10 Best Accessible Vacation Spots for Power Wheelchair Users

Thanks to laws and attitudes toward mobility changing all around the world, international travel has never been easier for vacationers in power wheelchairs. Architects, designers, and city planners all have accessibility in mind when creating new attractions and amenities in some of the world's most popular tourist spots. We've compiled a list of 10 of the best vacation spots with accessible transportation, accommodations, and exciting activities for every type of traveler. Whether you like shopping, history, culture, cuisine, or thrilling adventures, these cities offer unique and interesting experiences for all.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, NV

"Sin City" is considered one of the entertainment capitals of the world and is one of the most accessible cities in the United States. Las Vegas is a fantastic place to find accessible accommodation, transportation, and activities. Nearly all of the hotels have accessible rooms with roll-in showers, and many are conveniently located on the airport bus line #109 that will drop you off right along the strip. The casinos, nightclubs, and live show venues are designed to be accessible for wheelchair users, and there are even a variety of day tours outside of the city that cater to people in wheelchairs. Consider putting a day trip to the Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon on the agenda. For those looking for an extreme activity, try out the SlotZilla, a zip line that makes it possible for people in wheelchairs to fly Superman-style over the city.

2. Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Sydney is a vibrant and modern city that is super wheelchair-friendly. Sydney is packed with activities that are accessible by wheelchair. Some of the city's most popular tourist attractions include the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Sydney Fish Market, and Whale Watching tours. Guess what? All of these places and more are accessible by wheelchair! Many of Sydney's beach areas and nature trails can even be enjoyed in a wheelchair. Sydney has an excellent network of accessible buses, trains, and ferries to help you jet around and see what the city has to offer! The city has some great accessibility maps to help you plan your trip.

3. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Whether you are a foodie, an architectural lover, or a history buff, Copenhagen is a cool European city that has something for you. Copenhagen is the world's premier bicycle city, which means it's great for those on wheels! Copenhagen is the capital of Nordic cuisine, and boasts a variety of delicious street food and accessible restaurants. With its compact size and efficient public transportation infrastructure, it is easy to explore the magical mix of modern and historical architecture and culture.

4. Singapore

Singapore is famous for being a spotlessly clean, well-maintained, modern city. Unlike many of its neighbors, this sovereign city-state has thoughtfully considered the accessibility of both citizens and visitors. All MRT trains have two wheelchair-accessible cars, and more than half of the buses are wheelchair-friendly. Check out this detailed bus guide. Singapore has many wondrous attractions that have been built or modified with wheelchair users in mind. The futuristic Gardens by the Bay has to be one of the most interesting attractions in Singapore, and they have shuttle buses to transport wheelchair users from Bayfront MRT station for free. Other notable attractions include the Singapore Flyer, and the Jurong Bird Park, the largest bird park in Asia. If you are joining the throngs of fashionistas heading to Singapore on shopping trips, you will find no shortage of modern, accessible car parks and toilets in Singapore's many halls.

5. Washington, D.C.

The U.S. capital has a strict accessibility policy and fascinating museums and historical attractions. The White House has to be on every D.C. tourist's agenda, and thanks to Franklin D. Roosevelt, was one of the first accessible buildings in the city. Other famous monuments and attractions have followed suit, making this city perfect for tourists in power wheelchairs who want a taste of one of the nation's most historically rich cities. D.C. prides itself on being one of the most accessible cities in the world; all Metrorail stations and cars are accessible, as are all of the city buses. You can obtain a Metro Disability ID Card a few weeks before your trip for reduced fares on buses. Power wheelchair users who need extra help can use MetroAccess, a door-to-door service for those who cannot independently use accessible public transportation.

6. London, England

London, England

London is a historical city with both fantastic and difficult attractions for disabled visitors. However, the city has made a big push in recent years to become a better place for people in wheelchairs. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the site of the 2012 Paralympic Games, was designed to meet the highest accessibility standards, and is a fantastic place to spend a day as a family. The majority of London's museums have been made wheelchair-accessible, and more and more historical attractions are following suit. Those who like unique nightlife should check out the happy hour at Icebar London. Adventurous visitors can try iFLY indoor skydiving or gliding with Walking on Air, both thrilling attractions are accessible for wheelchair users.

7. Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv has some surprisingly cool accessible attractions, including beaches! Tel Aviv's Hilton Beach along with Banana Beach in Mikhmoret, just north of the city, have wheelchair-accessible facilities along with very exciting big-wheeled beach chairs to get wheelchair users over the sand and into the sea with ease! The city is mostly flat and well-paved, so it is easy to wheel around. Motorized wheelchair rentals are readily available from private companies and non-profit organizations like Yad Sarah. Israel's disability laws require all hotels to offer accessible rooms, toilets, and parking facilities. All Tel Aviv trains and city buses are wheelchair-accessible. The city's accessible outdoor activities and fascinating historical sites make for a really cool vacation spot for power wheelchair users.

8. Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada

Montreal is one of the most visited Canadian cities. Many of the historical areas of the city have been refurbished to be accessible by ramps, including the Notre-Dame Basilica and City Hall. Lovers of iconic architecture and Roman Catholic history will love Old Montreal. Mount Royal, a beautiful park designed by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, is accessible for power wheelchair users and a great place to spend a day. Not all restaurants in the older parts of Montreal are accessible, but with a great guide like Restomontreal and a little planning you'll have no problem finding great places to dine on French-inspired Quebec cuisine. The Quebec government has done an awesome job of compiling lists of accessible hotels and attractions.

9. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

"Keep Portland Weird" has been the unofficial motto of Portland for years. The new official slogan is "The City That Works." We like to think these two slogans sum up the experience one can have vacationing in Portland. It is well planned and maintained, but has a quirky, artsy twist that is unique to the city. Getting around the city is a breeze, as Portland has an extensive public transport system that is 100% power wheelchair-accessible, and the city sidewalks have very smooth curb cuts for smooth street access. Portland is also a super bikeable city, and power wheelchairs are allowed to use the many convenient bike lanes to zip around the neighborhoods. If you want to get outside of the city and explore some of Portland's famous natural beauty, you are in luck; a lot of parks have accessible areas! Powell Butte Nature Park and Hoyt Arboretum each boast over 10 miles of accessible trails. Multnomah Falls is a must-see accessible attraction and has wheelchairs in loan from the park ranger if needed. Portland consistently ranks as one of the best cities for vacationers in wheelchairs.

10. Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is a clean, green city that is easy to get around on its fully accessible transit system that is free for passengers in wheelchairs. One thing that is exciting about Helsinki's transportation options is that even most taxis have wheelchair ramps! Finnish city planning has always considered equality for all, and this is obvious all around Helsinki! Note that there are many places with elevators that are discreetly placed, as they are only intended for those with mobility issues. you may often have to ask staff where to find the elevators to second floors. There are also some really cool tour companies offering accessible tours of the city.

Now it's time to start looking for flights!

Now that we've covered some amazing vacation spots around the world for power wheelchair users, it's time to start planning your trip. The best cities for travelers in wheelchairs have great resources online. Always check out accessible features of a city on their airport page and the local visitors' website. These excellent resources compile information to make accessible travel easy and enjoyable.

Check out my other blog post about tips for flying with a wheelchair!

About the Author

Cory Lee

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the U.S. when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned 15. Since then, Cory has traveled to 21 countries across six continents, all while managing to start up his travel blog Curb Free with Cory Lee, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not-so-accessible travel adventures with others. Cory is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, in a nationwide segment for CBS News, Lonely Planet, and many others. His blog won the 2017 Best Travel Blog Gold Lowell Thomas Award. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Cory Lee's ride is a Quickie QM-710.

Most of the stories here on Live Quickie were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.


Date: 5/15/2018 12:00:00 AM


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