Planning a trip? We can help!
Woohoo, vacation! That's our specialty. Tell us a little about the trip you're planning so we can help you with some ideas.
Dreaming of a Vacation
I'm at the beach now!
Who's Traveling?
When are you visiting?

Sensory-Friendly Restaurants in Surfside Beach

  By  Rebecca Jeffreys

Surfside Beach was the first town in the nation to become autism certified. Autism certification, obtained through Champion Autism Network (CAN), means restaurants, first responders and other services have been taught how to help autism families and welcome them to their establishments. There are numerous restaurants in Surfside Beach that offer special discounts or benefits to Autism Travel Club card members. Autism Travel Club cards are available to any family that is impacted by autism. Visit CAN’s website to get yours or pick one up at the chamber of commerce in Myrtle Beach.

Famous Hamburger Joe's Surfside

I am particularly fond of the hamburgers here. There are numerous hamburger joints in the area and I always come back to this one! The burgers are fresh, juicy, and flavorful. You can order them simple or dress them up with pork, cheese, or other toppings. I also appreciate that they are not so huge that you leave feeling overstuffed but they are also reasonably priced so if you want another you can go for it! If burgers are not your thing, I strongly recommend the Buffalo chicken wings. They are the closest you will find to the real deal without being in Buffalo! There’s nothing fancy here but there’s tons of flavor in the menu items here! Famous Hamburger Joe’s in North Myrtle Beach is also autism supportive. Show your Autism Travel Club card and get 10% off, excluding alcohol.

Johnny D's Surfside Beach

Johnny D’s is famous for its autism involvement. Chef Jamie is an autism mom and advocate and she wants to support and welcome autism families to her restaurant. She even educates her patrons about autism. Johnny D’s is famous for its waffles and benedicts. Chef Jamie created some original combinations for the benedicts such as pork belly or Reuben benedicts. They also offer old favorites such as pancakes, eggs, grits, and toast but why eat that when you can try something new? My very favorite is the red velvet waffle with cream cheese drizzle. But if you are craving lunch, she can help with that too! Since Jamie's creations are so popular,  this restaurant can be busy and cause sensory overload. You can request noise-canceling headphones or order your food to go and eat at your accommodations. They do have outdoor seating which can be quieter but is on a busy road. The busiest times are 10:30- 12:30 and they open at 7 and close at 2. You can order your meals online to avoid waiting at the restaurant. They also offer delivery. Show your Autism Travel Club card and you’ll get to the head of the line and get a 10% discount.


Saltaire Coastal Kitchen

Saltaire Coastal Kitchen is located at my most favorite hotel! Holiday Inn Oceanfront at Surfside Beach is a well-kept secret with an impossibly beautiful view and pool. It is located right on the beach and in a very quiet part of town. It also has its own restaurant which is certified autism supportive. It’s not unusual to find locals dining here. The Saltaire Coastal Kitchen has a history with CAN, providing a space for autism families to dine with other families. These special experiences happen during the off-season. Join CAN’s email to get updates. Their staff is fabulous with kids on the spectrum and many have children on the spectrum too. The menu is delicious and the chefs are happy to meet dietary restrictions whenever they can. I’ve never had a bad meal here but, my personal favorite is the Autumn Glow Salad. They also serve breakfast and offer delivery and pick up. Show your Autism Travel Club card and get 10% off.

Simply Tea and Soda

If you’re ready to step away from restaurant food and want a light treat to hold you for a while, try the boba tea and custom soda’s at Simply Tea and Soda. This delightful shop has swinging seats, sofas, and high-top tables with a lounge vibe. Owner, Adrion, is a master at mixing the flavors and you have numerous choices of fillings such as tapioca pearls, fruity popping pearls, jelly, and more! His soda combinations are so refreshing too! Show your Autism Travel Club card, and get 15% off the price.

Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom

has a vast menu of favorites and some original flavors! The Buffalo chicken rolls sound amazing. They serve two kinds of pizza including the traditional deep dish. If pizza isn’t for everyone in your group, they have plenty of sandwiches, burgers, and salads to choose from. Be sure to leave room for dessert. Who can pass up New York-style cheesecake? As a newer member of CAN, they offer a 10% discount to our families. Just show your card.


Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

Pancakes and more pancakes!! This delightful lodge setting will make you feel right at home. They have hosted events in the past providing families who happily support CAN meet over a huge stack of pancakes!  Be sure to stop by and get your fill of breakfast goodness while you are in town. Show your Autism Travel Club card and receive 10% off. 

Golden Egg Pancake House

I always think of Willy Wonka when I see the golden egg! But really this breakfast/lunch joint is a treasure of eating goodness! Servings are generous and prices are moderate. You can’t miss the building as it is graced with a huge Golden Egg. Judging by the cars and golf cars out front during the warm months, this is one of the most popular places to eat. If you feel it’s too busy for your family, you can place an order for pick up. Since they serve lunch too, grab a bite and take it to the beach for a sweet day out! Show your Autism Travel Club card for preferred seating if there is a wait and get a 10% discount.

No matter where you choose to eat, have confidence that you will be welcomed and respected. Be sure to visit Champion Autism Network’s website and Facebook page for new listings of great restaurants to visit!


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.