Wheelchair-Friendly Activities to Enjoy This Autumn

When the nights start to get cooler and the leaves begin changing, it can be exciting to get out and explore the new landscape. Autumn activities are always a thing to celebrate, whether that's going out for a seasonal coffee or planning a whole day outdoors in the crisp autumn air. These seven autumn activities are wheelchair-friendly and require very little preparation to make the day a fun one.

1. Go on a scenic drive to view the fall foliage

The first activity is a standard during autumn - going on a scenic drive to view the fall foliage. This can be as simple as driving around your neighborhood to see all the changing trees, or a bit more in-depth by researching the area and finding the best spots with the most color. The trees typically change with the weather, so if you're planning to see the peak colors you will want to do a little research.

Whether you're interested in a casual day's drive or a more in-depth approach, taking a scenic drive is a fun activity to get out of the house, maybe stop for a seasonal beverage or snack, and take your time viewing the leaves. This activity is wheelchair-friendly as you can use your own personal vehicle to explore.

2. Go to a pumpkin patch

Another traditional autumn activity is going to the pumpkin patch. This is a very seasonal activity, as many pumpkins are ready to be picked in a small window of time after a whole season of growing. Getting to spend time outdoors and finding the perfect pumpkin for carving, decor, or baking is a fun way to enjoy the season.

A pumpkin in a pumpkin patch

Many pumpkin patches have more than just the "picking the pumpkin" part. Many feature activities like hay rides, entertainment, and even seasonal snacks or meals. You can spend a whole afternoon at the pumpkin patch, taking time to enjoy the location as well as the fun activities. Pumpkins are often available locally at grocery stores and maybe even roadside stands, but there's just something about celebrating autumn at the pumpkin patch that feels so festive (like the opportunity for caramel apples). It's a good idea to call ahead to ask about wheelchair accessibility, as some pumpkin patches are in a field with offroad parking.

3. Get lost in a cornfield maze

Along with going to the pumpkin patch, you may also want to get lost in a cornfield maze. Many pumpkin patches offer a corn maze as well, but some celebrate autumn in a big way with a larger-than-life cornfield maze. This autumn activity may take all day, as the larger the maze, the more time it takes to work through. Most mazes operate the same way, with checkpoints to obtain pieces of the map to help you find your way out. Getting lost in the maze is a fun activity for an individual challenge or a bonding experience with the family.

If you're planning to visit a cornfield maze, it's a good idea to call ahead or look online about the maze's wheelchair accessibility. Some cornfield mazes have more narrow paths and uneven ground compared to others.

4. Visit a national park for a nature hike

A big part of celebrating autumn is bidding farewell to those hot days. Along with changing leaves, the dip in temperature at night and a crisp, cooler breeze during the day is a nice break from the heat of summer. Getting outside and visiting a national park for a nature hike is the perfect way to not only observe the scenery, but also retreat from the daily grind and explore nature.

National parks are a great place for a day hike, either as a nature walk or with the use of the motor trails for a scenic drive. National parks cover miles of natural landscape and can be the best destination for a few hours in nature or a whole weekend of camping. Many national parks have informative websites with wheelchair accessibility information to help you plan which trail to explore and where to stay if you're looking for a weekend retreat.

5. Cook an autumn-inspired meal

Fall is the best time for getting cozy, and that means getting in the kitchen and cooking an autumn-inspired meal. Making stew or chili is a fun way to get cozy at home, especially on a weekend when you can take your time and enjoy the smell of delicious ingredients on the stove. This may also be a fun time to bring out the autumn sides, like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or squash soup.

If you're more of a baker, there are plenty of recipes to try. From baking a loaf of bread (maybe even pumpkin bread), to a pie with apples, strayberry rhubarb, or the classic pumpkin, autumn is a perfect time to simmer spices on the stove and try recipes with warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

6. Go stargazing

For those who live in a warmer climate and may not have quite as chilly autumn weather, planning a stargazing trip is a great opportunity to enjoy the cooler nights and clear skies. Any outdoor space that's away from the city lights can quickly become a stargazing space. You can use a telescope, but if the night is clear enough you can see quite a lot with just your eyes.

This is also a fun opportunity to do some research to see which stars are visible in your current night sky. The autumn can bring sightings of Mars and Jupiter depending on your location, as well as a bounty of constellations. Bring a warm beverage, a star chart, and a jacket for a fun few hours looking up at the sky.

7. Have a bonfire and roast s'mores

Lastly, a fun autumn favorite is having a bonfire and roasting s'mores. Crafting your own open fire or using a fire pit is a great way to unwind after a long day or a relaxing end to that perfect cozy day. Roasting marshmallows brings out the childhood fun of the autumn season and getting creative with your s'mores, like adding peanut butter cups or cookies, adds a new twist to the classic treat.

If you aren't into open fires or your location doesn't allow it, have some fun finding s'mores recipes you can do inside and enjoy eating outside. Something as simple as s'mores dip brings all the fun of the fire to any kitchen and any backyard space is perfect for enjoying the sunset.

There are so many fun autumn activities that are wheelchair-friendly, from spending time outside looking at the changing leaves to exploring a nature trail or visiting a pumpkin patch. Celebrating autumn can be fun inside and out with baking, cooking, and spending time unwinding in the new season as the sun sets and the leaves fall.

About the Author

Cory Lee

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the U.S. when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned 15. Since then, Cory has traveled to 21 countries across six continents, all while managing to start up his travel blog Curb Free with Cory Lee, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not-so-accessible travel adventures with others. Cory is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, in a nationwide segment for CBS News, Lonely Planet, and many others. His blog won the 2017 Best Travel Blog Gold Lowell Thomas Award. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Cory Lee's ride is a Quickie QM-710.

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Date: 10/6/2020 12:00:00 AM

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