Best Autism-Friendly Destinations for 2023
Updated: Nov 2, 2022
Are you ready to start planning an autism-friendly vacation for 2023? I understand that travel can be slightly difficult for your autistic family. There are so many things to consider when it comes to your autistic child’s needs. As a mom of two autistic children, I get it. That is why I have dedicated my time as a travel advisor to helping families like yours. I have the expertise, and experience, required to plan a vacation that meets your entire family’s needs and wants. To get you started on this journey, I have found the best autism-friendly destinations for 2023. Look them over to see which one seems perfect for your family. Then we can chat, and I can show you how wonderful traveling with your autistic family can be.
Best Autism Friendly Destinations for 2023
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
You may have realized by now that Myrtle Beach holds a special place in my heart when it comes to autism-friendly vacations. It is one of the most autism-friendly places in the country. And honestly, despite all the work they have done already, the area is continuing to become even more inclusive.
One of the first things you can do in Myrtle Beach is obtained a CAN card. I can help you with this if you decide to take a vacation in Myrtle Beach. However, to share the basics, this card was created by the Champion Autism Network. Once you have your card, all you need to do is show it at participating locations in Myrtle Beach. The employees at those establishments will then know you may need seating in a quieter area, have special requests, or may need to leave without any notice. You will also be allowed to skip the line at attractions.
Your vacation in Myrtle Beach can be spent exploring nature at Myrtle Beach State Park or simply swimming in the ocean. Another fun water activity is taking a scenic kayaking ride. WonderWorks and Ripley’s Aquarium are two of the popular autism-friendly attractions in Myrtle Beach.
There are so many other things you can do with your autistic family in Myrtle Beach. I can share the possibilities with you when we get together to chat.
The Hawaiian Islands offer low-sensory and safe activities for autistic families. You won’t find your autistic child getting overstimulated in a building with hundreds of other people in Hawaii. Instead, you will find yourself outdoors, surrounded by tropical scenery.
Days on any of the Hawaiian Islands can be spent at the beach or near a volcano. And don’t worry, you can visit a few museums and historical attractions too! Oh, and don’t forget the food. Your autistic child may be tempted to eat a few of the new foods you discover.
The best Hawaiian Islands for autistic families are O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i, and Hawai’i. Lana’i and Moloka’i can be excellent choices, but it is dependent on what you are looking for while on a family vacation.
Over on the island of O’ahu, your family can snorkel in Hanauma Bay or explore the Iolani Palace. You may even choose to hike to Diamond Head. Other options include the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, Waikiki Aquarium, and Honolulu Zoo.
During a vacation in Maui, you should consider a road trip on the Road to Hana. It is an excellent way to see many of the parks, waterfalls, and scenic lookouts on the island. This Hawaiian Island is also perfect for whale-watching tours and learning about the ocean and marine life at the Maui Pacific Ocean Center.
It is all about the water on the island of Kaua’i. Some beaches offer shallow water, which is perfect for beginner swimmers. Other beaches have plenty of waves for surfing. Catamaran cruises are a must for any family on vacation in Kaua’i. Especially when you go at sunset.
On the Big Island of Hawai’i, your autistic family can explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There are two volcanoes within the park. Mauna Loa has been quite calm over the years without any new eruptions. The same can’t be said about Kilauea. That’s good news for your family though! There is nothing better than seeing red-hot lava flow from a volcano. It will be a conversation starter!
If you decide to visit either Lana’i or Moloka’i, you will have a more authentic Hawaiian experience. You won’t run into as many tourists either, since there aren’t touristy attractions on these islands.
A vacation in Houston will give your autistic family the ability to have fun at sensory-friendly attractions. Space Center Houston offers sensory-friendly events throughout the year. So does the Children’s Museum of Houston and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Other autism-friendly things to do in Houston include the George Ranch Historical Park and We Rock the Spectrum.
Yellowstone National Park
Nature lovers will love taking a vacation at Yellowstone National Park. This outdoor wonderland offers so many unique things to do. No day will be the same at Yellowstone. And yet, it will be, which can be comforting to some autistic children.
Your days at Yellowstone can be spent wandering around, as you all search for petroglyphs and fossils. Old Faithful keeps to a schedule, so you can easily plan a visit to watch her erupt. Just remember, this geyser’s schedule has a time range. This means you may be waiting a little bit to see the water shoot in the air. I do recommend arriving for Old Faithful’s next eruption early to find a good spot to stand.
As for the hot springs throughout Yellowstone, your autistic child may not be as thrilled to be around them as you are. The sulfuric smell can be triggering to some autistic children. Try to prepare your autistic child for these smells in advance. And if you know they will struggle with the odor, try to limit your time near the hot springs.