Accessible Vacation Destinations? You Know it!

Everyone Deserves a Vacation

by Elise Giacobbe

Summer is here and the thought crossing everyone’s mind is, “I need a vacation.” We’re all ready to get away and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation. However, before you pack your bags, you may need to make some preparations if you are taking a trip with someone who may have special needs. Many important questions need to be answered: will medical needs be available? Is the area accessible? Will we have fun?

Throughout the years, parents of people with special needs are more aware of what is to be considered when traveling. Nothing should ever stop you from going out with your family to enjoy some time away. Parents admit it takes a lot of trial and error before being able to plan a smooth vacation, but we hope this starter list of accessible vacation spots will get you started.

New Jersey Beaches

When it gets to the summer months in New Jersey the beach is the place to be! Handicapped access is widely available all along the shore. Wheelchair rentals, ramps to the beaches, the water’s edge, and food pavilions are provided to make a great summer day! Feel free to check out our previous blog that details how to make New Jersey beaches more accessible.

Cruise Lines

vacation Cruise shipsMany cruise company’s dock right in Bayonne, New Jersey, making them incredibly convenient. Cruise lines can be a great way to spend a vacation traveling several different places in one trip! Two cruise lines to consider:

Royal Caribbean was the first company to be certified “autism friendly.”

Norwegian Cruise Line has partnered with Special Needs Groups and has brought attention to accessibility resources.

Many other ships offer accessible suites, access programs, service dogs, and more. Be sure to do your research before hopping aboard.

Honolulu, Hawaii

vacation hawaii-Kailua Beach Park has beautiful sites for everyone to enjoy! This beach offers wheelchairs at its concession stands for people with special needs to sit back and relax.  These all-terrain wheelchairs can even be taken down to the water, but be sure to ask your local lifeguard about when the tide is coming in, no need to go swimming when it’s not in your plans. Hawaii is considered one of the most beautiful places on the planet, with its blue water and gorgeous vistas. The climate is warm, but welcoming. Just check the weather charts and make sure the sun will be shining on your planned week of travel.

Be sure to check with your preferred airline about their accessibility accommodations before purchasing a ticket.

Disney World & Disney Land

All parks and resorts are well known for providing the necessary accommodations for people with special needs. You can easily present a letter at Guest Services to receive a multitude of services, like a pass to fast track the lines, or to borrow a wheelchair, or information on what rides are appropriate for you and your family. Resort stays are made easy with amenities offered such as roll-in showers, special linens, and specific meal reservations. Be sure to do you research and call ahead. The employees at both sites are friendly and attentive. Always communicate with the staff and they will be happy to help.

Camping, Travel Respite Programs

vacation camp kayak pond
Easterseals Camp Merry Heart

Easterseals New Jersey offers hotel and travel respites for adults of varying abilities who need minimal assistance with community-based activities. We have 9 scheduled programs for the 2016-2017 year in New Jersey and also others out-of-state. Check out the Services Page for more information if you are interested in sending your loved one with a disability to a great program!

Many more vacation spots, tours, programs, and day trip ideas can be found online at resource sites like Friendship Circle, Family Vacation Critic, America’s Mobility; offering information on what is available and may fit your family. The sun and sky are for everyone to enjoy and with enough preparation, you and yours will be on a trip that they won’t soon forget.


Friendship Circle

Family Vacation Critic

America’s Mobility

Easter Seals NJ Camping, Travel Respite Programs



  • Was this helpful ?
  • yes   no

Leave a Comment