There are outdoor adventures for everyone and for all abilities in Virginia, whether on land or water. All across Virginia, you’ll find campgrounds, playgrounds, trails for hiking and biking, boat cruises, fishing piers, and outdoor performance venues that can be enjoyed by everyone. Here are ten of our favorite accessible adventures to be fully enjoyed in the spring.

Accessible Hiking Trails

Huckleberry Trail in Blacksburg

Huckleberry Trail

Hiking is a great way to breathe in nature and feel the sun on your face. It’s also an activity that people with physical disabilities can experience thanks to trails that are flat and either paved or have a wheelchair-friendly crushed gravel surface. There are lots of accessible trails in Virginia, including Blacksburg’s Huckleberry Trail and the Saunders-Monticello Trail in Charlottesville. At Shenandoah National Park, the Limberlost Trail is a fully accessible trail. The park also loans assisted listening devices for films and ranger programs to aid deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors.

Adaptive Mountain Biking Trails

Pocahontas State Park Mountain Biking Trails

Pocahontas State Park Trails

Photo Credit: Big Orange Frame

Cycling is a wonderful way to explore the great outdoors. It’s also an activity that can be enjoyed by those with mobility challenges, thanks to adaptive cycling trails. At Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, seven miles of the Swift Creek Trails System for mountain bikes are accessible to adaptive bicycles like hand trikes. In Waynesboro, the new Sunset Park is expected to open this spring with 4.5 miles of natural surface trails that are wide enough for adaptive bikes. 

Accessible Beaches

Virginia Beach: Beach Power Mobility

Virginia Beach Beach-Ready Wheelchairs

Photo Credit: Roll With Cole, @roll.with.cole

Virginia is noted for its beautiful, sandy beaches that are for all visitors, regardless of abilities. In Virginia Beach, beach-ready wheelchairs with supersize sand tires can be checked out for free all along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, including at Grommet Island Park at 2nd Street, on a first-come, first-served basis. If rentals are all checked out or you prefer wheelchairs with more maneuvering ability, head to Beach Power Mobility to rent electric wheelchairs with sand tires that allow for beach access.

Several state parks also offer free beach wheelchairs for guest use, including Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles and First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. When possible, it’s a good idea to call ahead to request the use of beach wheelchairs.

Adaptive Fishing

Hawksbill Greenway Trail in Luray

Hawksbill Greenway

Fishing is a popular outdoor activity, especially in the spring. Accessible fishing piers and platforms make it possible for all visitors to revel in casting a line in Virginia. In Luray, there are two accessible fishing platforms located alongside the two-mile, paved Hawksbill Greenway. At Abbott Lake in Bedford, an accessible fishing pier boasts views of Flat Top Mountain.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources features a county-by-county list of public recreation areas with accessible fishing piers and/or fishing platforms. Be sure to review fishing license information and regulations (some bodies of water require artificial lures) before you set out with a rod and reel.

Accessible Playgrounds

Head to an accessible playground that allows children of all abilities to laugh and play. One to check out is Grommet Island Park, an oceanfront park in Virginia Beach. This park is fully accessible, featuring raised sand tables and sensory boards as well as wide, wheelchair-accessible entrances.

In Mclean, Clemyjontri Park is a colorful playground with sensory-rich play equipment, rubber surfaces for wheelchairs, and swings with high back and armrests which enable children of all abilities to play side by side.

At Franconia Family Recreation Area in Franconia, there is a fully accessible “sprayground” open in warm-weather months called Our Special Harbor.

Accessible Outdoor Patios

Patio overlook at Dirt Farm Brewing

Dirt Farm Brewing

It’s easy to love spending the day on a picturesque patio, whiling away the afternoon with a glass of wine or a pint of lager at one of many breweries, wineries, and cideries with outdoor seating options across Virginia. In Manassas, the Winery at Bull Run offers several accessible outdoor spaces for sampling wines, as does Saudé Creek Vineyards in Lanexa. In Bluemont, Dirt Farm Brewing has an accessible taproom and outdoor patio, which boasts wildly scenic valley views.

Accessible Outdoor Performance Spaces

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Wolf Trap Performance Center

Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson

Plan to attend a concert, film, play, or dramatic performance at an accessible outdoor venue, like Wolf Trap in Vienna. The performing arts center offers accessible outdoor seating options, hearing assistance devices, and sign language interpretation services at all three of its venues, including the Filene Center, the Barns at Wolf Trap and the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. Wolf Trap also hosts some sensory-friendly children’s performances.

In Bristow, Jiffy Lube Live, which attracts top artists, like Luke Bryan and Aril Lavigne, has accessible seating and free interpreter services.

Adaptive Water Sports

Beyond Boundarie, an accessible adventure group in Richmond, takes participants in wheelchairs out in kayaks on the James River

James River Kayaking with Beyond Boundaries

Photo Credit: Nick Davis, @nickdavisphoto

Water sports like surfing, tubing, kayaking, and canoeing are available to those with disabilities thanks to adaptive water sports programs in Virginia. Richmond non-profit Beyond Boundaries specializes in outdoor adventures for people with different abilities, including whitewater rafting trips in partnership with RVA Paddlesports along the James River. Virginia Beach Adaptive Watersports offers adaptive water-skiing programs for children and adults at Oak Grove Lake Park in Chesapeake and Witchduck Lake in Virginia Beach.

In Fairfax County, look for adaptive aquatics programs for all ages, and in Charlottesville, Wintergreen Adaptive Sports also offers adaptive canoeing and kayaking programs for people with all types of disabilities.

Accessible Camping

Hungry Mother State Park

Hungry Mother State Park Yurts

Photo Credit: Chad Williams, @echadwilliams

There’s just something special about camping, whether in a tent, a cabin, or a travel trailer. Many campgrounds in Virginia make the joy of a camp-out open to everyone by offering accessible campsites and restrooms. Many state parks such as Douthat State Park in Millboro and Hungry Mother State Park in Marion have accessible cabins and camp sites, as well as accessible features like trails, fishing piers, and picnic shelters. Check the park’s website before visiting, as each state park outlines its specific accessibility features. KOAs in Virginia also have accessible cabins and sites, like the Wytheville KOA Holiday, which has wheelchair-accessible cottages and cabins.

Accessible Boat Cruises

Whale Watching Tour with the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach

Virginia Aquarium Whale Watching Tours

Photo Credit: John Clarke Russ

A scenic boat cruise on the Potomac River in Alexandria or Kanawha Canal in Richmond are delightful ways to soak in the sunshine and warm breezes on fair-weather days. Many sightseeing cruises offer accessible boat ramps and restrooms for passengers requiring extra assistance. You’ll want to check out the seasonal Riverfront Canal Cruises that glide along the Kanawha Canal in Richmond and the Virginia Beach boat tours, including whale watching and dolphin watching cruises, that are organized by the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.