Monday, July 22, 2024
Travel

Panama City Beach is accessible to all, even the less mobile

Visit Panama City Beach has announced the launch of its new Fun.For.All initiative, which promotes accessible travel and highlights the destination’s commitment to welcoming all visitors.

The announcement comes at the start of National Mobility Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and solutions for mobility challenges that affect over 18 million people in North America.

“Accessible travel is a top priority for our destination and community,” said Dan Rowe, Visit Panama City Beach president and CEO. “We believe every traveler should be able to experience our beaches, restaurants, hotels and resorts, as well as the endless activities and events we offer year-round.”

The destination’s Fun.For.All initiative is in alignment with VISIT FLORIDA’s statewide accessible travel campaign, “Limitless Florida,” which highlights resources and activities across the state for visitors with special needs. Throughout Panama City Beach, travelers can access the beach using elevated boardwalks, beach wheelchair rentals, Mobi-Mats and accessible fishing piers. Visitors can also enjoy an array of accessible attractions, restaurants, and accommodations that elevate the vacation experience.

Here are just some of the itinerary ideas and services:

Mobility Services

Bay Town Trolley

Getting around Panama City Beach is convenient, safe and affordable with the destination’s local public transit system, the Bay Town Trolley. For visitors with speech, hearing or vision impairments, the trolley can provide aids and services including qualified sign language interpreters and documents in Braille upon request. Each trolley is also wheelchair accessible and service animals are welcome.

Mobi-Mats

These long, rubber mats extend from the sand all the way down to the shoreline, allowing beachgoers with wheelchairs, walkers, canes or other mobility aids to easily access the beach. Mobi-Mats can be found at several beach access points in Panama City Beach, so all travelers can spend a serene day by the water or view a stunning beach sunset.

Mobi-Chairs

Floating beach wheelchairs called Mobi-Chairs are designed with comfort and portability for those who enjoy getting in the water. The Mobi-Chair is easy to maneuver and allows for a smooth and stable transition from the sand to the water. Flotational wheels and armrests enable balance, so users can relax and recline as they float.

Where to Stay

Panama City Beach has countless accessible-friendly accommodations. Below is just a small sampling of what guests can experience when visiting the destination.

Holiday Inn Resort

The Holiday Inn Resort provides a gulf front vacation experience with many accessibility options for families and guests of all ages. These features include accessibility to the hotel’s common areas such as the public entrance, elevators, public restrooms and the spectacular pool and pool deck area. Guest rooms include mobility accessible tubs and roll-in showers.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

In addition to offering spacious and modern accommodations, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Panama City Beach provides full accessibility to the hotel’s front entrance, elevators, and public restrooms. From the front entrance, there are accessible routes to the pool, exercise facility, meeting room, business center and guest rooms. Wheelchair accessible rooms are available upon request with roll-in showers and a private balcony overlooking the gulf.

Where to Eat

Panama City Beach has many types of accessible-friendly restaurants, offering a variety of fresh coastal cuisines inflected with Cajun, Gulf Coast and American Southern traditions. Below is just a ‘taste’ of what the destination has to offer foodies and seafood enthusiasts. 

Runaway Island

This wheelchair accessible restaurant on Panama City Beach offers amazing Gulf of Mexico views, live entertainment, and frosty drinks. The spacious venue has two levels of inside dining space and an elevator that provides access to both levels, where guests can enjoy Runaway Island’s fresh seafood with local flair and an array of inventive cocktails.

Pineapple Willy’s

A waterfront dining spot known for live music and delicious seafood, Pineapple Willy’s is ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible, welcoming all guests to relax and dine inside or outside. Located on Panama City Beach, Pineapple Willy’s offers accessible entry on the street side entrance with an added ramp and paved parking lot. The inside of the restaurant features ramps and ample space to accommodate those using mobility aids. In addition to accessible indoor dining, outdoor picnic style tables provide end space for wheelchair seating on the pier.

Where to Go

St. Andrew’s State Park

Positioned between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay, this haven for marine life features wheelchair and mobility aids, including beach wheelchairs, elevated boardwalks, accessible fishing piers and campsites with concrete pads.

Pier Park

Shopping at Pier Park Mall

This 1.1 million square-foot, open-air regional lifestyle center brings unique shopping, tourist attractions and dining to the heart of Panama City Beach. Pier Park Mall offers a selection of department stores, one-of-a-kind boutiques, and specialty shops, in addition to a range of diverse dining options. Accessible parking spots are available for visitors, and all stores and restaurants adhere to the requirements of the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

WonderWorks

WonderWorks is a multi-level, wheelchair accessible amusement park that actively combines entertainment with education, working to challenge the mind and spark the imagination. All levels of the attraction are accessible by wheelchair, and trained service animals are permitted to accompany visitors with disabilities. For visually impaired visitors, there are several exhibits that focus on the sense of touch and feel including Hurricane Shack, Titanic, Bed of Nails, Pull Yourself Up, Sound Lab and Wonder Simulators. For the hearing impaired, many exhibits within the WonderWorks attraction are visual and include signage to explain how they work.

Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise

This exciting, scenic cruise offers 2 hours of family-friendly fun with dolphin sightings, pirate activities, and more. The Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise experience is wheelchair accessible with a ramp entrance that accommodates a standard width wheelchair, and staff members are available to assist with boarding. The main deck of the ship is wheelchair accessible, and wheelchair users are able to stay on the deck throughout the duration of the cruise.

For more information on the initiative, please visit: https://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/plan-your-trip/accessibility/ 

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