Updated: Mar 3, 2022
I know you were all excited when I announced that Mesa, Arizona was an Autism Certified City earlier this year. But now you get to be super excited once again! Myrtle Beach Parks and Recreation Department has now been deemed an Autism Certified Center by the IBCCES (International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards). Woo-Hoo!! If you are ready to plan your next autism-friendly vacation let's schedule a time to chat!
According to the IBCCES website, “this certification ensures that Myrtle Beach is better equipped to help create an inclusive environment and welcome visitors with autism and other sensory needs”.
Myrtle Beach has also partnered with the Champion Autism Network, or CAN. This organization wants families with special needs to know they “CAN” enjoy vacations and other traditional family experiences in Myrtle Beach. The Myrtle Beach International Airport, local attractions, restaurants, hotels, and even many of the local residents have joined together on this journey to make the city friendlier for those with autism and other sensory disorders.
One of the best things the Champion Autism Network has done in this city was creating the CAN Card. You can request this card in advance. If you forget to do that, because well, life happens, it is available at the Myrtle Beach Welcome Center and the Town Hall of Surfside Beach.
This card will give you many benefits to participating businesses. A few benefits include discounts, jump the line permission in crowded areas, priority seating at a restaurant, and even assistance when navigating some difficult scenarios.
As a parent of a special needs’ child, I couldn’t tell you how happy I was when I heard all this news. We all know how difficult travel can be and the little (well, huge) things like this make a world of difference.
After all, millions of visitors join the thirty thousand permanent residents of Myrtle Beach each year. That’s a lot of people to add to the hustle and bustle of the area attractions and activities. To be able to say that there are places for children with special needs to go and have fun without being overwhelmed is a win-win for everyone!
Autism Friendly Attractions and Things to Do in Myrtle Beach
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach is also a Certified Autism Center by the IBCCES. According to Pablo Chavez, the general manager, “We are extremely proud to become a Certified Autism Center; our team has worked very hard training to properly serve our guests on the spectrum. We look forward to seeing their enjoyment during their visits to Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach.”.
This 85,000 square foot aquarium is filled with marine life. The two levels of the aquarium are split into numerous exhibits, so children won’t get overwhelmed as easily. While the multiple experiences offered might not work for special needs children, the aquarium has created specialized programs for anyone with a sensory disorder.
Savannah’s Playground can be found over in the Market Common. This playground was the very first of its kind in the southeast. Children of all abilities can play and have fun while at this park. Each section provides something different, so you can choose the area you know your child will feel the most comfortable in.
Some children will prefer the music park and an interactive playground, while others will love the school-age playground. There is even a zipline course and challenge ropes for those children who love those types of activities.
WonderWorks is an indoor amusement park that has one hundred interactive exhibits. While this may seem overwhelming to children with special needs, WonderWorks makes it possible for them to visit. Throughout the year, sensory days are offered. During those days, the music is turned down and some of the exhibits are changed. This ensures no child is overstimulated during their visit.
Autism Friendly Hotels in Myrtle Beach
There are quite a few autism-friendly hotels in Myrtle Beach. That means you will not be stuck with one location or less when looking for a place to stay on your vacation. Many of these hotels offer call-ahead curbside check-in, quiet locations, and an enjoyable experience for the entire family.
I can help you find the perfect hotel for your Myrtle Beach vacation, so let’s set up a time to chat today!
This way I do the hard work for you and you can keep up with your busy life until it is time for your vacation to begin.
Autism Friendly Dining Options in Myrtle Beach
Dining out can be an experience when you have a child with autism. However, mealtimes can be quite pleasant in Myrtle Beach if you choose your restaurants carefully. The good news is that you won’t need to feel stuck with the same couple of dining options when you are on your Myrtle Beach vacation.
The CAN Card I mentioned above will be helpful in choosing autism-friendly restaurants. When you show that card, the restaurant staff at participating restaurants will know to seat you away from lots of noise. They will also be aware that you may have special food with you or may need to make special requests when you do order.
The list of autism-friendly dining options in Myrtle Beach is huge, so I can’t possibly share them all here! However, a few that deserve a mention include Johnny D’s Waffles & Bakery, Angelo’s Steak & Pasta, Golden Egg, and Lazer’s Pizza. The Good Day Café is also amazing, and they employ people on the spectrum too.
Are you finally ready to take a trip to a city that will welcome you with open arms? Let’s start planning your Myrtle Beach vacation today! You will see how amazing family vacations can be when the destination actually cares about the needs of your family!
Want to listen to this instead? Check out the episode below on the Special Needs Podcast.