Finding the best recreational spots or vacation destinations for a family is a daunting task at best. But when it comes to those who have children with special needs, this is especially challenging. In a state like California, we’re already home to many popular and practical vacation venues, everything from Disneyland to San Francisco.
Parents of special needs kids do have options when it comes to traditional venues, as there are some destinations that are more accessible for those with physical limitations when compared to others. Take the “happiest place on earth” for example. While Walt and his descendants have done their part to ensure their amusement park is physically friendly, there are other venues like Legoland that take it a little bit further in accommodating those with special needs.
Listed in Legoland’s downloadable handicap access guide, they indicate the majority of their attractions are completely accessible by wheelchair. They also point out that others can still be enjoyed with transfer and give the best point of reference for the switch. All the restrooms in the park are equipped with at least two handicapped stalls. Every shopping venue, restaurant and all their dining establishments are easily accessible and wheelchair friendly.
Spectacular South Bay Spots
While Southern California is well known for their many theme parks and beautiful beaches, Northern California -- especially closer to Menlo Park and Palo Alto -- also has much to offer. Check out some of these lesser-known waterways and beach locations that cater more towards those with special needs and other physical challenges.
Hitting The Waterways
A summer holiday often dreams up venues of lakes, oceans and the beach, but for those confined to a wheelchair or with other physical restrictions, these beautiful, scenic spots can be a real nightmare. A Wheelchair Rider’s Guide To The California Coast highlights some better choices to enjoy waterways in Santa Clara County:
Nearby San Mateo County is home to some really spectacular beaches, but many of them come equipped with treacherous trails and dangerous access routes. However, these options may work beautifully:
Even though it’s not mentioned in The Wheelchair Rider’s Guide, another spot in San Mateo County is definitely worth a look. About fifteen minutes south of Half Moon Bay on scenic Highway 1 is San Gregorio State Beach. Well known by the locals as a tranquil area that’s littered with driftwood and seashells, there is a smooth, gradual pathway down to the beach.
Beyond The Boardwalk
Practically everyone in the Bay Area is already familiar with the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and while they have plenty of information and assistance available for those with special needs, what about other nearby waterways?
The folks at Hilltromper Santa Cruz compiled a list of their favorite spots that are surprisingly accessible, including the rental of a beach wheelchair that can have those who are otherwise bound to a chair able able to cruise the dunes and approach the surf. Enjoying a fun-filled day at the beach really is possible for everyone!
Naomi Shaw lives in Southern California with her husband and three kids. She is a free-lance journalist and stay at home mom that enjoys writing on fashion, beauty, jewelry and parenting.