Certain cities are more suited to those with limited mobility. If you stick to those cities and do a little bit of research before heading out (like you’re doing now!), you’ll be much more likely to have a successful, enjoyable vacation.
The following is a list of seven cities that make some of the best vacation spots for senior citizens. Whether you’re looking for yourself or planning on taking elderly parents on vacation, these travel destinations for seniros will give you the right mix of adventure and relaxation, all in a safe and easy to access way:
Best Vacations for Disabled Seniors or Seniors With Limited Mobility
Las Vegas, Nevada
If you haven’t made it to Las Vegas yet, now could be the time to do it! The Neon Museum is a fun first stop. It houses iconic Las Vegas signs, with each one having a unique story about its creation and the role it played in Las Vegas’ history. It’s fun seeing how the signs have changed and developed over the years!
There are benches available throughout the display, so you can sit and rest whenever you need to. The museum is also ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible. Part of the tour is outside, so do be prepared for that in how you dress. You can add a fun twist to the museum by visiting after dark to see all the signs lit up. Find out more information about the Neon Museum.
Another great stop in Vegas is the Fountains of Bellagio. It’s a beautifully choreographed water show that is set to both lights and music. The show runs every 30 minutes during the late morning and throughout the afternoon. If you wait to go later, between 8 p.m. and midnight, the shows happen every 15 minutes. The fountain show is free and can be viewed by lining up along the lake perimeter and sidewalks along Las Vegas Boulevard. If you’re in a wheelchair, it’s a good idea to get there 10 to 15 minutes before the show starts to get in front of people for an unobstructed view.
Las Vegas is the host of the bi-yearly NASCAR weekend events. Taking place in March and September, this three day event is a true experience for racing fans. The Las Vegas Speedway is a fully accessible venue, making it easy to navigate with your mobility device. You can see all handicapped services at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
One final activity I’d like to mention is the SlotZilla Zip Line. Yes, it’s wheelchair accessible! You can use the zoom line and fly face down over Fremont Street! You’ll be 11 stories high, so make sure you’re ok with heights! It’s safe, accessible, and definitely gives you a taste of adventure. Need some inspiration for your Las Vegas vacation? Check out our blog post on the best wheelchair friendly things to do in Las Vegas!
Washington D.C. is such a nice city to visit! It’s full of history and, conveniently enough, many of the best attractions there are free! One free thing you can do is visit the White House. You will need to get tickets for a tour in advance and be sure to bring an ID to get in. Once you’re there, though, the tour is completely accessible! You will receive your own escort, and if you’re in need of a wheelchair, they do have some you can borrow. Just let them know that you’d like one at the visitors’ entrance.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get around, the Capitol Visitor Center Office of Visitor Services runs a shuttle service that goes from Independence Avenue to First St. SW. It helps make Washington a great place for those looking for vacations with minimal walking!
Another great stop in Washington is the Lincoln Memorial. It is completely accessible and even has accessible bathrooms and water fountains! To reach the interior section, you can take an elevator located in the ground level lobby. There are also ramps from the street level to the basement. This one also happens to be free! For more information, click here.
Planning to visit in spring? Washington is host to the National Cherry Blossom Festival every year, typically starting around mid-March. It's a truly beautiful time to experience the city. All of the monuments are handicap accessible, including the Lincoln Memorial so you can easily navigate around the city to catch the Cherry Blossoms from all angles!
San Diego, California
San Diego has beautiful weather pretty much all year round, so whenever you’re thinking about making a trip, it should be perfect! Gaslamp Quarter is a historic area downtown that hosts all sorts of festivals, events, and concerts. It’s a great place to start to get to know the city! It’s very wheelchair friendly, with plenty of accessible businesses in the area.
While you’re in the Gaslamp Quarter, definitely check out the waterfront. There you’ll find miles of walkways that are smooth and flat for you to easily roll along and enjoy the cool breeze over the water.
If you don’t want to walk or roll too far, the San Diego Trolley is a great option! It’s wheelchair accessible, and the ticket is discounted if you are physically disabled. For more information and schedules, check out San Diego Transit Accessiblity Information.
The San Diego Zoo is another great spot to check out. Its innovative animal habitats provide natural settings for animals and the 100-acre facility features lush landscaping and foliage, and the canyons and mesas make the experience unique for visitors. It's no wonder this zoo has been rated one of the top in the world! Make sure to check out their Accessibility Guide before you go.
San Antonio, Texas
Another beautiful city that has some lovely historic areas, San Antonio is well worth a trip. One fun activity is walking (or rolling) along the San Antonio River. The River Walk was built before cities started trying to become more accessible, so they’ve adapted the path as years have gone by. They’ve installed ramps, added new pathways and even included some elevators. Some paths are quite narrow, but in general, the whole River Walk is very accessible. You can download a San Antonio Disability Access map that shows you the best accessible paths and locations of elevators.
Nearby, the Casa Rio restaurant is a 50-year-old establishment that is an excellent stop for some delicious food. There are steps at the street level entrance, but if you walk across the street there’s an elevator that will take you down to river level and just a few feet from the host’s station for the restaurant. They’ll seat you right outside where you can watch ducks diving in the water and enjoy the breeze.
While you’re in the city, you can’t miss seeing the famous Alamo! All public areas of the Alamo are wheelchair accessible, and the staff on hand is always there to assist should you need them. There are also wheelchair accessible bathrooms at the back of the grounds along with some accessible water fountains. Their website provides more Alamo Accessibility Information.
A city with plenty of activities for wheelchair users and activities for seniors with limited mobility, Phoenix is in a uniquely beautiful area of the country. To experience some of the beauty close-up, definitely take time to go to the Desert Botanical Garden. It is fully accessible, and you can rent electric scooters and wheelchairs on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Another fun stop is the world’s only global Music Instrument Museum! It has more than 6,800 instruments on display from places all around the world. The museum is wheelchair accessible and they offer complimentary wheelchairs as well as accessible seating in the Music Theater.
If you want to go on an adventure, take the 90-minute narrated Desert Belle cruise, where you can see wildlife, towering canyon walls, and beautiful desert views. There are awnings overhead if you wish to sit outside, or you can sit on the lower level in the air conditioning. The boat is handicap accessible and has a wheelchair accessible bathroom. It also has ramps to help with boarding the boat.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach is a perfect vacation area! The palm trees and the balmy breeze will make you feel relaxed and ready to enjoy yourself as soon as you step out of the airport. If you’re in the mood for relaxing, stop by Paragon Theaters at Ocean Walk Shops to check out a movie. This theater is a bit unique because it has an elevator that takes you to the top back row of the seating section. Instead of having to sit up front and look straight up as you often have to do in the wheelchair section, this allows you to comfortably look straight ahead while watching the movie!
If you enjoy cigars, be sure to stop at Daytona Cigar Club. It’s very accessible and has a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Even if you don’t smoke, it’s a nice stop! The place is well ventilated so it doesn’t fill up with smoke. They also have drinks and live music for you to enjoy while relaxing.
Dunn’s Attic and Auction house is another great stop if you like to shop! There are all sorts of unique items full of character. They also have a café for you to snack, sip coffee, or eat a full meal after you’re done shopping. It’s easy to get around the building in a wheelchair, and the staff are very helpful if you want to look at an item you can’t reach.
Daytona is also home to the famous Daytona500 NASCAR race. If you are there, make sure to take time to explore the venue, following the footsteps of previous winners on the Daytona 500 Champions’ Walk of Fame, picking up merchandise in the on-site gift shops and getting up close to a real NASCAR vehicle! The Daytona International Speedway boasts many accessible features, and provides ADA visitor information.
Finally, don’t miss out on a visit to historic Philadelphia. There’s a ton to do and see there. One stop you definitely don’t want to skip is the Liberty Bell Center. It is wheelchair accessible, and there are wheelchair accessible bathrooms in the nearby Independence Visitor Center.
If you enjoy markets, definitely take time to go to the Reading Terminal Market! It’s an enclosed market, so you can visit it rain or shine. It is wheelchair accessible, and you can easily enter at any of the entrances (other than the one on 12th and Arch, which has three steps). There are several wheelchair accessible restrooms throughout the market.
The Eastern State Penitentiary is another interesting stop to make. It is full of history and surprisingly accessible for being so old (almost 200 years!). The only inaccessible parts of the tour are the gift shop and one small exhibit.
Visiting in the Fall? Make sure to take in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. With over 1,000 artistically daring performances, including national and international performances curated by FringeArts, and works that are produced by independent artists and promoted by FringeArts, it has something for everyone.
Have You Picked Out Your Favorite City?
There are a lot of awesome US vacations for senior citizens with limited mobility. Whichever one you pick, you’re sure to have a wonderful time. You could even make a trip to all seven destinations! After all, if you have the time and the inclination, why not?
However you decide to go about vacationing, I hope you’re confident now that you know your limited mobility doesn’t have to keep you tucked away at home. Whether you’re in a wheelchair or use a walker, there are plenty of fun activities to do in each of these cities.
If you’re still feeling a bit apprehensive about traveling, this blog post with tips for transporting your wheelchair, scooter or mobility device could be a helpful read for you. If you’re well-armed with knowledge, vacations really don’t have to be stressful.
Another way to make vacationing less stressful is to rent mobility equipment (such as a wheelchair or scooter) to use at your destination. Scootaround has rental services for equipment at competitive prices in more than 2,500 locations across North America, including all 7 of the destinations we talked about above. So if you’d like to rent a wheelchair, rent a mobility scooter, or rent another piece of equipment rather than bring yours from home, you can easily do so! For more information, check out Scootaround’s list of rental locations online.
You’re already on your way to having a very successful and enjoyable vacation! Congratulations on getting this far into the planning process of your trip. Have fun figuring out all the things you’d like to do while enjoying your senior years. Happy travels!
Cory Lee is a wheelchair user, travel addict, and accessible travel writer. On his blog, Curb Free with Cory Lee, he hopes to inspire others to roll out of their comfort zones and see all the beauty our world has to offer.