Access Your Road Trip

Travel does not have to be limited by ability or finances or a fear of flying. Why not plan a road trip with friends and family? Visit the beautiful coast of California. Take a drive through the historical capitals, Washington D.C. or Toronto, ON. Spend a day at the fun-filled amusement parks of Florida. Or maybe a camping trip? For information on accessible routes and destinations, or help choosing for perfect destination, have a read!

Here are some great resources to check out: Barrier Free Travels, 22 Accessible Road Trips, TravelinWheels, Wheels Traveler, and Frommers.

We’ve also compiled a list of accessible must-see places to help you get started.

West

Hanauma Bay in Honolulu, HI loans out beach wheelchairs free of charge to visitors with physical disabilities.

The National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, CO and The National Ability Center in Park City, Utah provide adapted sports and programs for all ages and abilities.

Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, CO is an abundance of natural beauty, with accessible trails, boardwalks, and campsites.

Southwest

Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, TX is the only theme park in the world in which every ride is accessible. Park attractions were created based on the principles of sensory integration.

Midwest

Ludington State Park in Ludington, MI has beach wheelchairs available as well as an accessible boardwalk.

The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI is an accessible venue that depicts American history through exhibits, programs, and re-enactments.

Southeast

Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL (or Disney Land in Anaheim, CA) is a popular destination for families and is famous for accommodating guests with disabilities.

Northeast

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, NY is wheelchair accessible and runs programs for persons with disabilities.

Canada

Victoria, BC has a variety of accessible bus tours and boats for sightseeing the beautiful British Columbia.

AB is home to some of the most beautiful and accessible national parks. Grab a map and drive to Jasper, Banff, and/or Calgary to see all that nature has to offer.

Niagara Falls, ON showcases accessible attractions such as a boat tour entitled Maid of the Mist, a Journey Behind the Falls, and the White Water Walk boardwalk.

Toronto, ON offers modified tours of the Toronto Botanical Garden, as well as access to the CN Tower and the Toronto Harbourfront.

Old Montreal in Montreal, QC, with its cobblestone streets and accessible grand stone buildings is a beautiful section of town (streets may not be easy to travel for some).

 

And don’t forget these tips and tricks:

Do your research. Make a packing list beforehand. Bring entertainment/brush up on car games if you are traveling with children. Car rides are more fun with good snacks and good music. If you have a GPS, use it! Take photos of your family/friends and your travels. Be flexible!

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Hitting the Road with the Freys

Amy Frey in her new wheelchair accessible minivan

Planning a vacation or shopping for a flat screen TV can be taxing. The process can take a day, a weekend, a week; involve hours of research, countless conversations with friends, family, and sales persons; and conclude with the difficult final decision. Now what if you were buying a wheelchair accessible minivan? For some, this can take years!

Meet Malcolm and Lyne Frey. They began the hunt for an accessible van for their daughter, Amy, over two years ago. The Frey family is young and active and was in need of a vehicle that was comfortable, safe and reliable. We recently spoke with Lyne to learn more about their search for the perfect van.

The Freys originally went to an accessible vehicle dealership for a quote, but were discouraged by the prices. At that time, they were not aware of the different types of conversions, ramps, and add-ons, making it difficult to determine what their family needed. But once Amy got bigger, it became difficult for the Frey family to travel.

The Freys are a family of five; Malcolm and Lyne have 3 daughters, ages 11, 8, and 9 months. Amy, age 8, is a beautiful and happy girl. Malcolm and Lyne learned that Amy had microcephaly, cerebelar hypoplasia, and global development delays when she was just 8 months old. She functions at a 3-12 month-old level and began using a wheelchair shortly after her 4th birthday. Amy is now starting to walk and explore but is still dependent on her wheelchair for mobility and travel.

The Frey family’s day to day life is very busy. With 3 children, they are constantly on the go and morning and nightly rituals can take hours. Lyne says that things have changed drastically with a wheelchair user in the family. Stairs and curbs are viewed in a new way. Everything takes longer and the family takes up space wherever they go. Lyne does note, however, that she gets the good parking spaces!

The Freys revived their search this spring and bought a rear entry, short floor from Savaria. Having the accessible van has made a huge difference in the Frey’s daily living. Before the van, it was quite a process to get Amy in and out of the family vehicle. Now all they need to do is wheel Amy into the van and buckle up. Lynn and Malcolm actually argue over who gets to do it! With traveling so much easier now, the family plans on taking a trip to Niagara Falls this summer in their new van.

“Buying with Savaria was easy,” Lynn says. The family lives about an hour away from our Brampton offices so their sales representative, Ryan, drove the van down to Amy’s school so that the family could take Amy for a test drive.

When asked what advice she would give to other families searching for an accessible van, Lynn replied “get educated.” Learn about the types of vans, conversions, and ramps and think about which is the best choice for your family.

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