Many attractions in Panama City Beach are committed to sharing their offerings with everyone, regardless of mobility or ability.
Find shopping and entertainment all in one go at Pier Park. This popular PCB attraction is wheelchair-friendly, and sidewalks are wide enough to accommodate foot traffic while leaving space for those who need mobility assistance.
The fresh-air complex boasts more than 120 shops, with everything from home goods to fashion. Stop into one of the many restaurants between browsing and buying, with options ranging from excellent seafood and cocktails to burgers and sushi. The shops and restaurants within the destination adhere to ADA requirements.
While you’re there, you won’t want to miss the SkyWheel, a giant Ferris wheel with enclosed pods. All pods, except one, are wheelchair-accessible.
Gulf World Marine Park
With daily educational shows and immersive experiences, Gulf World Marine Park has brought the ocean to life for Panama City Beach residents and visitors since 1970. Dolphins are the admitted star of the show here, showcased across 22 habitats. The park is wheelchair-friendly, and most of the show venues have designated spots for parking a wheelchair. Some dolphin shows can get a little splashy, so the wheelchair area is elevated to ensure you won’t get wet.
Bottlenose dolphin encounters are open to all. However, the park asks that anyone with physical or invisible disabilities or medical restrictions contact the ticket office before booking one of these experiences.
Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise
The Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise promises an exciting day on the water under the watchful eyes of Captain “Fearless” Phil and his friendly crew. The two-hour sailing adventure includes the chance to spy on dolphins, play pirate activities, and enjoy cold beverages and snacks.
Guests using wheelchairs are welcomed onboard via a ramp accommodating a standard-width chair. The helpful staff can assist in getting the chair aboard the boat. Future pirates are welcome to visit the dock and measure the ramp before reserving their cruise spot to ensure it works for their circumstances.
Kids of all ages, and their families, love WonderWorks, an amusement park for the mind. With 29,000 square feet of edu-tainment, the center sparks imagination and encourages interactive play through over 100 hands-on exhibits.
The center hosts Sensory Days, during which exhibits are adjusted to offer limited stimulation for kids and guests with limited abilities–this includes lowering the music and discontinuing the use of loud displays or the inversion tunnel to create a safe yet not overwhelming experience.
Water Planet’s Harmony Program caters to children with emotional and mental challenges. Those with sensory integration issues or simply social adaptation difficulties can enjoy the incredible exhilaration of connecting with a marine mammal in the water.
Children on the autism spectrum, with Down Syndrome or ADHD, or having severe behavioral issues without a specific diagnosis can come face-to-face with a large and wild, air-breathing mammal, inspiring a strong emotional release that disrupts social barriers and inhibitions.
St. Andrews State Park
Everyone can enjoy the outdoors at St. Andrews State Park, a local favorite for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. The park’s 1.5-plus miles of beach, numerous campsites, and over two miles of hiking trails are ideal for all abilities, as it was designed for easy wheelchair access to the visitor’s center, the beach, the fishing piers, and the scenic overlooks.
Manual beach wheelchairs are available to rent at the ranger station. Multiple Mobi-Mats are also on the sand, making it easy to roll out onto the beach in a powered wheelchair. Service animals are welcome at the park.
With more than 2,900 acres of open land, 24 miles of trails, and over a mile of boardwalks that wind through Cypress domes, Conservation Park offers nearly limitless outdoor recreation.
Wheelchair users will prefer the Walt Oberst Trail boardwalk and paved path, as well as the trail through the picnic area at the park's southeast corner, where you’ll find a picnic shelter, public restrooms, and parking.
Spend a day with family and friends at Shell Island, an undeveloped, seven-mile-long barrier island that’s technically the southernmost point of St. Andrews State Park. Private tour companies, like the Shell Island Shuttle, transport beachgoers directly to the island for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
The official Shell Island Shuttle, as well as several private tour boats, are wheelchair accessible. Please keep in mind that Shell Island is undeveloped, meaning there are no restrooms, concessions, or shade pavilions, so it’s wise to plan accordingly.
Everyone wants to enjoy the beautiful stretches of sand that are so quintessentially a part of the Panama City Beach experience. For those needing a wheelchair while visiting, Beach Powered Mobility can rent sand-worthy chairs, including powered beach cruisers, regular beach wheelchairs, and wheelchairs that can roll on the sand and float in the water. Beach Powered Mobility will deliver the chair to your accommodations so you can start enjoying the beach as soon as possible.
Most of the PCB beaches have wheelchair-accessible access points with ramps–there are 100 access points in all. Manual beach wheelchairs are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis at Russell-Fields City Pier & Beach and Camp Helen State Park.
Panama City Beach is an accessible destination with many more attractions and scenic areas available to people of all abilities. Whether it’s a sunset dinner cruise or a day at the beach, everyone has the freedom to explore PCB.