For much of the world’s history, buildings and services were constructed and conceived with nondisabled people in mind, putting up barriers to those living with physical and cognitive disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 sought to curtail those barriers and end disability discrimination by requiring publicly accessible services, transportation and accommodations.
In 1992, Sonoma County adopted an ADA Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan, updated in 2009, that “identifies barriers to buildings, programs and services, and adopts a 12-year schedule to prioritize their removal.”
According to Permit Sonoma, the county’s land-use planning and development permitting agency, the county Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in 2018 “urging all homeowners, builders and architects to include at least basic visitability standards in all new housing construction.” (Visitability standards in design include one no-step entry, doors with 32 inches of clear passageway and at least one accessible half-bathroom on the main floor.)
Despite inroads made over the last few decades in providing equal access for those with disabilities, it can still be difficult to find restaurants, hotels, parks and more that are compliant with ADA standards for accessible design.
In 2014, Jeanne Allen, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a motorized mobility scooter, created a wine country travel guide for visitors with disabilities. While her travel website (incredibleaccessible.com) now appears to be defunct, Allen’s Facebook still includes accessibility reviews of establishments up until 2021. She has praised some Sonoma Valley businesses for their accessible features and attentiveness — such as Sebastiani Theater and Sonoma Community Center, popular venues for the Sonoma International Film Festival.
Accessible travel review sites such as wheelchairtraveling.com and emerginghorizons.com offer resources of ADA-compliant dining, lodging and general traveling tips with a disability. The iAccess Life mobile app provides crowd-sourced accessibility reviews and ratings of public establishments around the world by people with mobility impairments.
Here are a few traveling tips and recommendations of places to visit in Sonoma County that are ADA accessible. Did we miss a favorite ADA-compliant business, or are there current issues with any of the entities mentioned? Let us know in the comments.
Click through the above gallery for a peek at the businesses.
Sonoma County’s public transportation offers ADA accommodations for those with disabilities, with features such as wheelchair access, audible location and stop signals, and paratransit services. Information and referral service 2-1-1 Sonoma also offers resources on disability related transportation.
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) offers an opportunity for visitors and locals alike to discover the area via public transportation. SMART stations are ramp-accessible, the Clipper Card vending machines on platforms are ADA compliant, and its trains have ADA accessible seating and restrooms. SMART personnel are also available for assistance boarding and exiting the train. Service animals are welcome on the train provided they remain seated and leashed/harnessed, except when performing service tasks that would be hindered by tethering.
5401 Old Redwood Highway, Suite 200, Petaluma, 707-794-3330 (TTY 711), sonomamarintrain.org
Many hotels in the county adhere to ADA standards and practices, with accessibility features such as ramps, elevators, bathroom grab bars, braille signage and Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD). Below are some of the local hotels with the most ADA-compliant features.
Inn at Sonoma
Boutique hotel meets cozy bed and breakfast at this inn located just a few blocks from the Sonoma Plaza. Inn at Sonoma has two guest rooms accessible for those with hearing impairments and two rooms that are fully accessible for both mobility and hearing impairments. Guest room accessibility features include 32-inch wide doors, lowered peephole and shelves, ample space around the bed, grab bar in the shower and handheld shower device, roll-up sink and lowered mirror, hard-wired visual alarm, and a phone with volume control and flashing lights when it rings. The inn property also includes convenient elevators, accessible parking spaces and an accessible front desk for check-in. Service animals are welcome.
630 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-939-1340, innatsonoma.com
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
This luxury hotel has six ADA-compliant rooms and suites along with several accessible areas on the property, such as the on-site restaurants, swimming pool, fitness center, public restrooms and parking spaces. Accessible room features include a rollaway bed, roll-in shower, bathtub and toilet grab bars, 32-inch wide doors, assistive listening devices, teletypewriters and Braille signage. Service animals are welcome.
100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, 707-938-9000, fairmont-sonoma.com
Best Western Sonoma Valley Inn
Sonoma Valley Inn boasts casual comfort in a luxe Sonoma setting. The fully accessible hotel offers four ADA-compliant guest rooms featuring amenities such as roll-in showers and telecommunication devices (phones and alarms) for those with hearing impairments. The inn also has accessible parking spaces and an ADA-compliant outdoor pool lift.
550 Second St. West, Sonoma, 707-938-9200, sonomavalleyinn.com
Kenwood Inn & Spa
This Mediterranean-inspired inn has four accessible guest rooms featuring 32-inch wide doors, lowered peephole and shelves, grab bars in the bathroom, roll-in shower with fold-down seat, roll-up sink with lowered mirrors, hard-wire visual alarm, and a phone with volume control and flashing lights when it rings. The property accessibility features include accessible parking spaces, front desk, dining tables, spa treatment room and pool/hot tub lifts. Service animals are welcome.
10400 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-833-1293, kenwoodinn.com
Flamingo Resort & Spa
The retro-chic Flamingo Resort has four accessible guest rooms as well as accessible parking spaces, ramp access, reception desk, public bathrooms, on-site restaurant, fitness center, and lifts for the pool and hot tub. The accessible rooms feature 32-inch doorways, grab bars in the bathroom, roll-in showers, mobility tubs, visual fire alarms and closed caption TVs.
2777 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-8530, flamingoresort.com
Hampton Inn & Suites Windsor
Windor’s Hampton Inn boasts dozens of accessibility features, such as accessible parking, concierge desk, swimming pool (with a hoist), teletypewriters, assistive listening devices and braille room numbers. The seven ADA-accessible rooms include such features as roll-in showers or accessible bathtubs; visual alarms for clock, phone and doorbell; lowered sink, bed, peephole and shelves; and remote controlled curtains. Service animals are welcome.
8937 Brooks Road S., Windsor, 707-837-9355, hilton.com
Nestled among vineyards and rolling hills, Montage offers luxurious, wine country-style hospitality and suites. Accommodations in the hotel’s accessible rooms include bedroom wheelchair access, bathroom handrails and roll-in shower.
100 Montage Way, Healdsburg, 707-979-9000, montage.com/healdsburg
Oxford Suites Sonoma County – Rohnert Park
This hotel — located in “The Friendly City” Rohnert Park — has a handful of accessible suites that include bathrooms with grab bars, roll-in showers with shower seats and a fire alarm with flashing lights.
67 Golf Course Drive West, Rohnert Park, 707-584-0333, oxfordsuitessonoma.com
Bodega Coast Inn & Suites
Enjoy dazzling coastal views and modern comfort at this boutique Bodega hotel. ADA features at the inn include wheelchair accessible parking and rooms, guest rooms with lowered switches and storage, and alarms for those with hearing and vision impairments.
521 Coast Highway 1, Bodega Bay, 707-875-2217, bodegacoastinn.com
Many local restaurants and tasting rooms adhere to the ADA’s standard design for disability access, such as accessible parking, ground floor or ramp entryways and accessible restrooms. However, small businesses may not always be able to accommodate all disability requirements. Call ahead to ensure a restaurant can accommodate your needs.
Below are some eateries noted by Yelp reviewers and disability review sites (as well as some recommendations from the Save Sonoma County Restaurants! Facebook group) as having adequate accessible features. Know of more accessible restaurants? Let us know!
The Mill at Glen Ellen
Jeanne Allen recommended The Mill for its accessible ramp entry and large, wheelchair accessible unisex restroom with grab bars.
14301 Arnold Drive, Suite 32, Glen Ellen, 707-721-1818, themillatglenellen.com
The Girl & The Fig
This French bistro-inspired eatery has fairly spacious indoor seating as well as a covered outdoor garden patio and parklet dining. There’s also a wheelchair-accessible unisex restroom.
110 W. Spain St., Sonoma, 707-938-3634, thegirlandthefig.com
Brewsters Beer Garden
Brewsters has a large accessible outdoor patio with plenty of movable space and seating options, as well as wheelchair-accessible restrooms.
229 Water St., Petaluma, 707-981-8330, brewstersbeergarden.com
Grossman’s Noshery & Bar
Situated in Railroad Square’s historic Hotel La Rose, Grossman’s has easy access with an automatic front door and a spacious outdoor patio (shaded and heated). There are low-top accessible tables indoors and outdoors, as well as accessible restrooms. Grossman’s also provides takeout and easy deli pick-up.
308 Wilson St., Santa Rosa, 707-595-7707, grossmanssr.com
Specializing in Indian/Nepalese cuisine, this eatery has accessible, ground floor front entry and a spacious indoor seating area, as well as an outdoor patio.
170 Farmers Lane, Santa Rosa, 707-771-8336, cuminsantarosa.com
This Italian-German fusion restaurant has easy front access, outdoor patio, fairly spacious indoor seating and accessible restrooms.
1229 N Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-526-1229, franchettis.com
Los Tres Chiles
This Mexican eatery has a fairly spacious indoor dining area and an accessible unisex restroom with grab railing.
2765 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-304-5724, lostreschiles.com
Charlie’s Restaurant at the Windsor Golf Club
Charlie’s has ramp access, automatic doors, wide hallways and a spacious lakeside patio with outdoor heaters for colder months.
1320 19th Hole Drive, Windsor, 707-838-8802, windsorgolf.com/charlies-restaurant
This popular Italian restaurant boasts an expansive patio space, moderately sized indoor seating and accessible restrooms with grab bars.
21047 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-857-3471, mycatellis.com
Sonoma Pizza Co.
“Amazing food and staff. Great ramp access to their back patio as well,” said one member of the Save Sonoma County Restaurants! Facebook group.
6615 Front St., Forestville, 707-820-1031, sonomapizzaco.com
Wineries & Tastings Rooms
The tasting room at Unti, a small winery specializing in Mediterranean-style wines, has been “converted enough to be wheelchair accessible,” states wheelchairtraveling.com, which also noted the easy access from the accessible parking spot to the tasting room. The tasting bar is at a height reachable for most wheelchair users and there is a uni-sex wheelchair accessible restroom.
4202 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-433-5590, untivineyards.com
Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens
The Kendall-Jackson estate grounds are “really flat and very wheelchair friendly,” according to wheelchairtraveling.com. While the tasting room in the chateau doesn’t have a lowered counter, accessible tables can easily be set up. There is also an accessible restroom.
5007 Fulton Road, Santa Rosa, 707-571-8100, kj.com
Nestled in Sonoma’s Cornerstone marketplace, the Meadowcroft Wines tasting room has ramp access and a lowered section at the tasting bar that’s accessible for wheelchair users, according to wheelchairtraveling.com.
23574 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-934-4090, meadowcroftwines.com
This champagne and sparkling wine bar is conveniently located just off the Sonoma Plaza. Jeanne Allen noted in a 2018 Facebook post that the tasting bar has a “huge lowered counter for wheelchair accessibility.”
120 W. Napa St., Sonoma, 707-996-2444, sighsonoma.com
Lynmar Estate Winery
Sebastopol’s Lynmar Estate has large grounds with one accessible parking spot, accessible restrooms and a lowered tasting bar, according to wheelchairtraveling.com.
3909 Frei Road, Sebastopol, 707-829-3374, lynmarestate.com
Hanson of Sonoma Distillery
Jeanne Allen noted this distillery’s tasting room was “incredibly wheelchair accessible.”
22985 Burndale Road, Sonoma, 707-343-1805, hansonofsonoma.com
Parks and Trails
Sonoma County has a number of parks with ADA accessible trails to get your fill of the region’s beautiful nature. To find local parks with accessibility features, check the “Accessible Areas” filter on the Sonoma County Regional Parks’ Find a Park webpage. Check here to find California state parks with accessibility features. To find accessible outdoor adventures all around the North Coast and Bay Area, check Access Northern California. Below are some county parks with paved, compact soil or packed gravel trails that are wheelchair friendly.
Doran Regional Park
Enjoy coastal breezes and birdwatching at Doran Regional Park, where a 1.3-mile trail connects to an ADA-accessible boardwalk with benches and viewing areas. The park also connects to the wheelchair accessible Birdwalk Coastal Access Trail via the multi-use Cheney Creek Trail. Doran Regional Park has ADA-accessible campsites, visitors center and kayak launch, and free all-terrain wheelchairs are available for day-use on a first-come, first-served basis.
201 Doran Beach Road, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3540, parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov
Sonoma Coast State Park
The Sonoma Coast has a multitude of accessible trails and campgrounds. The compacted aggregate Bodega Head Trail is a generally flat, 1.89-mile accessible loop located at the end of Westshore Road, with views of the Pacific, Bodega Bay and harbor. There is also accessible parking, restrooms and picnic tables.
3095 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3483, parks.ca.gov
Gualala Point Regional Park
A paved, ADA-accessible trail connects the parking area to the beach, crossing through grassy meadows and cypress groves. Other unpaved trails at Gualala Point, located near the famed Sea Ranch, are relatively firm and stable, made all the more accessible with complimentary all-terrain wheelchairs. The wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be borrowed at the visitor center, open noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. During weekdays, call the Gualala Point office before your visit to request a wheelchair for your arrival.
42401 Coast Highway 1, Gualala, 707-785-2377, parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov
Fort Ross State Historic Park
A paved path leads from the visitors center and parking lot to the main entrances to the fort, which is wheelchair friendly. A path from the parking lot also leads south past an accessible picnic area to the historic windmill and Monterey Cypress Grove.
19005 Coast Highway 1, Jenner, 707-847-3286, parks.ca.gov
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
The 0.77-mile, wheelchair friendly Pioneer Nature Trail extends from the visitors center to the accessible picnic area under a dense canopy of majestic redwoods. Branching off from this trail are two other short, accessible paths of compact soil: the Discovery Trail – which includes informative panels, some offering a tactile experience – and the Armstrong Nature Trail.
17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville, 707-869-2015, parks.ca.gov
Sonoma Valley Regional Park
The paved, ADA-accessible Valley of the Moon Trail runs 1.2 miles bordering a seasonal creek through an oak woodland. PIcnic tables are dotted along the trail for convenient rest stops.
13630 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, 707-539-8092, parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Travel along Sonoma Creek via the accessible, 0.44-mile Creekside Nature Trail. Made of compacted aggregate, the trail averages 5-feet wide and is generally flat with intermittent 5-8% slopes. The park also has accessible parking, restrooms, picnic area and three accessible campsites. Some areas of the on-site Robert Ferguson Observatory are accessible, however, paths in the library are only 30 inches wide and telescope eyepieces may not suit everyone’s needs. Call the observatory at 707-833-6979 to discuss needs and accomodations.
2605 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood, 707-833-5712, sugarloafpark.org
Spring Lake Regional Park
The paved, multi-use Spring Lake Loop Trail is ADA accessible and travels 2.3 miles around the lake on mostly flat ground with moderate slopes. Picnic areas, some campsites and access to the Environmental Discovery Center are wheelchair accessible. All-terrain wheelchairs can be checked out at the lifeguard station between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day on a first-come, first-served basis.
North Entrance: 393 Violetti Road, Santa Rosa. South Entrance: 5585 Newanga Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-539-8092, parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov
Joe Rodota Trail
This 8.5-mile trail connecting Santa Rosa and Sebastopol is completely paved and gently sloped. The trailhead parking lot at the west end of Sebastopol Road provides accessible parking.
4211 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, 707-433-1625, parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov
Tours and Attractions
The Bay Area-based Tapooz Travel specializes in organizing accessible travel trips across the nation, including a scenic, epicurean adventure that starts in San Francisco and winds through Wine Country. Below are some local, accessible tours.
Those with limited mobility can experience the Sonoma Serengeti in one of Safari West’s modified safari vehicles, which accommodates four guests and one wheelchair or motorized mobility scooter. Safari West requests that reservations for the modified safari vehicle are made at least two weeks prior to your visit. The walking portion of the classic safaris are wheelchair friendly, and wheelchairs are also available free of charge.
Housebroken service animals are welcome, though they are restricted in all areas where the safari’s animals are not separated by a physical barrier. Additionally, service animals cannot join the safari tours; they may stay with staff in the office where they’ll be provided water.
Guests with hearing impairments can bring a certified ASL interpreter at no additional charge. With advance notice, tactile tours may be provided for guests with visual impairments.
For overnight stays, there are two accessible tent cabins with ramps, accessible parking spaces close by, bathroom grab bars and shower seats.
3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, 707-579-2551, safariwest.com
Charles M. Schulz Museum
The Schulz Museum has wheelchair-accessible parking spaces, front entrance, galleries, restrooms and an elevator. Wheelchairs can be provided to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.
For visitors with hearing impairments, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation can be reserved at no additional cost for docent-led tours, lectures and public programs. There are also Assistive Listening Devices available and closed captioning on films displayed in the galleries.
For visitors with vision impairments, LPG (Large Print Guide) booklets with size 24 Arial font, produced for main and special exhibits, can be requested at the front desk. Guests can also reserve a Tactile and Visual Descriptive Tour at no additional cost two weeks in advance. To reserve specialized tours, contact the Education Department at 707-284-1263 or email@example.com.
For visitors on the autism spectrum, the museum provides noise-canceling headphones and sensory kits, as well as hosts occasional free Sensory-Friendly Family Days for those who need a slower, quieter environment. ADA-certified service animals are welcome.
2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa, 707-579-4452, schulzmuseum.org