Traveling for those with a disability can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be overly so with careful planning and preparation.  Following are 5 fabulous travel destinations to consider for nature lovers with disabilities:

1. Captain Cook’s Lookout

Captain Cook’s LookoutCaptain Cook’s Lookout at Hat Head National Park has magnificent lookout has panoramic views throughout its vast expanse. It’s an ideal place for whale watching, sight-seeing, and relaxing in the sun. The picnic area has easy-access facilities and toilets. At the Hat Head National Park, there are picnic tables, gas/electric barbecues, and a non-flush toilet. Just don’t forget to bring your camera and maybe even an oxygen tank if you need it, views here have been known to take a person’s breath away!

2. Acadia National Park: Echo Lake

Acadia National Park: Echo LakeWith a wheelchair accessible path to the water and no reservation necessary all your dreams of a stress-free trip on a more natural vacation can come true.

At Echo Lake you can fish, go boating, or canoe with less than 10 horsepower. All you have to do is obtain a Maine fishing license from the Municipal Building or from Bar Harbor’s Rite-Aid Drugstore or the Wal-Mart in Ellsworth.  Within Echo Lake are brook trout, salmon, and perch. The best time to fish is between May and September and deep-water trolling is best by midsummer. Echo Lake is one of the most beautiful glacial mountain lakes; you can do almost anything from fishing to swimming to traveling along one of the many accessible trails including Beech Cliff, Canada Cliff, and Beech Mountain.

3. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National ParkYosemite National Park is one of the world’s most striking, natural sights. There are nearly vertical, 3,000 ft. cliffs, plunging waterfalls, and peaks that form a jagged outline against the sky.  On the ground, there are lush, vast prairies surrounded by several different types of tall trees and wildlife that can often be seen. You can visit at any time of year, even in the winter when trails are blocked by snow and waterfalls have iced over.  Even with the many tourists that come year-round, Yosemite can still absorb its visitors without becoming overcrowded.  In the summer visitors can also park at the day-visitor parking area and take a free shuttle that has wheelchair lifts and tie-downs, to the main visitor’s center.

4. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National ParkYellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is home to Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, and a startling group of geysers and hot springs.  A large variety of wildlife also call Yellowstone home including grizzly bears, wolves, elk, and bison. Camping, hiking trails, fishing, exhibits, films, and attending Ranger-led programs are among some of the many ways to experience the glory and grandeur of Yellowstone.  They even have Fee-Free Days!

5. Waikiki, Hawaiian Beaches: Kailua Beach

Waikiki, Hawaiian BeachesThere are several hotels, lodges, and resorts and offer wheelchair accessible options to tourists.  In fact, Waikiki, Hawaii is such an important spot for travellers with disabilities, that roll-away beach mats and wider-wheeled wheelchairs were practically invented for the purpose of visiting these beautiful beaches.  One beauty in particular we would like to mention would have to be Kailua Beach, not just for its undeniable beauty, but also because you can go to concession for a beach access wheelchair, on-duty lifeguards, and its typically smaller waves.

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