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Accessible Miami: All Access Pass for Everyone

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Miami is one of those special inclusive places where being yourself is celebrated and accommodated rather than just tolerated.

Whether you want to join the parade of people proudly embracing their eccentricity or just take it all in with a smile, authenticity gets an all-access pass here.

And for those whose desire for access means accommodating physical disabilities, Greater Miami & Miami Beach have rolled out the welcome mat. From hotels and attractions to beaches, people with physical disabilities will find supportive infrastructure to get them going.

Accommodations

While all hotels are legally required to feature certain types of accessibility features—such as special ramps and access for service animals—it’s always a good idea to call ahead to inquire about special accommodations you may need.

Some standout properties include:

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami

Located in Key Biscayne, which is often noted as one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida while offering a more peaceful vibe than the more urban beaches, the Ritz-Carlton is a great place to stay.

At the same time, you’re just a short distance from all the great things there are to see and do in Greater Miami & Miami Beach. You will love the expansive ocean views and lush gardens, and close access to popular accessible attractions such as Miami Seaquarium.

The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne boasts a range of accessible features and accommodations including an accessible entrance and registration desk, and wider doorways for wheelchairs. The meeting rooms, entrance to the spa, lounges, and Cantina Beach restaurant are all wheelchair accessible as well, so you can explore with ease.

One of the standout features includes self-operating pool lifts, which can make it easier to get into and out of the two pools on the property. Want to have the full beach experience? You can check out one of the hotel’s beach wheelchairs.

Aloft Miami-Brickell

This Aloft Miami-Brickell, located on the mainland in the buzzworthy Brickell financial district, is a great place to stay for those who want to have central access to attractions and transportation links and don’t want or need to be right on the beach. If you just want to chill, there are plenty of restaurants and shops to explore right there, such as Brickell City Center and dozens of trendy restaurants.

The hotel features accessible rooms with wide doors, along with roll-in showers or accessible tubs. They also provide a visual fire alarm and televisions with closed captioning. You can also make a splash in the fully accessible swimming pool and fitness center.

St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

For those who want to be close to the ultra-popular South Beach but a bit apart, the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort is a wonderful option. Located just 15 minutes north of South Beach and situated right along the water, the property offers easy access to the world-renowned Bal Harbour shops, where you might just spot a Kardashian or other celebrity while you shop luxury brands like Gucci and Prada. The property provides 24-hr concierge service, two accessible tropical infinity pools, and closed-caption televisions, as well as wheelchair accessible rooms with lower peepholes and roll-in showers with grab bars.

Carillon Miami Wellness Resort

Just south of Bal Harbour in the northern part of Miami Beach awaits Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, an oceanfront hotel featuring a cutting-edge wellness center, fresh organic cuisine and modern luxury apartments—some with in-room accessibility including accessible bathrooms—and a wheelchair accessible business center, registration and concierge desk, well-lit, stair-free entrance and pool hoist on site. There’s also a wheelchair-accessible spa, restaurant, lounge, parking area and more.

Hyatt Regency Miami

Just a stone’s throw from the famous waterfront Bayside Marketplace and PortMiami—the Cruise Capital of the World—the Hyatt Regency Miami is located right next to Miami Convention Center, making it the perfect location for leisure or business.

The accessible rooms include the essentials like roll-in showers and tubs with benches and grab bars, and if you want more elbow room you can opt for an accessible hotel suite. All wheelchair-accessible rooms on the property feature lowered handles on all the doors, along with lowered peepholes, sinks, and closet poles, so you can move around with ease. The property also offers hearing-accessible rooms with telecommunication devices, vibrating alarm clocks, pillow vibrators, and closed-captioned TVs. They also have a knock light on the door, which can alert you when someone comes to visit or deliver room service.

Holiday Inn Port of Miami-Downtown

If you are on a tighter budget, you can still find good accommodations. The Holiday Inn Port of Miami-Downtown offers wheelchair-accessible rooms with portable bath benches. The public facilities offer wheelchair-accessible restrooms, pool and fitness center. The hotel also includes hearing-accessible features, such as telephones with TDD, visual alarms and alerts, and closed captioning for the televisions.

Selina Gold Dust Miami

Housed in a former 50’s motor hotel, the 58-room Selina Gold Dust takes guests on a retro voyage back in time to the city’s buzzing, colorful past. Located in the burgeoning MiMo District on the Upper East Side of Miami, the wheelchair-accessible, pet friendly hotel is surrounded by extravagant architecture, chic boutiques, trendy cafés, and art galleries.

Beaches and Parks

A trip to Greater Miami & Miami Beach wouldn’t be as magical without enjoying its tropical splendor, from lush parks to expansive, white sandy beaches with Caribbean blue water. Many of the area’s beaches and parks offer great accessibility features, including those below.

Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Parks

Located just 45 minutes from downtown Miami, two famous national parks await exploration. Biscayne National Park— the largest marine park in the National Park System—provides a host of activities for visitors with disabilities. The Dante Fascell Visitor Center provides ramps, elevators, and boardwalks that help to ensure access to the educational onsite gallery and park headquarters. Once oriented, you can find fishing and boat tours, all of which have ADA-compliant ramps for manual and motorized wheelchairs. Some of the islands in the park offer sidewalks and accessible restrooms, such as Boca Chita, Elliott, and Adams Keys.

In Everglades National Park, a magnificent subtropical wilderness home to 1.5-million-acres of wetlands preserves, many of the concession-led boat tours from Flamingo and Gulf Coast are wheelchair accessible. The two-hour Shark Valley tram tour is accessible as well, with ramps to easily get on and off. Tour includes a stop at an observation tower which has a steep ramp, so it may be accessible with assistance. During the tour, Shark Valley naturalists share insights into the ecosystem and point out some of the “hidden” aspects of the Everglades. The open vehicles allow visitors to view wildlife—such as alligators and many species of birds—within the sawgrass prairies on either side of the tram.

Local Beaches and Parks

The Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces Department ensures special beach wheelchairs are placed at the various beaches around the county. This helps to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the sandy beaches.

Because of the popularity of beaches and parks, it is recommended that you call ahead and let staff know you’re coming so they can ensure there are available wheelchairs. The wheelchairs are free and offered on a first-come-first-served basis, but it’s important to note that the chairs are not self-propelled, so you will need to bring a friend or family member to assist you. When on the beach, sticking to the firm shoreline is key to ensure safe navigation.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

At the end of Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park features the tallest of two lighthouses in Miami-Dade County and the only one located on the mainland. Monitors at the base of the lighthouse provide a live feed of the view from the top of the lighthouse. Beach wheelchairs and a swim wheelchair are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Beach access via Mobi Mat is located at Beach Access No. 6. Other accessible amenities include picnic shelters, fishing piers, paved bike trails, playground, and a restaurant.

Oleta River State Park

As Florida’s largest natural urban park, Oleta River State Park, provides opportunities for swimming, mountain bike riding, nature-viewing and bird watching, and picnicking. The park offers visitors and guests several accessible amenities including beach wheelchairs and wheelchair-friendly beach access, an accessible canoe/kayak launch, grills, a fishing pier, picnic shelters, a portion of the butterfly garden, and cabin rentals.

Crandon Park Beach

Located on Key Biscayne, Crandon Park’s two-mile beach is consistently named among the top ten beaches in the nation. It is one of the most popular with visitors, who love to explore the various ecosystems, including dunes, mangroves, and coastal hammock and seagrass beds. There are many spectacular avians—such as herons and ospreys—and butterflies. The park provides special beach wheelchairs and accessible restrooms, and easy access to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, named after the author of the 1947 book, “The Everglades: River of Grass.” The nature center features exhibits and lectures, and naturalists lead tours along seagrass beds and coastal hammock. Some of the paths are wheelchair accessible, and the seagrass bed tour could be for beach wheelchairs if the water doesn’t exceed about six inches. Call ahead to check schedules and for accessibility questions. After a day of fun in the sun, you can toast the park’s history as a former coconut plantation with a piña colada at the Ritz Carlton!

Haulover Beach

For those who dare to go bare, the northern part of Haulover Beach near Bal Harbour is a great option, as it's regularly ranked as one of the Top 10 clothing optional beaches worldwide. Those who prefer to keep their beachwear on may prefer to stick to the south end. Regardless of where you stand on that, the park offers special non-motorized beach wheelchairs you can check out. A 9-hole golf course separates the beach from the full-service marina, which provides plenty of areas to barbecue, wheelchair-accessible tennis courts, kite shops and water sport rentals.

Miami Beach

The Sabrina Cohen Foundation has partnered with the City of Miami Beach to feature twice monthly Adaptive Beach Days, a pop-up program that provides full-service access into the ocean with the help of trained staff and volunteers, access decks, beach wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment.

The success of the program has inspired the future development of an Adaptive Recreation Center, which will be the first oceanfront facility on the east coast catering exclusively to individuals with mobility challenges – from children to adults to seniors. Visitors will indulge in a uniquely empowering experience, combining indoor and beachside physical fitness with recreational activities that promote mental and spiritual wellness. The Center will feature three floors of fitness and therapy spaces and rooftop pool, plus full-service beachside and water activities.

Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces

With over 250 parks and over 12,000 acres of land, Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces (MDPROS) has something for everyone. As the nation's third-largest parks system, visitors and guests with disabilities have a variety of opportunities to enjoy their leisure and recreation pastimes at convenient locations. Accessible golf carts are available with prior arrangements at golf courses. The department provides a variety of accessible park amenities including tennis and basketball courts, swimming pools, campgrounds, dog parks, fitness zones, shelter rentals, marinas, walking paths, and a gun range.

The EcoAdventures Division offers a variety of nature-based programs, many of which are accessible including educational programs and boat tours which can accommodate wheelchairs with prior notice in advance. The Redland Fruit and Spice Park provides guests with the opportunity to stroll along accessible routes while they explore a variety of tropical and sub-tropical fruit trees. An accessible tram tour is also available at the park.

The Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion Division provides specialized programs for children and adults with disabilities, from archery and wheelchair basketball, to adapted aquatics and handcycling.

Family Friendly Attractions

Whether you’re traveling with kids or just young at heart, Greater Miami and Miami Beach offer wonderful family friendly attractions. Some of the best accessible options are outlined below.

Art Deco Historic District

If you love great architecture, don’t miss the Art Deco Historic District, the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. Located in South Beach, often ranked among the best urban beaches, this entertainment district is named on the National Historic Register of Places. There are plenty of sidewalks and restaurants with ramp entrances and exits, so it’s easy to take in the architecture, people watch, dine alfresco, shop and more. While some historic buildings have limited wheelchair accessibility, most of the Miami Design Preservation League’s Official Art Deco Walking Tour is wheelchair accessible. The tour starts at the Art Deco Welcome Center on 10th Street and Ocean Drive.

Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami, also called the Miami-Dade Zoological Park, is the largest and oldest zoological garden in the state, and it is home to more than 3,000 animals, from giraffes, elephants and leopards to exotic birds and reptiles. The zoo is wheelchair accessible and has a range of features and services for guests with disabilities. Service animals are permitted, and wheelchairs and electric convenience vehicles are available for rental.

Miami Seaquarium

Once the filming location for the 1960s series “Flipper,” Miami Seaquarium is a 38-acre tropical paradise where endangered sea turtles and manatees find a safe haven and dolphins delight children of all ages. Providing unique and interactive experiences that are educational and fun for visitors, the park’s conservation efforts have protected thousands of animals. Programming emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship and conservation through educational animal presentations featuring sea lions, cetaceans, penguins and more.

Most of the attractions, restaurants, and shows at the park are accessible to guests with disabilities. While some parts of the park may be inaccessible, such as some of the animal interactions, contacting an associate at least 48 hours before visiting can help you prepare for your visit.

Shake-A-Leg Miami

For many years, people with various types of disabilities have found freedom on the water with Shake-A-Leg Miami, which provides vessels that have been purposefully designed or actively modified to make sailing easier. The fleet boasts 10 sailboats, 30 kayaks, and safety ships to offer a variety of sailing experiences to people of all ages. One of the favorite experiences is the catamaran ride—called the “Impossible Dream” because it is fully accessible!

Deering Estate

The Deering Estate—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—preserves the 1920s era estate of Charles Deering, an industrialist, preservationist, environmentalist, art collector and philanthropist. This beautiful museum offers a variety of signature events, programs, tours and classes are offered throughout the year. You can request materials in an accessible format and use sign language interpreters and take a guided tour of the 444-acre nature preserve tour by golf cart.

Underline Urban Park

The first phase of Miami’s Underline Urban Park recently debuted, transforming the land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10‑mile linear park, urban trail, and public art destination. This phase of the wheelchair-accessible park includes the River Room, which connects to the Miami River Greenway and features smooth sidewalk surrounded by native grasses and pollinator plants perfect for playing with dogs. The Promenade, located between SW 8th Street and the Brickell Metrorail station, features community gathering spaces including a sound stage and plaza for health and wellness, cultural and educational programs, communal dining table, tables for board games, and the Station Grove, a seating area at the Brickell Metrorail station entrance. The park hosts a variety of free community events.

Perez Art Museum

If you are an art lover, you will want to check out Perez Art Museum, considered by many among the top art museums in South Florida. You can find modern and contemporary international art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Many enjoy waterfront dining at Verde, the onsite restaurant serving locally inspired dishes prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients and signature pastries. Visitors with wheelchairs can access all this via an ADA-accessible doorway just to the right of the main lobby doors. Those driving to the museum can park in the ground-level garage and take an elevator to the museum entrance.

Accessible Shopping

Bayside Marketplace

Across from PortMiami in the heart of downtown, Bayside Marketplace is a wonderful spot to enjoy the tropical weather, soak in the Latin vibe with live music, take a cruise past celebrity homes and of course, shop. This two-level open-air center offers more than 150 shops and a dozen restaurants, all of which are ADA compliant. There are also handicapped parking spaces, along with wheelchair rentals.

Lincoln Road Pedestrian Mall

If you want to hang with the locals in South Beach, after you check out the iconic Ocean Drive head over to Lincoln Road, an historic outdoor pedestrian mall and entertainment district. The mall boasts more than 200 retailers, designer brands, boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. All the stores and eateries are ADA compliant, and the perfect perch to people watch and savor a meal, cocktail or cafecito. Must-sees include the Lincoln Theatre, where you can experience incredible music and the Colony Theatre which features popular theatrical productions in an intimate space. The ArtCenter/South Florida showcases cutting-edge local artists, whom you can meet and buy pieces from.

Just off Lincoln Road is Time Out Market Miami, a wheelchair-accessible food hall spread across 17,000 square feet and boasting the city’s top chefs, most-talked-about restaurants and the buzziest bars—plus the latest in arts and culture all huddled together under one roof. People with disabilities may access the market from all three entrances: Drexel Avenue, 16th Street and via the parking garage.

Superblue Miami

Across from the fully accessible Rubell Museum is Superblue Miami, an innovative arts attraction delivering large-scale immersive installations—all wheelchair accessible. Wind your way through a mirrored labyrinth by Es Devlin, discover a transcendent digital environment by teamLab, and enter an enveloping light-based Ganzfeld work by James Turrell.

Wynwood Walls

One of Miami’s most exciting cutting-edge scenes just north of downtown is the Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum that featuring the world's greatest artists working in the graffiti and street art genre. The Wynwood Walls Museum, which is wheelchair accessible, costs just $12 per person and includes access to more than 35 hand-sprayed murals, two street-art galleries, and retail shops. Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and interact with the official Wynwood Walls Museum App. The museum also offers guided tours, and there are additional guided tours of the district offered by tour companies, some of which include tasting your way through the town.

Accessible Restaurants

In 2019 Wallethub names The Magic City the third best food city in the U.S., so no trip to Miami would be complete without taking your taste buds on an international tour. The good news is that Miami’s restaurants are generally accessible, and standouts include: Casa Florida, a hotel and cocktail bar in the historic Miami River area, featuring a curated list of world-renowned drinks that leave your mouth buzzing with layers of flavor; Peacock Garden Resto Bar & Grill in Coconut Grove, offering al fresco dining in a lush garden and menu specialties such as a seafood and raw bar, daily roast specials and garden-inspired cocktails; Hometown Barbecue Miami, serving authentic pit smoked meats and traditional sides; and Versailles, which bills itself the world’s most famous Cuban Restaurant, featuring amazing traditional dishes such as arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) and ropa vieja (shredded beef) served in the restaurant, and pastelitos (pastries) and high-octane Cuban coffee served from the famous ventanita (little window) where the community gathers to sip and savor each other’s company.

Accessible Transportation

Miami International Airport – Most Accessible Airport in the World

As one of the busiest airports in the nation, Miami International Airport (MIA) some people with disabilities might worry about the ease of traveling, but once there they will find a wonderfully accessible facility. In fact, MIA was recently named winner of the 2021 Airport Accessibility Award during the 6th Annual Airport PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) Leadership Conference.

MIA offers passengers with disabilities a dedicated platform for accessing services, amenities, and information when traveling through Miami International Airport. This program, called myMIAaccess, features a rehearsal program called MIAair that allows special needs travelers the opportunity to practice the entire travel experience in a safe and controlled environment. Multi-Sensory Rooms provide a dedicated space where passengers with cognitive and developmental disabilities such as autism can enjoy a calm and stimulating environment while they travel through MIA, while the Aira service connects passengers who are blind or have low vision to a highly trained, remotely located agent.

The staff are highly trained in ADA Awareness and Sensitivity training, which includes how to support children and adults who have special needs while at MIA.

Some of the other top accessibility features include wheelchair charging stations and companion bathrooms—large private rooms perfect for people in wheelchairs or who require accommodation for any type of medical device. Wheelchair accessibility is available everywhere, from the parking lot, concourse and terminals to every eatery, store and restroom area. Many of the restaurant menus provide options for special dietary needs, and service dogs get their very own relief area!

PortMiami – Cruise Capital of the World

Known worldwide as the “Cruise Capital of the World,” PortMiami boasts state-of-the-art passenger terminal facilities and hosts more than 20 cruise brands berthing 60 ships traveling to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and other exciting destinations. PortMiami cruise terminals and parking areas are wheelchair accessible. If you require temporary use of a wheelchair at the pier for embarkation or debarkation, it’s recommended that you request one upon arrival at the cruise terminal from a cruise line employee and arrange for assistance if needed. Due to limited wheelchair inventory, wait times may occur, so it’s recommended to arrive early.

Accessible Ground Transportation

If you need an accessible taxi to take you to PortMiami from the airport or local hotel, you must reserve it ahead of time. You can find more than a dozen taxi companies offering wheelchair accessible taxis here. MIA Mover, Metrorail and all Miami-Dade Transit stations and buses are also wheelchair-accessible, and passengers using wheelchairs have the right to board and exit the bus first before other riders.

Of course, with any form of accessible travel, pre-planning and calling facilities in advance is the best bet. Find more helpful tips on the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau website here.

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The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is an accredited, independent not-for-profit sales and marketing organization whose mission is to attract visitors to Greater Miami and the Beaches for leisure, business and conventions. For a vacation guide, visit our website at www.MiamiandBeaches.com or call 1-888-76-Miami (US/Canada only) or (305) 447-7777. To reach the GMCVB offices dial (305) 539-3000. Meeting planners may call 1(800) 933-8488 (US/Canada only) or (305) 539-3071 or visit www.MiamiMeetings.com. To get further engaged with Miami and the Beaches, join the conversation by following us on our social media channels at Facebook.com/visitmiami, Twitter.com/miamiandbeaches, Instagram.com/miamiandbeaches and Pinterest.com/miamiandbeaches.