Accessible Concord Welcomes Visitors of All Abilities
Here in Concord, we want people of all abilities to find their trailhead to adventure. Concord is working every day to become an ADA-accessible city and a more sensory aware destination.
Accessible Concord is a comprehensive program with a robust travel strategy for visitors of all abilities. Since 2019, Concord has been working to learn, grow and implement new accessibility goals for our community. Thanks to the efforts of many Concord groups and businesses who had already developed accessibility resources, our community was already so well suited to start this initiative. We have also been inspired by the efforts of Visit Visalia, the first Certified Autism Destination in California.
From Concord hotels and parks to shopping and dining, visitors of all abilities are welcome and free to explore, experience and enjoy all that our city has to offer. Here are some of the specific efforts we’ve undertaken with Accessible Concord.
Our one-hour training session approaches sensory travel best practices from the traveler’s point of view. We discuss the economic impact that sensory tourism efforts can have in a community through observing a case study out of Huntsville, Alabama. Participants tell us that the training sessions help them get a better perspective on what might be important to a traveler with sensory needs, improving their awareness and helping them better serve their patrons. Groups who complete our free partner training program also get access to our Sensory Kits – more on that below!
Our goal is to reach as many Concord participants as we possibly can, including hotels, the Chamber of Commerce and the Concord Historical Society, as well as businesses that serve tourists like restaurants and other attractions. Additionally, we offer this training to local service groups, including the Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club of Concord. We invite all groups and individuals in our community to attend these regularly scheduled free trainings.
Visit Concord Sensory Kits
Research has shown that some small comfort items can go a long way in helping people with sensory sensitivities feel safe and calm during new experiences. At Visit Concord, we have put together a special package of practical items that we like to call our Sensory Kits. We are working to make these bags available for visitors to check out for free at all Concord hotels, our Chamber of Commerce and other local attractions. Each bag contains:
A 7-lb. weighted blanket
A popper fidget toy
A whiteboard and marker
A white noise machine
Other trinkets and toys
When you book your hotel stay from right here on the Visit Concord website, your reservation will let the front desk staff know that you or your family would like to check out a Sensory Kit during your stay.
Free Practice Stays at a Concord Hotel
For those with sensory sensitivities, staying in a hotel can be challenging. We want to help make that process a little easier through our Practice Stays program. Serving traveling families with members who have been diagnosed with sensory sensitivities or who are on the autism spectrum, this program lets you stay the night in a Concord hotel for free! If this opportunity sounds right for you or a loved one, learn more and submit an application here.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program
Visit Concord recognizes that not all disabilities are immediately visible. Many are hidden, such as learning difficulties, mental health diagnoses and mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments, among others. Living with a hidden disability poses unique challenges, because others may not perceive or understand what you’re going through.
That’s why we are proud to take part in a worldwide effort called the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program. Those who want to show others that they have a hidden disability may wear a sunflower lanyard, bracelet, sticker or nametag, available for free at our Visitors Center. We also have free window clings for businesses or vehicles to help spread awareness of the meaning of this important program.
Accessible Attractions around Concord
In addition to our own ongoing efforts at Visit Concord, we are so proud to share that a number of attractions in our community have gone above and beyond as leaders in accessibility themselves. Statewide tourism partner Visit California has even named Concord the first stop on its Autism-Friendly California Adventure Road Trip! Here are some attractions that are leading the way.
Since its debut in 2007, Concord has been home to Matteo's Dream, a playground for children of all abilities. It is one of the few playgrounds in the nation that is designed to accommodate mobility needs with a range of inclusive features. These include ramps for wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and other devices, a tandem swing that allows parents to swing with their child, tactile musical features, and a soft rubber surface covering the play area.
East Bay Regional Parks District
Many of our local parks have barrier-free parking and accessible picnic areas, tables, restrooms, drinking fountains, trails and visitor centers. Roberts Regional Recreation Area has a barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible children's play area. EBRPD also offers various transit resources for the disabled. For a list of wheelchair accessible trails, click here.
Mt. Diablo State Park
Less than 20 miles south of Concord, picturesque Mt. Diablo State Park offers a variety of accessible features including viewing areas, picnic sites, camping, trails, exhibits and programs.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
The Six Flags’ family of theme parks have recently been designated as Certified Autism Centers (CAC). At Hurricane Harbor, the Guest Relations center at the main gate will help personalize visits for guests with disabilities and provide a Safety & Accessibility Guide that details ride requirements and any physical restrictions. Some attractions like Breaker Beach Wave Pool and Caribbean Cove have zero-depth entry for safe access.
As we work to expand our Accessible Concord program, we welcome your input, comments and suggestions. If you ever have any questions regarding accessibility in our community, please don’t hesitate to contact us.