San Diego, California, is a beautifully diverse coastal city known for its stunning beaches, year-round sunshine, and lively culture. Did you know that San Diego is also an accessible city? I’ve traveled to San Diego a few times and I’ve watched this city transform itself from “hardly” accessible to “much more” accessible.
Much More Accessible
I knew once I landed in the totally new San Diego International Airport the city was doing more for accessibility. The airport is super accessible and easy to navigate and staff were properly trained on how to safely assist me boarding/debarking the plane on an aisle chair. It was difficult, however, to find an accessible taxi so I had to make arrangements through Super Shuttle.
You will have plenty of options for hotels with accessible rooms. I usually stick with a major brand, such as Marriott, so I stayed in downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp Quarter which is the heart of San Diego and close to shops, restaurants, and more. There are so many accessible and fun things to see and do in San Diego so you won’t be bored. I cannot wait to get back and experience even more. Here are some of my recommendations for a safe and accessible trip to San Diego.
San Diego beaches are amazing and a number of them are accessible! Select beaches also offer sand access mats to provide an easier pathway to access the beach. Large spikes hold the mats in place and sand is swept off the mats daily. Several beaches offer beach mats, including Imperial Beach, Cardiff State Beach, and Moonlight Beach. You can find manual and powered chairs at Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Coronado Beach, Silver Strand State Beach, Imperial Beach, La Jolla Shores and Oceanside Harbor Beach.
Museums and Attractions
You’ll find world-class museums and attractions in San Diego. The San Diego Museum of Art, USS Midway Museum, and the San Diego Zoo have accessible entrances, elevators, and ramps, ensuring that individuals with disabilities can fully explore and appreciate their offerings. These venues also provide accessibility guides and programs to enhance the visitor experience. Check on the links for more specific information about your accessibility needs.
Parks and Gardens
San Diego is such a beautiful place to enjoy parks and gardens. Balboa Park, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, includes The Japanese Friendship Garden and the Botanical Building – both within Balboa Park, have accessible parking and bathrooms, wheelchair-accessible entrances and facilities, stroller-friendly facilities, diaper changing stations, sensory programming, audio tours and films with captioning and translation, and many more services and offerings. Check this link for specific information for each venue.
The weather in San Diego is usually nice without extremes of hot or cold so planning outdoor activities is typically easy. The Mission Bay Park offers accessible trails, picnic areas, and beach wheelchairs at nine locations. The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve offers accessible trails that wind through its stunning coastal scenery, accessible restrooms, and accessible parking..
Dining and Entertainment
San Diego’s eclectic culinary scene and lively entertainment options include accessible venues. Many restaurants, cafes, and bars have accessible entrances, spacious interiors, and accessible restrooms. The Old Town San Diego State Historic Park includes accessible experiences such as historic sites, museums, restaurants, and shopping. Some of the aisles in shops may be narrow and some may have a step at the entrance.
San Diego is a great city to visit and you’ll find plenty of things to do and see that are accessible. So, contact a reputable travel agent such as Travel for All, create an accessible itinerary, and pack your bags for a fun and accessible trip!