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Autism-Friendly Places: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

We love to travel especially to the beach, but as most of you know traveling is difficult when your child is on the spectrum. Obviously, every child is different so there are always alternative paths you can take on a trip. Thankfully, Ellis is a pretty great traveler.


Travel Experience Since Autism


Ellis was born during the pandemic so we didn't travel much while he was an infant besides the occasional trip to Morgantown, WV, or Baltimore, MD, but we have increased his travel tremendously since the precautions lifted. We actually started with Marco Island, Florida when he was one, a couple of trips to North Carolina, a trip to Boston and Cape Cod, and now 2 trips to Myrtle Beach, SC.


Out of the trips we have taken thus far I will say Myrtle Beach has been the most autism-friendly. So, I thought I would share some of the places there that are truly magical for individuals with autism and help you narrow down your vacation spots.


Autism-Friendly Places in Myrtle Beach


Restaurants


There is an app called Autism Travel Club which provides you with a list of different restaurants, accommodations, and attractions that have staff trained to deal with autism-related behaviors or issues. It's $10.00/year and gives you a list of autism-friendly cities to choose from. The Myrtle Beach area is actually where the company started specifically the town of Surfside Beach. For restaurants, I cannot speak on the ones that they have listed because we stayed in North Myrtle so we didn't eat at most of the places listed. You can view them here.






We ate at Lulu's, The Local, Mellow Mushroom, a seafood buffet, Margaritaville, and I would say that none of them are super autism-friendly. I was pretty disappointed with the amount of noise and chaos from these places but Ellis did well. He really liked Lulu's food and they gave us a lot of space which was nice. I also liked Lulus because there was a playground across the street. The Local was probably my least favorite because the noise level was extremely loud even if I was uncomfortable. If I were to do restaurants again, I would have chosen them more appropriately and use the list I linked above.


Things to Do in Myrtle Beach, NC


  • The Beach and Pool. If you haven't read my blog post on autism and water then you need to! Autism and water almost go hand-in-hand. Water is such a great sensory-seeking tool and the beach and pool are amazing feedback opportunities. We spent hours in the pool and then let the waves crash at the beach. The sand gave a different experience in texture especially when we transitioned from soft, dry sand to wet, hard sand. He loved when his siblings dug holes and made him a small pool and he likes to rake the sand with a tool. It was a great OT and PT opportunity to improve his fine motor skills with different tools and for balance. It was a great time for everyone.

  • Savannah's Playground. I highly recommend heading down below the city of Myrtle Beach and checking out this epic playground. It's super adaptable and massive. Ellis loves playgrounds and this was the most legit playground I have ever seen! There were different types of slides, swings, musical instruments, zip lining, and ropes courses, and they were all labeled by age. It was such a treat! It also has some great walking/fitness trails, a sports complex, cute shops nearby (try Grand Strand Coffee), and a gym. (Tip: make sure you go early in the morning or later at night because the heat was no joke! The equipment starts to get really hot in the summer, so go when the heat is not unbearable.)


  • WonderWorks. Okay, let me be 100% honest when I say this place can be extremely stimulating. There were parts that we loved and parts we hated. They do have sensory-friendly days but they vary so if your child is overly sensitive to noise or lights this may not be the attraction for you. The best part about the interactive museum for Ellis was the bubble factory. Ellis loved it! We also thought the sensory play area was cool because it had big gears, a sandbox, and a gigantic light bright. It was crowded and very loud but it was neat and if you have older kids (8-14 years old) they will LOVE it.

  • The playground at Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing. We are suckers for playground if you can't tell. The Broadway at the Beach playground is strictly for pre-school age children so it was great for our adventurous 3-year-old. The playground at Barefoot Landing was for all children and it was a lot more crowded and confusing. However, both are great little stops if your kiddo loves the playground. Barefoot Landing has a very chill vibe elsewhere though and I loved that about it. Both places have rides, however, Broadway would be the ride hub.

There were many other attractions listed on the Autism Travel Club that I linked above that we, unfortunately, did not get to, but I think these are great starting spots. I would like to try the SkyWheel and maybe a water park in the future. With the travel club you can get a lot of discounts so make sure to check that out too!


Myrtle Beach is a great vacation spot for travel. We are very much Florida people but this was a nice change of pace! If you have any tips or recommendations feel free to comment or message me!


Happy rest of summer!




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