The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort


The four-star Tradewinds  Island Resort famous for its motto ‘Just Let Go‘ is located in Saint Petersburg, Florida and features 585 rooms and suites.
The resort compiled of two sister hotels–the Guy Harvey Outpost and the Island Grand  Resort, overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and is feet away from the sandy beach.

The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort lake


The resort is quite family oriented, but couples and other groups of travelers will have a great time too.
As an autism- friendly hotel, this hotel has hosted the National Autism Annual Conference for several years and is a favorite with families with special needs kids.

The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort lobby


We stayed at the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort where a tropical vibe dominated the resort’s public areas with the design continuing in the guest rooms.

The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort buildings

Our Room

We stayed in the Breckenridge building that has the option of connecting rooms useful for travelers with larger families.
Our standard room (with free Wi-Fi), 5613 on the fifth floor, was spacious and comfortable with good view of the beach, property’s pools and the hotel’s giant inflatable water slide.

The first thing I noticed upon entering the room was the round dining table with four wooden chairs. The ample seating was a welcome touch since no one had to sit on the bed or the floor like in other hotel rooms we’ve stayed in in the past.

The room furniture was a pleasant mix of rosewood and rattan that gave it a neutral feel. Continuing the resort’s  island theme our room drapes, pillows, and chair cushions were decorated in muted orange and tan hues while the bed coverlets and carpet sported tropical patterns.

Our room boasted two queen sized beds separated by a nightstand that held a phone, alarm clock, a standing lamp and the TV remote. Across from the beds, there was a large flat screen television on top of a large dresser that contained a well-stocked mini bar, complete with a variety of drinks and snacks.

Tradewinds Island Resort: room

Furthermore, closet space was ample, and the two luggage racks supplied adequately held all of our suitcases.We were glad to discover the room safe was large enough to accommodate my laptop as well as several tablets.

We enjoyed the sitting area with the cozy chaise upholstered in a seashell pattern and a matching footrest, next to the window. A nearby wall outlet made it comfortable to sit and work on the laptop while watching the ocean waves. A decorative standing lamp and framed artwork complemented the room furnishings.

Our standard room had a kitchenette, which is useful for families needing to prepare or warm food during their stay. This well-equipped area included a microwave, a mini fridge, coffee pot, a toaster, dishes, glasses, silverware along with dishwashing soap and dish towels for easy clean-up.

The bathroom was on the small side but functional. It had the usual facilities; a commode, a sink, and a combination tub and shower with multilevel shelves for storing bath supplies.
An assortment of toiletry items and mini makeup mirror were standing on the granite countertop. It was disappointing to discover there was no hand held shower head, but we appreciated the powerful shower water pressure.
The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort bathroom


The Tradewinds Resort reception desk is open 24/7, and its employees have all undergone the specialized autism training awareness program by C.A.R.D.
We were impressed by the printed ‘social story’ booklet that the hotel is handing out to its guests with autism.
Visitors can also benefit from the top notch concierge service provided including a compiled list of attractions to visit with kids both indoor and outdoors around the resort area.

The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort pool


Along with its unbeatable location on the beach, the Tradewinds  Island Resort is famous for the plethora of family oriented seasonal activities offered.

The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort slide

Aside from five pools and two whirlpools, the resort offers multiple complimentary events for families like fishing lessons, poolside movie nights and pirate bonfire parties.

The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Resort trapeze

Hotel guests can enjoy water-based outdoor activities like parasailing, pedal boats, stand up paddle boats and land-based sports like volleyball, mini golfing, ping pong, and tennis for a charge.

The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort boats
Thrill-seeking travelers should give the trampoline, Gyrator, Jetlev or the ‘Rumfish’s ‘  aquarium with tropical fish swim option, a try!
Our son loved the high tide 200 feet long water slide and was disappointed to hear he had missed the chance to see the resort’s complete inflatable waterpark; which is only available during the summer months.

The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort fire

Dining & Entertainment

The resort offers eleven dining options for families from fast food (Pizza Hut) to upscale venues like the ‘Palm Court’ Italian Grill,  ‘Bermuda’s’ for steaks and seafood and the ‘Rumfish Grill’ for fusion cuisine.
During our weekend stay, we sampled the ‘Palm Court’ Italian Grill one evening and the ‘RumFish Grill’ located on the resort’s sister property the following day.

Tradewinds Island Resort, Dining

We found the ‘RumFish,’ with its Guy Harvey art and the giant fish aquarium a more kid-friendly venue but slightly noisy for people with autism.
The resort also has several stores that sell snacks and some fast food items that can be taken back and consumed in the rooms.

Dining & Entertainment The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort

Autism Travel Tips

  • If your kid tends to wander away, remember to ask for the hotel’s “Safety Kit” that includes a hanging door alarm!
  • Our room included the appropriate grab bar and bath mat for the shower and safety locks for the window.
  • All the resort food venues have gluten free options that are helpful for travelers with gluten allergies.
  • The resort kids club has unique sensory activities geared for children with autism – parents should call in advance and make the appropriate arrangements.
  • Parents need to be aware the resort does NOT provide lifeguards for the pools.
  • Families traveling with service dogs should know that The Island Grand has several pet-friendly rooms and a secure Pet Play Zone.

 The Autism Friendly Tradewinds Island Resort sunset


  1. Carla Braxton says:


    We stayed at the Tradewinds in August and loved it!

    Important pluses:
    1. Our room had a separate bedroom with a closing door to keep things quiet for my son while my Mom and I stayed up later to chit-chat.
    2. The kitchen had a microwave, a REAL stove and a full-size refrigerator. We were able to zip down to the Publix a mile or so away and completely stock our room with all the things my little one likes to eat, plus what we adults preferred for quick in-room meals. The poolside restaurant was yummy, but meals in our room saved SO MUCH MONEY. I never once worried about my son’s dietary constraints or preferences.
    3. Beach and poolside activities were FUN! We bounced from the giant slides to the pools to the ocean all day long
    4. I signed up for some of the structured activities for kids but we never made it over there. The structured activities might have been necessary if the weather was really bad; at least they’ve thought ahead to have such activities available.

    Overall, I give the Tradewinds a 10/10 for autism family-friendliness. I would advise everyone to download the trip planner from the Tradewinds website. Great pictures to help dispel any child (or parental) anxiety about what the resort looks like or offers.

    • Margalit Francus says:

      Hi Carla,
      So wonderful to hear from you again and thanks for sharing your experience!
      From your description, you had a larger room that sounds even better for families! I totally agree with buying groceries as it is indeed a money saver and you can buy certain brands that your family prefers.
      That slide IS the main event in every stay unless the weather doesn’t cooperate, of course.
      The app you recommended is very useful for planning especially for those who have never visited the resort before.
      I hope that someday soon other establishments copy the Trade Winds model and accommodate families with autism with the similar success.

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