Top Places For

Wheelchair-Accessible Adventures

If you or someone you love uses a wheelchair, it can seem difficult to find a place to safely explore the outdoors. But at dozens of parks, forests, and trails throughout the region, those with physical disabilities can discover the Chesapeake.

People of all abilities can enjoy the best of the Bay at spots like Patapsco Valley State Park, Mason Neck State Park, and Windsor Castle Park, which all have accessible areas for individuals in wheelchairs. From paved trails and raised boardwalks to accessible fishing piers and kayak launches, there’s a place for everyone to experience the outdoors.

No matter your ability, you can find your Chesapeake at one of the top places for wheelchair-accessible adventures.

Engine House at Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS

Allegheny Portage Railroad

The first railroad to circumvent the Allegheny Mountains, the Allegheny Portage Railroad was the finishing piece of the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal. "The Portage" provided a direct route between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Cresson, PA

Aerial View of Anacostia Park

Anacostia Park

Anacostia Park provides open space and recreation along 5 miles of the Anacostia River in the Nation's capital. It includes trails, boat launches, picnic areas, a swimming pool, a pavilion and Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.

Washington, DC

Anacostia River Waterscape

Anacostia River Water Trail

The Anacostia River Water Trail covers a nine-mile stretch of the Anacostia River, running from Bladensburg, Maryland, through Washington, DC, to its juncture with the Potomac River about two miles south of Capitol Hill.

Bladensburg, MD

Bel Air State Park water view

Belle Isle State Park

With seven miles of waterfront on the north shore of the Rappahannock, Belle Isle State Park features diverse tidal and nontidal wetlands, lowland marshes, tidal coves and upland forests.

Lancaster, VA

Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park

Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park

Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The piers are lighted and quite popular because of the variety of fish that can be caught including perch, striped bass, croakers, sea trout, and catfish.

Trappe, MD

Fog Covered Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

An Eastern Shore wildlife refuge attracting vast numbers of waterfowl to quintessential Bay tidal wetlands. While primarily a tidal marsh, the refuge also includes a mature pine forest.

Cambridge, MD

Bladensburg Waterfront Park interior exhibit

Bladensburg Waterfront Park

Bladensburg Waterfront Park offers access to the Anacostia River for boating, fishing, birdwatching, and sightseeing at the "head of tide" just below the confluence of the Northeast Branch and Northwest Branch.

Bladensburg, MD

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park lets visitors explore history and the Potomac River along the 184 mile canal from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD.

Potomac, MD

Cowans Gap State Park

Cowans Gap State Park

A 42-acre lake, large campground, rustic cabins and many hiking trails are prime attractions at Cowans Gap State Park, which is surrounded by state forest land.

Fort Loudon, PA

Bikers on Path on the Cross Island Trail

Cross Island Trail

A 15 mile trail across Kent Island, the largest of the Chesapeake islands, this flat paved biking and walking route takes travelers from the open Bay to the west past significant wetlands and other landmarks.

Kent Island, MD

Bridge at Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park is located in the picturesque Catoctin Mountains, opportunities including swimming, hiking, fishing and canoeing are available.

Thurmont, MD

Douthat State Park

Douthat State Park

Douthat State park is nestled in the Allegheny Mountains and features some of Virginia’s most outstanding scenery. In addition, a 50-acre lake offers swimming, boating and seasonal trout fishing.

Millboro, VA

Person fishing at Dutch Gap Conservation Area

Dutch Gap Conservation Area

Dutch Gap consists of 810 acres of woodlands, wildlife and waterways along the James River, a major Chesapeake Bay tributary. It's home to a blue heron rookery, beavers, muskrats and other wildlife of a freshwater marsh.

Chester, VA

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is a 2,285-acre island refuge at the confluence of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It's an important migration stopover and wintering area for thousands of waterfowl.

Rock Hall, MD

Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR

Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge

The Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, contains 1415 acres of maritime forest, myrtle and bayberry thickets, grasslands, and fresh and brackish ponds.

Cape Charles, VA

Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area

Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area

Fair Hill is a 5,656 acre Natural Resources Management Area, is known for its pristine fields, woodlands and natural beauty. Fair Hill's attractions include the turf course, where horse races are held.

Elkton, MD

Footbridge to Beach at First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park is located near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay close to the spot where Captain John Smith landed in 1607. First Landing is Virginia's most popular state park with over a million visitors each year.

Virginia Beach, VA

Group of Children at Event at Fort Dupont Park

Fort Dupont Park

Fort Dupont is one of 68 forts that are collectively known as the Civil War Defenses of Washington. The park is linked to six surrounding forts by a 7-mile trail suitable for hiking or biking.

Washington, DC

Fort at Fort Frederick State Park

Fort Frederick State Park

American history from the colonial period to the present can be discovered at Fort Frederick State Park. Our 585 acre park features a unique stone fort that served as Maryland’s frontier defense during the French and Indian War.

Big Pool, MD

Aerial View Fort Monroe National Monument

Fort Monroe National Monument

Fort Monroe National Monument was a military installation in Hampton, Virginia on the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula. Within its 565 acres are 170 historic buildings and nearly 200 acres of natural resources on the Chesapeake Bay.

Fort Monroe, VA

George Washington Memorial Parkway

George Washington Memorial Parkway

The George Washington Memorial Parkway was designed for recreational driving. It links sites that commemorate important episodes in American history and preserve habitat for local wildlife.

McLean, VA

Gifford Pinchot State Park

Gifford Pinchot State Park

Gifford Pinchot State Park consists of reverting farm fields and wooded hillsides, with the 340-acre Pinchot Lake serving as a prime attraction.

Lewisberry, PA

Great Bridge Lock Park

Great Bridge Lock Park

Visitors come to watch boats pass along the canal and through a single lock, and to use a boat ramp, playground equipment, picnic shelters, and fishing and crabbing spots.

Chesapeake, VA

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park protects the stream valleys of the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls and the Gunpowder River. The long, narrow 18,000 acre park ranges from tidal marshes and wetlands near the Bay to steep, rugged slopes upstream.

Kingsville, MD

Gwynns Falls Trail and Greenway

Gwynns Falls Trail and Greenway

Explore a hiking and biking trail through a Baltimore stream valley making its way to the Chesapeake Bay.

Baltimore, MD

James River State Park

James River State Park

The park offers more than 1,500 acres of rolling farm meadows and three miles of river frontage. The park offers opportunities to see wildlife and explore habitat native to the foothills of the Blue Ridge.

Gladstone, VA

Jones Falls Trail

Jones Falls Trail

The trail parallels the Jones Falls River and passes by a number of historic mills, the scenic overlook at Round Falls and the Baltimore Street Car Museum.

Baltimore, MD

Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area

Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area

Dominated by large hardwood trees, this large block of nearly unbroken forest is a haven for wildlife like forest warblers and other deep-woods animals. A main attraction to the conservation area is the elaborate trail system.

Halifax, PA

Sunrise at Kiptopeke State Park

Kiptopeke State Park

Kiptopeke State Park's location near the tip of the Chesapeake's Eastern Shore makes the park a prime location for bird-watching. Migrating birds congregate at this point on the Delmarva before moving on to breeding or wintering grounds.

Cape Charles, VA

Picnickers at Leesylvania State Park

Leesylvania State Park

Leesylvania State Park is the location of the ancestral home of the Lee family overlooking the Potomac River. Today the park offers a range of recreational activities and beautiful views of the river, one of the Chesapeake's largest tributaries.

Woodbridge, VA

Mason Neck State Park

Mason Neck State Park

Overlooking the Potomac River, the park is a haven for migrating bird species in spring and fall. It has hiking trails, 3 miles of paved multi-use trails, a large picnic area, a playground, a car-top canoe launch and a visitor center.

Lorton, VA

Cherry Blossoms in bloom at the National Mall

National Mall and Memorial Parks

Each year, millions visit the National Mall and Memorial Parks to recreate, to commemorate presidential legacies, to honor our nation's veterans, to make their voices heard, and to celebrate our nation's commitment to freedom and equality.

Washington, DC

Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley includes five developed recreational areas, providing hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails, as well as picnicking for individuals or large groups in the park's many popular pavilions.

Ellicott City, MD

Kayakers at Pocahontas State Park

Pocahontas State Park

Deep in the heart of a thick forest in Chesterfield County, Pocahontas State Park is only about 20 miles from downtown Richmond, Virginia's capital. Pocahontas State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities.

Chesterfield, VA

Pocomoke River State Park

Pocomoke River State Park

Located within the 15,000 wooded acres of Pocomoke State Forest in the Southwestern section of Worcester County, Pocomoke River State Park provides a base for a vast array of outdoor and tourist activities.

Pocomoke City, MD

Point Lookout State Park

Point Lookout State Park

Once a prison camp for 52,000 confederate soldiers during the Civil War, Point Lookout State Park now serves as a peaceful place to enjoy recreational outings.

Scotland, MD

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is truly a gem in our nation's capital. It offers visitors an opportunity to reflect and soothe their spirits through the beauty of nature along a tributary of the Potomac River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Washington, DC

Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park is encompasses over 3,000 acres of public land for visitors to enjoy. Rugged mountains surround the park, featuring 243-acre Lake Habeeb.

Flintstone, MD

View of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park

Spectacular views, diverse wildlife and fantastic beaches make this park a popular Chesapeake destination. The 786 acre park provides a variety of recreational opportunities such as swimming, fishing, crabbing, boating, and windsurfing.

Annapolis, MD

Seneca Creek State Park

Seneca Creek State Park

The park, comprised of 6,300 acres, extends along 14 scenic miles of Seneca Creek. The Clopper Day-Use Area contains many scenic areas, including the 90-acre Clopper Lake, surrounded by forests and fields.

Gaithersburg, MD

Smallwood State Park

Smallwood State Park

This park named for Revolutionary War officer features his plantation house and reflects the 18th century lifestyle.

Marbury, MD

Hiawatha River Boat on the Susquehanna River

Susquehanna State Park (PA)

This 20-acre riverfront recreational area is in the city of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The park offers boating, fishing, picnicking and cruises on a paddlewheeler.

Williamsport, PA

Trap Pond State Park

Trap Pond State Park

Nationally known for its scenic bald cypress stands and the James Branch Nature Preserve, Trap Pond State Park oversees 2,685 acres of land that offer recreational opportunities to the public.

Laurel, DE

Stone Bridge at Washington and Dominion Trail Regional Park

Washington and Old Dominion Trail

The 100-foot-wide Washington and Old Dominion Trail has been called "the skinniest park in Virginia." But it is also one of the longest parks with trails for walking, running, bicycling, skating and horseback riding.

, VA

A sunset at Westmoreland State Park

Westmoreland State Park

The park extends about one and a half miles along the Potomac River and offers hiking, camping, cabins, fishing, boating and swimming. Visitors can enjoy the park's vacation cabins as well as spectacular view of the Potomac.

Montross, VA

Windsor Castle Park

Windsor Castle Park

Windsor Castle Park is a riverside park that features a woodland trail system, picnic and open area space, dog park, kayak/canoe launch, fishing pier, mountain bike path, scenic overlooks and the historic manor house -- Windsor Castle.

Smithfield, VA

York River State Park

York River State Park

York River State Park offers visitors an opportunity to experience the environment of a coastal estuary. The park is known for its rare and delicate environment, where freshwater and saltwater meet.

Williamsburg, VA

November 1, 2016

Main image: No matter your ability, you can find your Chesapeake at one of the top places for wheelchair-accessible adventures. (Image courtesy: Ward Museum of Waterfowl Art)
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