My dad is 73 and my mom is 72, and I’d love take them on a short road trip. My dad has ALS and uses a manual wheelchair, and he can usually manage transfers with assistance. We live in Indianapolis, and I’d like for our destination to be within a four-hour drive. Do you have any suggestions?
I have several suggestions, and it all basically depends on what interests you and your parents.
Art & Culture Road Trip
If you love art and culture, then I highly recommend Chicago, which is just a three-hour-drive from home. You can easily spend the whole day at the Art Institute of Chicago, but that’s just the tip of the cultural iceberg in the Windy City. Other attractions include the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Museum of Contemporary Art. And the good news is, they all have good wheelchair access.
Accessible taxis are easy to hail too. Just call (855) 928-1010 or (773) 657-3006 or visit opentaxis.com for more information on the Open Taxi program.
And there’s absolutely no shortage of accessible hotels in Chicago.
For more information about wheelchair-accessible sites, transportation and lodging options in Chicago, check out the Easy Access Chicago access guide at www.easyaccesschicago.org.
A Country Escape Road Trip
If on the other had you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, I’d recommend a drive to bucolic Logan, Ohio. Located smack dab in the middle of the Hocking Hills, it’s just a 3.5 hour drive to this Southeastern Ohio paradise.
The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls (https://innatcedarfalls.com/) is the perfect place for you and your parents, as it offers a nicely accessible cabin – Redbud – which includes an upstairs bedroom and a downstairs bedroom for more privacy. It’s the best of both worlds – you can be around to assist your parents, yet still have your own space to enjoy.
The Redbud Cabin features ramped access to the front door, wide doorways and good pathway access to the first-floor kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living area and back porch. The first-floor bathroom features a roll-in shower with a hand-held shower head, grab bars in the shower and around the toilet, a roll-under sink and a portable shower bench. The second-floor bedroom and bathroom are only accessible by a flight of stairs, but like I said it’s a great option for you
Although you can enjoy the Hocking Hills scenery from the comfort of the Redbud Cabin porch, Hocking Hills State Park is located just a short drive away if you want to explore a bit. The quarter-mile trail to Ash Cave is wheelchair-accessible, and it’s a nice choice for a short stroll. As an added bonus, there’s a misty waterfall at the end of the trail (best viewed after heavy rains) right next to the cave. There are also a number of picnic tables at the trailhead, so pack along a picnic lunch and enjoy lunch al fresco.
A National Park Road Trip
Finally, if you’d fancy a national park visit, then head on over to Mammoth Cave National park in south central Kentucky. It’s a little over a three-hour drive from Indianapolis, and the park has a number of attractions suitable for wheelchair-users and slow walkers, as well as accessible lodging.
And yes, thanks to an elevator the two-hour cave tour is wheelchair-accessible (emerginghorizons.com/access-upgrades-abound-at-mammoth-cave-national-park). Several above-ground trails are also accessible, including the Heritage Trail (.75 mile), Sand Cave Trail (.1 mile), Sloan’s Crossing Pond Walk (.4 mile) and a recently renovated section of the Echo River Spring Trail (.4 mile).
And you just can’t beat The Lodge at Mammoth Cave (mammothcavelodge.com) as an accessible place to stay. It’s conveniently located right behind the visitor center just steps from the Heritage Trail, and it has eight accessible rooms, including six with roll-in showers. These rooms are nicely equipped access-wise and they are close to the restaurant, gift shop and front desk. Truly it’s the ideal home-base for any Mammoth Cave National Park visit.