ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act which doesn’t allow discrimination against people with disabilities, making sure that there are facilities providing equal opportunity and accessibility for them. This only counts for some state and federal parks, offering handicapped accessible campsites with paved surfaces that are level as well as accessible bathrooms.
Everyone should be able to enjoy camping, which is why the Americans with Disabilities Act came to be.
What is an ADA Campsite?
Simply put, if a campsite is ADA-accessible then it means that anyone disabled should have no problem maneuvering through this ground.
There are no set guidelines for this, but there is a proposal in the works which I’ve gone into more detail about later on.
Even if a campground is marked as ‘ADA accessible’, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is fully accessible.
There also aren’t any requirements for campers to reserve spots, it’s just the responsibility of each campsite to try and make their campground as accessible for everyone as possible.
Requirements & Accessibility
There aren’t any set guidelines for ADA-compliant campsites, but there is a proposal in the works which will hopefully be implemented soon.
Many older campsites have already been updated, either by renovating their existing site or by expanding to make a new section that is ADA-accessible. Some places only have a wheelchair sign to the campground that is nearest to the bathroom. Unfortunately, even in these cases, the path may not always be wheelchair accessible. It’s also not uncommon to find tables that don’t feature an overhand at the end so that someone in a wheelchair can use it to pull themselves up.
On the other hand, there are a good number of campsites that have really done this well and are fully accessible with separate accessible toilets with sinks that are large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, large enough showers, and shower stalls with a showerhead that you can adjust and a fold-down seat.
This proposal includes the following, and there are already some campgrounds out there that follow some of them.
If a campground has 51-75 units, at least four of those must have mobility features. Trails should have a minimum width of 36”, with a passing space of 60” x 60” and a maximum cross slope of 2-5 percent.
For tent pads, there’s no specific size since tents come in all sizes, but there must be a flat surface with a maximum of 2-5% slope in all directions. Grills need to have a 15” to 34” height and a 48” flat surface all around.
Picnic tables need to have a surface height of no less than 28” and no more than 34” above the floor. There must be at least 27” of knee clearance between the floor and underside of the table, and 9’ tables require 1 wheelchair space whereas 10’-18’ tables need to have two.
Lastly, fire pits need to be 15” to 34” in height with a minimum depth of 9” for fire building.
Best ADA Campsites
Some great campsites that I know of that are fully accessible, or close to it, can be found in Florida, California, Oregon, and Texas.
Hillsborough River State Park, Florida
Even though this camp is not considered as big as many others, it offers around 112 campsites with great features and amenities. It’s also great if you’re RV camping, as you can connect your camper to water sources and get hooked up to electricity.
One of the best features of this ground is the ADA-accessible saltwater pool. It’s about half an acre in size and there’s plenty of deck space to roam around. There’s even a ramp that directly leads to the water. Areas near the shore are shallow but the center is deep.
Simax Group Campground, Oregon
Located in Deschutes National Forest, it has a camping area that is fully accessible. There is clean drinking water and flushing toilets in the large bathrooms with pressurized water. Spurs and paved roads connect to the beaches and day-use areas. What’s more, is that the views are fantastic too and there are lots of activities such as fishing and scenic hiking trails.
The grounds can be used from May to September, and it is even dog-friendly which is great news for anyone who has a service dog!
It’s important to note that this is a national park, so a National Parks Service Access Pass is required.
Lake Louisa State Park, Florida
This campsite has a large and level site, raised grills, accessible tables, paving around the water and electrical hookups, and close to completely accessible restrooms and showers. The only problem is the sewer is at ground level in the grass.
Moss Park Campground, Florida
Another large and level campsite with raised grills, raised and level ground around fire pits, paving around water and electrical hookups and a paved path to accessible bathrooms and showers. There’s a dump station that has a large paved area, also accessible for wheelchairs. The only issue is that the doors of the restrooms are quite heavy.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
This campsite has more of the same; accessible sites have been built recently with a large and level ground, accessible picnic tables, grills, firepits, and hookups.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California
The crystal-clear skies with dotted white clouds and a vast landscape are sure to make you feel more at peace than ever.
With a whopping 600,000 acres, it’s safe to say that this is a large park. It’s been designed excellently making it easy to make your way from the campgrounds to the restrooms with its paved and level paths. The bathrooms are large enough for wheelchairs to easily move around and there’s even a horse-mounting ramp for those more adventurous campers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is ADA accessible?
ADA accessible means that people with disabilities won’t have a hard time. ADA-accessible campsites feature wheelchair spaces and enough room between the table and the ground for comfort, as well as paved and level paths, and more.
What does accessible campsite mean?
An accessible campsite should have bathrooms that can be accessed with wheelchairs, level and paved paths without slopes throughout, accessible grills surrounded by flat a surface, spacious picnic tables, etc.
Can I reserve an ADA campsite?
Generally, you can reserve an ADA campsite even if you aren’t disabled provided that it is the only site available. Some campgrounds even let you reserve an accessible spot if there aren’t any other available ones.