Travelling after a spinal cord injury is fully possible – even if it presents unique challenges. When you’re traveling, questions arise at every turn about airports, hotels, taxis, and stairs. However, choosing the right destination can have a huge impact on your trip.
With the right travel companion, you can manage to get over cobblestone streets and navigate difficult bathrooms, but it can make your life a whole lot easier to select a destination that doesn’t require you to overcome such difficult challenges.
Typically, newer cities are easier to navigate and offer more accessible transportation options, but that doesn’t always apply. Today, we’ll look at some of the top wheelchair friendly travel destination; four here in the USA and four abroad.
Seattle, WA: Seattle combines the best of the new and the old. Like older cities, Seattle features a downtown area that does not sprawl over a huge area; while the 2009-build railway system is fully ADA compliant. If you don’t mind the risk of rain, Seattle can be a great place to experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Denver, CO: Another relatively newer city, Denver has spent the last decade improving and expanding its accessible public transportation and central business districts have very well-maintained sidewalks. But the best feature is the combination of urban sites (zoo, botanical gardens, and museums) with the natural wonders of Colorado. The many National Parks in Colorado feature accessible trails and breathtaking site-seeing.
Rehoboth Beach, DE: When you think of beach vacations, Delaware might not be the first thing you think of. But this beautiful beach town offers the perfect getaway for those closer to the East Coast. One of the highlights of Rehoboth Beach – the fully wheelchair accessible beach with ramps and even free beach wheelchairs.
Sonoma Valley, CA: Back to the west coast, Sonoma Valley offers a great vacation spot for disabled persons. This beautiful valley is surrounded by quaint shops, wineries, and romantic restaurants. Because the area is full of small, independent shops, not every destination will be accessible but the city recently completed an ADA upgrade and offers a massive array of choices.
Montreal, Canada: Montreal is a surprisingly beautiful city. The combined influence of English control with French culture has created a place that has the heart of a European city without the need to cross an ocean. What’s more, Montreal’s public railway system is extremely wheelchair-friendly featuring seven fully accessible stations.
Sydney, Australia: Sydney is one of the most accessible cities on the planet. Public transportation (including taxis and ferries) are accessible, as is the majority of the popular sites in Sydney: The Opera House, the Sydney Aquarium, the famous Taronga Zoo, and the Sydney Tower.
Dublin, Ireland: So many cities in the old world are difficult to navigate, but Dublin is one notable exception to that rule. Dublin features dropped curbs, accessible traffic crossings, and easy public transportation – all punctuated by some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Dublin also has the benefit of being a highly compact city that minimizes the need for extensive travel between sites and amenities.
Stratford on Avon, England: Another old-world city, Stratford on Avon in England is surprisingly accessible for a city largely built in the 15th century. Of course, the highlight of visiting Stratford on Avon is seeing the home of the best poet in the English language – William Shakespeare. Dropped curbs, level cobblestones, and accessible tourist attractions all make this a great place to experience the powerful history of Stratford on Avon.