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Disability Accessible Travel in San Diego

Resources for Visitors with Disabilities

With its mild climate, 70 miles of sun-kissed beaches, world-famous family attractions and popular year-round events and festivals, San Diego is an ideal vacation destination. To ensure that our visitors with disabilities can experience and enjoy San Diego to the fullest, this travel guide provides resources and information on accessible hotels, tours, lift transportation, attractions and more.

Accessible San Diego

Guide for our visitors with disabilities

  • No matter the time of year, a trip to San Diego isn't complete without time spent at the beach. To make sure all San Diego visitors can enjoy the sand and water, free beach wheelchairs are available at seven San Diego beaches for children and adults with special needs or disabilities.
  • For beach access on-demand year-round, the local company Access Trax rents and sells lightweight, portable wheelchair-accessible mats you can take anywhere. Invented by occupational therapists, the mats are easy to use and can be set up in seconds by one person.
  • Looking for a special night out? San Diego abounds with award-winning theater and concert options that meet the needs of theater visitors with disabilities.
  • Enjoy seeing the San Diego sights as narrated by a local expert. Accessible San Diego sightseeing tours happen on land or water, via a bus, boat or old-fashioned trolley.
  • Disabled shopping enthusiasts can spend hours exploring San Diego's unique retail districts, whether checking out the major outdoor malls or the unrivaled bargains at the region's popular outlet centers.
  • Don't miss two of San Diego's most popular annual events, the Del Mar Racing Season from mid-July through early September and San Diego Comic-Con International in July. Both provide special services for disabled visitors.
  • More information for families traveling to San Diego with special-needs children can be found on the site.
Additional Travel Tips
  • Call ahead. Service providers are required to accommodate travelers with special needs; however, most need some time to make the necessary arrangements. Mention your needs at the time of reservation, and call the provider 24 to 48 hours before your arrival to confirm that proper accommodations have been made.
  • Be specific and clear when describing a disability. Not all service providers know the "lingo" of accessible travel, or the medical terms for certain conditions. Give as many details as you can about what you can and can't do, and don't downplay the severity of the disability. The more information a service provider has, the better they will be able to accommodate you.
  • Take a doctor's note and phone number. Travel with a statement from your doctor, preferably on letterhead, covering your condition, medications, potential complications, special needs and other pertinent information. Be sure you have a number where your doctor (or another medical professional) can be reached in an emergency situation at any hour of the day.

Alana Nichols Accessible San Diego

Everyone Can Enjoy the Water in San Diego

Paralympian Alana Nichols has competed around the world as a multi-sport athlete and Gold Medalist, but her favorite place to get out on the water is right here in San Diego. You’ll find her surfing Cardiff Reef, kayaking the caves of La Jolla Cove, sailing on the open ocean and even training in Mission Bay for sprint kayak in the Paralympic Games! As an athlete with a disability, she also knows San Diego’s adaptive community and the accessible ways to get out and enjoy the water.

Learn More
Additional Resources for Visitors with Disabilities

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

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