8 Wheelchair Accessible Things to Do in Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola is a destination that I have visited numerous times, but on each trip, I discover new attractions and experiences that I haven’t previously enjoyed. This destination has so much to offer and I am constantly amazed by how wheelchair accessible Pensacola is! 

Whether I’m lounging on the beach in a beach wheelchair (these are available in multiple locations throughout Pensacola), exploring one of the many museums in the city, watching in awe as the Blue Angels take flight, or something else, I fall a little more in love with Pensacola, Florida during each trip. If you are looking for an accessible destination that offers something for everyone, look no further! 

In this blog post, I’ll cover eight wheelchair accessible things to do in Pensacola, and then I’ll share a hotel recommendation for you at the end. By the time you finish reading this blog post, I’m sure you’ll be itching to book a trip of your own to this slice of Floridian paradise! 

Wheelchair Accessible Things to Do in Pensacola

Watch the Blue Angels take flight 

Pensacola is home to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and if you time your visit right, you could watch them take flight! Pensacola has two big air shows every year, one in July and one in November. But even if you aren’t visiting during those two months, you can see the Blue Angels practicing on certain days. 

Between March and October, the Blue Angels practice on select Tuesdays and Wednesdays. While you can watch them flying through the sky from many vantage points around Pensacola, I had the chance to watch from the Pensacola Bay City Ferry and it was such a fun experience! 

The Pensacola Bay City Ferry hosts “Blue Angels Practice Cruises”, so you can see them flying as you cruise Pensacola Bay. The boat is wheelchair accessible and it was easy for me to get onboard in my powered wheelchair with the provided ramp. 

Once onboard the ferry, the entire lower level is wheelchair accessible. You can sit at one of the tables indoors if you want to enjoy the air conditioning and purchase snacks or drinks from the snack booth, or there is an accessible outdoor area where you can soak up the sun while watching the Blue Angels. I chose to sit outside for the majority of the 1.5 hour cruise (Blue Angels are in flight for about 45 minutes) and I had perfect views. 

Watching the Blue Angels perform was such a memorable experience. I was in awe the entire time and my eyes could barely believe what they were seeing. It’s difficult to describe how awesome it is to watch them, but if you’ll be in Pensacola during one of their practices or during an air show, it should definitely be at the top of your to-do list. Just be sure to check the schedule and book your Pensacola Bay City Ferry tickets in advance of your visit here

Visit the National Naval Aviation Museum 

The thrill of aviation history hit me as soon as I pulled up to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. Immediately, the size of the museum was quite impressive and I was happy to see plenty of accessible parking spaces and wide, accessible pathways leading right up to the entrance.

The National Naval Aviation Museum did talk about naval aviation history in general, but it also covered the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, which I highly enjoyed learning more about. To be completely honest, I didn’t know a whole lot about the Blue Angels before this trip, but thanks to this museum and watching them practice in-person, I’m now a fan for life!

Inside, the hangar-like building felt very open, with plenty of space to maneuver my powered wheelchair between the incredible aircrafts that were on display. Thankfully, most exhibits were positioned at wheelchair-friendly heights, allowing me to get a good look at the planes. Most informational plaques were also low enough for easy reading from my wheelchair. There were elevators to reach the second floor as well, which offered a different perspective of the collection. 

A newer, second building called Hangar Bay One is now right outside the main museum building as well! This 55,000 square foot space houses a massive collection of post-World War II era aircraft. Navigating Hangar Bay One was a breeze with a wheelchair and it felt like a walk/roll through history. Admission to Hangar Bay One, and the National Naval Aviation Museum, is completely free. 

If you’re in the mood to watch a movie while at the museum, there is a giant screen theater with designated wheelchair accessible seating. I decided to catch a showing of “The Magic of Flight”, a film that is all about the amazing Blue Angels. While watching the 40 minute film, I felt like I was soaring alongside the Blue Angels – all from the comfort of the museum! Tickets for the on-site giant screen theater do cost.

The National Naval Aviation Museum is open every day of the week from 9am-4pm, with the exception of certain holidays. If you’ll be in Pensacola and want to learn about aviation, including the Blue Angels, there’s no better place to visit! 

Check out my short video below about my visit to the National Naval Aviation Museum and onboard the Pensacola Bay City Ferry –

Attend a Blue Wahoos baseball game 

It’s obvious why Pensacola’s Blue Wahoos stadium is a three-time recipient of the Southern League Ballpark of the Year award. Opened in 2012 to make Pensacola one of the most fun places to be, the Blue Wahoos Stadium sits alongside the water with the most perfect view of Pensacola Bay. 

There is plenty of wheelchair accessible parking and I was able to roll inside along a paved pathway. Once inside the ballpark, I found my wheelchair accessible seating quickly, as many kind workers offered assistance along the way. This is a fairly small stadium holding just over 5,000 fans, so there isn’t a bad seat in the house! 

My accessible seating in the lower level had space beside me for my companion and plenty of room for me to turn and watch the game, the crowd, and even keep an eye out for their mascot, Kazoo! It was a really fun game and I loved how interactive and engaging it was between each inning.

There are multiple eateries inside the stadium, so you definitely won’t leave hungry. I enjoyed some Papa John’s pizza about halfway through the game. I also noticed multiple companion care restrooms, which I was happy to see. 

Before you visit Pensacola, be sure to check the Blue Wahoos schedule and if they’ll be in town while you’re there, try to catch a game! I can tell you from experience that it’s one of the most fun ways to end any day in Pensacola. 

Shop along Palafox Street 

Palafox Street is such a fun area in downtown Pensacola with many shops and restaurants. During my visit, I found some cute shops as I easily maneuvered along the crosswalks and explored this area. I also noticed that the curb cuts were smooth, so I didn’t have any issues getting from one block to the next. 

One of my favorite shops on Palafox is Bodacious. This unique shop offers delicious tastings of premium olive oils and vinegars, freshly brewed coffee, and a great selection of healthy food options. I found it easily accessible to roll inside and I immediately headed to the right side of the shop to sample the olive oils. They give you a small dish of bread pieces and there were multitudes of bottles of extra virgin olive oil with different tastes, all from the finest olive groves. After sampling several kinds, my favorite flavor was the Tuscan Herb. This was so delicious and I will definitely be purchasing some each time I visit Pensacola. 

Although all the shops on Palafox are unique, you just can’t shop on Palafox Street and not stop into Peterbooke Chocolatier. In here, you will find the most delicious and unique chocolate creations, hand-made caramels, and even the chocolate covered strawberries are hand-dipped daily! Just rolling in here and smelling the sweet smell of these amazing treats will make your mouth water. I found some white chocolate covered popcorn that I knew would be my mom’s favorite, and I decided on the handmade truffles for myself. Since I couldn’t decide on milk chocolate or dark chocolate covered, I opted for both! And it turns out I made the right decision, as both were scrumptious. The staff were very friendly and offered to move a display so that I would have more space to maneuver throughout the store and they were also offering samples of their fresh made candies.

Another fun stop on Palafox is Rocket to Saturn Vintage. This is such a cool shop! The store is a bit small, but I had no issue with the aisles being tight for my wheelchair. I was able to maneuver around easily and scour all the vintage items of clothing from days gone by. They even had cowboy boots, interesting hats, and so many nostalgic clothing items. I was so excited to find a 1970’s vintage Disney World bucket hat that I couldn’t leave the store without. I thought this will look amazing for my upcoming trip to Disneyland Tokyo! 

No matter which shop you dive into on Palafox, I am certain that it will be a fun and interesting experience. Just plan to be here for at least a few hours, as there is a lot to see. And if you’re a shopaholic, you might want to plan even more time! 

Explore Pensacola’s various museums 

What’s great about the museums in Pensacola is that if you purchase a ticket, which costs around $12 per adult and $7 per child, you will have admission already covered at many museums, including the Pensacola Museum of History, the Historic Pensacola Village, Pensacola Children’s Museum, and the Pensacola Museum of Art. What a deal! Another fact that I discovered was that I was able to park one time and roll to all of them in one visit, as they are only a couple blocks from one another. 

The Pensacola Museum of History is housed in a three-story gorgeous building. All levels of the museum can be accessed via an elevator inside the museum. When I first rolled up to the front of the building though, I was puzzled when I saw only steps at the entrance. I quickly saw a sign that stated the wheelchair accessible entrance is to the side of the building. I then rolled to the side entrance and had to push a button on the wall to buzz the attendant inside. He said over a speaker system that he would be right down to unlock the door so that I could enter. Within minutes, I was inside on the elevator headed up to the first floor. Here, I was able to purchase my ticket and visit the museum store. I then moved on to the other levels via the elevator and saw both permanent and temporary exhibits. I learned about the history of Pensacola and how captivating the beauty of Pensacola Bay has drawn visitors and residents here for more than 450 years. Please note that this museum is closed on Mondays. 

At the Pensacola Museum of Art, the accessible parking is on the north side of the museum in the staff parking lot, but you could easily walk/roll to this museum from the Pensacola Museum of History. From the accessible parking area, you will see the accessible entrance. Just as the Pensacola Museum of History, here you will need to buzz the button found at the ramp door and an attendant will let you inside. This is the only accessible entrance, as the front has stairs. Once inside, the exhibits and rooms are very spacious and an elevator grants access to all floors of the museum. During my visit, I was happy to see such broad examples of modern and contemporary pieces on display. This museum is also closed on Mondays. 

The Pensacola Children’s Museum is a hands-on children’s space for kiddos up to 8 years old. Of course, their parents or guardians are also welcomed as well. This is a safe zone for children to play and learn hands-on. I was happy to see the accessibility at this museum and the inclusiveness of the exhibits. I saw ramped exhibits and there was also an elevator that granted access to both floors. 

Pensacola Children’s Museum

You can’t go to downtown Pensacola and not notice the Historic Pensacola Village. This area helps you to experience the rich heritage of America’s first multi-year European settlement. Here, you will feel like you’ve gone back in time and you can see the old homes and an old church, with costumed volunteers working to bring you back into this era even more. There are paved pathways throughout the buildings that I could easily roll on and view this historic area. 

Downtown Pensacola has so much to offer, and the many museums add some fantastic experiences to the city. With so many museums, plan at least a couple to visit on your trip, as you likely won’t be able to see them all in just one day. 

Bring out your inner creative side at Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine painting studio was hands-down more fun than I even thought it would be. As soon as I rolled inside, the staff were friendly and offered information about what this place entails. You can choose a piece of an “already made” ceramic piece and paint it to make it your own. They have all the supplies here for you, so all you have to bring is yourself and your creative side. I have never been much of a painter, but I was really intrigued to make my selection the best that it could be.

Since I was in Pensacola, I selected a Blue Angel plane. I mean, after all, I was in the home of the greatest flight team of all time! The staff member explained to me where the paint options were and how to put more than one coat of paint on it, in case I really wanted to make it shiny. They had plenty of options of paint brushes, a sink to wash my hands, and plenty of tables and space for me to maneuver. You only have to pay for the piece that you select, plus a $15 painting fee, which I thought wasn’t bad at all for the experience that I had. 

After you have completed your artistic masterpiece, you will then need to leave your item there for about 7-10 days so that it can be fired. Once it’s completed, you can either pick your item up, or you can also choose to have it shipped to you. You will have to pay shipping rates if that option is needed. This was such a fun activity in Pensacola and it definitely inspired me to bring out my creative side more often.

Eat at some of Pensacola’s best restaurants

Every time I’m in Pensacola, I tend to gain a few pounds because the food is so delicious! I love eating fresh seafood and Pensacola definitely has plenty of that, but even if you aren’t a fan of seafood, I think you’ll love the many restaurant options. Here are some of my favorite wheelchair accessible places to eat in Pensacola:

The Fish House – If there’s one thing I absolutely have to do during every trip to Pensacola, it is eating at The Fish House! This is my favorite restaurant in the area and I literally dream about it sometimes. It’s that good! I highly recommend getting the Soul Rolls for an appetizer (they’re spring rolls stuffed with roasted chicken & collard greens, and topped with peach chutney) and then for the entree, you can never go wrong with the restaurant’s signature item, Grits à Ya Ya. It is The Fish House’s take on shrimp & grits, and it’s by far the best shrimp & grits I’ve ever eaten. 

Grits à Ya Ya

The Grand Marlin – If you want to enjoy a meal with great views of the water, The Grand Marlin is one of the best places to dine (just ask for water view seating). I have visited this restaurant multiple times and it constantly seems to get better and better. Service is phenomenal here and some of my favorite appetizers at The Grand Marlin are the Blue Angel Chips (house chips covered in blue cheese sauce) and the Crispy Lobster Fingers (fried lobster with vanilla bean honey mustard). Then for an entree, I always get the Grouper Piccata, which is Parmesan crusted grouper and it’s served with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. It is seriously so delicious!

Grouper Piccata

Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar – Felix’s originated in New Orleans, but now has a location in Pensacola Beach! I ate here for the first time on my most recent Pensacola trip and I was really impressed. Their menu specializes in oysters and seafood, but you’ll find New Orleans dishes on the menu as well, including jambalaya, Louisiana gator, and more. I really liked the fried pickles for an appetizer and the fried fish platter for my entree. Everything was tasty and I’d love to return to Felix’s to try more of their items! 

Fried fish platter

Polonza Bistro – During my most recent Pensacola trip, I was looking for a great brunch spot and luckily, I stumbled upon Polonza Bistro. It’s located in downtown Pensacola and is open every day of the week for breakfast and lunch from 8am-3pm. On weekends, they serve brunch and I loved the chicken and waffles that I had. The chicken was perfectly crispy and the waffle was so delicious! I also really liked my iced honey latte, and if you are in the mood for coffee (and who isn’t, right?!), this is certainly the place for you!

Chicken and waffles

Take in the views and relax on Pensacola Beach 

The last, but certainly not least, recommendation that I have for you is to enjoy the beach! Pensacola has some of the most beautiful beaches that I’ve ever visited, with white sand and clear blue water, and thankfully, it’s possible to enjoy some beach time no matter what your abilities are in Pensacola! 

On Pensacola Beach, I noticed two beach access mats that extend toward the water. By rolling on these mats, you can stay in your own wheelchair while on the beach. I always love relaxing on the beach access mats, but if you’d like to venture beyond the mat and go further out on the sand, motorized beach wheelchairs are available to rent from Access Mobility of Pensacola

While you’re in Pensacola Beach, plan to roll out on the Pensacola Beach Pier. It’s within walking/rolling distance of the beach access mats and the pier is a wonderful place to take in the gorgeous views or go fishing. The wooden pier is over 1,400 feet long and has lowered viewing spots, so I could easily see the beach and ocean from a seated position. 

Pensacola Beach is one of my favorite beach destinations in the country and I love that it’s so wheelchair-friendly! If you are looking for an inclusive beach experience, you will love spending time on Pensacola Beach and on the pier. 

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach

For my most recent trip in Pensacola, I stayed at the Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach. This was my first time staying there and it was great for my accessibility needs, and it was also in a terrific location right on the beach. 

An outdoor pool was available and it had an accessible lift. From the pool area, there was a ramp leading down to the sand, which I was really happy about. If you stay at Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach and rent a beach wheelchair from Access Mobility of Pensacola (or have one of your own), you could easily access the beach from this hotel. 

In my wheelchair accessible room, there was one king sized bed. The bed was 24 inches tall and on a block frame, so there wasn’t any clearance underneath for a hoyer lift/hoist if you need that. The room did have plenty of space for me to maneuver around and there was a balcony, but it had a step to get out on it, unfortunately. 

In the bathroom, there was a pull-under sink, grab bars, and a roll-in shower. The shower had a handheld shower wand and the hotel provided a portable shower seat as well. The bathroom worked perfectly for my needs. 

If the Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach looks like it’ll work for you, consider it for your next trip to the area. You can learn more about the hotel and book your own stay right here

As you can see, there is no shortage of wheelchair accessible things to do in Pensacola, Florida… and honestly, I didn’t even cover half of them in this blog post. There is always something fun to do and something new to discover in this destination, and I am immensely looking forward to my next getaway to accessible Pensacola! 


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



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