Accessible Virginia Travel

  • Natural Tunnel State Park is just one of Virginia's state parks and natural areas that is striving to make the experience as barrier-free as possible for everyone.

    More and more lodging establishments, attractions and events now think ADA-compliant. This means that they want to comply with the guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination and ensures equal access to state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities and transportation. You can read more on ADA requirements at the U.S. Department of Justice ADA site.

    The Virginia Travel Guide for Persons with Disabilities describes the accessibility features of travel attractions, accommodations, activities and dining establishments statewide. The guide is designed to meet the needs of mobility-impaired as well as visually and hearing-impaired travelers. Facility descriptions range from specific measurements of door widths to availability of Braille menus and signing interpreters.

    First-Hand Experience 

    According to Cheryl and Bill Duke, co-writers of The Virginia Travel Guide for Persons with Disabilities, many disabled travelers and their companions find it difficult to obtain pertinent information prior to their trips.

    Their son, Paul, sits in a 400-pound electric wheelchair that cannot be lifted up and over "just a few steps." He needs to know if doors and aisles are wide enough for his wheelchair, too.

    Traveling with a disabled child requires more than the typical amount of preparation. "But the pleasures are worth it," says Bill, who with his wife, Cheryl, opened the world for their child to experience.

    The Dukes founded The Opening Door Inc., an organization of volunteers who research, report and educate travelers and the tourism/hospitality industry about the needs of more than 54 million Americans who live with disabilities.

    Travel Tips for Persons with Disabilities 

    Following are just some of the questions to ask when planning a trip. For more information, visit the Society for the Advancement of Travel for the Handicapped website. SATH's mission is to promote awareness, respect and accessibility for disabled and mature travelers and their motto is, Disability is Not Inability. 

    1. How far from the entrance is the handicapped parking?
    2. Is there access to a lowered telephone, drinking fountain, light switches, thermostat and peep holes?
    3. Are the pool and other recreational facilities accessible? If so, how are they accessible?
    4. Is there enough room for the wheelchair or walker in the bathroom?
    5. Is there an interpreter to sign the performance for my child?
    6. What about flashing-light smoke alarms, TTY, phone flasher, knock lights, closed-captioned TV or decoder?
    7. What about Braille models of dioramas?
    8. What about audio descriptions of the displays?
     

    Those are just some of the questions that need to be answered before you venture out. And, like the Duke's travel guide states, Travel Doesn't Have to be an Adventure! 

Last Updated: 4/11/2011 10:58 AM
  • Virginia Shop

     

    Old School Virginia

     

    2014 Travel guide

    2014 Virginia Travel Guide - Small Town cover

    Order your Free Virginia Travel Guide.

    Order now button

  • Travel Updates

    What's going on around Virginia? Subscribe to the Virginia eNews.

    Subscribe