It’s hard to believe that the end of summer is almost here. Before we know it, Labor Day weekend will have arrived. This may be a welcome reprieve for many of you. After all, it usually signals regular schedules that autistic children thrive on. However, it will also be a bittersweet moment, because it also signals the unofficial close of summer. If you haven’t made any travel plans for your autistic family yet, now is the time to work on those Labor Day getaways. Today, I am sharing six of my favorite autism-friendly places that will work perfectly for your getaway around Labor Day weekend.
6 Autism Friendly Labor Day Getaways
Okay, so by now, you should all know that Hawai’i is one of my favorite vacation destinations. If I could spend most of my time; living, working, and breathing in fresh Hawaiian air, I would! But I need to focus on reality (most of the time). So, I will just need to survive with my vacations in Hawai’i when they happen.
While you know I recommend the Hawaiian Islands for any type of vacation, do you remember why?
It is because there is so much to do on each unique island. You can easily choose to spend your time on the Hawaiian Island that matches your family’s needs. And I can help you determine which island is best if you have no idea.
If you want to visit all the Hawaiian Islands, I recommend starting with Oahu. It is my favorite island. Your family can spend a few days in Honolulu seeing sights like Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and Iolani Palace.
Escaping the city will be important during this relaxing Labor Day getaway. Head over to Lanikai Beach for some swimming and time in the sand.
One of the best resorts on Oahu is Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa. This resort has a private snorkeling lagoon. It also offers great dining options, which is perfect for your family’s different palates.
I spent most of my summers in Maine when I was growing up. We went there during the summer because the weather was nice. I don’t know about you, but I am happy we didn’t need to spend the very cold and snowy winters vacationing up there. Freezing temperatures aren’t really what I want for a vacation!
I mean, you may love the cold weather, but it’s just not for me.
Anyway, Portland is a foodie destination. Lobster rolls are the most ordered item during the summer months. But you can find all sorts of seafood and regular family-friendly dishes at the restaurants.
One of my favorite restaurants is DiMillo’s Floating Restaurant. It is a former car ferry. You get gorgeous views of the harbor while you are dining.
During your time in Portland, you can walk along the cobblestone streets of The Old Port, which is Portland’s waterfront. Other autism-friendly activities include hiking the trails, swimming at the beach, and visiting the nearby lighthouses.
The best part about this autism-friendly Labor Day getaway is it is only a two-hour drive from Boston. So, if you live in the New England area, you won’t need to travel far to enjoy the sights and sounds of Portland.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Another incredible New England destination is Martha’s Vineyard. This island is only seven miles from the coast of Cape Cod. You could easily plan an autism-friendly vacation that combines visits to Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard for a Labor Day getaway.
While on Martha’s Vineyard, you can spend as many hours as you want on the beaches. Walk along the shoreline. Go for a swim. Collect seashells and build a sandcastle.
The beaches along the southern shore will be on the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches on the inlets will offer calmer water, which is perfect for most families.
If your autistic family loves water sports, you will be happy to know you can go kayaking, windsurfing, or boating in Martha’s Vineyard.
Hiking trails are plentiful on this island. And you may want to spend part of a day shopping for souvenirs.
At mealtimes, you will discover numerous restaurants that serve family- friendly dishes.
Savannah, Georgia is one of the best Labor Day getaways, because you can spend time at the beach and in the city. Many of the streets have cobblestones, as well as ancient oak trees covered in Spanish moss.
I recommend seeing the best sights in Savannah via a horse and carriage ride. Your family can sit back and relax, as you pass by the squares, historic homes, and beautiful gardens. Another option is to ride on the Old Savannah Trolley.
A picnic inside Forsyth Park will get you away from the noise. This will ensure your autistic child has a little downtime and doesn’t get overstimulated. As a treat, you can stop at Leopold’s ice cream. I recommend preparing your autistic child for the long line that will be there when you arrive. If you think this will be an issue, get to the ice cream shop shortly before it opens. That is when the line will be the shortest.
A little time should be spent down on River Street. There are shops filled with souvenirs on this street. All those shops are inside old warehouses. The kids will love the candy store, as well as the cookie store. You will prefer Wet Willie’s. They serve some yummy daiquiris. You can grab one to go and stay cool on your walk.
Sit on a bench by the water or take a ride on the Savannah Riverboat. There are quite a few different cruise options. I can help you decide which one will be best for your family vacation.
Before leaving Savannah, you will want to venture out to Tybee Island. Check out the lighthouse and then take a swim in the ocean. The water should still be warm over Labor Day weekend. If you have the time, you may want to consider a dolphin tour if you think your autistic family is up for the adventure.
Puerto Rico is a US territory, so you won’t need a passport to vacation there. You can simply board a plane and fly to this island for your Labor Day getaway. The flight isn’t too long from many of the major cities on the mainland.
Your Puerto Rico adventures will include lots of time in the water. Besides swimming, your family can go kitesurfing or paddleboarding. You may want to indulge in a cruise one day too.
My favorite activity in Puerto Rico though is visiting Puerto Mosquito, or Mosquito Bay. It is the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. You will find this bay on the southern shore of Vieques. I recommend going out on a kayak tour at night when there is a full moon. This is the best time to see the glowing bioluminescence.
I do need to warn you that you should keep a close eye on the weather reports when planning an autism friendly vacation in Puerto Rico. Labor Day is in the middle of hurricane season. You shouldn’t let that hinder your plans for visiting this gorgeous tropical island. You only need to be aware that your trip may need to be postponed if inclement weather appears to be approaching in the form of a hurricane.
If everyone in your family already has a passport, you may want to plan an autism-friendly trip to Cancun for your Labor Day getaway. It may be slightly warmer on this island than the other destinations I mentioned above. But that means there won’t be as many people.
Plus, you can beat the heat a little by swimming in your resort’s pool or a nearby cenote. The beaches and waterparks in Cancun are also excellent options for staying cool.
Early in the morning, you can explore ancient Mayan ruins. The El Rey ruins and El Meco ruins are close to the Hotel Zone. If you want to venture out further, check out the ruins in Tulum or Chichen Itza.
Then after a break, or a nap, you can go swimming. Shopping is another popular activity. Especially if you go to the Plaza las Americas. If your kids aren’t fans of shopping, you may be able to persuade them with the promise they can play a few arcade games at the end.
As with Puerto Rico, you will want to keep an eye on the weather in Cancun around the time of your trip. Hurricane season will be in full swing at this time of the year.
These are the six autism-friendly Labor Day getaways I am recommending right now. There are plenty of others though, so do not think you are stuck with these options. I can easily help you find the Labor Day getaway destination that will check off all the boxes for your family. Contact me today and let me help you get your travel plans in place, so you can enjoy one last autism-friendly vacation before it unofficially becomes the end of summer.