In the first part of this two-blog series, we highlighted some of our favorites tips and features for utilizing your wheelchair van to its fullest by adding some kilometres to those tires and creating even more family memories. With summer fast approaching, now’s the time to begin planning your next family adventure into Canada’s diverse countryside, our lush Pacific region, or venturing into our nearest southern neighbor’s biggest concrete jungles to take in the cityscapes’ food, drinks, culture, and sure-to-please surprises. But planning a family road trip (or a couples’ getaway) can involve much more than just routing your way around this great country. While we mentioned the importance of communicating your specific needs to any and all accommodation representatives well before you reach their respective climes, creating a fun and festive map of wheelchair-accessible destinations should be given the same forethought, as your accommodation bookings. Curious about steps to consider when planning your next road trip in your wheelchair lift van? Read on to for more road trip tips.
Where To Next?
Travel destinations are nearly limitless when you take proper care of your wheelchair van — and have a certain amount of time to dedicate to more far-flung destinations. However, 2017 could be your year of travel. With Canada celebrating her 150th birthday this year, Parks Canada is offering families and individuals FREE passes to all of Canada’s beautiful national parks, national marine conservation areas, and national historic sites that dot this massive nation. This generous parks pass is your ticket to taking your partner, the kids, parents, or just you and your special someone out on the road and taking in as much of Canada’s natural beauty as humanly possible before year’s end. Not sure in which direction to drive your ready-to-roll wheelchair van? Keep reading for our suggestions on which national parks to visit.
Close to Home and Away From Nearly All: Riding Mountain National Park
Located but three hours from Winnipeg, Riding Mountain National Park boasts some of Manitoba’s most pristine flora, fauna, and majestic beauty — much of which is accessible by wheelchair. Manitoba’s most famous national park offers visitors numerous activities that don’t involve lengthy jaunts down tangled trails or scaling colossal cliff faces. For some well-deserved R&R, we highly recommend the sunset boat cruise around lovely Clear Lake Marina, offering visitors spellbinding views of not only the pristine waters of Clear Lake, but also splendid views of the lush forests that encase these waters. Or, if you and your partner prefer a more private setting, the wheelchair van-accessible oTENTik camping sites provide you with seclusion and serenity that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Elk Island National Park
Located about half a day’s drive from Winnipeg, Alberta’s Elk Island National Park is home to some of Canada’s wildest animals, including bison, moose, beaver, lynx, porcupine, and — of course — elk. Right off the bat, Elk Island affords visitors excellent views of amazingly diverse wildlife, many of which are easily viewable from the comfort of your wheelchair lift van. But if you’re looking to get out and enjoy the wonderful summer weather at Elk Island, there are numerous activities to keep you and yours entertained until you’ve had your fill. If it’s entertaining education for which you or your young ones are looking, look no further than Elk Island’s many interpretive programs, where you and the family can learn about myriad topics relating to Elk Island’s wildlife conservation dedication, history, and ecosystems. After, check out the numerous and easily accessible picnic spots for a fun lunch that’s sure to please even the pickiest of travel companions. Finally, after a day full of activities, taking a winding drive through the park’s sprawling roadways is sure to end your evening with seemingly endless views of all the lush wilderness that emcompasses Elk Island — all from the comfort of your ramblin’ wheelchair van.
Prince Albert National Park
As you drive further afield westward and northward, Prince Albert National Park’s beauty and serenity is not to be missed. Saskatchewan’s brilliant scenery immediately engulfs you as you drive into the park, much of which is easily accessible for wheelchair lift vans and rear entry vans, making Prince Albert Island one of our top choices for your summer road trip. Roughly ten hours and 900 kilometres from Winnipeg, the drive in your wheelchair van is one that is sure to bring you and your family exquisite scenery on much of the drive, priming you for even more of nature’s splendour. Once you arrive, take time to explore the lovely town of Waskesiu. Located inside the park, Waskesiu offers visitors numerous opportunities for learning more about not only Waskesiu, but also the region in which the town was established. The town is also a handy place to stock up on packable lunch or dinner items for a picnic experience that is not to be missed. And once you’re ready to take in some of PANP’s intimidatingly alluring natural beauty, consider taking part in one of the park’s learn to fish programs. Each program is designed for beginners or those looking to learn more about the sustainability efforts being implemented, ensuring fishing and ecosystem stability for generations to come. But if fishing isn’t on your bucket list, we recommended taking in one of the several boat tours offered in the park. From the boat, you’ll be treated to up-close-and-personal views of moose, red foxes, white-tailed deer, and possible predators such as black bears, coyotes, and timber wolves — all from the safety of your boat.
Wood Buffalo National Park’s Dark Sky Festival
Our final and furthest destination from The ‘Peg, Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park is quite a ways north; for 16-some hours, your road-ready wheelchair van will take you through some of Manitoba’s, Saskatchewan’s, and, finally, Alberta’s cities and small towns until spilling into Wood Buffalo National Park. Upon arrival, your views will likely be adorned with native wood bison populations. While a truly magnificent national park that offers visitors unspoiled wilderness and wildlife views, this year’s Dark Sky Festival is sure to afford all who attend marvelous views of one of the last truly dark sky sites on the planet. Running from August 17th to 20th, the Dark Sky Festival is an excellent festival for family members of all ages. Offering not only stargazing, but an array of educational classes and presentations, the Dark Sky Festival brings families together under the glowing heavens of one of Canada’s most well-preserved lands. Truly, this is one festival not to be missed.
Get Out There!
While we’ve highlighted but a few of our favorite national parks and activities within them, Canada’s sprawling lands offer something for everyone. Admittedly, some of these drives might be a bit longer than you may have previously driven your tried and tested wheelchair van. However, the rewards for making these journeys are well worth your time. Thinking you might need some upgrades, maintenance, or a complete overhaul of your wheelchair van? Or maybe it’s time for a new one all together? Whichever may be your case, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Move Mobility with any questions or concerns. Now, get to planning, and get out there!