Located a short drive from Raleigh, Downtown Clayton has a lot to offer for a fun afternoon-day trip. Whether you are looking to get outdoors, try a new restaurant, or want to explore the craft beverage scene, look no further than Clayton! Keep scrolling for a day trip guide featuring the best things to do in Clayton.
This post was originally written in April 2022 and has since been updated and recirculated for May 2023.
The Best Things to Do in Clayton, NC
Grab a Coffee from Boulevard West
Start your trip with a coffee from Boulevard West right in Downtown Clayton. This coffee shop has quite an extensive list of syrups and such and my go-to order of a lavender latte was quite delicious! Their outdoor seating area is a lovely option and they have a great food menu as well. It includes anything from avocado toast to varieties of cheesecakes!
Located at 104 W Main St, Clayton, NC 27520
Stroll Sam’s Branch Greenway Trail
Photo via Visit NC
This greenway trail is 3.25 miles includes public art and connects to downtown Clayton and to the Clayton Riverwalk, which is also part of the North Carolina Mountains to Sea Trail. It offers beautiful views of the Neuse River, including a pedestrian bridge over the river. There are public parking areas and multiple trailheads to enjoy this trail.
Enjoy Lunch at First Street Tavern
Head to First Street Tavern to enjoy lunch after walking along the greenway trail. This 1912 house is a beauty with really pretty outdoor seating areas, a delicious menu with a variety of drink options, plus boutiques upstairs on the second floor. The dips are a good option, including the buffalo chicken dip and the crab queso.
Explore the Clayton Sculpture Trail
Take a stroll through downtown Clayton and explore the Clayton Sculpture Trail. This trail features includes a mural in The Clayton Center, which is a great place to start the tour. Taking in these sculptures is a fun way to explore the town and check out some of the shops and bakeries along the way.
Try the Roasted Bone Marrow & Cocktails at Crawford Cookshop
Make a reservation for Crawford Cookshop for supper. The bar is available for first come, first serve seating if no reservations are available. Located in a restored, historic building from 1904 in the heart of Clayton’s charming downtown, guests will discover American classics prepared by Chef Bryan Slattery and his team – crispy catfish sandwiches, saucy ribs, big seasonal salads, hearty entrees, and comforting desserts served alongside delicious wines, cocktail favorites, and local beer.
Here’s what we ordered:
For starters, we had grilled oysters, pimento cheese, and roasted bone marrow.
Also, for the main course, we had the spicy chicken sandwich and the grilled monkfish.
For dessert, we had the bread pudding and the chocolate pot with espresso martinis.
Here‘s a video highlighting this meal and the deliciousness that it was!
Catch a Show at The Clayton Center
Photo via Our State
Check out the Clayton Center for live events that are happening to catch a show before heading out!
Photos by GloryRoze Photography