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Travel Destinations for Seniors
Emily Shoemake

By: Emily Shoemake on June 7th, 2018

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Travel Destinations for Seniors

As summer approaches, so does the most popular time for travel. Choosing where to visit during your vacation can often be overwhelming, particularly for those with reduced mobility. Throughout the United States, there are thousands of vacation destinations which accommodate guests of every ability and are jam packed with activities sure to satisfy the whole family. Check out four popular travel destinations and some must-do activities at each below. 

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a staple of the western United States. With scenic wonders of nature, wildlife, and a plethora of activities, this park is one that won't disappoint! This park is family friendly and offers a wide variety of attractions that are fully accessible.

  • Scenic Rafting 
    • Although there are no scenic rafting trips available inside of Yellowstone, there are many outfitters that provide these trips right on the outskirts. Some packages even include lunch or dinner. Hop into a large inflatable raft and calmly float as your tour guide takes you into the heart of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States. Scenic rafting trips are suitable for all ages and activity levels. 
  • Scenicruise
    •  A great option for the whole family is a Scenicruise, a one hour guided tour on Yellowstone lake. During the tour you have the opportunity to learn about the history of Yellowstone, including the remains of the SS E.C. Waters. The Scenicruise is a great option for bird lovers, as there is often an opportunity to view eagles, ospreys, and other shoreline birds. On occasion you might see elk or bison on the shore. 
  • Old Faithful
    • iStock-168278271Old Faithful is a geyser located in the Upper Geyser Basin in the southwest part of the park. The geyser erupts every 60 to 100 minutes, giving you a great chance to see a magnificent act of nature. When it erupts it can blow more than 4,000 gallons of water up to 180 feet into the air. Old Faithful is one of the most accessible attractions in the park. Try to make it there before 10 a.m. if you want to avoid mid-afternoon crowds. 
  • Stagecoach Adventure
    • Stagecoaches in Yellowstone National Park date back to the 1800s, making them an integral part of the history of the park. Today, you can still experience the means of travel that guests used hundreds of years ago! The Yellowstone National Park Lodges offer a stagecoach adventure that allows you to ride a replica Tally-ho stagecoach pulled by a team of horses and learn about the history of this mode of transportation.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island, is a historic landmark presented to the United States as a gift of friendship from France in 1886 and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. A close neighbor to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, was the busiest immigrant inspection station from 1862 to 1954. The rich historical value of both of these landmarks makes for a day trip sure to teach you something new. The entire park is wheelchair accessible, making it a great option for those of all activity ranges!

  • Ellis Island National Museum of ImmigrationiStock-825423622
    • Take your time and explore three floors full of history. Some exhibits available to view are the Baggage Room, the Registry Room, Through America's Gate, the Dormitory Room, Treasures from Home and more! This museum provides you the opportunity to learn about the diverse history of those who came to America in years past in hopes of the promise of a better life. 
  • The Pedestal
    • The 87 foot concrete structure that the Statue of Liberty sits on doubles as a museum that chronicles the making of the statue! Additionally, you can climb to the top of the pedestal to see an amazing view. You can choose to climb 215 steps to get to the top or use an elevator most of the way. 
  • Self- Guided Audio Tours
    • Self-guided audio tours are available for both Liberty and Ellis Islands. The tours are available in 12 languages and will help you navigate on your own without missing the information you would get with a tour guide. 

Walt Disney World

The number one tourist destination in the world, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is magical for any age. The opportunities at Disney are endless! Both parks are 100% ADA compliant, making it a great place to visit for people of every ability. 

  • Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 
    • 0323ZU_0287RW_JBFor flower and garden enthusiasts this is a must see! The event features dozens of Disney themed topiaries, interactive playgrounds, garden spaces and wildlife habitats, "how-to" garden exhibits and tours, live music, and more! Stationed throughout the festival are outdoor kitchens which provide samples of some of the best foods and drinks from around the world. 
  • Caring for Giants
    • Get up close and personal with an African elephant! This à la carte experience is a 60 minute tour with animal specialists that show you the behind the scenes work that goes into caring for resident African elephants. During this experience, you'll get as close as 80 feet away from an elephant, a distance closer than any other in-park experiences offered. This tour is wheelchair accessible and personal wheelchairs may be brought aboard the backstage transport vehicle. 
  • Disney's The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour
    • This is the ultimate tour for train lovers! In this experience you get to see behind the scenes work that goes into running Disney's locomotives. During this 3 hour tour you see where antique trains are stored, the process of servicing the trains, and the opportunity to ride a fully restored antique freight train around the park. Throughout the tour you will learn about Walt Disney's passion for steam trains and why he decided to make them a part of the park. This experience beings at 7:30 a.m. because it starts before the park opens. 
  • Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
    • From August 30 to November 12, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival takes place daily. At this event, expect to find just about any food or drink your heart can desire! The event features cheese seminars, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars and so much more! Enjoy the Eat to the Beat Concert Series and jam out to great music while filling yourself up with the best food from around the world.

Cape May, NJ

Cape May, New Jersey is the oldest seaside resort in the country. The town offers a wide range of things to do that are sure to satisfy everyone's desires. Full of rich Victorian history, the quaint town gives off a very charming ambiance. Choose to stay in a beach front hotel or rent a Victorian styled house. Cape May offers an abundance of activities that are suitable for those with low mobility. 

  • Cape May Point State Park
    • The Cape May Point State Park is full of things to do for all interests and activity levels. Some of the park's activities include: picnicking, trails, the Cape May Lighthouse, fishing, bird watching, migrations, hawk banding demonstrations, and a view of a World War II Bunker. The park is open daily from dusk to dawn and includes wheelchair accessible trails. 
  • Cape May Winery and Vineyard
    • For the wine enthusiast, the Cape May Winery and Vineyard is the place to be! The winery offers tastings, tours and many summer events! Looking for a laid-back evening? Every Wednesday night from 6:30 p.m. 9 p.m. from June to September the winery hosts Summer Grill Nights. Grab your friends and family and head to the winery for food, music and great wine!
  • Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
    • Looking for a great way to see the history of Cape May? Hop in a horse drawn carriage for an enchanting tour of the town. The Cape May Carriage Co. offers historic, ghost and holiday lights carriage tours pulled by draft horses. The standard vis-a-vis carriage can seat 4 adults and 2 lap-sized children. You can choose between 15, 30 or 60 minute tours. During the summer months carriage tours run from 10 a.m to 10 p.m. daily. 
  • Beach
    • If you're looking to kick back and relax to the sound of waves crashing, Cape May is the place for you! The beaches in Cape May City are all family friendly and are cleaned frequently. All beaches are close to shopping and restaurants. Restrooms and showers are stationed about every half mile along the beach. The Cape May Beach Patrol provides free beach wheelchairs to those with restricted mobility. All beaches require beach tags for ages 12 and up, which are available at all beach entrances. 
  • Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
    • Interested in the science of flight and military memorabilia? The Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is the place for you! The Naval Air Station was commissioned on April 1, 1943 during World War II as a dive-bomber squadron training center for US Naval Aviators. The museum is located inside of Hangar #1 and is listed on the National and New Jersey State Registers of Historic Places at the National Significance Level. Currently, there are over 26 aircrafts on display from jet aircrafts to airplanes and helicopters. Some specific models on display include a F-14 Tomcat, A-4 Skyhawk, Mig-15 and more. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and is fully handicap accessible.

While traveling can sometimes seem intimidating, there are many things you can do to reduce the amount of stress and hassle that can come with travel.

Tips for Flying

  • Make sure to contact your airline when booking your flight if you need any type of special accommodations.
    • Many airlines often have wheelchair services available for use inside of the airport.
  • The Transportation Security Administration offers a wide variety of accommodations for any personal ailments you may have.
  • Check your bags with the airline to reduce hassle while navigating through the airport.
  • Arrive 2 hours prior to your boarding time to ensure you have enough time to get through security and to your gate.
  • Check into your flight before arriving to the airport. 

Tips for Bus Travel

  • Check how often the bus makes stops and ensure you can sit for the duration of the trip.
  • Find out beforehand how accessible the stops are. Are there steps? Loose stone footing? Handicapped accessible restrooms? Ask these questions before you book to prevent any mid-travel mishaps. 
  • Dress comfortably- make sure to wear lose clothing innocent from lots of snaps, zippers or anything else restricting. This will help you stay comfortable longer!
  • Bring a pillow! You can use it to take a nap or put it behind your back for additional lumbar support. 

Tips for Car Travel

  • Look at your route ahead of time and plan rest stops along the way. This way you can have something to look forward to and won't get stuck getting off of an exit with the promise of a rest stop that is really five miles away. 
  • Bring entertainment. Come up with your own car game or bring a good book to help the time fly by. 
  • Stock the car with good scents. This is something many people don't think of, but bringing your favorite essential oil or a great car air freshener can really refresh you, as cars can often get stuffy after long hours of hauling people.
  • Pack your own snacks to avoid having to make an additional stops for any mid-trip cravings.

To prepare for your upcoming travels, download our summer survival checklist to ensure you stay safe during the hot summer months!

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About Emily Shoemake

As the Digital Content Assistant at Presbyterian Senior Living, Emily produces content for the PSL blog and engages with our audience on social media. Emily is a Shippensburg University and Delta Zeta alumna from Bedford County, Pennsylvania.