Looking for a wheelchair friendly spot to vacation? Presque Isle in Erie, PA might just be the perfect blend of beach and forest.
Wheelchair Access Is Still A Struggle For Many
I recently read this post by Lauren Fitzgerald that detailed the difficulties her son and family had on their vacation, because the beach had been “replenished” and now there was a huge wall of sand between their beach house and the ocean. http://themighty.com/2016/07/the-beach-by-our-vacation-house-is-inaccessible-to-wheelchairs/ I cannot even begin to understand their frustration, but this article has gotten me thinking more about the obstacles wheelchair users encounter everyday.
As my readers know, I recently vacationed in Erie, PA and spent a lot of time on Presque Isle. This article got me thinking about how wheelchair friendly Presque Isle would be. There are wide paved walkways that go all around the Isle and I saw wheelchairs being used on these walkways. Everywhere I walked on these paths they were smooth and easy to walk on and gave a beautiful view of the water and wildlife. There was a wheelchair accessible overlook at the location of the “turtle log” and if one had the strength or an electric chair one could go up “The Feather” Observation Platform ramp and observe a swampy area. Unfortunately, I cannot remember exactly where the “turtle log” was, but I think it was somewhere not too far past the Ranger station.
A Presque Isle visitor’s page at http://www.presqueisle.org/about/frequently-asked-questions/ reports that beach wheel chairs are available for free loan and I know that at least one of the beaches (Beach 11) has a paved walkway down to the sand instead of having to hike up dunes of varying heights to get to most of the beaches. However, I have never tried to push a beach wheel chair with an adult in it, so I cannot say how hard a task this would be. All of the rest areas were wheelchair accessible and so were many of the picnic tables.
Other Wheelchair Friendly Vacation Possibilities
As I researched for this post, I found this link http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2012/06/06/32-vacation-destinations-for-individuals-with-disabilities-or-special-needs/ with 32 vacation destinations for those with disabilities or special needs. If you need to travel by wheelchair, please call ahead and confirm that conditions have not changed and then remember to pack a ton of patience and a boatload of flexibility because “stuff” happens even with the most carefully planned trips. See my previous post on coping when things do not go as planned: Traveling with Health Conditions Part 3: Vacation Woes