telford, Shropshire TF4 2BX
Tel: 01743 761889
Fax: 01743 761149
Holiday Care Service
provides information on accessible caravan parks in England, Scotland and
Wales. Contact them at
is another excelent place to network with RVers.
the Caravan Sitefinder in the UK http://www.caravan-sitefinder.co.uk/features/disabled/
to discover some good networking opportunities for disabled campers.
National Trust provides a listing of their properties with
campsites. Seven of these sites have an accessible toilet and some offer
disabled bathroom and shower facilities. Visit their website at
Association for Disability & Rehabilitation (RADAR)
also has information on accessible campsites in the UK and Ireland. Visit
RADAR Accommodation Search Engine
Camping in Wales provides an accessible guide to camping and
caravan sites in Wales
Scotland, Hoddom Castle Caravan Park provides disabled facilities, including
a roll-in shower.
Perhaps one of the most exotic camping adventures available is through a group called Accessible South Africa. With the use of a specially adapted bus, they explore the famous Kruger Park on an 8-day camping safari that gives the adventurers an up-close view of wild animals in their native habitat . A range of fully equipped accommodation is used, consisting of tented camps, bungalows and cottages in main and private camps. The tented camps provide a accessible bath and toilet facilities, and the bungalows and cottages have their own shower or bath. To learn more, visit http://www.accessiblesouthafrica.co.uk/pages/destinations/overland_adventure.htm
As disabled travelers become more aware of the expanding world of accessible camping, many of us may occasionally swap that hotel bed for a camp cot.
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Copyright © Global Access News 2002
1995-2011 "All Rights Reserved"
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Copyright © Global Access News 2002 1995-2011 "All Rights Reserved"