The surrounding barrier islands and beaches of Charleston, South Carolina, is the perfect place for vacationers to relax in the sun and soak up that famous southern charm. You’ll find every kind of beach experience from sunbathing to swimming and fishing, as well as cultural hotspots like the area’s great museums and historical sites. On top of all of this, Charleston’s Islands have a diverse selection of accessible vacation rentals including beachfront locations and properties with their own private pools. These amenities all combine to ensure every visitor leaves these beautiful islands with memories to last a lifetime.
South Carolina is famous for its beaches, and luckily, most of them are handicap accessible. The most popular is Folly Beach, located on Folly Island, offering six miles of pristine white sandy beaches. Within the park are handicap-accessible bathrooms, changing rooms, and showers, as well as accessible beach paths and complimentary beach-accessible wheelchairs. Be sure to call ahead to confirm availability. After relaxing on the beach, head over to the Edwin S. Taylor Folly Beach Pier for some of the best saltwater fishing in the Charleston area. You can cast a line yourself, or simply just to watch the skilled fishermen. The Isle of Palms and Kiawah Beachwalker Park also offer handicap-accessible ramps and complimentary beach wheelchairs, so there’s no reason not to soak up the sun (wearing sunscreen, of course!).
Charleston Harbor Tour:
See the Charleston Islands by sea on the Charleston Harbor Tour. The Carolina Belle is the tour’s newest vessel and is completely wheelchair accessible, offering a ramp for entry and an accessible restroom. Those who use a wheelchair or have limited mobility are boarded first (unless you arrive late). Plastic chairs are placed all around the top deck of the boat that can be easily rearranged to accommodate a wheelchair. Plus, even though you’re on the top deck, there are plenty of shady spots to break from the sun and wind if you need. The boat tour goes over the history of Charleston and offers a great view of Fort Sumter, as well as goes under the Cooper River Bridge. Keep an eye out for dolphins.
South Carolina Aquarium:
Get up close and personal with South Carolina’s native animals and plants with a trip to the South Carolina Aquarium. This is a fun activity to do with the whole family, especially on a sweltering hot day. The museum goes in-depth on the area’s diverse regions, including swamps, salt marshes, and the coastline. Courtesy wheelchairs are provided, so you’ll have no trouble touching the invertebrates or feeding the stingrays in the interactive pools. The museum also offers a tour where you can see the special care of the sick and injured turtles they receive. It’s a great way to learn about animals and the good work the museum is doing. Tours are offered daily. And don’t fight the urge to belt out The Little Mermaid’s “Under The Sea” while you’re there.
Charles Towne Landing:
View the gorgeous Copper River with a visit to Charles Towne Landing, a replica of the first permanent colonial settlement in South Carolina. With plenty of handicap parking spots, paved pathways, and a boardwalk with ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) standard slopes, one will feel safe and comfortable navigating the park. All of the restrooms meet these standards as well. The park even includes a zoo complete with species indigenous to Carolina in the 1670s, so you’ll get a real feel for the area’s history.
This historic southern plantation has made great strides in adapting its property and facilities to be handicap accessible. The grounds, restrooms, Museum shop, and basement of the Main House are all accessible to those with physical disabilities. Those without their own wheelchair can borrow one as well. To view the basement, however, one must be accompanied by a Drayton Hall staff member. The site also offers a video for those who prefer not to tag along on the actual tour, as well as a written tour for the hearing impaired visitors.
The area’s most accessible shopping area is the Old City Market which offers spacious and wide streets to wander. Find local artists selling their wares and original pieces, plus to-go counter cafes with delicious local food. Public restrooms have handicapped stalls and accessible ramps to enter/exit. The French Quarter in downtown Charleston also offers a plethora of art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants to experience. You can spend an entire day here, so be sure to have a plan to carry everything you buy!
The Charleston Islands are known for their amazing seafood specialties, such as She Crab Soup and shrimp and grits. Most restaurants are not handicap-friendly due to stairs or other barriers, however, the ones that are will surely satisfy your taste buds. For a fine dining experience, head to Blossoms where you’ll find low country dishes and a friendly patio area. For drinks, Circa 1886 offers a lowered bar and patio. And The Barbadoes Room Restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. The available lift takes you down to the dining room floor and you’ll also find Charleston’s largest handicapped restroom.
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