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Best Sensory-Friendly Experiences: SkyWheel Myrtle Beach

  By  Rebecca Jeffreys
The Sky Wheel in Myrtle Beach with Red and Blue Autism Colored lights

The month of April is special for families with autism — it is a national month of recognition, celebration and education for the general public about autism.

Each year, SkyWheel Myrtle Beach takes this opportunity to show their support for the autism community by lighting up red, blue and yellow to celebrate neurodiversity and welcome visitors to experience one of the best sensory-friendly experiences the beach has to offer.

About The SkyWheel

Many major cities like London, Niagara Falls, and Singapore offer rides to give their visitors a bird’s eye view of their city, but few of them offer spectacular views of the shoreline too. SkyWheel Myrtle Beach — the first of its kind in the United States — is one of them, towering 187 feet above the ground.

I took my ride with three other people including two adults and an 11 year old boy with autism. I think I was the most nervous of the bunch, but as soon as we were on board, I felt safe and excited. One huge perk of visiting Skywheel Myrtle Beach is that if you show your Autism Travel Club card when you buy your tickets, you can get $2 off per person and you can skip the line and avoid the wait to load.

Loading is very simple and a family of six can fit comfortably. The SkyWheel's cars can also accommodate a wheelchair or scooter.

Each individual car is fully enclosed and climate-controlled — a great little break from a hot day — and the ride is so smooth that you hardly realize you are suspended in the air. Should anyone in your party need to get off, there is a help button and you will be assisted off the next time you reach the unloading station.

If you are super adventurous, you can also invest in the VIP treatment for an extra cost which gives you an extra luxurious car with a glass bottom, a double-length flight, a lanyard and a special photo package.

Other unique options include sunrise rides and special occasion rides. Check their website for more details.

What you'll See

Just getting on the SkyWheel is a great experience, but let's not forget the amazing things you'll see during your ride.

I took a sunset ride, and it was amazing! We had the darkness pouring over the ocean on one side and the city lights glowing on the other. Amusement park rides, reflective windows and brightly lit cars were everywhere.

My young companion enjoyed seeing all of the cars from up top, and he could identify them all by make and model. The cars that were painted with chameleon finishes and lit hubcaps took most of our attention.

At nearly 200 feet above sea level you can see all of downtown Myrtle Beach below, as well as a great deal of the coastline in both directions stretching north toward North Carolina and south beyond Surfside Beach.

SkyWheel Myrtle Beach

The SkyWheel Experience

I was delighted by the loving treatment our party received from the SkyWheel's friendly and patient staff.

Even when our youngest guest informed the photographer that the bright light was bothersome, the photographer took it all in stride. We did bring some challenges, but it was all received with grace.

I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone looking for a sensory-friendly activity. It is filled with a combination of serene, awe-inspiring views and the excitement of being high above the beach below.

In order to get to the front of the boarding line be sure to invest in your Autism Travel Club card. Champion Autism Network, based in Surfside Beach, has a collaboration with businesses to offer perks to their card holders. It’s useful at many attractions, resorts, restaurants and service providers and one card works for the whole family. 

You can get your card for Grand Strand attractions and learn more about the Sensory-Friendly resources in Myrtle Beach by visiting our Autism-Friendly Travel page.

Rebecca Jeffreys

Rebecca Jeffreys is an autism mom, dog lover and former classical musician. She is the author of “You Were Made for This- Finding Courage and Intuition for Raising a Child with Autism.” In addition to writing, Rebecca is on the staff of Champion Autism Network which raises autism awareness and support around the nation. Rebecca has lived in Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, New York and Massachusetts, but the south won her heart and so she settled in Myrtle Beach in 2021. She and her family enjoy the beach life and visit local restaurants on a regular basis.