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North FL, GA or SC beach with newly disabled person in Oct

Nashville Tn
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North FL, GA or SC beach with newly disabled person in Oct

Hi all. I'd love to hear from others their opinions, advice and experience for traveling SE Atlantic region in October with someone who will likely need to use a wheelchair or scooter. To help explain the purpose of our trip, I will say that my mother has brain cancer, the outlook is grim and she is losing function daily regarding her mobility. She has never seen the ocean, and she would like to go to Lady and Sons (Paula Deen's restaurant) in Savannah. The Lady and Sons have been gracious with extending an open reservation for us (which they don't normally do), so I feel like I have that covered. The other thing is where to stay. I think a beach front location is a must, with a boardwalk to the beach. It needs to be within a couple of hours of Savannah (it's going to be a quick trip). I've found it to be more affordable and convenient to fly into Jacksonville. I do have to keep an eye on my budget, as much as I hate to, but we are a family with young children and I am purchasing airfare and accomodations for four plus a one year old, but I'm looking for value, not what is cheapest. I would really like my mom to have an oceanview room, and I think maybe a multi bedroom condo is a more affordable way to go. Also we've had to delay our trip until October for medical reasons, will it be too cold to enjoy the beach? We are likely only going to have a quick weekend. I'd love to hear about favorite destinations within these guidelines and tips on managing with a wheelchair. Thanks so much in advance!

Amelia Island...
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1. Re: North FL, GA or SC beach with newly disabled person in Oct

I can help answer your questions and make recommendations for the Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island area. The location would fit your needs as it is north of the Jacksonville Airport and would be on your way up I-95 towards Savannah. It's about a 30 minute drive from the airport, and then from here it's about a 2 hour drive into the heart of Savannah.

All of our beaches are public with FREE parking. There are some beach park areas that are also ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant for easy access including boardwalks over the dunes. I believe the city will also provide an outdoor/beach-friendly wheel chair for visitors if you contact them in advance. I would say speak with Ms. Susan Hurley at the City of Fernandina as she is very helpful - (904)277-7325.

Because you are obviously on a budget I will skip mentioning the ocean-front resorts and try to recommend some mid-range hotels that are more budget friendly. Since you're coming in October you will find lower rates because it is part of the off-season. However, I would recommend you avoid the last weekend of October as this is a Special Event weekend for a major football game, and rates will be higher all over the area.

Anyhow, if ocean views are preferred I would try either the Comfort Suites near main beach, Seaside Amelia Inn at main beach or Amelia Hotel at the Beach at Seaside Park beach. One thing, read the reviews on each, especially with mobility being an issue. I have repeatedly heard complaints about rooms being small at the Seaside Amelia Inn and it may not be the best option for a room. Comfort inn is about 1/2 a block from the beach, so fairly easy access. Amelia Hotel at the Beach is right across from the beach so access is easy and their rooms are quite large. Since all of these hotels are less than 10 years old, they all must be ADA compliant as well. I know they all have some rooms with ocean views. There is 1 restaurant near the Comfort and Seaside Inn. There are 5 restaurants within a block of the Amelia Hotel at the Beach.

Again, October is off-season here so you should be able to find some great deals at all hotels in the area. Make sure to call each place to see what the best rate available is as some hotels will not always put the cheapest rate online.

The weather in October is gorgeous. Our highs are still in the mid 80's and the ocean is still warm enough to swim. The only reason it's the off-season is that most visitors are families and once school goes back in session the businesses slow down a bit for the Fall.

In our area you will find not only 13 miles of gorgeous beaches but lots of outdoor activities, a state park (Fort Clinch), golf and mini-golf, museums, and several local restaurants with great customer service. It's a wonderful place to visit, so I hope you've found this information useful. Best of luck planning this thoughtful trip for your mother.

Atlanta, Georgia
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for Road Trips
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2. Re: North FL, GA or SC beach with newly disabled person in Oct

You will love the Amelia Island area. If hotel does not have to be beachside but very close to the beach then try the Marriott Residence inn. It has large rooms with a pool and a great hot breakfast. The staff is great and very helpful.

Amelia Island...
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150 posts
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3. Re: North FL, GA or SC beach with newly disabled person in Oct

The new Residence may not seem far to most, but could be quite different for someone with mobility issues. It's a nice new hotel, but please be aware that it's 1/3 of a mile from the beach. You can see most of the hotels on google maps when you're searching and that can help you determine a location best for you and your family. No matter what though, PeachBelle is right - you will all love Amelia Island!

Fernandina Beach FL
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for Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach
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4. Re: North FL, GA or SC beach with newly disabled person in Oct

First, so sorry to hear about your mom's brain cancer and her grim prognosis. Clearly she is blessed to have such a loving family and I am sure she feels the same about all of you. Our prayers to all of you during this difficult time.

But what a joyous trip you will have to Savannah and the beach. As TrvLvr noted in his extensive report, a room at the Comfort Suites up at the Main Beach might be your best bet. The City of Fernandina Beach's Parks & Recreation Dept. does have two beach navigable wheelchair made from sturdy PVC with the big ballon tires that you can reserve in advance and pick up from their offices at the Atlantic Recreation Center which is a block west of the Comfort Suites. You can contact them directly at 904-277-7350. There is a refundable $50 deposit required.

The Main Beach area is a block east of the Comfort Suites and there are ADA sidewalks and a boardwalk up to and in the Main Beach area. There are other ADA accessible beach access points; but transporting the beach wheelchair can be an issue unless you have a van or SUV with a large cargo area.

I understand your reasons for looking at a condo and would suggest looking at VRBO for units. ADA beach access at some of the complexes might not be available so that is something you should be sure to check out.

As noted, October is in the "shoulder" season and while it could be cool (lower 70s) the chances are it will be shorts and sandals weather still; especially towards the early part of the month. Ocean temperature should be in the mid-70s. Some think that is chilly; others think it is tropical (especially if they are from the north).

Hope you have a wonderful trip. Savannah is a great city to walk around, especially the various squares/parks in the historic district.

5. Re: North FL, GA or SC beach with newly disabled person in Oct

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