Summer is prime time for outdoor fun, and in many cases that fun also includes an overnight stay at a campground. And although many folks like to rough it and sleep under the stars, camping isn't for everyone. Fortunately, more wheelchair-accessible cabins are available now at recreation areas across America. So if the mere thought of pitching a tent strikes terror in your very soul, then consider one of these accessible cabins for your next outdoor adventure.
Smoky Mountain Getaway
The homey cabin has ramp access to the wrap-around porch, with barrier-free access to the front and back doors. There is level access through both doors, with good pathway access to all first-floor areas.
The living area is furnished with a sofa bed, an easy chair, a dining table, and a washer and dryer; the fully-equipped kitchen features a refrigerator, stove, and microwave.
The spacious bedroom boasts a king-size bed, and the adjacent bathroom includes a roll-in shower with grab bars and a handheld showerhead, a fold-down shower bench, and a roll-under sink. The toilet is located in a 42-inch wide alcove, with grab bars on both walls, and ample room for most transfers.
The second floor, which has a pool table, a standard bathroom, a twin sofa bed, and a small deck, is only accessible by stairs. Still there's plenty of room on the first-floor deck to wheel around and enjoy the views.
Oklahoma Lakeside Cabin
Over in Eastern Oklahoma, the Cabin on the Lake (tel. 918/487-5196) is a great place to enjoy nature without giving up the creature comforts of home. Constructed by the Oklahoma Chapter of the Telephone Pioneers of America, this barrier-free cabin was built so that everyone -- regardless of their disability -- can enjoy Greenleaf Lake.
There is a paved parking area in front of the cabin, with ramped access to the screened-in porch overlooking the lake. The layout is very spacious, with an open great room, an adjacent kitchen, and an oversize bedroom furnished with a queen-size bed and a twin hospital bed. The bathroom is equipped with a roll-in shower with a fold-down shower seat and handheld showerhead, grab bars in the shower and toilet area, and a roll-under sink.
As an added bonus, the cabin comes stocked with a wide variety of adaptive equipment, including a commode chair, a trapeze, a ceiling track lift in the bedroom and bathroom, and a manual wheelchair. Best of all, there is level access down to a private dock, where you can fish, enjoy the lake view or even tie up your own boat.
Rural Georgia Retreat
Last but not least, if you'd like to overnight in a historic log cabin, then look no further than Still Meadows Cabins (tel. 706-741-5012; www.stillmeadowscabins.com) in rural Thomaston, Georgia. Cabin 2 features level access from an accessible boardwalk and good pathway access throughout the first floor. The second-floor loft, which has three twin beds, can only be accessed by the stairs.
Downstairs, there's a large kitchen, a comfy living room, and a spacious bedroom. The bathroom is outfitted with a Continental-style shower with a handheld showerhead, a raised toilet, and a roll-under sink. All in all, it's a very comfortable place, with a fireplace in the living room and a barbeque on the back porch. There's also boardwalk access down to the lake, so don't forget to bring your fishing pole.
Candy Harrington is the editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of 101 Accessible Vacations: Travel Ideas for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. She blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.barrierfreetravels.com.