Wheelchair Accessible Florida
Cape Coral, Ft. Myers, Everglades   

by Vickey Riddel © 2000  

Vickey Riddel relates her whirlwind six days in Florida with her son.

We were only in Florida  for six days (not nearly enough time for a vacation), but we had a great time. We flew into Miami, stayed on Marathon Key the first night, and then drove down to Key West the next day. After seeing Key West (a driving tour of carnival land--in my opinion), we drove to Homestead where we stayed at  the Hampton Inn with its nice, accessible rooms. 

We then drove across the Everglades via the most southern route. The Shark Valley Tourist Area has a two-hour tram ride with helpful rangers and an accessible overlook/outlook tower, which posed no problems to my son’s wheelchair.

We then drove to Cape Coral/Fort Myers and stayed there for three days near my son's father (small houses--very, very small bathrooms). Since his father’s house is so very small, my son and I found a very accessible hotel room at the Cape Coral Golf and Tennis Resort--a large room with twin beds and a very large bathroom. My son was in accessibility heaven there. 

His spirits lifted when he saw that room and realized that he could take care of all his needs without problems.  We toured the Edison-Ford Estate, and I would recommend that tour to anyone. Accessibility there was a prime concern to all the staff.  

We did so much running around that we only got to spend one day on the beach at North Fort Myers.
My son found a friend there who took charge and who borrowed a four wheeler, which made their travels up and down the beach area problem-free (except that my son didn't have a very good view of the wet T-shirt contest--poor baby)!

The Fodor's “Great American Vacations for People with Disabilities” was extremely helpful for our trip.

Additional Florida Resources

Write for Access Florida, a free guidebook available from the Disability Services and Independent Living, 1335 N.W. 14th St., Miami, FL 33125. Also write the Florida Division of Tourism, 126 W. Van Buren St., Tallahassee, FL 32301, which publishes a directory for disabled people. Most of the U.S. states' tourist bureaus will happily deluge you with information that often notes accessible hotels, etc.   http://www.go2orlando.com/OSI/Content/0%2C1080%2C20000635%2C00.html  

For accessible boat tours of the Florida Keys, visit:

Tranquil Adventures
This Key Largo business provides superior access. Their boat has an accessible bathroom and lift to carefully lower disabled passengers into shallow water for snorkeling and swimming.

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