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Gulf Coast Heritage Tours Aimed at the Differently-Abled

Gulf Coast Heritage Tours Aimed at the Differently-Abled

You wake up to a beautiful morning, smell the fresh air and wonder what you are going to do today. You’d love to take off to the islands or the mountains while the kids are out of school during the holidays, but you don’t have enough time … or money.

Here’s an idea: grab the kids, load up the car, head out on the open road and begin your adventure on The Gulf Coast Heritage Tour.

“What’s that?” you might ask.

The Gulf Coast Heritage Tour is the brainstorm of Janie O’Keefe, Executive Director of Disability Connection, and is universally designed to be inclusive for all individuals regardless of their disabilities. Whether the person is blind, deaf, or uses a wheelchair, Disability Connection will provide the necessary information for scheduling a visit to travel locations that can accommodate unique needs.

Thanks to the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area Grant from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and the National Park Service, Disability Connection created The Gulf Coast Heritage Tour Project in partnership with Walt Grayson, featured state-wide host of “Mississippi Roads” and “Look Around Mississippi.”

The tours aim to preserve and promote the heritage areas of South Mississippi, with emphasis on waterways, nature, history and art. The tours will educate and connect the public to our beautiful heritage areas and include cultural, historical, recreational and scenic resources.

Executive Director of Disability Connection, Janie O’Keefe, is more than qualified to design and promote accessible tours, as she holds the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator Certificate, the ADA Professional Certificate, and the ADA/APA Specialty Designation (Accessibility Professionals Association).

Of course the tour is for everyone to enjoy, and many find it great fun to make a list of heritage sites and check them off after visiting them. It is great fun to discuss the significant merits and history of each site with your kids. Tour sites can be from a few minutes to a couple of hours from home, so not a lot of time is needed to get out and enjoy The Gulf Coast Heritage Tour.

Currently there are over 150 sites (and more are being added) in the six-county coastal region.

For more information, please contact The Gulf Coast Heritage Tour Information Center at: Tours. There, you will find a collection of

“Heritage Moments,” films that showcase locations in South Mississippi that are part of our coast’s heritage. You may also get details at (228)604-4020.


Chaz Mikell is a musician, actor and writer living in Gautier, Mississippi.

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