Visit Myrtle Beach Announces New Sensory-Friendly Children's Book and Expands Autism-Friendly Initiatives

The new book is designed to inspire sensory-friendly travel and underscores a commitment to accessibility across the region.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C., April 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Visit Myrtle Beach has announced the upcoming availability of their new children’s book, titled “Splish, Splash, Squawk! Finding Joy in a Sensory-Friendly Vacation.” In partnership with author and illustrator Lynda Farrington Wilson, the book is designed to inspire families with children on the autism spectrum to explore the joys of traveling together. Through a captivating fictional narrative, the story illustrates the wonders of family vacations while addressing the challenges of adapting to new surroundings and experiences.

“At Visit Myrtle Beach, we believe that The Beach is for everybody and are continuously striving to enhance our destination, making it welcoming and inclusive for people of all abilities,” said Karen Riordan, President and CEO of Visit Myrtle Beach. “We recognize that families with children on the autism spectrum often feel vacations are challenging and want to change that. Recognizing the restorative and life-altering power of travel, we continue to further our efforts to provide greater support and access to memorable vacation experiences for all.”

“Splish, Splash, Squawk! Finding Joy in a Sensory-Friendly Vacation” tells the heartwarming story of Maris the parrot. Maris, armed with her trusty telescope and heart full of compassion, watches over the families vacationing in Myrtle Beach, ready to lend a helping wing to those in need. The book, published by White Garment Publishing Group, is available to pre-order online and will be available for purchase at Myrtle Beach-area retailers this summer. A full list of retailers and book events will be released in the coming weeks at

“As the mother of a son with autism who has spent more than 20 years vacationing in Myrtle Beach, this project is close to my heart,” said Farrington Wilson, author and illustrator. “Myrtle Beach is my son Tyler’s happy place within his challenging world. I hope this book provides the encouragement and strategies for special needs families to navigate travel and find their unique vacation joy!”

In addition to the book, Visit Myrtle Beach has released a trailer for their new television series “Traveling the Spectrum.” This unscripted show captures the heartfelt journeys of three extraordinary families as they navigate the unique challenges and triumphs of traveling with a family member on the autism spectrum. By giving viewers a real-life glimpse into their beach vacation, “Traveling the Spectrum”aims to inspire and empower other families, while fostering empathy and understanding.

Visit Myrtle Beach and the communities along the region’s 60 miles of coastline have been committed to creating an autism- and sensory-friendly destination since 2016. As a recognized autism-friendly destination, Myrtle Beach continues its increasing efforts to provide a safe, accessible and welcoming destination for all, including a sensory-friendly pledge and numerous initiatives to promote and foster inclusivity throughout the region.

Highlights of sensory-friendly services and programs available throughout the Grand Strand include:

  • In conjunction with the Champion Autism Network (CAN) and TravelAbility, Visit Myrtle Beach launched The Beach is for everyBODY: Sensory-Friendly Pledge in 2022. To date, more than 150 businesses along the Grand Strand have pledged their support or received CAN certification. Participating organizations are committed to welcoming guests with autism and other neurodiverse disabilities through tangible and meaningful actions designed to support residents and visitors.
  • Myrtle Beach International Airport has launched its participation in the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program. This initiative provides a discreet way for travelers with a hidden disability, including autism, to self-identify and alert airport personnel that they may require additional assistance or patience throughout their travel journey. Individuals wishing to utilize the program can request a sunflower lanyard at one of the two information booths in the terminal (pre-security at baggage claim and post-security near Nacho Hippo and Gate A2). The airport also offers a “Quiet Room” in the baggage claim area to give families a space to decompress before or after a flight.
  • The Autism Travel Card offered by CAN is a simple way for guests to identify their family as one that includes someone with autism, without needing to say a word. Participating restaurants, hotels and venues have been trained in the needs of individuals with autism and their families and to provide a special or expedited service. Autism Travel Cards are available online at AutismTravel.Club for a $7 membership fee and offer several benefits, including services and discounts with participating businesses.
    • Participating hotels, including the 15 properties of Vacation Myrtle Beach and many others, help create a safe and sensory-friendly experience for children with Autism and their families, including room placements, removing potentially dangerous or trigger items from rooms, coordinating unique experiences and more.
    • Wait staff at participating restaurants are trained to seat guests in a quiet space, expedite meals and check outs as needed, and handle potential sensory-overload situations with understanding and compassion.
    • Myrtle Beach attractions offer services such as trained staff, special programming and discounts to families that present the Autism Travel Card. Examples of the available experiences include SkyWheel Myrtle Beach where families receive expedited attraction access along with discounted tickets and Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach where noise-canceling headphones and special pricing are available.
  • Through Project Lifesaver, Myrtle Beach area police and tourism professionals are trained to administer a GPS tracking band program for children who are prone to wandering off or are at risk of becoming lost. Those wearing the band, whether on the wrist or ankle, can be quickly located by search teams and returned to families/caregivers.

For more information on Myrtle Beach’s autism-friendly offerings and accessible trip planning resources, visit

About Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Myrtle Beach isn’t just a beach. It’s The Beach. Popularly known as the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach is one destination made up of 14 unique communities that stretch 60 miles along the northeast coast of South Carolina. Families, couples and those in search of a warm welcome will find more than just a day at The Beach when they come together to connect and enjoy vibrant entertainment and family attractions, including world-class golf, shopping and fresh coastal Carolina cuisine. From the moment you arrive, you’ll find you belong at The Beach – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. For additional information on tourism offerings in the Myrtle Beach area, visit or call (888) Myrtle-1.

About Lynda Farrington Wilson

Lynda Farrington Wilson is a beloved children’s book author and illustrator, as well as a passionate advocate for autism awareness. She has authored five books and illustrated over 120 thus far. Endorsed by Dr. Temple Grandin, her award-winning book titled “Squirmy Wormy, How I learned to Help Myself” is about a boy with autism and sensory processing disorder. The book was written to help her son Tyler navigate a calmer world through easy strategies that can make him feel better. For more information, visit

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SOURCE Visit Myrtle Beach


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