Accessible Summer Ideas

summer scene with hat, glasses, cell phone, camera, and front of scooter

It’s hot, it’s humid and you’re ready for the outdoors

Summertime’s arrived and you’re looking for ideas to keep busy outside with your mobility scooter or power chair. We’ve got some leads for you. Let’s get right to it!

Go fishing

Ahh … the ultimate summer pastime. Water lapping on the shoreline, dragonflies bumping into cattails, finding the perfect spot under a broad shade tree. Fishing isn’t for everyone, but if you’re patient, like the thrill of the catch, and you don’t mind grubby fingers, maybe it’s time to try.

Apart from being a universally favorite way to kick back on a sunny Saturday, you can also find tons of adaptive fishing gear out there. Many towns, state parks and public-access fishing spots have wheelchair and mobility scooter access.

Hit the waterpark

Maybe the mat slides aren’t up your alley, but in our opinion, a waterpark offers a higher level of accessibility than, for example, the beach. It’s got more staff, more creature comforts and all the paths between attractions are typically paved for easy riding.

So if the grandkids are begging to hit the waterpark this summer, you should feel confident you can chaperone and maybe even get a little wet yourself.

It’s worth it to be prepared. Check the website or call ahead to the waterpark you’re visiting to make sure they can accommodate. 

Jam out at a music festival

After everything basically shut down in 2020, music festivals are starting to come back this year. It doesn’t have to be something big with major headliners like Firefly or Coachella. Check to see if there’s a blues festival in your neighborhood, or if the philharmonic in your area is playing at a park somewhere. These are typically low-cost (or even free), accessible venues.

Find a renaissance fair

Nerd alert! Renaissance fairs are natural havens for fandom, but you know what else? They’re tons of fun! Get whisked away for an afternoon and watch sword fights, jousting matches, and human chess games.

We found this database of what appears to be every single renaissance faire in the country with dates. We can’t vouch for its accuracy, but check to see if there’s one near you.

Just get wet

To clarify, you’re the one getting wet, not your mobility scooter. That stays out of the water. Your local YMCA or swim club staff likely offer assistance for people who use wheelchairs or have mobility issues.

Aside from feeling great on a hot day, getting in the water has tremendous therapeutic benefits. Check with your doctor or physical therapist and ask if you’re strong enough to swim. They may even be able to point you toward a water aerobics class or structured group event where you can get the most out of it.

Plant something

We’ve pretty much missed our window to start a true DIY garden, but it’s never too late to tend plants. Keeping plants alive, learning about their different temperaments and setting an intention to help them thrive throughout a season is incredibly rewarding.

It’s especially great when you know your hanging baskets look better than your neighbors’.

Eat outdoors

Check out our guide for adaptive grilling and some neat products that make it easier to cook outdoors if you use a mobility device.

Typical grills must be used while standing, but these alternatives bring the cooking area down to your level.

Exercise in a the park

Time to bury your pride. Put on comfy pants, grab some friends and head to the park, backyard or even an apartment building courtyard.

Take a laptop or a tablet and follow along with any one of the dozens of free yoga videos on YouTube. We love this one from Yoga with Adriene.

OK, OK. This is easier said than done. Exercising in public can feel embarrassing. It makes you feel vulnerable, even for people who do it regularly. But we know, however, that it has the opportunity to build community. You might inspire others, maybe even strangers, to join you.

We’re really projecting here, but maybe one of them knows a yoga instructor who can lead classes. You ditch the laptop for a professional instructor.

Then (alright, we’re going way out there now) maybe you realize you have a knack for adaptive exercise techniques and start your own yoga studio with special classes for people who need mobility devices. Maybe you wind up on Shark Tank and Daymond John partners with you to scale out accessible yoga studios across the tri-state area.

Huh. And all because you decided to put your pride on the line and exercise outdoors.

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