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Top Accessible Beaches in California
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Top Accessible Beaches in California

With its clear skies, laid-back attitude, and world-renowned coastline, a trip to California wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of its many beaches. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing and quiet afternoon surrounded by an unforgettable landscape or a vibrant, social experience, there’s a beach out west calling your name.

Gone are the days when wheelchairs were limited to the boardwalk, pier, or nearby patios. Thanks to the invention of the beach wheelchair, everyone can get up close and personal with our nation’s picturesque coastline.

The beach wheelchair is much like a typical wheelchair, but with larger-than-normal wheels that roll easily in the sand without getting stuck, making trips to the beach more convenient than ever. Some wheelchairs, like those available in San Diego, have tracks instead of wheels to make traversing the sand even easier. In California, there are now over 100 beaches that offer beach wheelchairs, and most are available to use for free.

With disability-friendly beaches stretching from San Diego to Del Norte, there’s plenty of reasons to make California your first choice for your next getaway. But before you pack your bags, check out the following California beaches that not only offer beach wheelchairs, but also accessible parking and restrooms. Happy vacation planning!

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Southern California is home to some of the most iconic beaches in the world. Many of the beaches, like those in Santa Monica and Venice, are famous for being backdrops in Hollywood movies. However, if you are looking for a more relaxing day at the beach, there are plenty of lesser-known, serene beaches to check out. Rentals are also abundantly available in this part of California, making the region even more accommodating for those in wheelchairs.

Here are the most accessible beaches in Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego:

  • Ventura
    • Silver Strand County Beach
    • Oxnard Beach Park
    • San Buenaventura State Park
  • Los Angeles
    • Santa Monica: Pier, State Beach, & Ocean Front Walk
    • Venice Beach and Pier
    • Leo Carrillo State Park
    • Marina Del Rey
    • Manhattan Beach
    • Hermosa Beach Strand and Pier
    • Long Beach to Alamitos Bay
  • Orange
    • Seal Beach and Municipal Pier
    • Bolsa Chica State Beach
    • Huntington City Beach & Pier
    • Huntington State Beach
    • Newport Beach: Balboa Peninsula and Island
    • Crystal Cove State Park
    • Laguna Beach
    • Dana Point Harbor
    • Doheny State Park
    • San Clemente City Beach, Pier, and Beach Trail
  • San Diego
    • Silver Strand State Beach
    • Coronado Tidelands Park
    • Coronado City Beach
    • Mission Beach
    • Pacific Beach
    • Oceanside Pier and Beach

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA

As this region is well known for its history and beautiful inland landscape, the beaches are just one of its major attractions. In the city of Santa Cruz, you can enjoy a water taxi tour of the harbor, spend an afternoon at the surfing museum, or visit the Monarch Butterfly Reserve. Between all the fun things to do in town and the breathtaking coastline, this will be a place you’ll want to visit again and again.

Here are the most accessible beaches in Central California:

  • Santa Cruz
    • Seacliff State Beach
    • Santa Cruz Harbor
    • Natural Bridges State Park
  • Monterey
    • Asilomar State Beach
    • Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail
  • San Luis Obispo
    • Pismo State Beach
    • Avila Beach
    • Montaña De Oro State Park
  • Santa Barbara
    • East Beach
    • Cabrillo Beachway

SF BAY AREA

While weather in the bay isn’t summer-sunny 12 months out of the year, this region boasts sandy beaches with spectacular views. Tourists often drive along the shoreline on Highway One and stop at turnouts and overlooks to soak in the view. A popular must-see is Sonoma Coast State Beach, which includes 17 miles of coastline perfect for a sunset drive.

While the sites of this region can be enjoyed from the road, there are also many options for wheelchair accessibility whether you’re looking to relax in a setting of natural cliffaces or with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Here are all of the most accessible beaches in the bay area:

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

The beaches in Northern California are a must-see. Between the lush coastal landscape and charming, eclectic towns, you won’t even mind that there isn’t beach weather year round. This region is also home to a variety of wildlife including mussels, salmon, sea lions, and otters, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

Venture in from the coast and gawk at the magnificent redwoods or spend an afternoon bird watching. If you’re more interested in a spectacular view than getting a tan, you’ve found your happy place. 

Here's a list of the most accessible beaches in Northern California:

Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach experience or feel like checking out all of California’s most famous stretches of sand, accessibility is widely available for each. Wheelchair users have more of an opportunity than ever to explore amazing coastal areas all over the world. Why not kick off that exploration in the Golden State?

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