The Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Wheelchair-Friendly Vacations
With the increasing focus on accessibility in travel, many places are becoming more accommodating to individuals with disabilities. From vacation rental platforms like Vrbo and Airbnb to airports, museums, hotels, and restaurants, there are now more options than ever for travelers who use wheelchairs.
In this blog, we will be ranking 100 vacation destination cities around the U.S. based on several criteria related to accessibility. We will be looking at everything from the availability of wheelchair-accessible transportation to the number of wheelchair-friendly hotels and restaurants. Join us as we discover the most disability-friendly travel destinations around the U.S.
Asheville, NC is the best vacation destination for wheelchair-friendly travel with a score of 72.89 out of 100. It has plenty of wheelchair-accessible attractions, trails, and bars per 100k people.
Southampton, NY ranked as our worst wheelchair-friendly vacation destination with a score of 15.34 out of 100. Based on our search, there are no wheelchair-friendly Airbnb listings and less than 6 wheelchair-friendly hotels per 100k people (which was the lowest in our study).
The 20 Best U.S. Cities for Wheelchair-Friendly Travel
Despite its mountainous terrain, Asheville, NC, is a terrific destination for individuals with disabilities. Asheville ranks high on our list due to its numerous wheelchair-friendly activities and attractions to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a night out at a local brewery, a scenic trail to explore, or an exciting event to participate in, this city has it all. Asheville offers an array of wheelchair-friendly options, with just over 6 bars and nearly 10 trails and attractions per capita.
Lovers of sunshine will be pleased to know that Miami Beach, FL, is next on our list of the best cities for wheelchair-friendly travel. Miami Beach has a wide range of options regarding wheelchair-friendly accommodations, dining, and affordability. With an impressive 158 wheelchair-friendly hotel accommodations per 100k people, travelers with disabilities have many options to choose from. Additionally, the relatively low average nightly cost of a wheelchair-accessible Airbnb ($143.00) makes it an affordable destination for all.
Over on the West Coast, Lake Tahoe, CA, is a destination that offers a range of accessibility options for individuals with disabilities. The city boasts an impressive 10.94 wheelchair-accessible attractions per capita, providing plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy. Lake Tahoe’s airport also has an exceptionally high on-time arrival and departure percentage, making it a convenient destination for those who require assistance. The only downside is that the only two wheelchair-friendly Airbnbs available are expensive at $432.00 per night.
The 10 Worst U.S. Cities for Wheelchair-Friendly Travel
Southampton, NY, is a well-known vacation destination for celebrities and the elite. Aside from its beautiful beaches and glamorous guests, the small village has also made a name for itself in the artistic world. Southampton, unfortunately, also ranks last on our list because of its lack of wheelchair-friendly room accommodations. We found no wheelchair-friendly Airbnbs that met the criteria we search with and just under six wheelchair-friendly hotels per capita.
Home of the Thunder, Oklahoma City also ranks low on our list of wheelchair-friendly travel destinations due to its lack of wheelchair-friendly Airbnbs and things to do. Many people with disabilities will have to miss out on OKC’s tourist attractions, as there are only 0.66 attractions and just under 2 trails per capita that are wheelchair-accessible. Oklahoma City is one of America’s fastest-growing cities; however, it has a lot of work to do in making itself accessible to those with disabilities.
Columbus, OH, is the third-worst city on our list, with only one wheelchair-friendly Airbnb within its city limits. The Airbnb in question also costs guests a whopping $421.00 per night to take advantage of those accommodations. Guests with disabilities will also be hard-pressed to find anything to do during their stay; Columbus has only a handful of wheelchair-accessible trails and just over 50 wheelchair-friendly restaurants per 100k people.
U.S. Cities for Wheelchair-Friendly Travel: By the Numbers
Curious to see what accommodations your next vacation destination has to offer? The table above provides a list of the cities that we researched and the data for each of the ranking factors.
From small towns to large cities, many places prioritize accessibility and offer a range of wheelchair-friendly services in the country. Thankfully, travel platforms like Airbnb have also improved accessibility options recently and have become more inclusive of those with disabilities. However, we recognize that there is room for improvement in some areas, and we hope our study will encourage more places to make their services accessible to all travelers.
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To determine the best and worst vacation spots in the U.S. for wheelchair-friendly travel, we started by creating a list of 100 vacation destinations around the country using sites like Pure Wow, Travel Pulse, and U.S. World and New Report. The cities in our list have populations between 10,000 and 1,000,000.
We ranked these cities from 1 to 100 based on factors that would be important for a wheelchair-bound person looking to find the perfect vacation spot. We then assigned weights to each factor depending on how important it would be for a wheelchair-friendly vacation. Based on those weights, each city we analyzed was given a score out of 100.