Whether you're looking for a tropical getaway or just looking to escape the daily grind for a few days, Hawaii is the place to go. From stunning beaches and awe-inspiring waterfalls to lush rainforests — not to mention the active volcano Kilauea — there's something for everyone in this island paradise. The best part is that most of these places are wheelchair friendly, making it easy for wheelchair users to get around and admire the magnificent scenery.
To ease your mind a bit, we've put together a guide for wheelchair-accessible travel in Hawaii that will help you take in all of the island's beauty without having to sacrifice comfort or safety.
Things To Bring to Your Wheelchair-accessible Trip
Besides packing the essential clothing, toiletries, shoes, and skincare items, you must also consider taking along the following item on your trip:
Mobility and Medical Equipment
Make sure you pack your mobility device and any medical equipment you may need while traveling. This includes your wheelchair, walker, or crutches. You should also bring medical supplies like bandages, ointments, and prescriptions (if necessary).
If your power wheelchair or scooter runs out of battery while you're out on the trails and you don't have a backup battery on hand, you might find yourself stuck in the woods. The last thing anyone wants is to be stranded in an unfamiliar place with no way of getting around.
To avoid this situation, make sure you bring an extra set of batteries with you, so you don’t have to worry about your power wheelchair running out of juice during your trip.
Shower Chair with Footrest
Under the American Disability Act, hotels are required to have roll-in showers, accessible grab bars, and urinals. Unfortunately, they don't always work well or are out of order. It's best to bring your own shower chair with a footrest so that you can get in and out of the shower safely.
It's not uncommon for hotel parking lots to be steep and narrow. Similarly, many sidewalks are not wheelchair-accessible due to cracks or bumps, making it hard for wheelchairs to pass through them safely. A portable ramp allows you to get up or down stairs easily without relying on someone else's assistance.
Accessibility Features at Airports
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport has some great features for travelers with disabilities including accessible curbside loading and unloading zones, accessible parking spaces at ground level near the elevator, accessible restrooms, braille signage, and large print signs throughout the airport. Additionally, you’ll find that Skycap porter services are ready to assist you at the check-in counter, gate, and baggage claim area.
Wheelchair-Accessible Hotel in Hawaii
Hawaii is famous for its beaches and lush rainforest, but you’ll be amazed to know that there are many ADA-compliant hotels in this state that can make your trip much more enjoyable. Some of the most famous wheelchair-accessible hotels that offer the best amenities include:
- Hilton Hawaii Village Waikiki Beach Resort
- Ala Moana Honolulu by Mantra
- Montage Kapalua Bay
- Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach
- Sensei Lanai, Four Seasons Resort
- Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
These hotels have accessible parking spots, elevators, ramps, and spacious rooms with accessible toilets. Some properties even offer special programs designed specifically for their wheelchair guests, such as special transportation and assistance with luggage.
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Accessible Hiking Trails in Hawaii
If you're an adventurous person and want to enjoy the state's natural wonders, then you need to check out the following hiking trails:
- Waimea Canyon Lookout
- Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk Trail
- Rainbow Falls Upper Lookout
- Ke Ala Hele Makalae
- Ko Olina Beach Park Walking Trail
All these trails have easy routes with paved paths and wide boardwalks. Some of them even have striped access aisles and partial railing, allowing you to enjoy the scenery without any risk.
Places To Explore in Hawaii
While some places are more accessible than others, there are still plenty of activities to partake in on your next trip to the Aloha State.
1. The Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is located on the North Shore of Oahu and is an excellent place for people who use a wheelchair or have mobility issues. This attraction offers a lot of activities that can be enjoyed by everyone. You can watch performances by local dancers and musicians, learn how to make leis, enjoy a luau dinner, and more!
2. Waimea Falls Park
If you want to spend some time outdoors while visiting Hawaii, Waimea Falls Park is a great place to go! This park features several trails that run along streams and waterfalls, so it’s definitely worth exploring if you enjoy hiking or being outside. There are also picnic tables available for visitors who want to eat lunch outside or just relax with friends in nature for a while before heading back home!
3. Kaanapali Beach, Maui
Located in Lahaina Town on Maui's west coast, this beach has a boardwalk and paved pathways, so you can easily enjoy the sun. If you didn’t bring your own wheelchair, you can rent one of their wheelchairs to explore nearby attractions. This beach is also known for its coral reefs right off shore which makes it perfect for marine life exploration tours and snorkeling.
4. Hawaii Theater
Built in 1922, the historic Hawaii Theater offers a unique opportunity to see shows in a classic venue. The theater has been renovated many times over the years and now includes wheelchair-accessible seating areas. There are also hearing devices available for use by patrons with hearing impairments.
How To Get Around in Hawaii?
When you're on vacation, you want to make sure that you can get around town easily and comfortably. One way to do this is by renting a wheelchair-accessible van from the Wheelchair Getaways members at Soderholm Mobility. These vans come equipped with everything that you need for your trip, including a ramp, a lift system, hand controls, and other mobility aids. With these vans, you'll be able to explore the islands at your leisure without worrying about finding a place to park.
Seek the Thrill of Hawaii
If you're looking for a trip that's both fun and accessible, then Hawaii should be your go-to. From the islands of Hawaii to the beaches of Maui and Kauai, there are plenty of wheelchair-accessible activities to keep you busy during your next trip. So zip up your bags, book your flight and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.
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