Take Grandma and Grandpa to an Accessible State Park
Everyone benefits from time spent outside, but for individuals with disabilities, such as some grandparents, getting out into nature can be difficult. Check out these locations for a variety of accessible outdoor adventures — just remember to contact the park before you go to check current conditions, since weather events often impact trails and other features.
Visitors in wheelchairs can easily access three stocked fishing ponds at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, where catching a fish is almost guaranteed. No fishing license is required; gear and bait are provided. The visitors center and 0.8-mile Wetlands Trail are also wheelchair-accessible. Along the trail, stop at the animal sounds station and bee house; at the visitors center, check out the fish hatchery, aquariums and dive theater presentation.
Though only 45 miles from downtown Houston, this park feels like another, wilder world. The half-mile, fully paved Creekfield Lake Nature Trail winds through wildlife-filled wetlands (alligators!); touchable wildlife bronzes line the trail. At the Nature Center, explore a unique hands-on alligator discovery area and tactile model of the park. The George Observatory, open on Saturdays, has a ramp to the viewing deck and an accessible interior. Also accessible: cabin, amphitheater, some screened shelters and campsites, trail to fishing pier, wildlife viewing platform.
This popular park in the Hill Country hosts a mentored white-tailed deer hunting workshop for the mobility-impaired, with guides and all equipment provided. Fishing and swimming are also favorite activities — two fishing piers are accessible, and the shoreline of the lake is accessible from many points throughout the park. Also accessible: some tent sites, RV sites and cabins; paths to playgrounds.
An ADA-accessible playscape at Government Canyon invites young visitors to enjoy nature-based play on structures like climbing rocks, stumps and a ropes feature in the shape of a giant spider web. The space is wide open, with many tactile surfaces to explore. The 1.23-mile Discovery Trail provides an accessible hike on mostly level terrain. Also accessible: some picnic areas and campsites.
This otherworldly setting, where primeval waters surround ancient cypress trees draped in Spanish moss, offers a peaceful escape. Cabins 3 and 7 are ADA-accessible, complete with kitchen counters 2 inches lower than standard, a bathtub with handrails and an ADA shower. An accessible fishing pier is available, and a new accessible restroom with showers was completed in late 2018. Check out special, ranger-led programming for most abilities, including a popular “owl prowl.” Also accessible: some campsites, two screened shelters, group recreational hall, picnic area, headquarters and gift shop.
Where the Comanche and Tonkawa once camped and the Civilian Conservation Corps built stone structures, you’ll find a park that connects with history and nature. Yurt 2 is accessible inside and out, featuring a concrete pathway and patio, raised fire ring and picnic table (access is via a caliche surface). Also accessible: boardwalk to wildlife viewing platform, 1.5-mile Eagle Trail (caliche surface), shelter area bathroom with ADA stalls and showers, pool with ADA entry options.
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