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Handicap Accessible Hints and Tips for Catalina Island, California

Catalina Island is 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach, California, the island is 75 square miles, and the only city located on the island is Avalon. The only vehicle allowed on the streets of Avalon are golf carts, and that works well since most restaurants, shops, and attractions are within what’s considered walking distance.

As always, there are exceptions to every rule and that’s a good thing for wheelchair users as there are wheelchair accessible taxis and the Island Hopper trolley. Around the city there are several courtesy taxi phones and the tram has regular routes through the city.

When organizing your trip to the island, you want to take the Catalina Channel Express and it leaves from Long Beach and San Pedro. Handicap parking is available at both locations and boarding is accessible as well, newer boats are VERY accessible and all boats are accessible. As with all travel these days, there are baggage requirements, so be sure to familiarize yourself with them when you make your travel reservations. This is where a personal travel website agent becomes valuable as they will be able to handle these details for you. There is also a service to the island from Newport Beach, however there is no handicap parking and the ramp to and from the boat is very steep so this service is basically inaccessible to wheelchairs or people with walking difficulties.

Where to stay on the island, Pavillion Lodge is just 14 steps from the beach and very close to the boat dock, and located near downtown Avalon. It has a large patio to relax and sunbathe. We do have wheelchair accessible rooms on the ground floor with walk in showers. I have stayed here and it is very convenient and works very well.

This is a quaint pedestrian-style island and is basically handicap accessible, which is wonderful, as when towns and areas tend to be quaint, it drastically restricts mobility for the physically challenged. If you can hop in a golf cart, they rent by the hour and day and that will make the island even more accessible for you. Most of the courses are not accessible, so a golf cart would work best if you can use one.

The Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden is accessible, with assistance, as it is steep and rocky, so you may want to check this to see if it would be accessible for you. The Art Deco Casino Theater has a ramp. The casino ballroom has an elevator. The Catalina Museum is accessible.

Events happening on the island are accessible: The Catalina Art Festival (September) is on Crescent Street along the beach. The Catalina Jazz Trax Festival (Fall) is in the Casino Ballroom. The News Eve Gala is at the Casino Ballroom. So make your reservations with your Traveling with Disabilities travel agent, pack your bags for an adventure of fun and relaxation, not to mention clean air and wonderful weather.


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