Navigating uneven surfaces like forest trails or the soft sand of a Florida beach without assistance is the next level of freedom.
ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL IN FLORIDA
Florida, the nation’s top travel destination, has extensive resources for visitors with special needs. Here’s information to help you find a variety of accessible attractions, beaches, parks, events and activities for your vacation in the Sunshine State.
ACCESSIBLE DESTINATIONS AND ACTIVITIES
FLORIDA ACCESSIBILITY RESOURCES
Simmons University in Boston publishes Planning Trips for Children with Autism. which details important considerations of a new environment for those with ASD needs and provides helpful strategies when planning trips for children with autism.
Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Sea is a source for mobility, oxygen and special needs rentals and sales with worldwide delivery to cruise ship staterooms, hotels, resorts, convention centers, theme parks, and other locations.
Bright Feats is a resource directory specifically designed for families with children that have special needs, offering information about local community services and support to families as well as helping businesses convey their unique services to the special-needs community. Their website has directory information, articles, links to related blogs, a calendar with upcoming local events and more.
HUG stands for “help us gather,” and it lives up to its name. It’s a free and easy way to find fun things to do in Tampa Bay for all age groups, including individuals with special needs, connecting people with disabilities to activities and social events in the community.
Kid’s Nite Out equals parents’ night out! This in-room hotel childcare service, based out of Buena Vista, comes with a toy-bag full of age-appropriate activities, games and books.
Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality, or SATH, provides recommendations for travel agents and other resources to help travelers with disabilities plan their vacations.
Florida Disabled Outdoors Association provides resources on disabled outdoor travel in Florida.
Florida Vacations Without Limits (PDF download): The Sunshine State’s renowned hospitality and diverse experiences enable travelers of all abilities to follow their sunshine.
HUG (Help Us Gather), a nonprofit based in Pinellas County, works to make Florida's beaches more accessible through the installation of MobiMats. Its goal is to build a comprehensive database to inform visitors and residents with mobility challenges, and ultimately, bring more people to Florida's world-class beaches.
Care Medical Equipment, Orlando: Wheelchair and scooter rental, oxygen, other medical equipment.
Scootaround Inc.: Available in 120 Florida cities.
Family Rentals: Wheelchair and scooter rental, wheelchair ramps, shower chairs, and other medical equipment. Available in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Cloud of Goods: Wheelchair, stroller, scooter rentals and more, delivered to your location.
Beach Wheels: Browse the visitor information listings for destinations that offer beach wheelchairs and other services or information for the physically challenged. Unlike regular wheelchairs, these “beach wheels” have special tires that don’t get stuck in sand. Beach chairs are often provided at no charge and are available to anyone unable to walk or those who possess a handicapped automobile tag.
Accessible Vehicle Rental
Most major car rental companies, including Hertz and Dollar Rent A Car, can, with advance notice, provide hand-control cars.
Accessible Vans of America: Vans and wheelchairs for rent, in locations throughout Florida.
Disabled Parking Permits
Section 316.1958 Florida Statutes provides that motor vehicles displaying a license plate or parking permit issued to a disabled person by any other state or district subject to laws of the United States shall be recognized as a valid plate or permit or by a foreign country that issues disabled parking permits that display the international symbol of accessibility. More information is available from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
International travelers who have parking permits in their own country can purchase a temporary permit from any local tax office for $15.
Best Mobility Aids has a comprehensive air travel guide aimed at people living with a disability or medical condition. The guide outlines how to plan for every stage of a journey trip to ensure a safe and smooth trip.
American Diabetes Association offers information on traveling with diabetes, as well as a list of hospitals that offer services to diabetic travelers.
Dialysis Finder’s web site lists center locations and maps by zip code.
Insurance With provides travel insurance as well as a free online guide with information about traveling with a medical condition or disability.
Miami International Airport Service for the Vision Impaired
Miami International Airport is part of the Aira Airport Network., a free mobile service that enables blind or low-vision travelers to receive up-to-the-minute flight information, as well as navigate security, use self-service kiosks, find restaurants and services, identify baggage, and more. How does it work? With just the tap of a button, Aira users connect with highly-trained professionals who can see their surroundings through their mobile device's camera. The app is free to download from the Apple App and Google Play stores, and free to use at MIA.
Autism on the Seas, a national organization, has been in collaboration with Royal Caribbean International since 2007 in developing cruise vacation services to accommodate adults and families living with children with special needs, including, but not limited to, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and all Cognitive, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Cruises are offered from every cruise port in Florida, as well as resort stays at Disney World with a professional volunteer staff.