Posted on April 26, 2023

Experiencing the Great Outdoors in Michigan: An Accessible Resource Guide

Guest blog: With the guidance of the Mary Free Bed Recreational Therapy team, Kelsey Heller, recreational therapy intern, has created an Accessible Nature Resource Guide for our patients, their families, and other health care professionals. 

Accessible Nature Resource Guide

This guide contains a variety of accessible outdoor leisure and recreation information. It features wheelchair-accessible outdoor spaces and activities as well as rental locations for accessible equipment.

If you live locally in Grand Rapids or are just visiting in town, there’s information on adaptive clinics and programs that are offered through Mary Free Bed and Kentwood Parks and Recreation. There are always events happening depending on the season. Check out their websites regularly to stay up to date on upcoming events!

The guide also displays a variety of outdoor assistive technology, such as assistive hunting, fishing, and gardening equipment.

It’s a guide for everyone and anyone – with the hope that it helps others pursue a activity or get back into a previous hobby. Whether we’re planning a trip to a local park or a family vacation up north, leisure and recreation should be accessible to all.

Year-round, there’s something for everyone who wants to get out and enjoy the Great Lakes State. With that, let your adventure begin here!

Local Accessible Outdoor Spaces

Throughout the state of Michigan there are different locations of outdoor wheelchair accessible spaces to be enjoyed.

Nature Trails

Michigan is home to more than 30 accessible nature trails.

West Michigan Trails

  • Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park
  • Grand Mere State Park
  • Kal-Haven Trail
  • Ludington State Park
  • Muskegon State Park
  • Newaygo State Park
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area, Gun Lake Trail

View all nature trails. >

Parks & Playgrounds

There are 26 accessible parks and playgrounds across the state.

West Michigan Parks & Playgrounds

  • Bailey Park – Battle Creek
  • Versluis Park – Grand Rapids
  • Smallenburg Park – Holland
  • Frog Hollow – Wyoming
  • Riverside Park – Grand Rapids
  • Millennium Park – Walker

View all parks and playgrounds. >

Accessible Hunting & Fishing

Michigan is well known for their fishing and hunting opportunities. Below is information regarding accessible hunting and fishing. For individuals that enjoy these pursuits, there are wheelchair accessible hunting blinds and fishing pier locations throughout the state. In addition, there are resources to a variety of assistive hunting and fishing technology.



Michigan is known as the Great Lakes State. It’s no wonder it’s home to more than 30 wheelchair accessible fishing piers, including:

  • Grand Haven State Park
  • Newaygo State Park
  • Muskegon State Park
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area

View all fishing locations. >



Accessible Hunting Blinds

  • Sleepy Hollow State Park, Laingsburg | Phone: 517-651-6217
  • Pinckney Recreation Area | Phone: 734-426-4913
  • Rifle River Recreation Area, Lupton | Phone: 989-4732258
  • Holly Recreation Area | Phone 248-634-0240

Some state game areas offer accessible hunting features, and track chairs are available in several locations for use at no cost.

Learn more about accessible hunting opportunities in Michigan. >


Hunt 2 Heal

Offering a unique opportunity for accessible hunting, Hunt 2 Heal is a non-profit organization. It’s on a mission to improve mental health by providing accessible, safe and comfortable outdoor experiences to people with physical disabilities.

Hunt 2 Heal has created an outdoor haven with a dedicated barrier free lodge and square mile property designed for people with physical disabilities.

Explore the Hunt 2 Heal program.>

More Accessible Seasonal Activities

Whether there’s winter snow or summer sun, Michigan has different accessible outdoor activities and opportunities to get involved in. These activities can be enjoyed by individuals with cognitive or physical disabilities.


Winter Sports

For those who want to get their thrills on the slopes, check out the links below for information on bi-Skiing (sit-skiing), ski biking, and snowboarding.


Gardening Equipment

Gardening is for green thumbs and beginners alike! If you’re interested in building your gardening toolkit – this adaptive equipment can help you and your garden flourish.

Accessible Equipment Rentals in Michigan

The maps below provide locations across the state for rentable accessible equipment. If you’re interested in renting equipment, be sure to contact the desired location at least 24 hours in advance.

Michigan Action Track Chair Rentals

These off-road, electronic chairs can easily handle trails, snow, sand and up to 4 inches of water, allowing users to explore areas of the parks that traditional wheelchairs might not reach.

Michigan Action Track Chair Rentals Map

Michigan Beach Wheelchair Rentals

Michigan Beach Wheelchair Rentals Map

Michigan Accessible Kayak Launches

Accessible Kayak Launches Map

*Map image credit. 

West Michigan Accessible Clinics, Classes & Clubs!


Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports

The Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports program offers plenty of opportunities for people to enjoy a relaxed, leisurely or competitive experience! From skiing to swimming, and everything in between, you’ll find programming to fit all ages, interests and abilities. It’s one of the largest programs of its kind in the United States. 

This extensive programming serves participants who are cognitively and/or physically impaired. A wide variety of classes and clinics for adults and kids include:

  • Wheelchair Softball
  • Wheelchair Tennis
  • Wheelchair Fencing
  • Adaptive Canoe & Kayak Clinic
  • Handcycling Team
  • Power Soccer Team
  • Adaptive Swimming
  • And more!

View current Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports programming.


Kentwood Parks & Recreation

If you’re in the surrounding Grand Rapids area, Kentwood Parks & Recreation offers different adapted and inclusive programming for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities, including:

  • Archery Club
  • Adaptive Track & Field Clinic
  • Adaptive Cycling Club
  • All-inclusive Kayaking
  • Adaptive Golf League
  • Adaptive Water Sports

View the current Kentwood Parks & Rec. programming. >

Additional Resources

Looking to get the most out of your outdoor activities? Check out these great resources – they’ll help you make the outdoors more enjoyable, adventurous and fun!

National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass

Michigan is home to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. However, if you’re interested in visiting other National Park in the United States there is an Access Pass available for individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities.

This free, lifetime pass is available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have been medically determined to have a permanent disability (does not require 100% disability). It provides admittance to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by five federal agencies.

FreeWheel® Wheelchair Attachment

The FreeWheel® attaches to the foot rest of your wheelchair and transforms it into a three-wheel all-terrain vehicle. It is made to push through grass, gravel, uneven surfaces and even snow. It allows the user to experience comfort and ease when traveling. The FreeWheel® is also compact and can be stored on the back of your chair in seconds.

About the author: Kelsey Heller is a student from Eastern Michigan University studying for a Bachelor of Science in therapeutic recreation. She’s maintained a 4.0 GPA while completing her bachelor’s degree. She received her associate degree in applied sciences from Schoolcraft College. Currently, Kelsey is completing her internship study with the Mary Free Bed Recreational Therapy team in the Grand Rapids hospital.  (Image credit: Stephanie Heller)


Kelsey Heller Intern Mary Free Bed Recreational Therapy