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San Diego, California

San Diego is one of America’s finest cities to visit with its near-perfect weather and tourist-friendly attractions. With an abundance of accessible shopping, dining, parks, attractions, sports, recreation, transportation services and lodging options, San Diego is also a desirable location for travelers with special needs.

For a fun afternoon outing, Seaport Village on San Diego’s Embarcadero is one of the city’s most enjoyable destinations. The beautiful waterfront area combines shopping, dining, museums, parks and other entertainment experiences. Visitors can take a stroll, interact with street performers, listen to live musical entertainment, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy good food from the 70 shops, galleries, restaurants and eateries at Seaport Village.

Located nearby are the USS Midway Museum and the Maritime Museum. The unique USS Midway Museum is the only Aircraft Carrier Museum west of the Mississippi. Aboard the longest-serving Navy aircraft of the 20th century, visitors will experience a floating city at sea. Approximately 60 percent of the museum’s exhibits are wheelchair accessible. The museum provides elevator access from Navy Pier onto the ship, from the hangar deck down to the second deck and access up to the flight deck.

The Maritime Museum has the reputation of having one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship, Star of India. Docked nearby is the 1898 steam ferry Berkeley; the H.M.S. Surprise, a replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate; and several other ships.  The Berkeley’s main deck and upper deck are wheelchair accessible and the H.M.S. Surprise’s main deck is accessible; however, here are five steps leading up to the Star of India and the other ships on display are not wheelchair accessible either. The museum does waive admission for individuals in wheelchairs; companions need to pay regular admission prices.

For one of the best ways to see San Diego, travelers may want to try Old Town Trolley Tour. Hop aboard one of the trolleys and you’ll experience ‘Transportainment,’ a combination of transportation and entertainment. The two-hour tour includes Old Town State Historic Park, Balboa Park, The Whaley House, Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, Seaport Village and much more. You can stay on the trolley or get on and off and explore on your own. With frequent pickups at all the stops, this helps you avoid walking long distances. A couple of the trolleys are equipped with a lift and is fully accessible. Travelers must call in advance to assure that the lift bus is available.

For more information about Accessible San Diego, travelers should also visit www.accessandiego.org for a comprehensive guide on accessible hotels, tours, lift transportation, attractions and more.

Interesting Fact: People travel for miles to see the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch in North San Diego. In the spring, 53 acres of colorful ranunculus bloom as well as a mixture of specialty flowers. Over 3 million cut flowers and 6-12 million bulbs are harvested each season in Carlsbad