With the first day of summer right around the corner, Michiganders begin to flock from all over to their state’s famous beaches, state parks, and cities. But traveling with a child or a loved on in a wheelchair can make planning a summer adventure a bit more complex. Here are some of Michigan’s most popular vacation spots – get a feel for how accessible they are!
Handicap Accessible Travel: Nature
Popular Accessible Beaches
- Ludington State Park: Beach is wheelchair-accessible; wheelchairs are available to rent at each beachhouse.
- Grand Haven State Park: Accessible; wheelchairs are available free of charge.
- Otsego Lake State Park: There is an ADA accessible boardwalk which leads to the swimming area at North Beach.
Handicap Accessible Travel: Camping Options
These popular camping options meet ADA guidelines for slope and building requirements, as well as the Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines – Outdoor Developed Areas in terms of number of sites offered:
- Indian Lake State Park
- Silver Lake State Park
- Ionia Recreation Area
- Fort Custer Recreation Area
- South Higgins Lake State Park
- Petoskey State Park
Handicap Accessible Travel: Urban Attractions
Popular Cities to visit in Michigan for paved and wheelchair-accessible trips:
- Traverse City: Famous for its wine tours, beaches, light houses, and shipwrecks, Traverse City offers both waterside fun and the excitement of a big city.
- Petoskey: A coastal town with abundant dining, sporting, and adventuring options.
- Holland: Located on Lake Michigan, Holland is the home of Hope College and the famous Tulip Time Festival.
- Frankenmuth: Michigan’s little Bavaria offers great food, fun, and excitement for the whole family.
- Ann Arbor: Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor offers exciting events, food, culture, and some of the state’s largest art and film festivals during the summer.
- Grand Rapids: A city rife with art, museums, restaurants, and events for all ages.
- Lansing: The Greater Lansing area is home to Michigan State University, the Capitol Building, and many museums, venues, and restaurants.
Handicap Accessible Travel: Popular Adventures
Full of history, food, nature, and adventure, Mackinac Island remains one of the most popular summer vacation spots in Michigan. The island can only be reached by ferry and only permits travel via horse-drawn carriage, bicycle, accessible vehicle, golf cart, or on foot.
Wheelchair Ferry Accommodations: All of the ferry lines offer accessible parking and experienced staff who can help load wheelchairs. Wheelchairs and Amigo style scooters are permitted on the island for those with disabilities.
Accessible hotels: Some lodgings at older buildings are not wheelchair-accessible, so it may be best to choose from the following list when making arrangements:
- Grand Hotel
- Mission Point Resort
- Lake View Hotel
- Bicycle Street Inn
- Lilac Tree Hotel and Spa
- Main Street Inn and Suites
- Metivier Inn
- Cottage Inn
- Murray Hotel
- Bay View Bed and Breakfast
- Island House Hotel
- Harbour View Inn.
For More Information on planning your trip to Mackinac Island, click here.
Ocqueoc Falls is the only publicly owned waterfall in the Lower Peninsula. The Accessibility Advisory Council and the DNR made Ocqueoc Falls the only universally accessible waterfall in the country. The waterfall meets or exceeds the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Activities: The Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway is a state forest hiking trail that leads to the waterfall. It is paved from the parking lot to the waterfall and wide enough to accommodate those in scooters or wheelchairs. The picnic tables and benches at the park are all wheelchair-accessible and people can access the river via climbing wall or ramp.
Camping and Lodgings: There are several state parks nearby that have camping facilities available, including Clear Lake State Park, Onaway State Park, Hoeft State Park, and Burt Lake State Park. Indian City, Rogers City, Alpena, and Onaway are nearby cities with accessible lodging.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park covers 50,000 acres and contains several waterfalls, one of which has a drop of 50 feet (the Upper Falls).
Activities: Visitors can explore the island and the falls, as well as enjoy the views on the nature trails and by rowboat. The park contains ADA accessible opportunities to view the most famous of the waterfalls, the Upper Falls.
Bay City State Park offers 2,000 acres of wetland woods and over a thousand feet of beaches.
Activities: The Bay City State Park is a popular spot for swimming, hiking, and exploring Nature and its creatures. The park offers over three miles of accessible and paved areas, including boardwalks, viewing platforms, and observation towers.