Upgrade your browser - Unfortunately, this site has updated features that cannot run on this version of Internet Explorer. Download a free upgrade of Internet Explorer.
Discover Story Ideas Details Back to Story Ideas

Accessible Travel in California

Jun. 26, 2017

As a result of California being a top travel destination, temperate weather paired with an endless number of things to do have shown to attract the masses. For travelers looking to avoid the crowds and traffic but still want to experience all that California has to offer, here are some insider travel tips to help you along the way.

North Coast

Curiously Accessible Mendocino County

Surprisingly for a county that owes so much of its appeal to the fact it remains delightfully unchanged since Victorian times, forward-thinking Mendocino has ensured there is much to do for mobility-challenged tourists. From disabled-friendly wineries to the many accessible shops and restaurants, people who use wheelchairs can taste wine, dine and browse with relative ease. Mendocino County may be rustic, untamed and historic, but it welcomes disabled visitors nonetheless.

Gold Country

Accessible Exploration in Tuolumne County

You’ve struck gold! Head out to Tuolumne County for an  Gold Country accessible Gold Country adventure. Top destinations include Railtown 1897 State Historic Park where visitors can take an excursion on a famous historic train. The Southside Creek portion of the Dragoon Gulch Trail in the heart of Sonora is surfaced and ADA accessible allowing for a tranquil outing for everyone. Pinecrest Lake features an accessible pathway to an ADA-friendly fishing platform and outdoor amphitheater, which hosts summer evening ranger programs and current movies under the stars. Vibrant street fairs and festivals that showcase local artisans, musicians, food and more happen throughout the year in the County's many Gold Rush-era towns.

High Sierra

Access the High Sierras

One might associate Mono County and the High Sierras with extreme sports like snowboarding and mountain biking but there are plenty of ADA-accessible activities that make this beautiful region open to anyone. The white-sand beaches and crystal-blue waters of June Lake are accessible thanks to a path from the parking lot to the shore. A paved/packed earth Nanatuk accessible trail offers a rare ADA path into the high alpine splendor of Tioga Pass. Paved paths and fishing platforms along Convict Lake’s shores are great for anglers and sightseers alike, and the Mono Lake South Tufa trail offers a boardwalk and packed earth trail to experience the other-worldly formations of Mono Lake’s alkali waters.

San Francisco Bay Area

BerkeleyADA Innovators in Berkeley

Berkeley is widely known as the birthplace of the disability rights movement, which has cultivated a culture of accessibility, adding to the idea that everyone is welcome in Berkeley. The city's Ed Roberts Campus is a national and international model dedicated to disability rights and universal access. Visitors can then head over to the newly revamped and fully accessible Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) for a glimpse into Berkeley’s art culture.  

Accessible Thrills in San Francisco

Experience San Francisco’s dark past at The San Francisco Dungeon! The fully-ADA accessible attraction is a thrilling 60-minute journey through the history of San Francisco from the Gold Rush to Alcatraz. With an amazing cast of theatrical actors, special effects, stages and scenes, this one-of-a-kind experience will allow you to see, hear, touch, smell and feel the show. So be prepared to laugh one minute and scream the next.

Central Coast

Accessible Beach in Oxnard

Special needs families need not to worry about being able to access the beach when traveling to Oxnard. The beautiful Oxnard Beach Park features public barbeque areas, volleyball courts, a kids play area, jogging paths, a covered group picnic area and an accessible 900-foot paved path leading right up the water’s edge!

Los Angeles County

The Ultimate Hollywood Experience

Looking for fun in the Los Angeles area? Round up the family and experience Hollywood at Universal Studios where most rides, shows, attractions and parking structures are designed to accommodate guests with wheelchairs and other disabilities. Additionally, guests are able to rent wheelchairs and ECV’s (Electric Convenience Vehicle) if needed. Universal Studios also issues unique passes for disabled guests, called Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP), which allows visitors with disabilities to wait in alternates lines if they are unable to wait in regular lines.

Orange County

Sensory Friendly Programming in Costa Mesa

Head over to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts with the family for a Sensory-Friendly performance. These shows are designed specifically for patrons with sensory sensitivity and include features like reduction of sound levels and stage lighting, assistive listening devices, binoculars, large print programs, ASL interpretation and wheelchair seating.

San Diego County

See San Diego from the Sky

Elevate your experience and enjoy an aerial view of San Diego with an accessible helicopter tour! Passengers with limited mobility can enjoy a bird’s eye view of San Diego with a 30-minute helicopter tour from Rotor Zen Helicopters. Tour highlights include: Sea World, Mission Bay, La Jolla Shores, Downtown San Diego, The USS Midway Museum, Mt. Soledad, Coronado Bridge and more.

Everyone Ccan Enjoy Balboa Park

Voted one of the top most accessible attractions in San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urban park in the entire country. There are 17 museums, 15 restaurants, eight performance spaces and many more

attractions including the famous San Diego Zoo. There are many accessible tram and bus stops all around Balboa Park, making it easier for disabled visitors to go exactly where they want to go. For wheelchair users, getting around Balboa Park is easy because of flat, smooth walkways and access to ramps. The Natural History Museum in Balboa Park is particularly accessible and offers free wheelchair rentals, assistive listening devices and entrance for service dogs.