Top 5 Wheelchair-Friendly Cities in Florida
Thanks to the flat landscape of Florida, there is almost no region in Florida that isn’t friendly to wheelchair-users. There are however some cities that are more accessible than others in Florida thanks to the availability of rehabilitation programs, spinal cord injury doctors, recreation opportunities and more. Discover some of the best cities in Florida for people with spinal cord injuries below.
Tampa, close to both St. Petersburg and Clearwater Beach, is one of the most popular cities in Florida for people with disabilities. Thanks to its extensive accessible bike paths, accessible public transportation and accessible beaches, this city provides numerous recreation opportunities for people with spinal cord injuries. Tampa is also home to Florida's quad rugby team, the Marauders.
Central Florida, known for its tourist attractions like Disney world and Universal Studios, also provides a great landscape for people with spinal cord injuries. One of the best cities in central Florida by far for people with disabilities is Orlando. This city is the home of Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Because of this, the city has worked extensively to make sure their city is fully wheelchair-accessible for tourists. And you'll never get bored living in Orlando.
Residents of Orlando also get a yearly discount if they want to buy an annual pass for Walt Disney World. And there's an excellent trail nearby called the Orange Trail that is popular with many adaptive organizations in the area for hand-cycling.
Pensacola, located in West Florida, offers several opportunities for people with spinal cord injuries to partake in the community. If you'll want to go to the beach, Access Mobility of Pensacola offers power beach wheelchair rentals. You can also find wheelchair mats for the beach at both Casino Beach, Boardwalk Beach and Pensacola Beach.
If you're looking for a SCI support group in the area, there's one available at the West Florida Rehab Institute in Pensacola. They have a peer support group called the West Florida SCI support group that meets the second Tuesday of every month. And Pensacola also offers hard-to-find wheelchair accessible taxicab services that you'll not find as easily in other cities.
If you're looking for an exotic city that’s still in the USA, look no further than Miami. One of the most diverse cities in Florida, this city that is the home of some of the most influential organizations in the state that help people with spinal cord injuries. If you're interested in adaptive sailing, the Shake-a-Leg Foundation is headquartered in Miami. They teach people with disabilities how to sail by using adaptive equipment.
It is also where the Impossible Dream, one of the world's biggest accessible catamarans is located. If you're following spinal cord injury research however then you know that the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is also headquartered here. And Sabrina Cohen, a popular advocate in the spinal cord injury community who lives here. She recently helped open a new will chair accessible beach that provides her with the mats she needs to enjoy it.
Located in the northeast corner of the state is Jacksonville. Known for it’s beautiful beaches, with many that are accessible, like Jacksonville Beach, you can reserve beach wheelchairs for free at any public beach here. There's also a beach mat that’s available on Jacksonville Beach. Atlantic Beach and Neptune beach also have beach wheelchairs and ramps. Power beach wheelchairs are also available at Hanna park. And since Brooks Rehabilitation is headquartered here, there are several outpatient adaptive sport and recreational opportunities.
If you want to fish, you can fish without a license at the wheelchair accessible Jacksonville Beach Pier. Lastly, if you plan on moving here but cannot afford a ramp on your home, the Jacksonville Job Corps, partnering with the Disabled Services Division of the city, builds free wheelchair ramps for anyone living in Duval county with a disability. And if you're looking for a spinal cord injury support group, there's one available at UF Health (Shands) that meets quarterly.
These are just sampling of some of the larger disability friendly cities in Florida. If there are any smaller cities we should include in future blogs, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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