Autism Friendly Vacation Ideas for Families
Planning a family vacation is always a little stressful but when you have one or more children on the autism spectrum, things can be even more difficult. I created this list of Autism Friendly Vacation Ideas because there are so many other things to consider and plan for, and some vacation spots just don’t seem that autism-friendly.
Fortunately, things are changing. Many theme parks, resorts, and other travel locations are becoming more aware of the special needs these children, adults and their families have when vacationing. They’re taking steps to provide better services and offer more options for these families to help make vacation time more enjoyable and less stressful.
Here are some of the top autism-friendly locations to consider:
Take a Caribbean Cruise – It may seem like a wild idea, but cruises can be a very fun and exciting vacation for families with autistic children. It’s a controlled environment with a wide array of activities to keep everyone happy and occupied throughout the cruise. Some of your options include the Royal Caribbean cruise, the Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort – If you have an autistic child, this is an amazing resort with stimulating hands-on and sensory activities they’re sure to love. They have several quiet rooms where you can go if your child becomes over-stimulated. The staff is also fully trained in autism awareness so they’re sensitive to the individual needs of their guests.
Yellowstone National Park – If you’re the outdoorsy type, why not visit Yellowstone National Park? The kids will love being out in nature and seeing a variety of wildlife that you may not otherwise encounter. In addition, there are many fascinating things to see such as the Old Faithful geyser that has helped to make Yellowstone famous along with mud pots, hot springs, and amazing sceneries.
SeaWorld – Most everyone loves SeaWorld with all the wonderful activities, shows and attractions they have to offer. Whether you’re in San Diego California, Orlando Florida or San Antonio Texas, SeaWorld offers a great vacation destination for children and adults on the spectrum. Upon arriving stop by the guest services for a detailed guide explaining which activities and rides would be most suited for your family. You can also acquire a Ride Accessibility Pass and timecard. These will allow you to avoid long lines and wait times by simply going to certain rides at the specified time on the card.
Smuggler’s Notch Resort – Located in Vermont, this resort offers a wide variety of programs designed for kids with autism and their families. They offer everything from hiking, to horseback riding to swimming lessons, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.
HersheyPark – Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania you’ll find the famous HersheyPark theme park. Upon arriving at the park go to the guest services and fill out a Ride Accessibility Questionnaire. The form is designed to help the attendants understand your family’s specific needs so they can help make your visit more enjoyable. You’ll also receive a list of attractions and rides tailored to suit your family’s needs.
Great Wolf Lodge – With several resorts to choose from nationwide, the Great Wolf Lodge is an excellent choice for families vacationing with a young child or another family member with autism. There are so many things to do that include water slides and splash pads, swimming pools and there’s even a kids cave to explore. Everything you need, including restaurants, are located inside the lodge so once you arrive you don’t have to worry about anything but enjoying your vacation.
Disney Parks and Resorts – Disney theme parks and resorts go above and beyond to provide excellent service to all their guests, including those with autism. They want everyone that visits their facilities to have a wonderful time and they take steps to make it happen. If you’re searching for excitement and fun like no one else can provide, this is a great autism friendly vacation destination. However, Disney World is huge and get’s very crowded during particular times of the year, so planning is the key to making your Disney vacation magical.
San Diego Zoo – If you love going to the zoo and seeing all the different animals, this is an excellent choice. Once you arrive, you can ask for an Easy Access Pass that will help you skip the long lines and wait times many attractions have. You’ll also be given information about the rides and different attractions that would be best suited for your family. The zoo also has many viewing areas that are shady and quieter than the rest of the park to help reduce overstimulation.
Sesame Place Theme Park – In Langhorne, Pennsylvania you’ll find this very exciting theme park that caters to the needs of autistic guests. This autism friendly park offers a variety of shows, rides and loveable characters that interact with all children, including those on the autism spectrum. It even has a water park the whole family is sure to love.
This is just a small list of the many Autism Friendly Vacation Ideas that available to families with special needs. It’s easier than ever to have a fun, low-stress family vacation. If you do your research, you can plan a trip the whole family will love and make memories to last a lifetime.