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The Best Handicap-Accessible National Parks

In recent years, the National Park System has made a significant effort to make America’s national parks more accessible to those with mobility handicaps. While this can be difficult to achieve in rugged terrain, some parks have done an especially good job. In addition to accessible trails and campsites, these handicap-accessible parks also have wheelchairs on hand at visitors’ centers and very informative websites so you can be prepared in advance.

A carriage road in Maine’s Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

This Maine national park brings you the perfect summer fun: gorgeous beaches and delightful pathways. Step back into the 20th century by taking the carriage roads into the heart of the park. They are completely rustic, yet are fully accessible routes. Enjoying the rustic ambiance? Try out the horse-drawn carriages. You can also choose from two beaches and six picnic areas. The downside of Acadia is that the actual hiking trails can be difficult to travel, especially without assistance.

A boardwalk trail through the Everglades

Everglades National Park

This beautiful Florida park has a great abundance of handicap-accessible campgrounds, trails, and activities. In fact, this is one of the most accessible of the national parks. Seven trails – Anhinga Trail, Gumbo Limbo Trail, Pineland Trail, Pa-Hoy-okee Overlook, Mahogany Hammock Trail, West Lake Trail, and Bobcat Hammock – have paved surfaces or a wooden boardwalk. This means handicapped adventurers can wander through marshes and palms, seeing wildlife like egrets and alligators. Handicap- accessible boat tours through the waterways and canals of the area are another amazingly beautiful travel option.

A crater lookout point in the Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

If your vacation plans include a hop to the Aloha State, it will not be complete without a visit to the Volcanoes National Park. One of the best ways to see these amazing sites is via car, as different drives take you through the landscapes. You will not be missing out on the exquisite nature, since Chain of Craters Road and Crater Rim Drive both offer accessible pull-offs with overlooks. You can see volcanoes and craters, while driving through both rain forest and desert.

The Old Faithful Area at Yellowstone National Park; most of this area is entirely accessible by wheelchair.

Yellowstone National Park

Thankfully, this list can be completed with the ever-famous Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone states up front that its “accessible” areas do not necessarily meet federal guidelines for handicap accessibility, so check with the park service in advance. However, the Upper Geyser Basin and Midway Geyser Basin of Old Faithful, always the main attraction, are both fully accessible with, respectively, a paved path and boardwalk. A few other trails in the area share the same features so you can truly explore around.