Another Reason I Started This Blog – Accessible Traveling

In earlier posts and on my home page I have explained the reasons I started this blog. It is about Aging in Place not only in the inside of our homes but in the yard and garden around our home. We want our gardens to be accessible not just to those able-bodied souls that are pictured in every magazine – robust gardeners all – but also those differently abled, perhaps even confined to a wheelchair. That might not be you, but it might be a parent or friend that you invite to your home or have living with you.

Here I am again providing another reason that we (DH through his photos and I) blog. Traveling and photographing gardens and the natural world is one of our favorite pastimes and we want to share it with you who are also differently abled.

Florida's non-migrating sandhill cranes
Florida’s non-migrating sandhill cranes

With DH’s help, it is more or less easy to take my walker / rollator everywhere. But this presumes that there is a place on the other end where I can use the rollator. What we have found is that it is more difficult than it might be to get around natural habitats with a rollator. So we have been adding posts about those locations that are particularly accessible to those who are less abled than the usual backpacker. We call it “accessible traveling.”

1. Accessible by Auto

There are beautiful locations to see and photograph nature, but not every one of them is accessible by car. We have found many that one can drive to, but then to see the real landmark or lake or other spot, one has to get out and hike to it. So we have begun to note those locations that one does not even have to get out of the car to “see the sights.” Examples include:

In Florida, one of the finest car tours is Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Kennedy Space Center complex on the east coast of Florida just south of Daytona. Black Point Wildlife Drive is a 9 mile gravel drive through lakes, bogs, and wild terrain where roseate spoonbills, pelicans, eagles, hawks, ibis, cranes, ducks, and alligators can be spotted and photographed.

In the shadow of Kennedy Space Center
In the shadow of Kennedy Space Center

We will post some photos of its treasures in the future

A hidden gem is the 4+ mile drive through Emeralda Marsh in central Florida, near Eustis, FL. We have posted photos already from this drive and will do so again.Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 12.51.35 PM

2. Accessible by Rollator

Many sights have paths to them, but not all are rollator friendly. They may be just clearings, or gravel that is hard to roll over. We will note when the path is paved or boarded and in any other way more accessible and friendly for rollators. Examples include:

The Everglades is a huge national park encompassing almost the entire south of Florida, but it is not particularly handicapped friendly. A treasure stop is Anhinga Trail, a paved walkway several miles long and even the first few hundred feet will provide a bounty of sights and sounds for your nature-lovin’ eyes and heart.

Just passing through Anhinga Trail
Just passing through Anhinga Trail

3. Accessible by Wheelchair

Another help for nature buffs is accessibility to wheelchairs at the site, and the most wonderful of all, when electric carts are available! Our favorite is Longwood Gardens, which not only has wheelchairs but for a fee will rent out electric carts to enable anyone to visit the entire multi-acre site. And their paths are asphalt paved, not gravel!

Longwood living wall 5
One side of the wall supports an outdoor ampitheatre and absorbs carbon dioxide from all the human visitors. It has about 47000 plants on the walls.

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5 thoughts on “Another Reason I Started This Blog – Accessible Traveling”

  1. In the Gardens Conservancy information sheet, I was asked if my garden is handicapped accessible. I said no. But it actually may be. My concern is that all the paths are gravel, and I thought the wheels of a rollator or wheelchair might bog down in the gravel. Frankly, I’m not sure that is so. Can you advise me? There is a route through the garden with no steps, only gentle slopes.

    1. Path accessibility is still being researched and defined even in national parks. ADA standards only require “firm and stable” (whatever that is). Minimum 36 inches wide. I suggest that you describe the surface if possible in the information sheet and let them describe it to potential visitors.

      I find that accessibility for me depends on how well packed and fine the gravel is. I can pretty well travel on well packed fine material, but not soft sand, or large gravel hunks. However, I have friends that are weaker and they need asphalt paving to negotiate at all. I am thinking of asking a paver to come in and give me an estimate.

      I love your blog, and from the pictures I’ve seen, the gravel in your paths looks like large chunks (not good), but well packed (good), Maybe a larger concern, however, might be that they don’t look anywhere near 36 inches wide (are some of them and not others? ). Just an observation!

      Best to you,

    1. Hi Desert Dweller,
      Thanks for dropping in! If you know of other accessible travel locations, please let me know. I’m mostly an east coaster and you might be from the west? Best to you!

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