California’s Wheelchair Accessible Destinations and Resources

The King of the West Coast also happens to reign with a variety of wholly accessible action and adventure for you to enjoy.

When it comes to variety and accessibility, California ranks high on the list of destinations for vacations, lifestyles, and a whole lot more. Whether you’re looking to see the storied sights, settle down in a quiet community, or just pass through an exciting world, accessible California is a tough state to beat.

Outdoor Wheelchair Accessible Destinations

There’s nothing quite like the outdoor adventures to be found in accessible California. From the beautiful coastline to never-sleep cities, you’ll find accommodating sights and sounds with something for everyone. Here are just a few of the outdoor wheelchair accessible destinations that California has to offer.

Disney California Adventure Park, Anaheim. No visit to Southern California would be complete without making your dreams come true at Disneyland. The park is wheelchair accessible. However, there are some attractions that require guests to transfer from their wheelchair to ride by themselves or be assisted by members of their party. There are a few rides that are not wheelchair accessible, but the majority of rides are.

San Diego Zoo, San Diego. The Zoo is handicap accessible with a small fee to rent a wheelchair. Be sure to notify the bus attendant to reserve seats in the wheelchair area for the other members of your party. If you are in a folding wheelchair, the Skyfari attraction will have the wheelchair transported ahead to be available for your arrival on the opposite end. If you are in an electric or non-folding wheelchair, you must do the Skyfari as a round trip. The two amphitheaters are also wheelchair accessible.

The Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. This park is one of the world's largest national parks. It follows the coastline of the San Francisco bay area for nearly 60 miles. There's plenty of things to do, not to mention simply soaking in the stunning beauty of the California shore line. Most of the park is accessible. If you are traveling with a companion who can assist you, more of the garden can be seen.

Indoor Wheelchair Accessible Destinations

For those who prefer indoor wheelchair accessible destinations, California certainly doesn’t disappoint. We’re talking about a collection of attractions and destinations that are as memorable as they are accessible. Here are just a few of the activities waiting for you when you find yourself ‘going back to Cali’.

Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach. The aquarium is home to more than 11,000 ocean animals and has nearly 500 different species. The exhibits cover species from the Pacific, such as waters of Southern California and Baja, the Northern Pacific, and the Tropical Pacific. You can also visit the exhibits located outdoors, such as the Shark Lagoon, the Lorikeet Forest aviary, and ‘Watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific.’

LEGOLAND, San Diego. LEGOLAND can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Upon entering the park, meet Bronte, the 34-foot tall dinosaur made completely from LEGO blocks. There are 60 rides, shows and attractions. Most of the rides are wheelchair accessible except for some water rides. Wheelchairs are available upon request for a small fee — first come, first served. You will need someone with you to help transfer you from your wheelchair to ride some of the rides.

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles. The 2,700 square-foot Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon is used for educational activities, live transmissions of space events, and training for teachers. However, the theater is also used for a variety of other activities such as the film ‘The Once and Future Griffith Observatory’, which is narrated by Leonard Nimoy and explores the history of the observatory. All parts of the Griffith observatory are wheelchair accessible, including the theaters.

California Wheelchair Accessible Resources

California boasts a collection of wheelchair accessible resources both online and on-site that will help you to plan a truly personalized and custom experience no matter where you opt to venture. Save time by registering online for assistance — or, if you prefer, call the attraction directly for assistance ahead of your visit.

A Wheelchair Rider’s Guide to the California Coast. Published by Access Northern California and located at http://wheelingcalscoast.org/, this guide can help you choose the destinations that suit your needs from among the coast's many wheelchair-accessible parks, trails, beaches, viewpoints, and other sites of interest

Jean’s Accessible Adventures. Visit http://www.cyber-sierra.com/access/resources.html for a catch-all page with a variety of useful information — including some inspiration from other people who are mobility challenged but are getting out of the house and into the woods, desert, coastlines, and more.

Accessible Parks for Visitors with Disabilities. Published by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and located at https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=21944, this website is designed to assist you plan your visit to a California State park. Each park has a web page that includes a Park Info section. Within the Park Info section is a link to a page with information about the accessible features found within that park.