Pack Your Bags! Next Stop: Accessible Spring Break

By Lisa Wells, Cure Medical

Looking for an accessible getaway this Spring? Look no further. We've got a handy idea starter right here that you'll love!

For families with disabilities, one of the biggest concerns with travel is ensuring that your destination is wheelchair-friendly or accessible in other ways to accommodate your family's needs.  We've tried to save you some of the work of vetting accommodations and locations that are ideal for Spring Break vacations.

All of the locales listed below have been featured in our annual Wheels UP! travel event, hosted by SPORTS 'N SPOKES magazine, Cure Medical and Abilities Expo. The photos illustrating this story were submitted by wheelin' travelers who have explored their world as part of the Wheels UP! Event, too.

Spring Break at Abilities Expo Toronto

Wheels Up! participant Joanne Kelly is celebrating the wheelchair mat that helps her to
go onto the beach during a recent vacation.

1. Explore Accessible Sailing in the San Francisco Bay Area

The Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS) seeks to make all aspects of sailing accessible. They offer dinghy sailing every Saturday and keelboat sailing every Sunday out of South Beach Marina, adjacent to AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA.

Each of their boats is specially rigged and equipped with adaptive features to make sailing the San Francisco Bay possible for people with disabilities. Get involved at www.baads.org.

Adaptive Sailing in San Francisco Bay

Wheels UP! participant Amanda Gruber is taking part in an adaptive sailing regatta!

2. Bask on Accessible Beaches and Wilderness Trails in Coastal Alabama

If you love the sunny Southern end of Alabama, make a point to explore the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail located in both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The trail stretches about 15 miles and is part of Gulf State Park, allowing you to see some of the area's wildlife while enjoying a leisurely walk or roll.

The Backcountry Trail is completely paved and is perfect for both wheelchairs, handcycles or bikes. If you'd like to rent a bike, there's a rental shop at the very beginning of the trail right beside the Dippin Dots ice cream stand. Plan your route at http://backcountrytrail.com.

Accessible Beaches and Wilderness Trails in Coastal Alabama

Wheels UP! participant Alexander Von Streeruwitz (C4 quad) is "hanging out with pelicans and tarpons after a tropical island lunch in Islamorada, Florida."

3. Cross the Border for the Toronto Abilities Expo

Looking for good advice, inspiring ideas, and experts to answer your questions? You can cross our Northern border to find a new world of fun in Toronto this April as the Abilities Expo rolls into Canada!

Spring Break at Abilities Expo Toronto
For nearly 40 years, Abilities Expo has been the go-to source for the community of people with disabilities, their families, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals. Every event opens your eyes to new technologies, new possibilities, new solutions and new opportunities to change your life.

Join us in Toronto this spring on April 5-7! Get your free pass here.

4. Head West to Colorado's Accessible Trails

Outside of Boulder, Colorado, you'll find 45,000 acres of natural space dedicated to outdoor recreation. There are 21 natural sites and 22 trails, including several areas that meet the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines. To assist with choosing the right trail, Boulder has published a guidebook for people with disabilities featuring descriptions of each location, analysis of difficulty of access and a fold out color map of each site.

Their website also provides a YouTube channel featuring five to six-minute videos of wheelchair user Topher Downham navigating each trail to show potential visitors what to expect at each location.
Learn more at Boulder Colorado USA.


The city of Boulder, Colorado also offers free wheelchair rentals downtown! Wheelchairs are available for free check-out at the Downtown Boulder visitor kiosk at 13th and Pearl Street. Visitors will need to show two forms of ID and can borrow a wheelchair to explore downtown during the kiosk's open hours, Monday-Friday 10am-8pm. Call (303) 417-1365 for more information.

5. Join Courageous Kids in Kentucky

The Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, KY is a place where children living with chronic illnesses and their families come free of charge and have fun, find respite, feel normal and forget about their everyday struggles.

Courageous Kids in Kentucky

Their 20-million dollar funded campus encompasses an on-site medical center with helipad, indoor aquatic complex, equestrian riding arena, bowling alley, gymnasium, climbing wall, boating and fishing, theater, four camper lodges and SO much more!  Connect with the Center for Courageous Kids at  http://www.thecenterforcourageouskids.org.

Find More Accessible Spring Break Destinations with Wheels UP!

If this quick list sets your wheels in motion, download our free Accessible U.S. Travel Guide

This free travel resource offers more than 100 pages of family-friendly, accessible destinations by state so you can plan your next fun getaway. It's all part of the Wheels UP! travel program that takes place every summer. Are you getting ready for the 2019 Wheels UP! travel photo contest? Be sure to take plenty of pictures during your next accessible adventure so you can enter them in the competition! We can't wait to see what you'll discover as you get out and enjoy life on wheels.

Courageous Kids in Kentucky

Wheels Up! participant Nerissa Cannon, hiking the Cascade Falls trail in Dixie National Forest.


To stay informed on other travel events, follow the CURE NATION blog for their latest accessible travel stories, like Spina Bifida Summer Camps for Kids and more resources for kids, grandparents and everyone in between.

Pre-Register for Abilities Expo Today...It's Free!
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