(Jackie Duda)

Recognized for its diversity, livability, and numerous attractions, Howard County also provides accessibility for residents and guests with mobility, hearing, visual, or sensory disabilities. Here are highlights of what’s accessible.  

Where to Stay — Hotels

To sweeten your stay and help you get some rest, Howard County has lots of options for lodging that include handicapped accessible hotels. 

Accommodations can vary from place to place, but many hotels will include at a minimum an ADA — approved pool lift for the pool and a few mobility accessible rooms with accessible parking available. 

Some, like the Comfort Suites Columbia Gateway in Elkridge, provide a little extra, including an ADA — approved pool lift, height-adjusted handrails, bathrooms, toilets, king and queen-size beds in the accessible rooms, lowered peep holes and visual doorbell alarm alerts, and larger accessible rooms with widened doorways. TVs with closed captioning, assistive listening devices, free accessible parking, and visual telephone alerts round out the options and can accommodate a variety of disabilities. 

(Howard County Trail Accessibility allows everyone to enjoy the area’s hiking trails.)

Both the Hilton Garden Inn Columbia and the Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbia/Laurel, offer similar accommodations, with mobility accessible rooms and an ADA — approved pool lift for the pool at each location. 

Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City provides amazing accessibility that is ADA — compliant, across all features of the resort. From the guest rooms to the pool, and the spa, restaurant, and golf course. Immerse yourself in the accessible treatment rooms and hot tub at the spa, or venture onto the accessible paths at the driving range. 

Art, History & Culture 

Baltimore and Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum, Ellicott City  

A historic museum that showcases the B & O Railroad on Main Street, it’s wheelchair accessible on the ground level with a ramp leading to the second level.

Columbia Art Center, Columbia

Visitors of all abilities can immerse themselves in the arts at this creativity-inspiring center located in the heart of Columbia. Exhibits and classes are mobility accessible via lifts located on both levels of the center.    

Entertainment  

Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia  

Find your jam at this awesomely accessible entertainment venue. Call in advance to reserve optimal seating for mobility, hearing, and visual needs, and to alert staff of service animals or specific disability-friendly requests. Sign language interpreters are provided based on advance requests, and assistive technologies are available, too.  

Toby’s Dinner Theatre, Columbia  

Small, intimate theater with wide walkways on the ground level and buffet-style dining. Call in advance to score these coveted floor seats that are wheelchair accessible. Call ahead for American Sign Language interpreters, or optimal seating for visual or hearing needs.

Get Out and Play  

Laura’s Place Playground at Blandair Regional Park, Columbia  

Enter through the North entrance. The accessible playground offers play-for-all-events and programming, colorful, nonverbal communication boards, zero-entry merry-go-round, and other ADA-compliant accommodations for children of all abilities to play together. Accommodates cognitive, communicative, social/emotional, and sensory disabilities. Paved paths to three main areas of the park.  

Robinson Nature Center, Columbia  

Offers sensory-friendly Sunday events. Exhibits, trails, and play areas open early allowing visitors to enjoy self-paced activities, sensory bins, scavenger hunts, and more. The center offers visual, social, communicative, and sensory support. Sensory backpacks include noise-reducing headphones, fidgets, and more. Ramps and lifts help mobility-challenged visitors access different levels of the center, with some paved paths outside.  

Shopping  

The Mall at Columbia, Columbia  

An indoor shopping mecca with over 200 specialty stores. Loaner wheelchairs are available free of charge at the security office with a valid ID. The mall also has several elevators.

Savage Mill Shops, Savage  

A historic shopping village offering boutiques, creative classes, and eateries. Two elevators are available and buildings are interconnected.

For more information and to plan your journey, check out visithowardcounty.com.

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