Your Wheelchair Accessible Travel Guide to Greater Fort Lauderdale

As someone that absolutely loves warm weather and beaches, south Florida is one of my favorite areas in the United States, but until very recently, I had never explored Greater Fort Lauderdale. This area encompasses 31 cities and municipalities in south Florida, so there is certainly a lot to experience. I am so happy that I was finally able to enjoy it over the course of five days. While you could definitely stay in Greater Fort Lauderdale much longer and probably never get bored because there’s so much to do, five days was enough time for me to enjoy some of the best wheelchair accessible things to do in Greater Fort Lauderdale

Whether I was rolling on wheelchair accessible beaches, cruising through the “Venice of America” on a tiki boat, touring remarkable attractions and museums, or eating delicious food, my five days in Greater Fort Lauderdale were jam-packed with fun. I discovered that the area has so much to offer, no matter what your abilities are, and I already cannot wait to return and experience even more of the destination. 

If you are curious about wheelchair accessible things to do, the best accessible restaurants, or where to stay in Greater Fort Lauderdale, this travel guide has you covered. By the time you finish reading it, you’ll be ready to book your own trip to this south Florida oasis! 

Wheelchair Accessible Greater Fort Lauderdale Attractions & Things to Do

Watch the short video below to see eight wheelchair accessible things to do in Greater Fort Lauderdale and then keep reading for all of the details about each attraction –

See a variety of animals at Flamingo Gardens

I visited some pretty awesome attractions during my five days in Greater Fort Lauderdale, but Flamingo Gardens was undoubtedly one of my favorites. At Flamingo Gardens, you can see a variety of animals, including flamingos, otters, a black bear, alligators, peacocks, and so much more! 

Flamingo Gardens is located in Davie, Florida and it is one of the oldest botanical gardens and attractions in south Florida. In addition to the botanical gardens, it’s a wildlife sanctuary as well, so there is certainly a lot to see. I’d suggest planning at least 3-4 hours for a visit. 

Throughout the gardens, there were paved paths, so it was easy for me to get around as a wheelchair user. Some sections were a bit steep, so you may need some assistance if you use a manual wheelchair, but my powered wheelchair handled everything with ease. 

At the start of your visit at Flamingo Gardens, I would recommend doing the half hour tram tour of the property. A wheelchair accessible tram with a ramp and securement straps is available. This tour was a wonderful way for me to get a quick overview of the property, and then see what I needed to return to later. 

While at Flamingo Gardens, be sure to check out the Wildlife Encounter Shows, which happen several times per day. Or you can enjoy other experiences like VIP Tours and encounters with flamingos or the bear if booked in advance. It’s also worth noting that if you need to rent a wheelchair or scooter to use during your visit, they are available at the entrance in the gift shop. 

On a nice day, there’s no better place to spend some time than Flamingo Gardens! Admission costs $24 per adult and $17 per child when booked online in advance of your visit. 

Enjoy accessibility in Pompano Beach

There are over 24 miles of beaches in Greater Fort Lauderdale, but one of the most wheelchair accessible beach options is Pompano Beach. Pompano Beach offers a variety of things to do, including the beach of course, so I spent half a day checking out some of the best accessible things to do in this part of Greater Fort Lauderdale. 

My time in Pompano Beach started by rolling on the Fisher Family Pier. This pier is nearly 900 feet long and whether you just want to take in the views from the end of the pier or go fishing, it’s worth experiencing. 

It is completely free to go on the Fisher Family Pier if you just want to sightsee, and it’s $6 if you want to fish. They do have fishing rods available to rent as well for $27. 

The pier is wooden, but unlike many other piers that I’ve rolled on, it was surprisingly smooth in my powered wheelchair. I didn’t have any issues rolling on the pier and I loved that there were some lowered viewing areas, so that wheelchair users could easily see the amazing views of the ocean. 

After rolling on the Fisher Family Pier, it was time to visit the beach. Pompano Beach actually has six wheelchair accessible access points to the beach and I was able to roll to several of them from the pier. The six access points have beach access mats (a mix of Mobi-Mats and AccessMats), so I was able to roll out on the beach in my own wheelchair, which was nice. 

If you would like to venture further out on the sand, beach wheelchairs are available on a complimentary basis. You can find them at Lifeguard Towers 2 and 7, but they are first-come, first-served, so keep that in mind when planning your day in Pompano Beach. 

Pompano Beach is a beautiful area and I was thrilled to see such great accessibility during my few hours there. There is even an inclusive playground at Sgt. Kip A Jacoby Park, which is a must-visit if you have children. 

Tour the iconic Bonnet House

Before visiting Greater Fort Lauderdale, I had never heard of the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens to be completely honest, but it quickly became one of my favorite attractions. Today, Bonnet House is a place that preserves Florida’s past and as I rolled through the house and grounds, I felt like I went back in time to the early 20th century. 

To give you a bit of history, Bonnet House was purchased back in 1895 by Hugh Taylor Birch. He later gifted the property in 1919 to his daughter Helen and her husband, Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett. Just a few years later, Helen passed away, so then Frederic remarried years later and he and his wife made Bonnet House what it is today. It’s still very much exactly what it was when the Bartletts lived at Bonnet House, so it was fascinating to see. 

I went on a guided tour of the house, but you can also opt for a self-guided tour if you prefer. Self-guided tours are $25 per person, but if you’d like to do a 90 minute guided tour with a docent instead, they are $30 per person. The guided tours take place Tuesday-Friday at 10am and 2pm, and on Saturdays at 10am. 

I would highly recommend doing a guided tour, as I learned so much and they did a great job of making it accessible for me. During the 90 minute guided tour, I was able to enter every room of the house except for one. Bonnet House had portable ramps for me to use since there was a step to enter most rooms. I really enjoyed seeing all of the art throughout the house and learning the story behind some of the pieces from our guide. 

Another thing that I really loved about Bonnet House was the fact that a wheelchair accessible golf cart was available to get around. The property is spread across 35 acres, so the golf cart came in handy and was certainly a good way to conserve my wheelchair’s battery power. I was able to roll up a ramp into the golf cart and once I was inside, securement straps kept my wheelchair in place. 

Bonnet House is closed on Mondays and if you’re interested in doing a guided tour, advance reservations are recommended. You’ll be pleased to know that accessible parking spaces are available at the entrance and complimentary wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Cruise through Fort Lauderdale with Cruisin’ Tikis

Anytime I’m near water, I try to find wheelchair accessible boating opportunities, but I’m often left empty handed. It’s challenging to find boats that are willing to accommodate a powered wheelchair user in many destinations, but Fort Lauderdale had a unique experience for me… a tiki boat cruise!

On a sunny day in Fort Lauderdale, I enjoyed an hour and a half ride with Cruisin’ Tikis and it was so much fun! Cruisin’ Tikis has the most photographed boat on the water because it’s incredibly unique. It’s a floating tiki hut with a bar in the middle, but you do need to bring your own drinks and food. A Bluetooth stereo system is available as well if you want to play some music. 

During our ride, we cruised the waterways of Fort Lauderdale (did you know that Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America”?), saw many mansions, and the weather was just perfect. I really enjoyed seeing the many mansions and hearing about the history of them from our Captain. 

To get onboard the tiki boat, I used my portable ramp, but if you use a manual wheelchair, you could get on without a ramp, I’m sure. It was an easy process with the portable ramp and I was able to maneuver around with ease. If you won’t be able to bring your own portable ramp and you need one, just talk to the friendly folks at Cruisin’ Tikis when you make your reservation and I’m sure they will figure out a solution for you. They were super friendly and I tremendously enjoyed getting to know them during our cruise. 

If you’ll be in Greater Fort Lauderdale, you should absolutely book a cruise with Cruisin’ Tikis for a fun day out on the water. The tiki boat can hold up to six people and pricing starts at $350 for 90 minutes. You can make reservations on their website here.

Visit the Museum of Discovery and Science

If you will be visiting Greater Fort Lauderdale with children, the Museum of Discovery and Science should be a must-visit. While the museum is ideal for children and would’ve literally been paradise for my 8 year old self, I honestly had a great time at the museum and I visited without any kids. It’s really a wonderful museum for anyone that loves science! 

The Museum of Discovery and Science has over 20 immersive and interactive exhibits, ranging from dinosaurs to an outdoor garden to exhibits about outer space and so much more. I was in the museum for about two hours, but you could easily stay longer, especially if you or your family are engaging with all of the interactive elements of the museum. 

In addition to the many exhibits, there is also an IMAX theater at the museum. The screen is a whopping six stories tall, making it south Florida’s largest movie screen. They show a variety of types of movies every day in the IMAX theater, from educational documentaries to the newest blockbuster movies. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as this is a very popular theater in Fort Lauderdale. 

In terms of accessibility, the Museum of Discovery and Science does an excellent job and they strive to be inclusive for all guests. The entire museum was wheelchair-friendly for me with elevators to reach each floor and companion care restrooms were available as well. If you need to borrow a manual wheelchair for your visit to the museum, they are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Watch a Florida Panthers ice hockey game

As someone that grew up in north Georgia, I didn’t know anything about ice hockey… until I went to Greater Fort Lauderdale, that is! I was able to attend my first ever ice hockey game while in Greater Fort Lauderdale and it was such an entertaining game. I’m officially now an ice hockey fan!

We watched the Florida Panthers from wheelchair accessible seats in the Club level and had a perfect view. I could easily see all of the action and I even got to meet the Florida Panthers mascot, Stanley C. Panther. It was a lively game and the perfect thing to do at the end of a fun day in Greater Fort Lauderdale. 

In the Club level where our seats were, there were tons of options for food and drinks. We ate right before we went to the game, so I didn’t try any of the food, but it looked delicious. I did enjoy some hot chocolate though and it was quite tasty! 

I was also happy to see that a family/companion care restroom was available on the Club level of Amerant Bank Arena. Accessibility throughout the arena was great and I never had any problems getting around. Elevators were available to access the multiple levels of the arena, and the staff were friendly and pointed me in the right direction when I asked where the companion care restroom was located. 

The Florida Panthers play from October-April, so if you’re in Greater Fort Lauderdale during that timeframe, make time to see a game. Whether you’ve been a fan of ice hockey for years or you’re a brand new fan like me, you’re sure to have a good time. You can view their upcoming schedule and purchase tickets on their official website here.

Catch a show at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts

If you’ve read my blog over the years, then you probably know that there isn’t much I love more than live theatre. As a former theatre kid, I always love seeing shows in any destination I visit, and Greater Fort Lauderdale offers some spectacular live theatre year round at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. 

The Broward Center has shows almost every night of the year and sometimes multiple shows are going on at the same time, thanks to there being multiple theaters at the Center. You can see everything from orchestras to concerts and touring Broadway shows. It’s important to check the Calendar of Events to see what will be playing during your visit to Greater Fort Lauderdale.

When I visited the Broward Center, I was able to watch “Sister Act: The Musical” and it was fantastic! I have always loved the Sister Act movie and the musical took the story to new heights. The show took place in the Amaturo Theater and I had a perfect view of the stage from our wheelchair accessible seats. 

Accessibility throughout the Broward Center for the Performing Arts was great. Accessible seating was available, as I mentioned, and wheelchair accessible stalls are in every restroom. If you need a family/companion care restroom though, those are available as well. 

Admire art at the NSU Art Museum

Located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, the NSU Art Museum is one of Florida’s best art museums. After spending some time in the museum, I can certainly see why so many people recommended it to me.

The museum has over 7,500 works of art in its permanent collection. One thing that makes the NSU Art Museum stand out is the fact that their artwork places an emphasis on women, Black, and Latinx artists. The museum also has the largest collection in the United States by artist William Glackens. 

In addition to the permanent collection, NSU Art Museum always has some temporary exhibits on display. When I visited the museum, I loved the temporary “Parrot Jungle” exhibit from artist Walasse Ting. I had never heard of Ting until this visit, so I really enjoyed being introduced to a new-to-me artist. You can see what’s currently on display at the museum here.

The NSU Art Museum is entirely wheelchair accessible with elevators available to access both levels of the museum. All of the exhibits were spacious as well, so I had no issues maneuvering throughout the museum. I had a nice time exploring the museum and would highly recommend visiting it if you’ll be in the area.

Where to Eat in Greater Fort Lauderdale

There are so many great places to dine in Greater Fort Lauderdale. While I didn’t have a chance to visit them all (it would probably take a lifetime!), I did have some fantastic meals and would love to share some of my favorites with you. Here are five of my favorite accessible restaurants in Greater Fort Lauderdale –


Without a doubt, this was one of my favorite meals I’ve eaten in a VERY long time. I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Vitolo, which is an Italian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. I had meatballs to start and then the striped bass for my entree. Everything was perfection and for a relatively simple meal, the flavors were out of this world. The customer service was outstanding as well, which made for a really pleasant dining experience. If I lived near Fort Lauderdale, I would definitely be at Vitolo on a weekly basis. 

Striped bass at Vitolo

Coyo Taco

If you love Mexican food as much as I do, you need to try Coyo Taco in Fort Lauderdale. From the chicken tacos to the esquite (street corn) to the wild cocktails, my whole meal was fantastic! I usually don’t drink alcohol, but one drink at Coyo Taco seemed so unique that I just had to give it a try. The drink was called a Michelada and it’s beer mixed with tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and lime juice… then topped with a bacon wrapped jalapeño popper, a birria flauta, and more. Sounds like a fun time, right?! 

Michelada at Coyo Taco

The Bite Eatery 

No matter what kind of food you’re in the mood for, you are sure to find it at The Bite Eatery in Pompano Beach. This is a food hall with about ten different eateries, with each one specializing in a different kind of food. You can enjoy Mexican, Cuban, Asian, Italian, and Peruvian foods, along with burgers, sandwiches, lobster rolls, gelato, and craft cocktails at the bar. I had some edamame and sushi from Yin & Yummy and it was delicious! After spending a day on the accessible beaches of Pompano Beach, The Bite Eatery was a perfect place to indulge. 

Sushi from Yin & Yummy

Java & Jam

If you’re looking for a great brunch spot (and who isn’t?!), then Java & Jam is the place for you! They’re open every day of the week for breakfast and lunch, and they do serve breakfast all day, but a lunch menu is also available starting at 11am. Java & Jam has both indoor and outdoor seating, and since it was a nice day when we visited, we chose to sit outside. I had the roasted turkey club sandwich with a fruit cup, which was very tasty, and I really loved the iced latte that I got. 

Roasted turkey club sandwich

Louie Bossi’s Italian Ristorante

I’ve never met an Italian restaurant that I didn’t like, but Louie Bossi’s Italian Ristorante is a special place. They serve authentic Italian food that’s made “the old-school way” and they have quite the reputation in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Almost everyone that I met during my trip told me that I needed to eat at Louie Bossi’s, so I did just that. I enjoyed the coccoli fritto for an appetizer, which was little breads that you could fill with ricotta and prosciutto, and the grilled chicken panini for my entree. Everything I had was delicious, but there are a variety of pizzas and pastas on the menu as well. 

Coccoli fritto at Louie Bossi’s

Where to Stay: Plunge Beach Resort

There are a plethora of wheelchair accessible hotels to choose from in Greater Fort Lauderdale and there are options for every budget. Throughout my time in the area, I stayed at the fantastic Plunge Beach Resort

Plunge Beach Resort is located in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and just a short drive from all of the great attractions within Greater Fort Lauderdale. It is a beachfront resort as well, so you can certainly enjoy some fun in the sun. If you’d like to get in the resort’s outdoor pool, a pool access lift is available. 

If you’re looking for good food, the resort has a beach bar (with yummy fish tacos!!) called Backflip, a breakfast restaurant called Octopus, and a coffee shop on-site. I tried all three during my stay and they were excellent! There are a variety of restaurants within a short drive of Plunge Beach Resort as well. 

In my wheelchair accessible room, there was one king sized bed and I had plenty of space to maneuver throughout the room in my wheelchair. The bed was a great height for self-transferring, but if you use a hoyer lift for transferring, it was a block frame bed. A hoyer lift could not roll underneath the bed. 

In the bathroom, there was a roll-in shower with a fold-down shower seat and a handheld shower wand, a pull-under sink, and there were grab bars by the toilet. The bathroom really couldn’t have been better for my needs. 

It’s rare to find a hotel that is in a wonderful location, has plenty of dining options, and has a room that works beautifully for my accessibility needs, but Plunge Beach Resort had it all! When I return to Greater Fort Lauderdale one day, I would absolutely stay at Plunge again.

Overall, my trip in Greater Fort Lauderdale was truly spectacular and within just five days, I fell in love with the destination. It’s now one of my favorite places to visit in Florida and in my opinion, it’s one of the most wheelchair accessible as well. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a relaxing beach vacation or maybe you want a busier itinerary with lots of accessible attractions to check out, you will certainly have a fun experience in Greater Fort Lauderdale! 


*Thank you to Greater Fort Lauderdale for working with me on this trip and showing me the best of wheelchair accessible Greater Fort Lauderdale! While my experiences were complimentary, all opinions expressed are authentic and my own.