|A Dangerous Looking Stroll (Photo by JC Henkes)|
A relatively new website called WalkScore has the solution. Enter in any address and it will return a numerical ranking of how car dependent you'll be if you choose this property. A rank of 90-100, for example means "walkers paradise--daily activities will not require a car". Choose a property with a score of 0-24 and you can be sure that "all activites will require a car."
I tested WalksScore out with a Marriot that I thought was in the heart of Tampa but returned a dissapointing score of 45, meaning "car dependent". A map showed me my options for restaurants, coffee joints, groceries, shopping, etc and the pickings were slim. Yes there were two restaurants in walking distance, but one would necessitate crossing a highway!
Obviously, the site has uses beyond hotels. For those looking to buy second homes, or spending a day in an unfamiliar area, the perks of this type of info are obvious.
Apparently, AARP has partnered with WalkStop for info on its travel site, though frankly I searched and couldn't find any of the walk scores. For now, go directly to WalkScore.com when you want that type of info.