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3 Amazing (and Accessible) Vacation Destinations For Wheelchair Users

One billion people, or an impressive 15% of the world’s population experiences some form of disability. However, when it comes to finding the best vacation destinations that are also wheelchair accessible, planning a holiday can be that much more difficult.

Whether you’re planning for yourself or for a loved one who needs wheelchair accessibility, here are just three destinations that are perfect for any accessible getaway — from the United States to locations abroad.

Colorful Sydney skyline and reflection across the Harbour

Sydney, Australia

If you’re looking for an accessible, far-flung destination that includes a focus on wildlife and beaches, look no further than Sydney, Australia.

From the accessible Royal Botanical Gardens that allow you to experience native Australian plants and local bird life to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney exhibitions, you’re sure to learn and experience the country’s wildlife up close and in multiple forms. And, with accessible beach wheelchairs available for loan at no cost on Manly Beach from the Surf Lifesaving Club, you or your loved one will be able to experience the beach at the fullest capacity, without having to stay behind in the hotel.

Seattle, Washington

If you’re looking to stay within the United States for your vacation, Seattle, Washington is certainly an underrated destination that does accessibility right. With public transportation being widely accessible with wheelchair friendly ferries and taxis that have ramps, it’s no question that getting around will be entirely possible.

Plus, with a number of notable and accessible attractions such as the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle Aquarium, and Woodland Park Zoo, there is no shortage of interesting things to do in Seattle. Other notable and wheelchair friendly attractions include the Pacific Science Center and Pike Place Market, highlighting that there are a wide variety of things to do, perfect for a large family or group vacation.

For those that lean on disability support networks, asking community forums or boards for additional travel recommendations (such as when it comes to accessible hotels and experiences with accessibility) can be of great help in finding additional resources when traveling. If you or your loved one lives with cerebral palsy, for instance, Cerebral Palsy Family Network, or CPFN, may be able to help in this regard, especially when it comes to finding families within the community who may share helpful insight.

Barcelona, Spain

With accessibility being a focus in Barcelona, Spain, it undoubtedly makes for a great vacation destination consideration. In fact, with 80% of metro stations and 100% of buses being wheelchair accessible (not to mention the cobblestone-free streets), Barcelona can be surprisingly easy to navigate, and there are a number of options when it comes to finding something to do.

With beaches being accessible and famous attractions like Sagrada Familia allowing wheelchair users to skip to the front of the queue (and oftentimes get in for free, too), additional potential for exploration can be found in the Mercat de la Boqueria (Barcelona’s largest public market that’s popular among tourists), there’s something for everyone in this Spanish city.

Whether you’re planning an accessible vacation as a wheelchair user or you’re looking to accommodate a loved one who uses a wheelchair, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a wealth of options, whether you choose to go abroad or not. From destinations like Seattle in the United States to exotic places abroad, many destinations are putting accessibility at the forefront of things like transportation and popular attractions.

Any other wheelchair-friendly destinations that you recommend?

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

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