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Accessible Summer Vacation Ideas



It’s that time of year when millions of American families are anxious to escape their daily routines in pursuit of vacation relaxation and adventure. If you’re looking for family vacation ideas that offer accessibility accommodations for your special needs child, keep reading and you’ll be off on your next unforgettable summer getaway in no time. Some destinations may be especially well-suited to visitors with particular disabilities. For example, you might consider go-to options for people with autism and special sensory processing needs.


Here are some great family vacation ideas with special needs accommodation built right into the destinations.

Disney Parks and Resorts

There’s nothing more classically American than a Disney vacation, which is fun for adults and kids alike. Whether you’re headed to Disneyland or Disney World, you’ll find resort and park accommodations for visitors with cognitive, visual, hearing, and mobility needs as well as those with food allergies and light sensitivities. There are general special needs family resources as well.

Special Needs Adventure Programs

There are organizations that offer vacation or adventure programs specifically for children and adults with disabilities. Some reputable examples include:


  • Shared Adventures in Santa Cruz, California. Shared Adventures is a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of guided inclusive recreation activities. In addition, it hosts a Day on the Beach event each July in which visitors can enjoy adaptive or assisted kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving, flotation, and more.


  • Splore in Moab, Utah. Splore is a not-for-profit organization that offers affordable organized outdoor recreation activities. These include river trips, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, four-wheeling, scenic flights, and mountain biking. The best part? You can stay at the highly accessible Red Cliffs Lodge, just 10 minutes away.


  • Club Getaway in Kent, Connecticut. This Berkshires destination provides plenty of rural beauty and relaxation. In addition, it offers Special Parents & Kids Getaway programs each August.

Special Needs-Friendly Resorts and Lodges

If a little pampering is what your family really needs this summer, consider any of the following resorts and lodges around the US:


  • Breckenridge Ski Resorts in Colorado offers various snow sports as well as adaptive skiing, one-on-one lessons, and specialized equipment in the winter. In the summer, you can enjoy adaptive summer wilderness programs including water recreation, mountain biking, and a specialized ropes course.


  • Park City Resort in Utah is another skiing destination that works with the National Ability Center to offer adaptive skiing and lifts in winter. In summer, you and your loved ones can partake in adaptive cycling, challenge courses, archery, paddle sports, water sports, aquatics, and more.


  • Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont comes with 8 pools and an adaptive program that offers no fewer than 9 outdoor recreation activities for special needs visitors—and an inclusion program to boot.


  • Michigan destinations. If you’re a Michigander and don’t want to travel out of state, there are plenty of accessible attractions and destinations within an easy drive from home. Just a few include Escanaba, Mackinac Island, Marquette, Blue Water, Charlevoix, and more.

Enjoy Life More With Progressive Lifestyles

Progressive Lifestyles, Inc. is dedicated to providing innovative support services for people with disabilities. Our mission is to provide supportive and caring residential opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Oakland County, Michigan. Browse our blog for additional resources to help you and your child live your best and healthiest lives.


A primary focus of our organization is to interact with the individuals we support through the “Culture of Gentleness” model. We seek to create a positive environment to help them feel safe and valued while maximizing praise, limiting demands, maintaining consistent structure, and reducing stress during transitions.


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