I’ve written a lot about wheelchair accessible destinations around the world. Many of them have been places that I’ve personally been to and others are places that I simply dream of visiting one day. Whenever I’m researching new destinations for accessibility, I often search Google for hours upon hours. Many times, the information is not out there or it’s extremely difficult to find. Also, trusting non-wheelchair users when they explain how accessible a destination is can be tricky. I’ve called hotels before and been told that they were completely accessible, only to later find out that their only accessible feature was an elevator.
As I’ve grown Curb Free with Cory Lee, I have met other wheelchair using travelers and I love hearing their stories about places they’ve been. There’s really no better way to learn which destinations are accessible than hearing it directly from people who need the same kind of accommodations as you. Over the past few weeks I have reached out to other wheelchair users and they have graciously shared their picks for accessible destinations. Here are the most wheelchair accessible destinations that these 8 wheelchair users have ever been to:
Sonoma Valley, California By Jeanne Allen of incredibleACCESSIBLE
The scenic 17 mile Sonoma Valley, with its spectacular mountain vistas, ancient oak trees, and sunlit valley vineyards, is California’s original Wine Country, dating back to 1824. Winding from the historic pueblo of Sonoma to the tiny hamlet of Jack London’s Glen Ellen, the Sonoma Valley is one of the world’s most romantic and accessible destinations. Surrounded by mountains, the valley floor is flat, making a walk/roll around Sonoma’s historic plaza with it’s renowned restaurants and one-of-a-kind quaint shops easily accessible. Wineries, restaurants, shops, and country inns dot the landscape with the vast majority having been renovated or built new for accessibility. Case in point, Buena Vista Winery, California’s oldest winery founded in 1857, recently completed a massive ADA upgrade, incorporating ramps and elevators to make tours, tastings, and restrooms accessible to all. With Mediterranean temperatures rarely below freezing, Sonoma Valley is an idyllic world-class accessible year round destination.
Western Wall in Israel By Emily Ladau of Words I Wheel By
Too often, wheelchair users come up against structural barriers when visiting the world’s most well-known historical sites. While visiting Israel, I initially expected to experience this problem almost everywhere we went. Not so! I had the opportunity of a lifetime to visit the Western Wall, which is the world’s holiest Jewish site. It is a beautiful, peaceful place welcoming to people of all religions and all abilities. So long as you make sure to approach the Western Wall through the vehicle entrance area, nothing stands in your way and the ground is even and flat. Few moments have been so breathtaking as the moment I was able to roll right up to the Western Wall and place my hands on it.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware By Sheri and Tony of Happy on Wheels
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware may not sound like an exotic getaway, but it is the perfect beach vacation for individuals who use wheelchairs. My husband and I are both wheelchair users, and we have been vacationing there for years, including our upcoming 10th anniversary celebration. We love it for many reasons; the boardwalk is long, wide and fully wheelchair accessible; there are ramps down to the sand and free beach wheelchairs; you can navigate the boardwalk, surrounding stores and streets without using a vehicle; there is a wide choice of accessible hotels and condominiums with roll in showers; it is clean and the beach is beautiful; there are many accessible shops, restaurants and bars; and most importantly, the people that live, work and vacation in Rehoboth are friendly and helpful to individuals with disabilities. Traveling with a disability can be frustrating. Rehoboth makes it easy. That is why we love it.