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Accessible Summer Fun

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Summertime is just around the corner! Time for vacations, picnics in the park and trips to the beach. But if you have mobility problems, even the simple pleasure of dipping your toes in the ocean can be elusive.

We know that for people with brain injuries such as cerebral palsy or those who have suffered strokes or spinal cord injuries, travelling and getting into the great outdoors can be difficult. Not every person with mobility challenges has the same needs, and the word "wheel-accessible" can mean different things to different people. People with mobility challenges need to plan ahead and make sure that the places they want to go can really address their needs.

For those planning international travel or perhaps a cruise, there are resources available that can help you ask the right questions of airlines, hotels or ships before you finalize your travel plans. The more specific your questions are, the more likely you are to find exactly what you need to have the best vacation possible.

But you don't need to travel abroad to have a great vacation. There's something to be said for having a "stay-cation" - a vacation in your own home town. For example, did you know there are beach wheelchairs available at Vancouver beaches from June to September? There also is a plastic pathway available that you can lay down on the sand to make it easier to roll a wheelchair to the shore. You have to plan ahead and call several days before you want to use these items to make sure they are available. For more information about accessible beaches and reserving a beach wheelchair or wheelchair path kit in Vancouver check out: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/accessible-beaches.aspx. If you don't live in Vancouver, contact your local parks board to find out if there are similar resources available for you.

Summer fun should be accessible to everybody. By learning what resources are available in your community or at your travel destination and by planning ahead, everybody should be able to enjoy a summer vacation, or at the very least, be able to dip their toes in the ocean!

Accessible travel resources

Tourism BC has information about accessible transportation, accommodation and activities on their website: http://www.hellobc.com/british-columbia/about-bc/accessibility.aspx

There is a non-profit organization in Quebec that promotes and develops accessible tourism and culture in that province. Their website includes practical tools and tips for disabled travellers as well as a database of travel services and resources in a number of locations across Quebec. http://www.keroul.qc.ca/en/home.html

Information about international travel and accommodation can be found at:

http://worldonwheelz.com/

http://codi.tamucc.edu/travelin.htm

http://barrier-freecruising.com/

http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=9

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