Are you a senior citizen or traveling with one who has limited mobility? No need to worry, as there are still plenty of great places to visit and fun activities to enjoy in the United States without too much walking involved.
From beautiful beaches to historic sites, national parks, and luxurious resorts, there are many options available for a fantastic vacation without having to exert too much effort.
How Do I Travel With Limited Mobility?
Traveling with limited mobility can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. There are many ways to make travel easier and more accessible for those with limited mobility.
Here are some tips:
- Plan ahead: Before traveling, research the destination to find out if it has wheelchair-accessible facilities, accessible transportation options, and other resources that can make your trip easier.
- Choose the right accommodations: Look for hotels, resorts, or vacation rentals that have accessible rooms with features like grab bars, wide doorways, and roll-in showers. Some hotels also offer equipment rentals like wheelchairs or scooters.
- Location, Location, Location: If possible, look for accommodations that are close to the attractions that you are planning to visit. This will save you time and energy while exploring the city.
- Take Advantage of Tour Companies: There are companies that specialize in providing accessible tours in Chicago. These provide a great opportunity for those with limited mobility to explore the area.
- Consider transportation options: If you’re traveling by plane, train, or bus, contact the carrier ahead of time to arrange for wheelchair assistance. If you’re driving and on a road trip, consider renting an accessible vehicle or modifying your own vehicle to make it more accessible. If you’re flying, be aware that flying has some health risks for seniors, so check with your doctor to be sure it is safe for you to fly.
- Bring necessary equipment: If you use mobility aids like a cane, walker, or wheelchair, be sure to bring them with you on your trip. If you’re flying, make sure to check with your airline about their policies on bringing mobility aids.
- Take breaks: Traveling can be exhausting, so it’s important to take breaks and rest when you need to. If you’re traveling by car, plan frequent stops to stretch your legs and take a break from sitting.
- Pack wisely: Bring all necessary medications and medical supplies, as well as any adaptive equipment you may need. Pack comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to get on and off.
- Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Many tourist destinations have resources available to help visitors with limited mobility, such as golf carts or shuttle services.
- Mobility Aids: I would recommend to always take a cane with you or a rollator walker. My recommendations are listed below.
Read our comprehensive guide: Top Travel Tips For Seniors.
How To Find Vacation Accommodations For Seniors With Limited Mobility
Finding vacation accommodations for seniors with limited mobility doesn’t have to be a challenge because there are many options available.
Here are some tips to help you find the best accommodations for your needs:
- Look for wheelchair accessibility: When searching for accommodations, look for places that are wheelchair accessible. Check to see if the accommodations have features like ramps, grab bars, roll-in showers, and wide doorways. Make sure to confirm that the accommodations meet your specific needs.
- Consider location: As I mentioned earlier, look for accommodations that are located in areas that are easy to navigate with limited mobility. Consider staying in areas that are close to public transportation or tourist attractions. This will make it easier for you to get around and enjoy your vacation.
- Check reviews: Before booking accommodations, be sure to read reviews from other travelers. Look for reviews that mention accommodations for limited mobility or accessibility. This can give you an idea of how accommodating the hotel or resort is to travelers with limited mobility.
- Contact the accommodations directly: If you have specific needs or questions about the accommodations, contact them directly. This can help ensure that your needs are met and that you have a comfortable stay. You can also ask if they have any equipment available for rent, such as wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
- Look for all-inclusive resorts: All-inclusive resorts can be a great option for seniors with limited mobility. These resorts typically have a range of amenities on site, including restaurants, swimming pools, and activities. This can make it easier to relax and enjoy your vacation without having to worry about getting around.
- Consider vacation rentals: Vacation rentals like apartments or condos can be a great option for seniors with limited mobility. These rentals often have more space than a hotel room and can be equipped with features like grab bars and roll-in showers. They can also offer more privacy and a home-like feel.
- Research online: Use online resources like travel forums, review sites, and travel blogs to find accommodations that are suitable for seniors with limited mobility. These resources can offer valuable insight into what to expect and can help you plan a vacation that meets your specific needs.
Great Spots for Seniors with Limited Mobility
Here are some of the most popular and accessible locations in the USA where seniors with limited mobility like to vacation.
The Daytona Beach Boardwalk is perfect for a slow stroll. There’s plenty of dining and shopping opportunities, plus excellent views of the ocean. You can also take in some unique attractions such as the Daytona International Speedway and Marine Science Center.
San Diego, California, is a beautiful coastal city that is perfect for seniors who love warm weather and beautiful scenery. There are many accessible attractions in San Diego, such as the famous San Diego Zoo, which offers bus tours and easy access for wheelchair users.
Another popular destination in San Diego is Balboa Park, which has many museums, gardens, and cultural sites that are easily accessible.
We strolled through Balboa Park with my parents when they were in their 80’s and it had numerous places to sit and rest. You don’t have to do a lot walking to enjoy this wonderful park!
Williamsburg, Virginia is a great destination for seniors who can’t walk very much.
Here you can find a variety of accessible attractions including Colonial Williamsburg (my photo is below) where you can view historical sites and buildings from the comfort of your car.
There are also many nature trails that offer wheelchair access and activities such as fishing and bird watching.
If you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, the Williamsburg Ghost Tour is wheelchair friendly and provides an interesting spooky way to explore the city.
For something a bit more relaxing, there are several beautiful parks to explore that offer wheelchair accessible pathways.
Las Vegas, Nevada, is known for its vibrant nightlife, live music, and entertainment. However, it’s also a great place for seniors who prefer a more relaxed pace.
Many hotels in Las Vegas have accessible rooms, and there are plenty of shows and attractions that require minimal walking.
When I was there, I found that a lot of the hotels were an attraction in themselves. For example, I really enjoyed sitting along the river inside the Venetian Hotel and watching the gondolas as they cruised along (and listening to the gondoliers sing!).
Chicago is a lively city with plenty of attractions, even if you can’t walk very much.
For those who prefer public transportation, the Chicago Transit Authority has numerous accessible buses and the famous “El” elevated trains that run throughout the city and out to the suburbs.
And, don’t forget Millenium Park with the famous “Cloud Gate” sculpture (affectionately called The Bean).
We strolled through all three of the parks I mentioned, as well as the Field Museum when I was there. I noticed the level paths in the parks, along with the easy access to the museum – and plenty of places to relax and enjoy the views along the way.
For more sedentary activities, there are comedy shows, lectures, and music performances to enjoy.
And don’t forget about the food – from deep dish pizza to hot dogs, you won’t be short of tasty treats! I love Chicago, but personally, the food is what stands out in my mind when I think of my visit there!
Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls State Park, located on the US-Canadian border in upstate New York, is a stunning natural wonder.
The park offers plenty of accessible attractions for seniors and wheelchair users, including an elevator to the bottom of the Niagara Gorge and a wheelchair-accessible observation tower.
For those who prefer to stay dry, there are nearby museums and a variety of restaurants and souvenir shops.
New York City
New York City may seem like a bustling metropolis that is not very senior-friendly, but there are plenty of accessible attractions and options for those who need them.
Central Park is a great place to start, with many scenic spots accessible at street level.
And, of course, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is a very moving museum. It’s in a plaza that has easy access for those who struggle with walking too far, and elevators to take you to the different levels.
Also, I can tell you that there are plenty of benches throughout, as it’s an emotional place to see. You can also see the amount of seating in my photo.
I felt like I wanted to take time to read all the details and absorb the exhibits, so I did a lot of sitting during my visit.
San Francisco, California, is known for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge and its famous cable cars. While walking up and down the steep hills may be difficult for seniors with limited mobility, there are still plenty of great options.
San Antonio, Texas, is home to a variety of attractions.
If you are looking for minimal walking, the San Antonio Riverwalk could be a great option.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT of walking involved on the Riverwalk – however, I personally found that this two-mile stretch along the river features plenty of shops and restaurants, as well as boat rides offered by GO Rio Cruises.
That meant my daughter and I could walk and sit, walk and sit – and do as little or as much of each as we wanted. It was wheelchair accessible, too.
Here’s a picture I took of the San Antonio Riverwalk:
Santa Fe, New Mexico is home to a rich cultural heritage and plenty of attractions for those who can’t walk much. The Loretto Chapel offers great views of the city, plus it’s got accessible entrances and elevators.
One of the most popular attractions in town is The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which has an accessible entrance and two elevators.
The New Mexico History Museum is another great spot to visit in Santa Fe, with its fully accessible ground floor and a lift for easy access to the upper levels.
If you’re looking for some outdoor fun on your trip, head to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, which offers wheelchair-accessible pathways, a pond to explore, and educational programs.
Santa Fe’s thriving art scene is also great for visitors with limited mobility. Check out Canyon Road Arts District for dozens of galleries, as well as accessible sidewalks, benches, and drinking fountains.
New Orleans, Louisiana, is a vibrant and colorful city with a rich history and culture. While the French Quarter may be difficult for seniors with limited mobility, there are still plenty of fun activities to enjoy.
National Parks and State Parks for Seniors with Limited Mobility
If you prefer outdoor activities and want to visit the beautiful national and state parks in the USA, there are many options for seniors with limited mobility.
From accessible lodge rooms and handicap-accessible bathrooms to shuttles and wheelchairs, these parks provide the necessary amenities so that everyone can enjoy a peaceful getaway in nature.
The National Park Service also provides Access Passes that offer free entry to the national parks and discounted fees for some services. These passes are available to anyone with a permanent disability who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
With this pass, you can explore the wonders of national parks without ever having to worry about your mobility.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, offers beautiful scenery and a chance to see some of America’s natural wonders.
Many of the park’s main attractions, such as the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower and the Newfound Gap overlook, are accessible by car or with a short walk. There are also many visitor centers and picnic areas that are wheelchair accessible.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park in Utah is known for its spectacular views and beautiful hiking trails. However, seniors with limited mobility can still enjoy the park’s natural beauty with a scenic drive or a bus tour.
The park also has accessible trails and shuttle services that make it easier for seniors to see the park’s main attractions.
The Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of America’s most popular destinations, but seniors with limited mobility can still enjoy its spectacular views. The park offers accessible entrances, shuttle services, and many scenic viewpoints that are easy to reach.
There are also many hotels and restaurants within the park that offer accessible rooms and facilities.
Yosemite National Park in California
Yosemite National Park in California is a great destination for seniors with limited mobility. The park offers wheelchair accessible trails, scenic drives, and shuttle services that make it easy for seniors to explore the park.
The Yosemite Valley Floor Loop Trail is an especially popular spot, as it features spectacular views of the valley’s natural beauty. The trail is also wheelchair accessible, so seniors can enjoy the experience without any worry of not being able to reach a destination.
The park also offers many other attractions that are great for seniors with limited mobility. The Yosemite Falls Trail, Glacier Point Road, and the Tuolumne Meadows area all provide spectacular views while offering flat paths and scenic viewpoints.
And for seniors who need some help getting around, there are plenty of travel services available to make the trip even easier.
Yosemite National Park provides wheelchair accessible sightseeing tours and van shuttles that can take visitors directly to the park’s most popular attractions.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a great place for seniors to explore. The park has many accessible trails and pathways, as well as wheelchair-accessible shuttle services that make it easy to navigate around the park.
The park also offers a variety of activities that are accessible for seniors, including ranger-led hikes, star gazing events, and bird watching. There are plenty of areas to explore, including the Kilauea Iki crater, Chain of Craters Road, and Devastation Trail.
The park also has a variety of accessible lodging options for those wanting to stay within the park’s boundaries. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is definitely worth a visit for seniors!
Traveling can be a great way for seniors with limited mobility to enjoy the outdoors, experience new things and make memories with their family members or friends.
Some of the best vacations for seniors with minimal walking include road trips, national parks, historic sites, small towns, and beach resorts.
By planning ahead and doing some research, seniors can find the best way to travel and enjoy their trip without worrying about much walking.