A Guide to Wheelchair Accessible RVs
Article originally featured on Wheelchair Travel
If you have a week or two (or preferably longer) to vacation, a road trip might be just what you’re looking for. Road trips offer a chance to set your own pace while relaxing, enjoying time with friends and family and exploring so much more of the world around. Road-tripping in a personal car or wheelchair accessible van is certainly possible, but it’s much more enjoyable in a wheelchair accessible RV, motorhome or camper van.
In this guide to wheelchair accessible RVs, I’ll introduce you to the different options for purchasing an accessible motorhome or camper van, opportunities to rent a wheelchair accessible RV, and some important things to consider before hitting the road.
Wheelchair Accessible Motorhomes for Sale
Two major manufacturers of motorhomes produce include wheelchair accessible RV models in their product lines — they are not aftermarket adaptations, but rather feature direct-from-the-factory accessibility features. Streamlined manufacturing helps to reduce cost and the prevalence of accessible motorhomes on the market. Below, we take a closer look at the accessible RV models that are currently in production.
Winnebago Accessibility Enhanced RVs
Winnebago introduced its Accessibility Enhanced (AE) model line of wheelchair accessible RVs featuring wheelchair lifts and roll-in showers in 2019, and it has continued to develop the line since that time. The 2021 line-up includes the Winnebago Adventurer and Winnebago Inspire.
Winnebago Adventurer 30T AE Wheelchair Accessible RV
Starting at $269,421, the Winnebago Adventurer 30T AE motorhome is 31 feet in length and can comfortably sleep 5. The RV features a high-powered Braun wheelchair lift, a 54″ x 25″ roll-in shower with grab bar and a roll-under sink.
The Adventurer is described as Winnebago’s top-of-the-line gas coach, and it boasts a host of features that the company typically reserves for its diesel-powered motorhomes. For more information about this RV, its features and to see more photos, video and a 360-degree tour, visit the Winnebago website.
Winnebago Inspire Wheelchair Accessible RV
Starting at $299,000, the Winnebago Inspire is the company’s biggest and most luxurious wheelchair accessible motorhome. With a length of almost 36 feet, the Inspire features a queen size bed, a roll-in shower with a full wrap-around curtain, and lots of extra space with slideouts on both sides.
A mid-entry diesel-powered coach, the Inspire is outfitted with an impressive 340-hp Freightliner® XCS chassis, delivering a smooth and powerful ride. For more information about the wheelchair accessible Inspire RV and to see a 360-degree tour, visit the Winnebago website.
Newmar Mobility Lineup of Wheelchair Accessible RVs
Newmar Corporation produces high-quality, luxury motorhomes and was acquired by Winnebago Industries in 2020. The company includes wheelchair accessible floor plans across five of its models. Each of the mobility accessible Newmar recreational vehicles features a roll-in shower with built-in shower seat, roll-under sinks, wide hallways and a premium wheelchair lift. The floor plans, starting prices and additional information is provided below.
Newmar Dutch Star 4311 Wheelchair Accessible RV
Floorplan 4311 on the 2021 Dutch Star is Newmar’s top-of-the-line wheelchair accessible recreational vehicle. With a price starting at $404,971, it may be out of reach for many, but it’s loaded with features and boasts a level of wheelchair accessibility that many would say is unmatched.
The RV features a queen size bed, a roll-in shower up to hotel specifications, a roll-under sink and a sofa that doubles as a bed. The wide hallways and Braun wheelchair lift make this motorhome score an excellent accessibility rating. For more information on the Dutch Star 4311 RV, visit the Newmar website.
Newmar Ventana 4311 Wheelchair Accessible RV
Starting at $313,795, the 2021 Newmar Ventana 4311 offers all of the accessibility features of the slightly larger Dutch Star at a discount of nearly $100,000. It’s a popular RV, with an easy-to-navigate floorplan and lots to love.
To take a look inside a real-life Ventana 4311, check out this video walk-through of a 2019 model that was shared by Mount Comfort RV in Greenfield, Indiana.
As you can see, the Newmar Ventana wheelchair accessible RV is an impressive motorhome with lots of space, an incredible roll-in shower and tons of features! For more information on the Ventana 4311 RV, visit the Newmar website.
Newmar Kountry Star 4011 Wheelchair Accessible RV
Country with a “K” may look suspicious, but Newmar’s Kountry Star 4011 RV delivers on accessibility. With a starting price of $279,434, the 2021 model sleeps four, with a queen size bed and a 74″ hide-a-bed sofa onboard. The rig’s shorter length requires some minor concessions — the roll-in shower is 4 feet wide instead of 5, but still offers fantastic accessibility and an L-shaped shower seat.
For more information on the Kountry Star 4011 RV, visit the Newmar website.
Newmar Canyon Star 3911 Wheelchair Accessible RV
Starting at $238,434, the 2021 Canyon Star 3911 is a popular wheelchair accessible motorhome at a mid-range price point. Due to its shorter length, the Canyon Star has a narrower sofa bed, but still features a queen size in the bedroom area.
To take a look inside a 2020 model of the Canyon Star wheelchair accessible RV, check out this video shared by North Trail RV Center in Fort Myers, Florida.
Note that the 2020 model had a gasoline-powered engine, but starting in 2021 the Country Star features a diesel engine at the front of the motorhome. For more information on the Canyon Star 3911 RV, visit the Newmar website.
Newmar Bay Star 3811 Wheelchair Accessible RV
Starting at $158,816, the 2021 Bay Star 3811 is the most affordable of Newmar’s wheelchair accessible RV options. As of 2021, it is Newmar’s only accessible RV that runs on gasoline. Although it has a shorter length than the brand’s other coaches, the Bay Star still delivers the accessibility features that wheelchair users need.
To take a peek inside, check out this video walk-through of a 2021 model that was shared by Guaranty RV in Junction City, Oregon.
Wide hallways, a roll-in shower and roll-under sink all make the Bay Star a great choice for those with access needs. For more information on the Bay Star 3811 RV, visit the Newmar website.
How to Rent a Wheelchair Accessible RV
One of the most frequent questions that I receive is, “Where can I rent a wheelchair accessible RV?” This is a question I have researched extensively for my own benefit, often coming up empty after hours spent combing through forums and Google search results. Accessible campers are limited in number and often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, meaning their owners are much less likely to rent them to strangers. This makes locating wheelchair accessible motorhomes on the rental market extremely difficult.
Canada’s largest RV dealer, Fraserway RV, lists a wheelchair accessible RV for rent on its website. The Class-A RV appears to be the Winnebago Intent AE model and features a heavy-duty wheelchair lift and roll-in shower with grab bars. To learn more about this wheelchair accessible RV for rent, visit the Fraserway website.
Other places you can search for a wheelchair accessible RV rental include Outdoorsy (tick the ADA Accessible checkbox under Guests in the RV search) and RV Share (there is no filter for wheelchair accessibility). In researching for this article, I did not see any truly wheelchair-friendly RVs listed on those websites, but that does not prevent them from being listed in the future.
Wheelchair Accessible Camper Vans for Sale
Camper vans have become all the rage, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic. People have adapted full-size vans like the Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter and Ram Promaster for what is now referred to as the “van life.” These vans have been modified to include beds, toilets, refrigerators, microwaves and more. The vehicles can be made wheelchair accessible, too, including this Mercedes Sprinter camper van that was sold by Creative Mobile Interiors in Grove City, Ohio:
The wheelchair accessible camper van features a heavy-duty under vehicle wheelchair lift, a bed, and a wheelchair space with securement straps and connections built into the floor. To learn more about what types of accessible conversions are possible inside larger vans, see the Creative Mobile Interiors portfolio.
Important Things to Consider Before Purchasing or Renting a Wheelchair Accessible RV
If you’re new to the world of motorhomes, you’ll probably have a ton of questions. Your RV dealer will be able to answer most of those questions as you shop for the perfect rig, but here are a few questions that may come up before you begin your search.
What type of driver’s license is required to legally operate an RV in the United States?
Illegally operating a motorhome isn’t a good idea, but what are the rules? The answer largely depends on what state you and your RV are licensed in. Most states place no special licensing requirements on RV owners — the average driver’s license will do. But some states require a commercial or special non-commercial license to operate RVs over a certain weight.
Generally, if your RV’s gross weight is below 26,000 pounds, you’ll have nothing to worry about. If it does exceed 26,000 pounds, as some wheelchair accessible Class A motorhomes do, you’ll want to contact the DMV in your state to determine if there are any special licensing requirements.
Can wheelchair users drive an RV using hand controls?
Adaptive hand controls can be installed in motorhomes of any size, but not all hand control mechanisms are guaranteed to fit. In some cases, the hand controls used in a typical car or van can also be installed into an RV, but in other cases specialized components may be required. When purchasing a new RV, work with the dealer to determine the most effective adaptations to install, or consult with an expert to discuss transportation equipment modifications for disabled drivers.
Are RV campgrounds wheelchair accessible?
Like all public accommodations, RV parks should offer equal access to disabled people, with wheelchair accessible facilities including bathrooms, swimming pools and parking, if any of those facilities are provided. As you might expect, not all businesses take ADA compliance seriously, and you may encounter barriers when stopping at an RV park or campsite. One great resource for selecting a place to stop over is the RVing Accessibility Group, which has published a list of wheelchair accessible RV parks in the United States.