Outdoor Hobbies for People with Disabilities


Getting out and about is healthy and necessary, but doing that with a disability is not so easy. Throw a worldwide pandemic in the mix, and staying cooped up at home becomes the new normal – unless we’re willing to explore some new hobbies that get us out of the house while still maintaining social distance, and ideally while maintaining as much independence as possible.



Getting out in nature is usually the go-to solution, but it can be hard to get motivated to get out of the house just to walk or wheel around aimlessly. People who have found a passion for photography will often agree that they have found a new way to look at the ordinary. Photography is a great way to expand your horizons by looking at things around you in a new light.

Not only is photography great for stimulating creativity, there is also a great deal of technical science that you can choose to get into to pull off some neat photography tricks; the internet is full of information, and photography has many active communities, such as this one on reddit, that will be happy to embrace you as part of the gang. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions on the forums; people are generally very friendly and willing to help. It’s a great way to make friends remotely!

There are many getting-started guides for photography out there. Just give it a quick google. But really, everyone carries around a smart-phone, so why not start there! Just take out your phone and play around with some of the settings. You might discover some neat features you didn’t know you had. Next, just point it at something pretty, and start shooting :).

For those in a manual wheelchair, a power-assist might help you get around and go the distance :). Check out the Cheelcare Companion, for example.

Some other items that could help you make your hobby more comfortable include:


Bird-Watching, Entomology, and Botany

Spotting the coveted blue-jay, or that special butterfly that rarely makes it this far north is very special and another great motivator to get outside. Perhaps you don’t know what all the birds are, or need a guide to help you find butterflies and insects. Check out some of these websites to kickstart your search and get motivated.

  • Birdwatching for Beginners: This awesome guide and website is great for beginners. It teaches you how to start from your own home, giving you the freedom to venture as for or near as you feel comfortable. It recommends getting a decent pair of binoculars. A quick search on amazon.ca or amazon.com gets you a great list of starter binoculars.
  • ButterflyConservation.org: This website is a great resource for those who are interested in identifying butterflies and moths. You don’t really need much to get started, just a good set of eyes to spot the butterflies. They might be too fast for binoculars anyway! Spot them with your eyes, and look up what butterfly it is. The more you do it, the more you’ll start to get used to the species. Diving more into the “sport” of butterfly-watching (AKA butterflying), try out some communities such as Reddit and post your favorite finds!
  • Ask an Entomologist: If you’re looking to start an insect collection, you’ll need some tools and know-how. The AaE website lays it out and is a great resource for beginners.
  • Insect Identifier: The getting started guide on the AaE website is focused on insect collecting; of course there is no need to catch them! Just finding them and looking at them is fun enough! Just like with the butterflies, perhaps you’ll get good at identifying them on the fly, so to speak :).
  • FlowerChecker and NatureGate: These apps allow you to identify flowers and plants. They use some clever computer technology to allow you to upload a picture and get an identification back, or alternatively, just look up the plant according to its features.


Trail Maps for Wheelchairs

Not all hikes are accessible for people with a disability, but most popular trail map sites, and even municipal government and conservation park web-sites will list wheelchair accessible trails. As an Ontario resident, some of my favorite sites are:

  • AllTrails.com: The reviews are a great help in deciding what places are best suited to your capabilities. There are many guides, and people can put together their own lists of favorite spots. Be sure to make your own list and tell the world where people with your disability can go in your neighborhood!
  • OntarioTrails: This is a helpful guide to those living in Ontario. Although the “partially wheelchair accessible” listings are not very informative on their own, you can click into them to find a brief description of the trail, and a tab with terrain details. This might give you more confidence that you can complete the trail, and if you’ll need assistance.
  • TrailLink: TrailLink provides recommendations based on your location. This link provides a quick overview of the top rated wheelchair accessible trails near you.


Pokemon Go and Geo-Caching

Popular games like Pokemon Go and scavenger hunt apps like Geo-Caching are another fun way to get outside. These games are setup so you chase video-game items around the real world. Pokemon Go, for example, makes you catch pokemon creatures around your city. Geo-Caching is similar, but people place real-world items in treasure chests (or anything really!), for you to find. Make sure to add your own fun items, or leave it for someone else to find!

How can evika help you?

evika is an educational platform. We don’t sell anything!

We provide information that can help people with disabilities make decisions about what technology can help with their specific needs.

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