Howdy, all! After zooming in on Disney access guides and making our way out to Greater Orlando, I decided to “finish the job” and swing through another much-beloved tourist destination: Miami! This is one of the most energetic places in the U.S., with vibrant cultural influences from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and more. As one of the more progressive cities in the U.S., it’s also very much in tune with the needs of handicapped travelers and a variety of other visitors. It’s a fast-paced place, but we can take it at our own pace here on Disabled Travelers. Let’s do it …
I always like to start with local airports. In this case, of course, it’s Miami International, one of the busiest airports in the state. It has a comprehensive disabled travelers page with a really robust set of helpful features, including accessible taxi service and a service animal relief area. Once you’ve landed, there are plenty of accessible hotels and dining options. ActiveDiner has page after page of accessible restaurants in Miami, including Portguese, Japanese, Peruvian, Cuban, and more. For easy transportation around all these great eateries, there are accessible taxis available throughout the city with 70+ cabs available from twenty companies. Beyond that, all the accessible transit info you need has been organized into a surprisingly effective municipal website.
As far as hotels go, there are plenty of good sources. Of course, we all know about the new Hotels.com accessibility search, but that’s only the beginning for Miami. There’s also a great Miami hotel database at TVTrip, “The Hotel Videoguide,” and almost a hundred more options at AOL Travel.
For wheelchair accessible attractions, you can’t beat the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This beautiful retreat, featured on over ten acres of pristine land, includes formal gardens, native forest, and a house built by industrialist James Deering almost 100 years ago. The museum, which is also a National Historic Landmark, is proactive about providing a full range of services and mobility impaired access for those who need it, including those with service animals.
Also check out the Miami Metro Zoo, which has full accessibility for its monorail and trams, and offers wheelchair rental. There’s also the world famous Miami Seaquarium. Beyond these picks, there are many theaters, movie houses and sports venues in Miami, and you can find out about them and a whole slew of other hotel options at Miami for Visitors, a fast-loading index of information on the area that also includes some accessible information. It really puts the resources you need at your fingertips. Don’t miss the Events in Miami page, which provides links on the ‘net for sporting events, performing arts, annual celebrations, and more.
Going a little further afield, into Miami Beach (which is, as the name suggests, where much of the beach is located), you can find out about wheelchair beach access here. Guests can also rent specialty beach wheelchairs from companies like Deming Designs, which offers the unique “De-Bug” chair for beach use. The city’s official website has a bunch more stuff for visitors, that includes just about everything and the kitchen sink..
Done in Florida for now, but in our next few installments we’ll be continuing our journey through Asia and taking a peek into the Disabled Travelers mailbag for more of your burning questions. ‘til then, adventure on!