Glamping for the Disabled Now Enabled by Thoughtful Resort Operators

For those with disabilities, the world is slowly but surely becoming more accommodating- in public spaces, in work places, and finally in vacation destinations. Cruises and mega resorts are popular vacations for disabled individuals. But what if you want a little adventure? More and more boutique resort operators are creating an extra luxury tent or two that accommodate. Here are a few glamping options for those who have special needs.

White oak Treehouse - The Mohicans

Glenmont, Ohio, a charming hamlet of 272 people halfway between Columbus and Cleveland is home to The Mohicans, a small resort famous for treehouses designed by owner Kevin Mooney and architect/craftsman Pete Nelson, featured on The Discovery Channel show, “Treehouse Masters.” How do you get a wheelchair into a tree, you might ask? “Take the gravel path, directly to bridge that takes you to a platform, cross the bridge to a double front door that has plenty of room that a wheelchair can go in,” says Kevin. He’s describing the White Oak Treehouse, with an accommodating large deck and a bathroom with grab bars. It goes for $195/night to start, with two bedrooms and a “fully stocked kitchen.”


If you’d rather stay ground based, and you have a large party, the Amish-built Walhonding cabin may be more to your liking, a wheelchair accessible dwelling with “rustic upscale decor, cathedral split log ceilings, covered front porch, back patio, leather furniture, radiant heat floors,” and sleeps up to 14 guests.

Turtle bay

Longing for Hawaii? Along the west shore of stunning Turtle Bay at the Turtle Bay Beach Resort in Oahu are clusters of beach cottages, one of which is an “ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Accessible Oceanside King Cottage. With its ADA automatic door, multiple access ramps, and spacious ADA accessible bathroom with all the right provisions, you will spend less time worrying about mobility and more time enjoying warm ocean breezes while your exclusive cottage concierge tends to your every need. Average daily rate is $394.

eco tent1

For a cheaper view of the sea, consider the Concordia Eco Resort on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Travel blogger Tiffiny Carlson of The Mobility Resource raves about Concordia’s accommodating accommodations stating, “If you’re looking for a low cost way to enjoy the jungle and ocean without any hindrances, this is it.” Starting at $195/night, choose one of the four “eco-tents” with accessible features nestled on an ocean-facing hillside, or splurge for the Premium Eco-Tent (which has some minor restrictions, so please call ahead with questions). Two of eight eco-studios planned for the near future are slated to be handicap accessible as well.


Glampers with disabilities who want a taste of the Old West will want to check out the luxury glamping tents at Moose Creek Ranch in Victor, Idaho. A mere 30 minute drive from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, guests can “enjoy a day there, come home to the ranch, rest, then set off the next morning towards West Yellowstone and the west entrance to Yellowstone Park.” In addition to having handicap accessible luxury tents (which may have limitations, so call ahead), Moose Creek Ranch is pet and kid friendly as well.


Venture off to Namibia, Africa for a once-in-a-lifetime experience African safari and stay at the Etosha Village, which provides “wheelchair friendly units designed with a ramp instead of stairs, a more spacious bathroom for easy wheelchair access and the room has a different interior arrangement for easier access.” The operators of Etosha Village pride themselves on their commitment to the conservation of wilderness areas, constructing their luxury canvas suites to ensure minimum impact on the natural habitat.

etosha safari

For quite some time, travelers with mobility issues found it difficult to imagine such outdoor adventures as a stay in a treehouse or on an African savanna. Now many of those amazing outdoor experiences, thanks to thoughtful resort operators, are finally within reach.

Spotlight: River Dance Lodge

Names of places are sometimes just names and don’t necessarily add to the image in my mind. However, for River Dance Lodge in Idaho, it’s different. It’s becomes obvious very quickly that this glamping destination is set in an exciting river setting. The name “River Dance” evokes an image in my mind of celebration for the river environment. There is so much to do here, it is like a carnival of a outdoor fun.

River Dance Lodge doesn’t disappoint when it comes to accommodations. River Dance is one of Idaho’s finest guest ranches and features hand-built log cabins. Rugged luxury is a contrast of ideas that seem natural here. A cozy cabin is an ideal refuge after a day of adventuring on horseback, rafting, hiking, and fishing; we’ll talk about activities more in-depth later on. Whether it’s your first time or has been too long since the last time you (insert activity name here) afterwards you’ll need a rest and probably want to soak in a hot tub. River Dance builders also thought that was a great idea. So, you can soak in a private hot tub and gaze upon the forested mountains – after a long day of adventuring, you deserve it!

imagePhoto: Brad Moss

Now for the main event, let’s talk about River Dance’s glamping tents. River Dance has placed comfortable canvas tents right alongside a rushing creek. The glamping trend is unique in that it is a modern trend that uses retro equipment like canvas tents to achieve its goals. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just interesting. If nothing else glamping is reactionary to a hyper-connected world. People want to get back to nature but don’t want to sleep on the hard ground. River Dance has furnished its tents with king-sized beds and a wood-burning stove. River Dance took one more step in the name of comfort by adding an antique claw-foot tub with a propane burner to heat the water. Nights of roasting marshmallows under the stars have never been so comfortable.

Vacation planning is a daunting task, which is why all-inclusive packages were invented. Sometimes it’s okay to treat yourself on vacation and free yourself from the stress of planning a vacation. Remember, it’s supposed to be relaxing! It’s a benefit of all-inclusive packages to have an idea of what you’re getting and paying for up front rather than be surprised by your credit card bill after all the little things have been added up. The other good news is that River Dance is a small resort that can afford to give its guests extra attention and care.

DSC_0120Photo: Brad Moss

I have a lot of appreciation for resorts that operate lodging and activities and do it well. It’s a complicated task. Luckily, River Dance Lodge’s owners Betsy Bowen and Peter Grubb are seasoned veterans when it comes to adventure vacation. They also own and operate ROW Adventures who operates the activities for you at River Dance Lodge. With over 30 years experience you know you’re in good hands.

Every season brings something unique to River Dance. The resort responds by providing experiences that highlight the best of each season. The thought of visiting more than once may occur to you now, but it will definitely happen when you’re on the last day of your stay here. Horseback riding in the Bitterroot Mountains is fabulous. There are trails from the Idaho guest ranch to hot springs and it’s possible to ride up the Selway River and go fly fishing.

DSC_0290Photo: Brad Moss

Your tent/cabin can be just as much of an experience as any of the more active adventures. You may even want to spend the bulk of your time relaxing and enjoying the freedom of a clear agenda. River Dance has a defined atmosphere of warm hospitality that fits well with families ready for fun or for romantic getaways for couples.

To learn more or to start planning your trip visit River Dance’s website.

Wild West Glamping, Storm Creek Outfitters

Drifting off to sleep in a cozy bed of quilts under a canvas roof is how each day ends at Storm Creek Outfitters – located on the Montana/Idaho border. Let’s explore what happens during the day to get a clear idea of what your vacation here will be like. The West is now just as comfortable as it used to be wild, thanks to glamping experts like Storm Creek Outfitters.

Storm Creek Outfitters brings you to the heart of the West to experience one of our nation’s largest wilderness complex’s in comfortable luxury with warm western hospitality and gourmet food. Guests access Storm Creek by way of Darby, Montana, a small western town that is the gateway to the Selway-Bitterroot Wildnerness. Darby also plays host to national events such as Logger Days,  the EBR sanctioned Bull-O-Rama Rodeo, and  “Cowboy Mounted Shooting” competition during the summer months. We’ll discuss more things to do later on.

Storm-Creek-FoodImage: Storm Creek website

In the days of the Wild West when a cowboy rode into a ranch looking for work, the first question he asked was, “Who’s the Cook?” If the cook wasn’t known to be good the cowboy rode on to the next outfit. Storm Creek takes their Dutch Oven cooking seriously!  You can even join the cook for an afternoon of hands-on cooking and we aren’t talking beans-n-weenies. How about Tuscan Roasted Lamb with mint apple pesto or Beef Short Ribs en Daube with polenta? It’s safe to say that you will not go hungry during your visit.

Today, the landscape remains much the same as it was in the 1800s. You can still hike or ride horses down the same well worn trails enjoying the magnificent unspoiled scenery. On the Montana/Idaho State line lies the Southern Nez Perce Indian trail. This historic trail was once among the frequently used routes by the Nez Perce Indians traveling to and from their buffalo hunting grounds. Famous trappers like Kit Carson, miners packing their gold, traders and other early adventurers also used the trail.

The Frank Church River of No Return and the Selway –Bitterroot Wilderness combine to create the largest wilderness area in the continental US. These wilderness areas offer solitude and pristine beauty. Seldom will you cross paths with another person as you travel the trail past an old Indian grave and see the telltale marks left on trees by trappers baiting for small game. What lies before you is a mind boggling 4.2 million acres of wilderness.

Storm-Creek-BedImage: Storm Creek website

Storm Creek cabin tents are havens of comfort; set on raised platforms and thoughtfully decorated to create a charming coziness. Rugs cushion your soles and wood stoves keep you warm on colder nights. Bunk with family or friends in tents that are arranged with a queen bed or bunk beds. Privacy is paramount in these tents where rustic charm meets upscale amenities. Good-natured simplicity, our vault toilets, are meticulously kept clean and fresh. Chamber Pots are discretely placed in each tent for middle of the night necessities.

Adventures are easy to come by in the relaxing summers or peaceful winters. Hiking, fly fishing, horseback riding top the list of things to do experience the wilderness. Wintertime here is a surreal winter wonderland. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skiing are excellent choices to keep you busy. Storm Creek also provides learning experiences where you can learn orienteering without a GPS, learn Dutch oven cooking with the chef, or learn mountain horsemanship skills. It’s easy to connect with nature in a place where wildlife outnumbers people.

Imagine yourself here cozied up to the wood stove after a wonderful gourmet meal paired with just the right wine all the while surrounded by mountains and trees, and an unending clear sky. It’s difficult to think of a better use of those vacation days you worked so hard to earn.

Find out more about Storm Creek Outfitters.