Reasons To Come To Myrtle Beach

    Families with autistic children are often faced with a tough question, regarding vacation planning: Is the hassle and stress of traveling worth the benefits we’ll reap? Visit Myrtle Beach, with the help of Champion Autism Network (CAN), is hoping to ease those challenges and show families they CAN – and should – plan a getaway this year.

    Check out these eight reasons to visit, which make planning an autism-friendly trip to Myrtle Beach a no brainer:

    1. Air travel is a breeze.

    While many visitors opt to drive to Myrtle Beach, the abundance of non-stop flights from markets all over the country make flying into Myrtle Beach International Airport easier than ever. Another draw for families traveling with children on the spectrum: the Quiet Room, a space near baggage claim where families can relax and recharge after a long flight.


    2. Your secret weapon: the CAN Card.

    Offered by Champion Autism Network (CAN), a unique organization started by local autism mom, Becky Large, these cards give families a way to let participating businesses know there is a family with autism on-premises. Participating businesses offer a discount or service from no-questions-asked “pass” to help navigate difficult situations when traveling with a child on the spectrum, to jump the line at crowded attractions, or getting priority seating at select restaurants. Visitors can request a card ahead of time via the CAN website, or pick one up while in-market at the Myrtle Beach Welcome Center or the Town Hall of Surfside Beach.

    3. Peace of mind.

    For some families, the fear of losing track (even momentarily) of a child – on the spectrum or not – can impact their willingness to risk traveling. To help ease those fears, families can take advantage of Project Lifesaver and request a wristband that tracks children who may wander off. These wristbands are available free of charge at the Myrtle Beach Welcome Center, for use while in-market.

    4. Seamless lodging experiences.

    Another sticking point for families considering a vacation can be the thought of staying overnight in a new and unfamiliar place. Delayed check-in processes, the stress of protecting breakables inside a hotel room, and even exterior noise and traffic can impact vacation decisions. In Myrtle Beach, several properties are ready to accommodate families with children on the spectrum, offering benefits like call-ahead curbside check-in and more. Many properties are also flagged for their quiet/secluded locations.​

    Family playing on the beach at Sea Watch Resort

    5. Tons of activity options for autistic visitors.

    Many of the attractions in the Myrtle Beach area have sensory-friendly times and events or offer resources to accommodate those on the spectrum. Ripley’s Aquarium, for instance, offers noise-canceling headphones upon request in addition to its monthly sensory-friendly mornings. Savannah’s Playground, the southeast’s first enabling playground, that is free and located at The Market Common.

    Savannah's Playground

    6. Also, a variety of options for those not on the spectrum.

    Knowing that many families traveling with children on the spectrum may also have children not on the spectrum, it’s nice to know that there are options to please everyone. Spots like Myrtle Waves and the Broadway Grand Prix offer free admission for those with autism, which can offer some peace of mind should some guests need to leave early due to sensory overload. In general, Myrtle Beach is known for its plethora of choices for entertainment for all ages and interests – from listening to live music at The Carolina Opry to perusing the artwork and foliage at Brookgreen Gardens.​

    Broadway Grand Prix family riding go carts

    7. Dine out with confidence.

    The decision to eat out as a family can be tough when traveling with an autistic child. Similar to what CAN has done with lodging properties, the organization has identified autism-friendly eateries that offer things like priority seating, private seating areas, and more, all with the flash of the CAN Card. Some examples ready and eager to host autistic guests include Johnny D’s Waffles & Bakery and Angelo’s Steak & Pasta.

    Waffle with butter and syrup

    8. Southern hospitality (and empathy).

    Maybe the biggest deterrent for families traveling with autistic children is the fear of being in a place that lacks understanding and support. Thanks to CAN and the efforts of Becky Large, that is not the case in Myrtle Beach. Our lodging properties, attractions, and restaurants have been educated and are aware – and empathetic to – the unique challenges these families face.