Your Complete Guide to the Best Wheelchair-Accessible Destinations
“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” — Mark Twain
Tecla makes it easier for people with limited upper body mobility to travel alone, with the ability to quickly make a phone call to your hotel or check Google Maps for directions to your next attraction. However, the accessibility of the public transportation systems, restaurants, hotels and resorts, attractions and general tourist-friendliness are vital in making your vacation a memorable one.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Not only has Vancouver been consistently ranked among the top five most livable cities in the world, but the ever-improving city prides itself on the reputation as one of the most accessible places for tourists in the world. In 2013, British Columbia officially BANNED doorknobs thanks to a new building code legislation. Some of the city’s most popular attractions such as Stanley Park, Science World, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Vancouver Aquarium have handicapped parking and are for the most part fully wheelchair accessible.
If you plan to visit Vancouver in the winter, the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program gives people with physical and cognitive disabilities the opportunity to partake in skiing and snowboarding with specialized equipment, therapeutic programming, and alpine ski instruction.
Singapore has a reputation for not only being the most accessible city in the continent of Asia but also as one of the cities with the most accessible infrastructure in the world. This is largely due to its universal code on barrier-free accessibility which was put in place by the government more than 20 years ago.
Singapore has tons of tourist attractions that compete as some of the best in the world, most of which are wheelchair accessible. 90% of the pathways in the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari are paved and accessible by wheelchair, and wheelchairs are available to loan at the entrance for free on a first-come-first-serve basis.
This culturally diverse city makes the list for its extensive disability policy that has heavily influenced the adaptation of the city into meeting a highly accessible standard with a barrier-free environment for locals and tourists.
Whether you rely on a wheelchair to get around or not, a definite perk to a vacation spot is having multiple attractions located within walking distance. Museum Island in Berlin has multiple museums in close proximity to each other which makes it easy anyone to visit them in a single day. These include the Pergamon Museum, the Neues Museum, and the German History Museum which are all jam-packed with cultural artifacts.
Bonus for young travelers: Berlin has several wheelchair accessible nightclubs where people of all abilities come together to have a fun night.
Travel to one of the oldest civilizations and soak up the Mediterranean sun in Loutraki, Greece. We included this coastal town not far from Athens for the hotel designed exclusively for people with physical disabilities — the Sirens Resort. The units have everything you need from grab bars to roll-in showers and accessible kitchens. They also offer rentable electric beds, shower chairs, hoists and wheelchairs which may eliminate some of the luggage you’d normally bring.
The feature which gives this resort an A+ is its fully accessible beach complete with an innovative ramp that goes directly into the sea. Remember to leave your electronic devices like a Tecla in your hotel room before getting your feet wet.
Australia is among the top countries which value wheelchair accessibility as a standard, and its most populated city of Sydney is no exception. The Sydney Opera House, as well as the adjacent Royal Botanical Gardens, are completely accessible. The Sydney Tower which provides a 360 degree view of the city with an observation deck that is fully accessible with windows which are tall and ledges which are low enough for someone in a wheelchair can see out without anything obscuring their view.
Isla Aguada, Mexico
Located along the Gulf of Mexico, we chose Isla Aguada not just for its crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches, but for its completely accessible resort — Freedom Shores. Freedom Shores was founded by a veteran with quadriplegia who was injured in the Vietnam War and designed from the ground up to be fully accessible to people with physical disabilities. Some notable features include roll-in showers and shower chairs in each room as well as escorted wheelchair accessible taxis available for arrivals and local excursions. Once you’re ready for the beach, travel down along a wide promenade right next to the water and head to the accessible boat for a scuba diving adventure fit for everyone.
Oahu follows the jurisdiction of Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and has an abundance of hotels, restaurants, beaches and excursions with wheelchair access making this lush and historical city a prime vacation spot for people with physical disabilities. The factor that included Oahu in our list was the Turtle Bay resort, a luxurious experience that does not compromise accessibility.
To get from one end of this huge resort to the other, hop on a wheelchair accessible golf cart. Check out this video where the founder of Life Rolls On, Jesse Billauer, experience what the resort has to offer.
Bonus accessible excursions: AccesSurf — an accessible water program that teach people with physical and cognitive disabilities how to surf.
We hope your next vacation takes you to one of these accessible spots! Have you been to any of these destinations or have other favourite cities that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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