Claymont is located on the western shore of the Delaware River, just north of Wilmington in Delaware’s New Castle County.
The town had a population of about 13,000 residents as of 2018, and it’s just a few miles from Pennsylvania to the north and New Jersey to the east.
It’s also conveniently located to Interstate 95, which gives visitors quick and easy access to a variety of attractions both in and out of state.
The area is particularly well known for its state parks, museums, and historical sites, though gaming and beaches are just short drives away too.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Claymont, Delaware.
1. Darley House
The Darley House is one of Claymont’s most iconic historic attractions. It was once the home of a world-famous illustrator named F.O.C. Darley, who lived in the 1800s.
Darley’s illustrations graced the works of some of the most notable authors of the era, including Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper.
The Darley House is often referred to as The Wren’s Nest by locals, because that’s what Darley named it after he bought it in the 1860s.
The house isn’t currently open to tours, but there’s a plaque outside. It’s one of those local ten-minute attractions that shouldn’t be passed up.
2. Charlie’s Pizza
Especially for many travelers with kids, pizza is a necessary element of their vacation diet, and Claymont has several popular pizzerias.
Charlie’s Pizza is located on the Philadelphia Pike near downtown and specializes in classic New Jersey-style pizza that many consider the town’s best.
The restaurant has been described as a hole-in-the-wall, but therein lies much of its charm, especially when compared to chain pizza shops that are often lacking in character.
Their pizzas come in multiple sizes and with a variety of crust and topping options. Previous guests agree that their cheesesteaks are top-notch as well.
3. Darley Beer, Wine & Music Festival
Though it’s only been around for three years, the Darley Beer, Wine & Music Festival has already attracted a loyal following. It’s now one of the town’s most anticipated annual events.
It’s held at the beginning of October when the weather is usually perfect for being outdoors. As its name implies, it features lots of tasty adult beverages and music in a variety of genres.
Much of the beer and wine is produced locally and regionally. Likewise, most of the performers are area favorites as well. The festival also includes great food and arts and crafts.
4. Brandywine Creek State Park
Though it’s one of the smallest states in the country, Delaware boasts an impressive number of state parks; many of them are in the northern portion of the state not far from Claymont.
Brandywine Creek State Park is located just outside Wilmington, is open year-round, and offers visitors a wide array of outdoor activity options.
The park is one of the state’s first officially preserved areas and was established in the mid-‘60s. It is an especially big draw for hikers, bikers, bird watchers, and anglers.
Brandywine Creek is popular with trout fishers during the season, but if you plan on wetting a line, you’ll need a Delaware fishing license.
5. Nemours Mansion
The immensely wealthy DuPont family has owned many palatial homes all over the state for more than a century, and the Nemours Mansion was one of the most majestic.
Located in Wilmington, it was built to resemble a European alpine lodge. Nowadays, it’s owned and managed by a local historical foundation and is open to the public.
The home and its contents are nearly all original and include housewares, furniture, and works of art that are nothing short of opulent. Most guests agree that it’s what they’d expect to find more in Europe than Delaware.
6. Delaware Museum of Natural History
Natural history often takes a backseat to The First State’s abundant human history attractions, but for those interested in a temporary change of pace, the Delaware Museum of Natural History would be a great place to spend a few hours.
The museum is located on Kennett Pike in Wilmington, just an easy drive from Claymont. Its exhibits touch on animals and the natural world, dinosaurs, and ecology.
Much of what you’ll see on-site is interactive, which means it’s perfect for active young ones in need of engagement, mental stimulation, and physical activity.
Guided tour options and special events abound, so check their website before heading out.
7. Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
Delaware’s history stretches back centuries into the past to the time before the founding of the country, and for most visitors, historic attractions take center stage.
The state does feature a thriving art community as well, and the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts is the premier museum of its kind in the area.
It’s been around since the late-’70s, and its primary goal isn’t amassing a private collection, but showing and promoting the works of local and regional contemporary artists while providing the community with easy access to art.
The staff also offer workshops for artists of nearly all ages and skill levels.
8. Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge
Wildlife refuges are typically found in rural areas that require long drives to get to. But visitors to Claymont and Wilmington have access to a unique natural attraction that’s located in the heart of one of the state’s largest urban centers.
The Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge is situated along the Delaware River. It is a perfect destination for outdoorsy types and nature lovers who want to experience Mother Nature but who’d rather not trudge across the state to do it.
The refuge features a network of trails and elevated walkways from which it’s common to see a variety of wildlife. There are seating areas and informative signs along the way.
9. Bob Carpenter Center
College and university campuses are great community resources that often get overlooked by vacationers.
The Bob Carpenter Center is located in Newark on the campus of the University of Delaware. It is the home of the Blue Hen’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams.
Compared to larger universities, tickets to the University of Delaware sporting events are reasonably inexpensive and easy to get. When there aren’t any games scheduled, the center often hosts other events, like minor league NBA games, live music, and arts and crafts festivals.
Check out the calendar of events on their website to see what’s on the horizon for when you’ll be in the area.
10. Christiana Mall
Delaware figured out long ago that a great way to boost its economy was to do away with retail sales tax. Now, it’s a regional draw for shoppers from all over the area who come to save big bucks on everything from cars and clothes to electronics and sporting goods.
Christiana Mall is the state’s premier shopping destination. Though it’s been around since the late-‘70s, it has undergone lots of renovations over the years and is as contemporary and inviting and many of its much newer competitors.
It’s anchored by big national brands like Barnes & Noble, Nordstrom, and Cabelas. There’s a large movie theater and lots of great dining options as well.
11. Iron Hill Park
Iron Hill Park is comprised of more than 300 scenic acres that are conveniently located on the Old Baltimore Pike in Newark.
The park is full of amenities that draw visitors with a wide range of interests. It’s an especially big hit with dog owners because it’s got a designated doggie park that has separate areas for both large and small canines.
There are also a number of multi-use trails, a massive playground, and a disc golf course that’s a great alternative for those looking for a change from traditional golf.
Many visitors take advantage of the park’s ample picnic areas as well, especially during the mild spring and early fall months.
12. Cooch’s Bridge
Nearly 250 years ago, Cooch’s Bridge was the site of an important battle in the Revolutionary War; it’s now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Though much of the original bridge is gone, the area includes several monuments and informative signs describing the battle’s significance. For many visitors, it’s particularly poignant to learn about the lives of the soldiers who perished on-site, and what their sacrifices meant for the country.
Many visitors choose to show themselves around at their own pace, but for those who’d like a more in-depth experience, guided tours are available.
13. The Hale-Byrnes House
The Hale-Byrnes House is another of Delaware’s historic attractions that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The home was originally built in the 1750s and is most famous for being the location of a meeting between George Washington and military commanders just before the battle at Cooch’s Bridge between American and English forces.
The home was also the residence of some prominent families over the years. It features unique colonial-era architecture and other significant historic memorabilia.
Hours are seasonal, and the home isn’t open to visitors every day, so check online before making a special trip.
14. White Clay Creek State Park
White Clay Creek State Park was established in the late-‘60s and includes more than 3,000 acres in New Castle County not far from Claymont.
The park’s centerpiece is Clay Creek, which stretches nearly 20 miles through a variety of undisturbed natural environments.
Many trails follow the creek’s path and are popular with walkers, bikers, and amateur nature photographers as well as bird watchers. There’s also a nature center on-site.
The park’s staff offers a variety of regularly scheduled activities that include outdoor exploration activities appropriate for those of most ages, and insight into the area’s historic attractions.
15. Resident Ensemble Players
The Resident Ensemble Players is another of the University of Delaware’s gems. It is a favorite destination for lovers of live performances from all over the state.
Throughout the year, the Resident Ensemble Players produce a number of shows that run the gamut from brooding old classics to lighter, more contemporary ones. Many theater aficionados agree that they’re usually on-par with those at larger venues.
Tickets are relatively inexpensive, though they can go quickly for popular shows during peak times. It’s wise to buy yours in advance to avoid a heartbreaking sold-out situation on the night of the show.