If fun in the sun is a top priority on your well-earned holiday, as well as plenty of attractions and activities, then Santa Monica could be the perfect destination for you. Not only are vibrant restaurants, great shopping opportunities and exciting rides on the pier among the highlights, but most are also very accessible for people with limited mobility. Holidays for disabled travellers do not have to be restrictive, so here is the lowdown on what you shouldn’t miss on your visit to Santa Monica! |
The atmosphere at The Pier is always exciting. Throngs of people enjoying the rides and having a great time are the backdrop for the traditional wooden pier that, despite being a little bumpy, is accessible to anyone who brings a wheelchair on their holidays. For disabled visitors, the level walkway leading along the beachfront is ideal, and the walkway is lined with picnic tables in case anyone needs a rest. If it’s possible for your family and you have young children with you, hiring a bike with a child’s seat or child’s trailer also makes for an afternoon of family fun.
Third Street Promenade
This pedestrianised shopping area is full of ramps, lowered curbs and shops that are accessible to people with limited mobility visiting on their holidays. For disabled people who worry about busy roads and foreign road crossings, it will be a welcome relief that this shopping experience is vehicle-free. Sandwiched between the bustling Santa Monica Place mall and the Wilshire Boulevard, Third Street is lined with a huge variety of shops. Clothing outlets dominate, but the area has its fair share of independent shops, souvenir sellers, cafes and bookstores, too. Kids will especially love the toyshop, Puzzle Zoo.
Evenings come alive when buskers and performers come out in their droves, and despite the wide range in talent, they are usually entertaining.
Holidays for disabled people can often be limited when it comes to enjoying the beach, but not in Santa Monica. With free beach wheelchairs available at Perry’s Café on a first come, first served basis, this stretch of sand is accessible to all. You can also hire an electric wheelchair, should you need one. It is worth remembering that you can’t reserve these mobility aids, so it’s important that you pick one up as early as possible.
If you have arrived at the beach in a car, you can use the disabled parking area for up to two hours, and it is worth remembering that there is a ramp available at 2000 Ocean Front Walk that leads a little way out into the sand.
The pizza chain California Pizza Kitchen has a popular restaurant in Santa Monica. Perfect for families, this spot is accessible for wheelchairs and has ample disabled toilet facilities. Another chain, Bubba Gumps, also opens its doors to wheelchair users. Thanks to its location on the pier, it boasts fabulous views, and the family-friendly vibe is enhanced by the energetic and welcoming staff. The experience is made even more fun by the movie memorabilia décor.
Finally, the Carousel at the Pier is definitely worth a visit. Riding the carousel is always fun, and wheelchairs can be rolled up to the ornamental horses and carriage-style seats, and as long as anyone with limited mobility can step up onto a seat, they won’t miss out. What’s more, the nearby pavilion houses an ice cream and sweet shop, so why not grab a tasty treat and set out for a beachfront walk?
Santa Monica has lots to offer when it comes to holidays for disabled travellers, and many of its highlights and activities are accessible to all. If you are handicapped or there is someone in your family or group of friends with limited mobility, Santa Monica could be the ideal destination for your next holiday.
Philip Scott is the owner and founder of Can be Done, a fully licensed UK tour operator specialising in worldwide holidays for disabled individuals and groups. With over 31 years’ experience organising long and short breaks for disabled travellers, Philip has built a reputation for helping his clients select hotels and accommodation that offer high standards of accessibility, to ensure that those with special needs can experience truly relaxing and carefree holidays.
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