By Alan Toy
For more than 10 years I drove straight through San Diego on my way to more rustic camping and fishing adventures in Baja. I wouldn’t even stop for gas, since it was always cheaper south of the border. Mexico was where the action was.
Then in 1990, my wife, Theresa, went to a conference in San Diego. She was quite pregnant with our son John Henry, and she invited me along to squeeze in some personal time as a couple before our priorities changed forever. As it turned out, my opinion of San Diego also changed forever. Since then, we’ve been back again and again, each time discovering new things we like about California’s second and America’s seventh largest city.
More recently, after John Henry told us his own getaway priorities, we all returned to visit Legoland, the newest attraction in the area. Since we had several days to spend, we decided to revisit some favorite haunts and make a concerted effort to find new ones, all with an eye on accessibility.
Vacations are supposed to be fun, not a struggle with barriers. So this review of things to do and see in San Diego will point out some of the good, a little of the bad and try to steer you away from the ugly.
For those who want to plan in advance, there is a terrific access guide called Access In San Diegopublished each year by Accessible San Diego (ASD). The guide–now in its ninth edition–gives brief descriptions of hotels, restaurants, amusement parks and the area’s many other tourist attractions, and has reliable information about their access features, locations and contact numbers. It also lists accessible public transportation providers, community service agencies and a host of other resources including wheelchair repair and independent living services. If every city had information like this available in one booklet, travel for people with disabilities would be a lot more fun.
On this trip we stayed at the Town and Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley, which is 10 minutes out of downtown and close to SeaWorld and Old Town San Diego, the historic heart of the city. It’s an older, sprawling complex–not luxurious but ce