Summer is coming and time to get out and enjoy the weather. California Pacific Coast Highway offers so much to see and do. It is possible to visit different beaches, boardwalks and state parks along the highway. The beaches in California offer excellent facilities and handicap access for those in wheelchairs. Why not roll down the boardwalk, sit on the beach, or enjoy a lazy afternoon watching the sunset? Consider some of the beaches in Los Angels County that wind you down the Pacific Coast Highway. Spend a few days and take your time driving the highway. There is so much to see and do and the beach communities along the way offer shopping, adventure, and plenty of sightseeing.
Pack your bags, get out your sunscreen, and let's take a ride down the Pacific Coast Highway. First stop:
Nicholas Canyon County Beach
This gorgeous beach lies at the base of the sea cliffs off a narrow steep hill to the parking area. The walk to the beach is steep but having handicap plates or placards you drive down the road and park by the lifeguard station. Two picnic tables are there for you to enjoy your lunch. The bathroom equipped with handicap access is down a gently sloping road carved into the bluffs. From the bathroom you will find a ramp leading to the beach with handrails. From the end of the ramp to the water there is no handicap boardwalk only sand. This makes it difficult to travel across the sand to the beach unless you have a beach wheelchair. At this beach they do not offer free handicap beach wheelchairs.
The beach open at 6 AM and closes at sunset Spend a few hours enjoying the sea cliffs and beaches. Traveling down south the highway the next stop:
Robert H Meyer memorial State Beaches: El Pescado, La Piedra, El Matador
El Pescado beach has a cliff top parking lot with an ocean view. The parking lot has one asphalt-paved handicap parking. The rest of the parking lot filled with gravel and has a narrow steep slope leading down to the beach. The slope is too narrow for wheelchairs to access the beach. At the location is one handicap chemical toilet with an access ramp. The parking lot has a rough gravel walkway leading towards the beach. About halfway down the walkway it becomes impossible to pass further with a wheelchair.
La Piedra State beach has one paved asphalt handicap parking. The walkways are narrow and rough in some areas through the grass. The travel down this walkway makes it almost impossible for most wheelchair riders. If you make it down the narrow dirt path it veers off leading to public picnic tables which are hard to find. The path leading to the beach is narrow and too steep to pass safely in a wheelchair. The view from the top is wonderful and if you can find the picnic tables is a wonderful place to sit and have lunch.
El Matador State Beach parking lot has a picnic table that sits on the asphalt in front of the handicap parking. The view is wonderful of the ocean and a wonderful place to spend time watching the sunset or having a picnic. The trail leading to the ocean is impossible with a wheelchair.
The three beaches are rough for wheelchairs but offer wonderful cliff views of the ocean. It is defiantly worth the view to stop at the three beaches. Enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner and watch the sunset. The next stop down the road is:
Charmlee Wilderness Park
The park offers wonderful canyon flora and is well worth the effort to stop here. The terrain is rough for wheelchair riders but with a manual wheelchair it is possible. You need to have good balance, upper body strength to pass through the rough terrain and reach the Nature Center. The picturesque Oak Grove is the first leg of the Botany Trail and part of the fire trail. The erosion and cross-slops make wheelchair travel dangerous. In a wheelchair you can make it a few hundred feet down the trail to see the sage, wild flower, coyote brush and oaks.
To reach the Nature Center follow the asphalt driver from the parking area. The entrance has a seven-inch and three-inch step up. The Nature Center displays Chumash Indian history, local flora, fauna, the park's history, and geology. The rangers who work here are always happy to talk with you about the park and the historic sites.
The drive into the park is a must even if you decide the terrain is too rough to visit the Oak Groves and Botany Trail. The park has accessible bathrooms with drinking fountains found halfway up the steep road leading to the Nature Center. The parking lot has no handicap parking but the hard packed dirt is not so difficult for wheelchairs. It is not possible to drive your car beyond the parking area so the push up the hill is challenging. Motorized wheelchairs will find it easier to make it up the incline to the Nature Center.
The California Pacific Coast Highway offers so much to see and do. It is impossible to write about all the adventures in one article. I have decided to make a series of vacation articles starting off with day adventures. On the first day you will have plenty of time to visit the sites and beaches I have described here. The next article will continue to drive down the highway and arrive at Zuma Beach County Park. I hope you will consider spending some time this summer exploring the California Coastline. Happy travels.