Travel Destinations

Boating Destination: Clayton, NY

Credit Antique Boat Museum on Wikemedia Commons

Initially known as a ship-building and lumbering port, Clayton, NY, sits on the St. Lawrence River near the east end of Lake Ontario. It’s a scenic harbor town filled with dozens of well- preserved 1800s buildings. An historic walking tour is a must if you visit for more than a brief stopover.

These days, the town’s focal point is fishing, with bass, muskie, northern pike, perch, panfish and walleye attracting anglers to the St. Lawrence waterway and Thousand Islands. Bassmaster magazine named the area the top U.S. bass fishing spot in 2022, and Clayton hosted last year’s Bassmaster Elite Series Season Championship.

Clayton is also home to two unique museums: the Thousand Islands Museum and the Antique Boat Museum. The former houses special exhibits of world-class muskies and hunting decoys from the past and present, in addition to an archival library and gallery containing images and information chronicling the history of river life along the St. Lawrence.

The Antique Boat Museum boasts the largest collection of freshwater recreational craft in North America — more than 300 unique boats and thousands of related artifacts. Its 4.5-acre campus offers speedboat rides, a working skiff livery and educational programs, as well as special events throughout the year, including the International Steamboat Flotilla in June and the Antique Boat Show & Auction in August.

Other area activities include hiking the Lois Jean and John MacFarlane Trail at the Zenda Farms Preserve, as well as trails in the Ingerson Preserve and Foster-Blake Woods Preserve. Visitors can also enjoy kayaking in the French Creek Wildlife Management Area, horse riding at Horseback Trail Rides, and wine tasting at the area’s many first-class vineyards.


Bayside Marina


Bayside offers seasonal, monthly and transient dockage for boats up to 45 feet. All slips are protected and on deep water. Power and water hookups are available.

Cedar Point State Park


This waterfront park offers 178 camp sites, boat rentals and a marina with overnight dockage. Amenities include fuel, pump-out station, boat launch, bait and snack bar.

Clayton Harbor Municipal Marina


This new facility, located in the heart of downtown, offers 49 floating slips with 30′, 40′ and 50′ capability, as well as 68-foot and 88-foot T-ends, 30-amp, 50-amp and 100-amp service, free Wi-Fi, laundry, restrooms, showers and pump-out.

French Bay Marina and Islander Marina & Lodge


Slips at French Bay accommodate boats up to 60 feet with a 7-foot draft. The marina offers shore power, Wi-Fi, boat and engine repair, storage, restrooms and showers. At the same address, Islander Marina rents seasonal covered and uncovered slips, as well as transient docks, with shore power, water and Wi-Fi. Moorings are also available. The marina’s customer lounge is equipped with cable TV, DVD player, baths and laundry.

Village of Clayton Mary Street Dock


Overnight docking is available. Amenities include power and water, restrooms with showers, laundry facilities, vending machines, on-site attendants from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., and pick-up and delivery from Shurfine Supermarket.




This bustling seasonal bistro serves breakfast and lunch daily. If you make it past the bountiful bakery upfront, try one of their decadent breakfast specials or choose from an array of sandwiches and salads.

Clipper Inn


The large and varied menu showcases Mediterranean, Asian and vegetarian influences, with an accent on fresh seafood. Try the halibut with peppercorn butter or the shrimp scampi. There are no bad choices here.

St. Lawrence Spirits Chateau


Once inside the sprawling stone manse, choose from a menu featuring farm-to- table ingredients from their own Lucky Star Ranch. Whether it’s brunch or dinner, the short ribs, salmon, salads and sandwiches are sure to please.

The Seaway Grille


Located in the 1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel, The Seaway Grille features classic American cuisine and a carefully curated wine selection. Try the sautéed pierogi appetizer, served with caramelized onions, crisp pancetta, crème fraîche drizzle and fresh chives.

Shipwreck Eatery


Another seasonal spot, the Shipwreck is open until 3:00 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday, and until 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Breakfast, sandwiches, salads, grain bowls and small plates round out a simple but tasty menu.

Want to Stay In the Loop?

Stay up to date with the latest articles, news and all things boating with a FREE subscription to Marinalife Magazine!

Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Marinalife articles