There’s no better way to bond as a family than to hit the road for a fun family vacation. Unfortunately, not all vacation destinations are created equally when it comes to being autism-friendly. Vacations to a resort or park which lacks adequate accommodations for children with autism can result in an unpleasant experience. Autism-friendly places to visit will be sure to take your child’s special needs into consideration in order to find solutions which make sure that everything stays positive from the day you arrive until the day you head back home with a whole heap of happy, new memories to take with you.
It should come as no surprise that a show which has done such amazing work with representation to try to ensure that every child who watches can relate to at least one character also has been a leader in the field of autism-friendly places to visit. From meeting Julia, Sesame Street’s first character with autism, to getting to know all your child’s other favorites, Sesame Place was also the world’s first Certified Autism Center. You can plan your vacation secure in the knowledge that you’ll encounter eager staff who are trained in helping your family have the best time possible.
Royal Caribbean Cruises
A cruise ship may not be the first thing you expect to see on a list of autism-friendly vacations, but Royal Caribbean is an industry leader. It was the first cruise line to be declared autism-friendly and earned that distinction by making sure to take care of their passengers with autism for their entire time onboard the ship. There are special rooms available as well as autism-friendly movies, sensory toys, and more available to ensure your child has a great and comfortable time.
“The happiest place on earth” has made a point of ensuring that its tagline remains true for all guests, and that includes earning a place as one of the best autism-friendly places to visit. Despite the large crowds that Disney parks draw, they have procedures to help accommodate guests with autism and all staff members are trained in how to properly interact with them to make the child feel comfortable.
Myrtle Beach, SC
A beach vacation is an excellent summertime retreat and one of the best autism-friendly family vacations to consider. Nearby town, Sunside Beach set out to become the world’s first officially recognized autism-friendly town, with convenient access to the beautiful beaches which are a little less crowded to avoid overstimulation.
If you are traveling with a child with autism who loves nature, then a camping trip can be one of the best and most affordable autism-friendly family vacations available. All you need is to find an appropriate campground, whether that is in a state park or just your own backyard. Prepare for some fun in the great outdoors, sleeping in a tent, and cooking s’mores on a campfire. It’s an excellent option for families where one or more members don’t enjoy being in crowded public spaces.
San Diego Zoo
San Diego is one of the most beautiful places in America and the San Diego Zoo offers you the chance to check out exotic animals while enjoying the lovely weather San Diego is famous for. In addition to many different animals from around the world, the zoo includes quiet areas out of the sun for when stimulation gets too high, as well as an Easy Access Pass to help your child avoid possible causes for agitation.
Yellowstone National Park
No list of autism-friendly places to visit is complete without Yellowstone National Park. One of the world’s most famous nature reserves, Yellowstone has something for everyone. From beautiful views to breathtaking wildlife to dazzle your eyes, and hot springs and mud pits to wow your other senses, you can spend an entire week in the park and still feel like there’s so much more to see. It also offers autism-friendly lodging to help you rest comfortably when the day ends.
LEGO has endured as a popular children’s toy from one generation to the next, and the LEGOLAND resorts offer families the chance to enter into the fantastical world of LEGO together. The Florida location has paired with Autism Speaks to become an autism-friendly vacation spot, including the addition of a special section of the park which is quiet and has sensory-stimulation activities to help your child enjoy themselves. Passes can also be received to skip the anxiety of crowded lines.
A trip abroad is a great way to expand your child’s world view and with the experience curated by A Million Senses, you can explore some of Greece’s ancient and beautiful cities in an autism-friendly manner. They help with everything from finding accommodations to scheduling activities led by trained therapists to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible while you visit the Mediterranean.
For an outdoor adventure that can’t be beat, the not-for-profit Splore offers opportunities specifically geared toward children and adults with special needs. Rock climbing, river rafting, horse rides, and hikes are just some of the options available, and special accommodations can be made at mealtimes to keep everyone happy.
Autism-Friendly Vacation Options Continue Growing
It’s normal to feel added pressure when looking for autism-friendly vacations for your children because you never want to spend all that money only to provide a negative experience for the ones you love. As more and more destinations begin to understand the importance of an autism-friendly approach, the options for families traveling with their children with autism only grows. Your perfect vacation is out there waiting for you!
How Carmen B. Pingree Can Help!
For all other seasons throughout the year, Carmen B. Pingree specializes in multiple programs that teach and care for children with autism. Throughout the school year, we host various fun activities, like carnivals, for our students. If you’d like more information, please contact us today!