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Camping For Disabled People: Advice Guide

My previous employment role was a Disability Rights Advisor so I felt delighted about the opportunity to include in my website an area that will focus on camping for disabled people.

Fortunately we now live in an age that people with disabilities have established rights which includes business or service providers making adjustments to cater for those that are disabled, based on current legislation. This law has to be implemented by business owners of campgrounds, sites and holiday parks.

Anyway, enough about law for now. Let's talk camping!

picture of a disabled sign on a wooden post

Choosing a campground or site

There's many wheelchair accessible campgrounds available to choose from. Its worth contacting them by telephone or finding out as much as possible on the internet to check what amenities are available and how easy are they to get to from a pitch.

Some places are able to offer sites that are more accessible and disability friendly than others .It depends if the land for the site is practical for wheelchair use and the costs involved for adjustments is reasonable for them to make.

Contacting a camp site:

Contacting a campground in advance instead of booking online can be advantageous. You can ask if they have a place to set up camp that will suit a wheelchair user and if they could reserve a place to pitch that's close to amenities. Also find out if the surrounding areas have a pathway and flat surface.

Most camp sites can be booked online easily, however, you'll be surprised what help you can get by picking up the phone because it makes the situation more human.

Booking and searching online:

When making a booking online you can use one of the popular directories. Look out for the disability logo for facilities and wheelchair accessibility. For US citizens the ADA Access (Americans with Disabilities Act) maybe mentioned at the directory or web site. Other information, reviews and pictures provided will also give you more of an idea how suitable the place is.

Find out as much as possible before choosing:

Whether booking online or by phone you'll need to find out some of the basics such as; is the campground area level enough? do the grounds have concrete pathways? do they have hook ups for electricity, if needed? Are the showers/toilets accessible? These are useful questions to have answered.

Services specifically for Those With Disabilities

There are groups and services set up that support people with disabilities to take breaks such as holidays and camping. These are important for carers just as much as the disabled person because they also need the break and support.

You may want to check with local governmental and charity services to see what support is available financially and services that can help a person with disabilities go camping.

There are costs involved with most services suggested here, however, you may be entitled to support from the government, charity or both.


US Resources:

  • Camp Oakhurst : provides a service 55 miles south of New York City. This is a campus rather than a camp site, however, i think it's a great operation that offers plenty of outdoorsy stuff to do.

  • Camping Unlimited: Is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains near the town of Boulder Creek. These guys have lots of great camp related activities going on.

  • Campwinston: Provides inspiring recreational opportunities for kids with complex neurological disorders requiring specialized support. Located on Sparrow Lake in the Muskoka region of Ontario.

  • Campcourageous: Offers respite care and recreational facility based in Iowa for individuals of all ages with disabilities

  • Directory: dir.yahoo.com/society_and_culture/disabilities/camps/

UK Resources:

Grants: For UK residents seeking financial support you can find a book named "grants for individuals in need". This guide includes charities set up for the disabled needing recreational services and places to apply for a grant (s). You can find this book in most libraries or my best advice is to find a welfare advisor because many charities need an application supported from by a professional.

  • Grants for kids: The family-fund is the first place to go to seek help with financial support when you have children with disabilities. They're extremely helpful..

  • 3hfund: Offers support for the disabled and the carer needing respite holidays.

  • Ukcampsitesearch.co.uk: I like this site because it's easy to use and has the wheelchair logo to show they have disabled facilities which makes searching a bit easier.

Useful Tips And Ideas

  • Prepare a list: Prepare yourself a list of all equipment, gear, food and any other items needed. You can print a list off here...

  • Discounts: Look out for discounts/concessions available. Make sure you have the necessary information a camp site needs to prove the disabled person is entitled to a discount.

  • Choosing a tent: Cabin style tents are best suited for accessibility. They usually have a large entrance door and plenty of room inside.

  • Your Rights

    For the UK: The Equality Act 2010 replaced the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) which still has the same aims as the DDA to prevent discrimination that many disabled people face. This covers access to goods, facilities and services which includes camp sites and grounds (for further help and info about your rights you may want to visit equalityhumanrights.com).

    For the USA:The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has guideline's that business owners have to abide by which includes recreation facilities (for further advice and info ada.gov).

    Australia: For Aussies the Disability Discrimination act 1992 is a very similar to the US and UK that also includes camping and recreation ( this is a good resource Hreoc.gov.au).


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