Motorized Wheelchair Accessible Weekend Itinerary
A perfect weekend itinerary!
Visit Jacksonville Local Ambassador and Accessibility Advocate Steffi G. shares some of her go-to accessible places around Jacksonville.
Welcome to Jacksonville, let me help you with a quick guide on how to spend the best inclusive weekend!
One Ocean Resort & Spa, located in the heart of Atlantic Beach, is a true local gem. It’s close to shops, restaurants and bars, and most importantly right on the beach with direct access to the water.
The hotel is fully accessible throughout, and one of the best features that doubles as accessible is their text communication. After checking in as a guest, you’ll receive a text message from the front desk wishing you a pleasant stay and offering assistance for anything from a request for towels to more complex assistance requests that can be made through a text message.
The room has a soft beach vibe that brings instant calmness, and the partial ocean view is unbeatable. The room is ADA accessible with a lowered bed, one nightstand that is out of the way for better wheelchair access and a fully accessible bathroom including a shower chair.
After you’re settled in, it’s time for lunch
Azurea at One Ocean is an award-winning restaurant recently named among the “best in the world” by Forbes Travel Guide. It’s spacious with wheelchair friendly tables at an excellent height. The restaurant has an open view of the patio and pool area, which also overlooks the ocean. The staff is the friendliest I have encountered in a long time; they explain the menu in detail and throw in a few recommendations.
The full bar can cater to a wide variety of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. I went with a classic prosecco and a splash of Chambord raspberry liquor.
The local catch trio is a definite go-to because you get three different flavors of white fish: bronzed, beurre blanc and coriander dusted. For dessert, the chocolate raspberry Chambord torte had my heart, but I also sampled the classic vanilla bean crème brulee and iconic Florida Keys lime cheesecake.
After lunch, and possibly a cozy nap in you room, let’s go kayaking – but make it adaptive
Jacksonville has several adaptive kayak launches spread throughout the city, in partnership with Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation who hold monthly clinics staffed with volunteers to assist for a day full of fun.
The volunteers truly take the kayaking experience to a new level. Their goal is to adapt the kayak to you and tailor the entire experience to individual needs. Some of the adaptations include cushions to sit higher and comfortably, padding the front end of the kayak so there isn’t extra space and your feet are touching the foam pads, and assisted kayaking.
I don’t know about you, but animals have my heart and I have the best (and accessible) place for you to meet the cutest farm animals
Celestial Farms is a not-for-profit farm, animal rescue and education center providing sanctuary homes for a variety of animals. The farm offers a unique opportunity for people of all ages to visit, connect and learn about nature and farm life. They cater to people of all abilities making the farm fully inclusive.**Note: Celestial Farms is currently closed.
The animals friendly and adorable, many of them ready for gentle pets and treats. An afternoon at Celestial Farms is the perfect way to wind down.
After a day full of activities, try true Jacksonville gem – Crane Ramen (permanently closed)
Undoubtedly the best ramen in town, Crane Ramen, is in historic Five Points. The restaurant is very accessible with plenty of space to choose seating from both inside and out. The service is friendly and the food comes out extra fast. Their crab meat Shio is the best I’ve had, and their noodles are made in-house, which makes for fresh ramen every time.
Time to fuel up with a southern comfort breakfast
Maple Street Biscuit:
Founded in Jacksonville, Maple Street Biscuit is comfort food with a modern twist at numerous locations throughout the area. Seating is available inside and out and the restaurant is spacious with staff ready to assist. Orders are made and paid for up front, and food is brought out to the counter or directly to the table. I was greeted by the staff who instantly offered assistance to grab coffee and anything else I needed.
The frittaffle is mind blowing. It’s a mix of waffle, eggs and your choice of meat, served with crispy potatoes. Their maple blend coffee not only smells delicious but tastes amazing too.
If you visit the San Marco location, take a stroll through the neighborhood before or after breakfast. The main street is full of unique shops with a picturesque park right in the middle.
Visit a treasure, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. It’s where you take all of the selfies for the ‘gram (and make the most scenic TikToks) and have an al fresco picnic style lunch.
The Arboretum & Gardens is a 120-acre property with award-winning trails and conservation efforts dedicated to protecting, sustaining and enhancing biological diversity. The views are inspiring and they’ve made it their mission to be as accessible as possible. Most trails are wheelchair and mobility aid friendly, and the organization is currently finalizing a complete trail that goes all around the lake.
This epic scenery makes a great spot to have a picnic. Stop by Las Tapatias on your way to the Arboretum & Garden. It’s an authentic Mexican restaurant filled with colorful choices. From tacos to fresh fruit juice to fresh fruit in a pineapple bowl that can be sweet, spicy or a bit of both, it’s a must have treat for the unbeatable Florida summer.
Have you ever made a candle? Let me introduce you to the best, and accessible, place to make one. Spoiler alert: you’ll have a difficult time choosing from their huge variety of scents.
The experience at Wick: A Candle Bar can be fully tailored to your needs. For me specifically, a table was propped up to be at my height and it was wonderful to be accommodated. The candle bar is owned by a mother and son duo, and their job is to connect you to a scent by either memory or discovery. Their customer service is sensory-driven, making the scent experience more accessible, real and individual. Hampton was ready to assist me with any candle I wanted to smell from the top shelf, but most of their shelves are relatively accessible.
I went with a mix of scents: papaya, jasmine and mango. What will your unique candle smell like?
It’s time for dinner, and time to have the best rooftop views.
Dinner with a view? Say no more. Estrella Cocina rooftop kitchen and bar has one of the best views in all of Jacksonville.
With Southern Baja, coastal Mexican style cuisine, you’re in for a delicious dinner. Do yourself a favor and order the chips with salsa, guacamole and queso – their chips are gluten free and arguably the best in town.
The restaurant is very accessible, equipped with an elevator and ramps throughout, with the outside open and many options for seating. I was ecstatic to see the view was not obstructed by a balcony or any kind of structure. They opted for a glass like enclosure that allows wheelchair users to take in the full view.
I hope you got some rest, because Jacksonville is a large city and we are not done exploring.
Several staff members at One Ocean told me the breakfast was exceptionally good, and I should try the waffles. I am here to report they were 100% right and you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t try them.
Made in-house, along with a delicious syrup, the waffles are so good. Prior to the waffles I started with a fruit plate with yogurt on the side, and now I can’t eat watermelon without dipping it in yogurt.
If you’re a wheelchair user or use a mobility aid that doesn’t do good in sand, we got you covered
Located at 2 Ocean Front N. in Jacksonville Beach, the Volunteer Life Saving Corps offers beach wheelchairs for the public. They currently have six and you can walk up and request one. Their only request is that you return it in the same condition you rented it in by 5 pm. These wheelchairs allow anyone with mobility restrictions to roll on the sand, with assistance, and to get close to the water.
Since we are all about the beach vibes today, let’s do lunch with an ocean view at Landshark Bar & Grill located in Margaritaville Beach Hotel.
This rooftop is a must if you love beachy vibes and ocean views. They have everything from sandwiches, tacos and burgers to fresh salads and seafood entrees. I enjoyed their loaded nachos with a non-alcoholic pina colada and the vibe was immaculate.
The restaurant is accessible - you can stay on the first floor or take the elevator to the rooftop (best for ocean views). Both floors have inside and outside seating options, which are a must when Florida’s summer is in full swing.
Grab your Jax Ale Trail Brewery passport – let’s get your first stamp
A locally owned and operated brewery, taproom and espresso bar filled with good vibes and vibrant colors, Ink Factory Brewing is in the heart of Jacksonville Beach. What I loved about it is that unlike many breweries, this one has multiple seating options and not just a bar. You can sit in the game room if you are a wheelchair user and cannot take advantage of bars or high tables and chairs.
Their espressos live up to the hype, and they introduced me to purple and pink matcha.
The brews were unique and varied in flavor. It’s noteworthy that they also smelled fruity and delicious.
Experience international cuisine to end this epic weekend
Jacksonville is home to endless cuisine options. One of my favorites is Salento Steakhouse, a family-owned Colombian restaurant with authentic flavors of the beautiful country.
From natural fruit juices like passion fruit, mango, and blackberries, to appetizers like empanadas (corn patties filled with shredded meat and potato) and arepas (corn patty with melted mozzarella cheese on top) to an authentic parrilla filled with a variety of meats, they have the best variety of choices for you to venture out and experience international cuisine.
The restaurant is super spacious with lowered tables perfect for wheelchair users and the staff is always happy to serve you and accommodate.