Driving from DC to Wilmington: Queer family filter
July 30, 2015 7:49 AM   Subscribe

My little queer family is driving down to the Wilmington, NC area from the DC area and we are looking for tips for places to stop every few hours (small kids) that are also "safe" for a very visibly queer family.

We will leave in the morning and will need to stop every few hours so the little ones can wiggle around, which they like to do these days. We are looking for driving/directions tips (I have found a few previous posts about this) but also I am hoping for some guidance around places that will be relatively safe for us to stop as a family that is not gender-conforming or heteronormative. Thank you!
posted by anya32 to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you take a route through Richmond, VA and Raleigh, NC you won't go too far out of your way, and you'll have a relatively progressive urban place to stop every two hours or so. Not very familiar with Richmond, but your family would not be out of place at Pullen Park in Raleigh and there is plenty of stuff there to keep the kiddos occupied. The only problem might be pulling them away to get back in the car.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:53 AM on July 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is way inland from what I think is your route, but I live in Burlington, NC (which is about halfway between Chapel Hill and Greensboro) and there are a couple of awesome parks here. I know several out families that regularly take their kids to play. MeMail me for more details if you do end up coming this far west.
That being said, Marbles in Raleigh is terrific and you will also likely have to extract your children with the jaws of life. You might not want to leave either.
posted by mfu at 10:27 AM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Anywhere in The Fan in Richmond will be relatively progressive and queer friendly. Charlottesville, VA is also a decent stop, and both have great parks. Garnett's Cafe in Richmond will even prepare your lunch in a picnic basket to take across the street!
posted by a halcyon day at 1:22 PM on July 30, 2015

Best answer: Hey, I live in Wilmington! I know you asked about stops on the way down, but I can throw out some suggestions for once you get here; apologies if it's redundant information.
ILM is kind of...stagnant for an east coast city. If you stick to the touristy places and the beaches, I don't think you will feel too uncomfortable. That being said, don't go downtown at night/after 9 PM. That isn't because your family isn't heteronormative; that is because downtown is unsafe for anyone and full of drunks when the bars get going. Carolina Beach is pretty family friendly, and WB is extremely so, but pricy. Downtown there is a children's museum, a science museum, and a serpentarium; all of them are pretty neat. Stay away from Greenfield Park. We have a nice park at WB with a 2.5 mile sidewalk around it, and Hugh McRae is also nice; lots of playgrounds! Kure Beach, slightly south of CB, has a sweet aquarium. Don't go to the Tot'em In Zoo on CB Rd; you may be disappointed. There's also mini-golf and a carnival type place at the boardwalk in CB, and Jungle Rapids (go-karts, arcade, mini-golf, water park) on Oleander Dr. It's kind of pricy also, but it's a lot of fun and full of families of all ages. There's 10 billion restaurants. Lots of chains, but the locals tend to avoid them. Decent seafood at Heironymous on Market St. Really good brunch options everywhere: Sweet and Savory, Hops Supply Co., Boca Bay, Causeway Cafe - always full of lots of people. ILM is not hoity-toity even though it tries really hard. The Battleship is just across the river, and a great way to spend part of the day depending on how old the kids are. The nicer movie theatre is at Mayfaire on Military Cutoff. If you guys are headed to WB, you can visit the fire station Fri or Sun and I'll give the kids a tour.
And omg the traffic here SUCKS. Give yourselves an extra 15-20 minutes to get anywhere, especially on the weekends.
Have a safe trip!
posted by sara is disenchanted at 12:42 AM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for the recommendations and ideas - we had a great time! We stopped in Richmond in both directions, loved the Children's museum and aquarium in Wilmington/Fort Fischer, and Marbles was incredible - 3 hours later we had to pull ourselves away to get home! Just a quick thank you for the offer to see the Firestation - with some sick kids it did not work but the offer was very generous! So, again, thanks to all - we did a little from each recommendation! And yes, we felt welcomed in these spaces! Oh, and one add - we had nice vegetarian food at the Harrison Street Cafe in Richmond in one direction, as an FYI for veggie folks (we are not) traveling through.
posted by anya32 at 9:25 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

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