Enjoying the Great Outdoors the Accessible Way

Wisconsin is known for its love of the great outdoors and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, along with many local businesses, goes to great lengths to ensure that outdoor activities are accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or mobility. We’ve rounded up some exciting ideas for adaptive equipment, accessible parks and programs to make sure everyone can enjoy Wisconsin’s great outdoors with ease and freedom.

Go Sailing with Friends on Lake Michigan

If you’ve ever dreamt of setting sail out on the open water, Wisconsin is the perfect place for this kind of adventure. The Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan (SEAS) is a nonprofit organization that is a world leader in adaptive sailing programs for people with a range of mobility impairments as well as blind and visually impaired sailors. Take a beginner’s lesson on their 23-foot-long keelboat with one of the experienced instructors for a chance to steer you and your crew of friends and family around the gorgeous coast of Sheboygan.

Kayak and Camp Through the Apostle Islands

At Wilderness Inquiry’s Little Sand Bay Base camp in Bayfield, you’ll find adaptive equipment for a kayaking or canoeing excursion on Lake Superior at Wisconsin's pristine Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The guides are trained to provide inclusive adventures for people with a range of disabilities and have mastered the art of giving the additional support needed to help families share an outdoor experience. Guided trips range from 4 to 7 days and allow travelers to experience the incredible Apostle Islands by sea and land, with overnight camping at one of America’s most accessible national parks.

Explore Wisconsin's Ocean-Like Beaches

Prefer to stay on land, but still enjoy shoreline views? The DNR provides beach wheelchairs at many parks throughout the state. The thick rubber wheels of the pushable beach wheelchairs make it easy to move on sand, so trekkers can even navigate sand dunes!

Big Bay, Buckhorn, Harrington Beach, Whitefish Dunes and Kohler-Andrae State Park all have beach wheelchairs available for use, while Devil’s Lake State Park and Richard Bong State Recreation Area have accessible beach access mats that provide a stable surface that reaches all the way to the water for maximum fun.

Stay in a Wheelchair Accessible Cabin

Kohler-Andrae in Sheboygan is one of Wisconsin’s state parks that offers a completely accessible cabin camping experience for the whole family. With features like low countertops, adjustable hospital-style beds, wheel-in showers and more, families will be able to truly relax and enjoy the great outdoors. Ready to keep adventuring? Explore more Wisconsin state parks and stay at these additional wheelchair accessible cabins.

Listen and Feel Your Way Through This State Park

For a unique and interactive outdoor experience, check out Fern Trail at Newport State Park in Door County. This completely accessible trail does an excellent job of guiding visitors through the forest with panels featuring audio interpretation, illustrations, guided imagery and tactile elements. Audio includes bird songs, first person narratives, sound effects and music. Visitors activate the audio by using a sound-enabled brochure, or by touching the discovery pen to the panel.

Discover more ways to explore Wisconsin where you can be you, whatever your ability.