If you’re searching for a destination to vacation with your family that’s known for being diverse, inclusive, and home to an array of attractions for people of all abilities, look no further than High Point, North Carolina.
High Point has taken great strides to become a Certified Autism Destination (CAD) through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, (IBCCES), so that all visitors with autism or other sensory sensitivities can enjoy a welcoming and safe experience in our city. In fact, we are the first destination on the East Coast to earn this distinction!
Throughout High Point, you will find a wide range of fun things to do, noteworthy restaurants to try, and cozy hotels to rest your head that are all designated Certified Autism Centers (CAC). And soon, our city will be home to even more CACs! Some businesses are currently in the process of earning their CAC designation (these organizations are marked with an asterisk *).
Read on to learn more about High Point’s CACs and start planning an autism-friendly getaway to our lively city! To make planning easy, we have put together a suggested two-day itinerary. Customize it to your family’s needs and please make yourself at home here in High Point!
Day One of Exploring High Point’s Autism-Friendly Destinations
Before setting out to the local hot spots to follow, we recommend stopping by the Visit High Point headquarters first (1634 North Main Street, Suite 102, High Point). Every one of our team members is a Certified Autism Travel Professional (CATP), dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for those on the spectrum and their families and caregivers.
After stopping in to say hello and get the inside scoop on our great city, a full day of fun awaits! The first stop for the day? Playing to your heart’s content at Q’s Corner!
High Point’s very first autism-friendly space, Q’s Corner is an inclusive, sensory-based play gym where kids and adults of all abilities can enjoy a “judgment-free zone” and a day of play without limitations. It’s a safe space to socialize and enjoy physical activities, technology, and even simple pleasures like watching a movie—all with complete ease of access.
Q’s Corner features a soft play room specifically designed for people with visual impairments; a sensory room that serves as a calming environment; and a main gym filled with swings, trampolines, and more. There’s no shortage of fun things to do and explore! They’re open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 7:30pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to play as much as you like.
Before heading to the next attraction, stop in Sweet Old Bill’s for a delicious lunch to keep the fun going strong. The mouthwatering menu is brimming with traditional NC-style BBQ with Texas-style brisket, smoked chicken, ribs as well as a variety of appetizers, salads and sandwiches.
Even better? Their staff is trained to accommodate diners who are on the spectrum. Their hostesses and wait staff are at your service to help ensure a delicious and enjoyable experience.
Next stop on the day’s itinerary is the High Point Museum, less than two miles away from Sweet Old Bill’s. You’ll find two floors of fascinating exhibits covering a range of eras in High Point’s history.
The museum not only offers a quiet and calm atmosphere to catch your breath and soak up the local history, but also a number of events each month for children of all abilities to engage in the history through hands-on crafts and activities. What’s more, the museum provides designated quiet spaces both inside and outside the museum for easy access to calming areas. Check out their sensory guide to learn more.
End a full day of playing in High Point with a little bit of action from the comfort of your seat. Head downtown to Truist Point to catch a High Point Rockers baseball game! Grab some game-day grub from the concession stand and enjoy a relaxing yet riveting afternoon of good old-fashioned fun—and an American family tradition. Take a look at the sensory guide to see if it’s a fit for you and your crew.
If a baseball game is not your speed, there’s plenty of fun to be had at the Hartley Drive YMCA*. Here you’ll find an aquatics program and staff that is trained to welcome and care for your loved ones on the spectrum.
Day Two of Experiencing High Point’s Certified Autism Centers
It’s hard to beat the lineup from the day before, but day two offers just as much excitement and memory-making as the first!
Start the day burning off energy learning, playing, and discovering at the Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum. Recognized as North Carolina’s 2022 Visitor Attraction of the Year, the children’s museum offers visitors on the spectrum a whole world of sensory-based exhibits and activities. Some examples include a water-based exhibit, a LEGO room, a space academy, art studio, and more. With two floors, more than a dozen exhibits and experiences, and a double-decker carousel, the fun is never-ending at the “Happiest Place in High Point!”
(View their sensory guide here.)
After hours of playing at the children’s museum, you’ll be ready for a hearty meal to fuel your upcoming High Point adventures. Giannos Italian restaurant is a go-to for pizza buffets, create-your-own pasta dishes, award-winning steaks, and tasty cocktails. Gianno’s has been serving High Point residents and visitors for more than 20 years and has earned the CAC distinction so it can better serve all its diners.
Let the delicious cuisine at Gianno’s inspire your creativity at the next attraction on the list: Distractions Art Studio. Take your pick of the creative fun waiting: walk-in paint-your-own pottery, board, and canvas pieces, as well as workshops, summer camps, and classes. One of the best parts of your experience is getting to take home your specially made souvenir to remember your trip by!
If you have some energy left for more excitement, the High Point Arts Council may have an engaging event planned for the afternoon or evening. They’re located in the historic train depot downtown and host a number of events throughout the year, including Dancin’ at the Station, Arts Splash Summer Concert Series, and open mic nights.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a calmer afternoon, High Point Public Library is just the ticket. The library now offers a Sensory-Friendly Storytime, which features a song, two or three books, and unstructured playtime. This fun experience takes place once a month with a consistent schedule so parents and children know what to expect. The library will soon be home to a sensory garden created for people of all abilities.
Autism-Friendly Lodging in High Point
With a memory-filled weekend all planned out, the only thing left to decide is where you’ll stay. High Point is home to three CAC-designated hotels, each with its own unique amenities.
Courtyard by Marriott is a family-friendly lodging spot offering the full Marriott experience with a range of comfortable accommodations for travelers, caregivers, and their families. The hotel also features a low-sensory area for guests with sensory sensitivities to use when they need to pause for a rest.
Learn more about their certification here.
JH Adams Inn | Trademark Collection by Wyndham provides an inclusive environment in a beautiful historic property. This one-of-a-kind hotel houses 31 guest rooms and a full-service restaurant, and offers special amenities for guests with autism and sensory sensitivity—including headphones, tactile toys, and a low-sensory area.
Explore their training and certification more here.
For a CAC-designated hotel with easy access to the interstate and many of High Point’s CACs, and near I-40, Wingate by Wyndham is a solid choice. Their specially trained staff is at the ready to welcome and accommodate guests with autism and other sensory needs.
Review their certification here.
Visit our Autism Travel page to learn more about High Point’s Certified Autism Centers and stay up-to-date on newly certified attractions, restaurants, hotels and partners in High Point.
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