May is National Mobility Awareness Month, so it’s only fitting that Panama City Beach, Florida just kicked off its “Fun.For.All.” initiative to highlight the destination’s commitment to accessible travel.
“Accessible travel is a top priority for our destination and our community,” said Dan Rowe, president and CEO of Visit Panama City Beach, in a statement. “We believe all travelers should be able to experience our beaches, restaurants, hotels and resorts, as well as the myriad activities and events we offer throughout the year.”
a coastal retreat
Panama City Beach is located in the Florida Panhandle. It is less than 100 miles from Tallahassee and less than 300 miles from Atlanta.
Now about those beaches. The area has 27 miles of “sugar-white sand beaches bordering clear emerald-green waters” where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew’s Bay converge, explains Visit Panama City Beach.
“The legendary pure white sand of Panama City Beach is attributed to quartz crystals washed centuries ago from the Appalachian Mountains. Throughout their journey, the crystals were whitened, ground, smoothed and polished,” according to Visit Panama City Beach. “The waves and tides of the Gulf of Mexico are responsible for depositing these millions of grains of white sand like sugar on the virgin coast.”
Enhanced Mobility Services
Panama City Beach has taken several steps to make getting around easier. For example, the Bay Town Trolley offers qualified sign language interpreters and Braille documents. Each cart is also wheelchair accessible.
You can learn more about the cart here.
Mobi-Mats, long rubber mats that are spread out on the sand and can reach the shoreline, are available so people with wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or other mobility aids can access the beach. Mats can be found at various beach access points.
Also, the Mobi-Chairs, floating wheelchairs for the beach, facilitate the transition from sand to water. The chairs even feature armrests so users can balance easily.
Places to go and things to do
St. Andrew’s State Park, between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay, has wheelchairs and mobility aids, including beach wheelchairs that can be rented at the ranger station, as well as elevated walkways, accessible fishing piers and concrete platform campsites.
You can learn more about St. Andrews State Park here.
There are many other accessible beach spots at Panama City Beach and the MB Miller County Pier, which has a sloped entrance for wheelchair access. The county also partners with Beach Powered Mobility to provide visitors with motorized wheelchairs that can be used on the sandy terrain.
You can learn more about motorized beach cruiser and normal beach wheelchair here.
Finally, the Panama City Beach Conservation Park is a 2,900-acre park that includes wetlands, wildlife, and a pine forest. The park also has several miles of wheelchair-accessible paved trails and eight boardwalks.
You can learn more about the Panama City Beach Conservation Park here.
If you’re looking for even more to do in Panama City Beach, you can also visit Pier Park Mall, a 1.1 million square foot open-air mall offering shopping, dining and tourist attractions; WonderWorks, a multi-level, wheelchair-accessible amusement park; and the Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise, a 2-hour cruise aboard a wheelchair accessible boat.
You can learn more about accessibility in Panama City Beach here. And you can learn more about the Limitless Florida statewide accessibility initiative here.
For more information on traveling with mobility issues, here are a few picks from our travel tips category: