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Best Vacation Spots for Kids with Disabilities

Best Vacation Spots for Kids with Disabilities


Published: May. 19, 2022Updated: May. 22, 2024

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More theme parks and family-friendly attractions across the country are updating their services to create a more inclusive environment and welcome visitors of all abilities. If you're planning a vacation this summer, be sure to check out our list of accessible travel spots around the country — some of them may be new to you!

Disability-friendly vacation spots in the USA for families raising kids with disabilities

Arches National Park

Southeast Utah

Arches National Park in Utah

Arches National Park, located north of Moab, Utah, is known for its natural stone arches, contrasting colors, and unique textures. With a paved scenic road and many short, accessible trails, Arches provides accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Visitors with permanent disabilities may qualify for the USGS Access Pass, allowing for discounted admission, so plan ahead by applying early. Additionally, they have options for physical and mobility accessibility, options for visitors who are Deaf or have hearing loss, and accommodations for folks who are blind or have low vision. In addition to purchasing a park entrance ticket, be sure to book a timed entry ticket if visiting the park between April 1 and October 31. You do not need to pay the entrance fee if you have a park pass.

Broadway, NYC

New York City

Autism-friendly Broadway performances in New York City

If your child can recite every lyric of Hamilton or is constantly re-enacting scenes from The Lion King, a trip to the Great White Way might be in order. There are many ways to make going to the theater a successful experience for kids with disabilities. If you have a child who needs to make noise and express their joy in the theater, consider planning your trip around one of the Theatre Development Fund’s Autism-Friendly Performances, where loud noises are muted, lights remain on, and patrons are welcomed to move their bodies or utilize a cool down space. TDF’s Theatre Access NYC offers a comprehensive guide to current shows, including which shows offer Live Audio Description, Sign Language, Open Captioning, and Assistive Listening Devices.

College Football Hall of Fame

Atlanta, Georgia

College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia

The College Football Hall of Fame is a 45-yard indoor football field with over 50 engaging, interactive exhibits outlining the history of college football. The College Football Hall of Fame has teamed with KultureCity to provide sensory bags containing special KCVIP badges, fidget toys, noise-canceling headphones, and social scripts for no cost. Team members are supplied with ongoing training to better understand those with sensory processing needs. Wheelchairs are free to borrow, and guests who have accessibility needs are encouraged to request a free one-on-one tour with a docent. While in Atlanta, take the family to a sensory-friendly performance at the Center For Puppetry Arts, plan an accessible morning at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, or enjoy Zoo Atlanta, which is also a certified sensory-inclusive destination.

Disney World Resorts and Disneyland Resort

Orlando, FL and Anaheim, CA

Disneyland accommodations for guests with disabilities

Disney Resorts are well-known for accommodating guests with disabilities in their theme parks, water parks, and hotels. Their comprehensive services include assistance for those with cognitive, visual, hearing, lighting sensitivity, and mobility disabilities. Disney’s Disability Access Services, which allows for ride return times for children who aren’t able to wait in regular lines, helps make a Disney day less stressful and more magical. For lots of great insider tips, check out our Disneyland Disability Guide! NEW FOR 2024: Disney is changing a lot of their accessibility policies. Stay tuned to our Disneyland Disability Guide as we learn more about how the changes might affect your visit.

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Dollywood

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd.
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
1-800-DOLLYWOOD

Dollywood in Tennessee accommodations for guests with disabilities

Located in the heart of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is a bustling resort destination located within a tranquil natural environment, with lots of trees and creeks that run through the parks. Both the Dollywood Theme Park and the Splash Country water park have “Calming Corners” for those who need sensory breaks, and Companion Care and Adult Changing Restrooms are provided. Families can plan their visit with the help of Dollywood’s Accessibility Guide.

Legoland

Carlsbad, CA; Winter Haven, FL; and Goshen, NY

Legoland accommodations for guests with disabilities

Legoland has historically been a hub for children to play and explore with hands-on, Lego-themed attractions. Now, Legoland’s Theme Parks, Water Park, and onsite hotels have been designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) as Certified Autism Centers. The parks provide various accommodations such as designated quiet areas, sign language interpreters upon request, and an assisted access pass for guests who have trouble waiting in long lines. If you're planning a visit, check out our in-depth guide to disability access at Legoland!

Morgan’s Wonderland

5223 David Edwards Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78233
(210) 495-5888

Morgan's Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas

Perennial favorite Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas has undergone a multimillion-dollar expansion in 2024 in its effort to remain the most “Ultra-Accessible” theme park in the world. New attractions include Rocket’s Skyglider, a first-of-its-kind zip line that can accommodate riders in wheelchairs as well as those who need extra restraints, respiratory equipment, or other special gear. Another new attraction is the wheelchair-accessible Jette’s Wonder Bikes, which feature glider-style cars that riders can make go up and down using pedals or hand cranks. There is also a new lake cruise and a 4D cinema that offers riders in wheelchairs a roller coaster experience with video and motion effects. Morgan’s Inspiration Island is their fully accessible splash park with waterproof wheelchairs for a great day of inclusive water play. Visitors with disabilities receive free admission.

Myrtle Beach

937 Broadway St.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578

Myrtle Beach accessibility

The city of Myrtle Beach has worked with restaurants and other local destinations to make Myrtle Beach a certified sensory-friendly location for families with the help of CAN (Champion Autism Network), which allows families assistance where there is potential for overstimulation. By joining the CAN Network via the Autism Travel Club Mobile App, you can skip the line at crowded attractions, request seating at local restaurants in quieter areas, and receive other services to make for a relaxing beach vacation. Hands-on museum WonderWorks hosts sensory days where exhibits are altered and music is lowered to accommodate children with sensory processing sensitivities. Multiple beaches in Myrtle Beach offer beach wheelchairs for free or to rent. Other wheelchair-accessible and disability-friendly attractions include Ripley’s Aquarium, Cherry Grove Pier, SkyWheel (a 20-story-high ferris wheel with enclosed gondolas), and Savannah’s Playground.

National Ability Center

Park City, Utah

National Ability Center in Park City, UT

The National Ability Center offers adaptive recreational activities for individuals with a range of abilities. Whether you attend family camp, a day program, or one of their outdoor adventure programs, they design programs that support individuals with disabilities of all ages. Located near a number of lodging options in the beautiful Park City, consider including programming through the National Ability Center in your next family vacation.

Rocky Mountain National Park

1000 U.S. Highway 36
Estes Park, CO

Rocky Mountain National Park accessibility

Are you looking for an enjoyable outdoor adventure for the whole family? Visit Rocky Mountain National Park! The park offers handicap-accessible trails and is home to the National Sports Center for the Disabled’s Snow Mountain Ranch, which has therapeutic and recreational offerings for all ages and abilities. You can also explore Estes Park’s beautiful downtown area or ride the tram while you’re in the area.

Sesame Place

Longhorne, PA and San Diego, CA

Sesame Place accessibility

As the first theme park in the world to be designated as a Certified Autism Center, Sesame Place makes it their goal to provide every family with memories to last a lifetime. With two locations in Pennsylvania and California, they offer specialized services to guests with autism and other support needs. Check out their ride accessibility guide for guests with cognitive disabilities for information about Sesame Place’s specific offerings. Whether you’re interested in fun attractions, parades, or Dining with Elmo, Sesame Place is sure to provide an enjoyable experience for everyone!

Smugglers’ Notch

4323 Vermont Route 108 South
Jeffersonville, VT 05464-9537
smuggs@smuggs.com
(800) 419-4615

Smugglers' Notch in Jeffersonville, VT

Smugglers’ Notch, located in Jeffersonville, Vermont, boasts an extensive array of inclusive family fun, including eight pools, four water slides, and special interest camps, all made accessible via the Smugglers’ Notch Adaptive Program (SNAP). The SNAP program works with each family to create an inclusive daily program that meets the needs of every child, including one-to-one swimming classes, arts and crafts, guided hiking, kayaking, mini golf, and much more.

What other inclusive, family-friendly vacation spots have you enjoyed visiting? We'd love to hear about your experiences and add them to our list!
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Contents


Overview

Arches National Park

Broadway, NYC

College Football Hall of Fame

Disney World Resorts and Disneyland Resort

Dollywood

Legoland

Morgan’s Wonderland

Myrtle Beach

National Ability Center

Rocky Mountain National Park

Sesame Place

Smugglers’ Notch

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Undivided Research TeamStaff

Reviewed by Brittany Olsen, Undivided Editor


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