Welcome to the beautiful Southern Appalachians!

About Rabun County

We’re located  about 100 miles northeast of midtown Atlanta, and 90 miles southwest of Asheville, North Carolina. One of the best ways to get oriented to our area is through the Wander North Georgia website. Here you will find lots of tips for things to do, places to stay and more. Be sure to visit the Wander store on Main Street in downtown Clayton!  Click here to read about Rabun County and its history.

Rabun County is a sleepy place in winter and early spring (November to May) and many businesses that cater to visitors may be open for fewer hours or closed completely.  However, from Memorial Day until late October, this is a popular destination and we host lots of visitors. During these months advanced bookings are highly recommended for lodging or camping, and at some of the better restaurants.

We’ve hosted students here for years and are always happy to help you find the right place to stay, and to let you what’s going on in the county while you are here. Please contact us if you have questions or need help planning your visit.

Rabun County Weather 

All pictures of Rabun County on this page are used courtesy of our friend and local photographer Peter McIntosh. Thanks, Peter!

Lodging Recommendations

Most of the listings included here are based on reviews from our students. Lodging options are available for a wide range of budgets in the area, from primitive camping to posh bed and breakfast inns. You can always look at a site like Trip Advisor, and we are now seeing a lot of Air BnB options popping up, so check with them too.

Bed and Breakfast

Parker Ranch Tourist Rooms, Clayton, Ga. This is the top choice for lodging for most of our students, and with good reason! Parker Ranch has been hosting guests to Rabun County since 1907 with beautiful guest rooms, all opening onto a classic Southern porch, at a quiet location just a mile from downtown Clayton, and a short walk or drive from our classroom. If you are coming for a weekend program, Parker Ranch offers a special rate of $160 for a two night stay (in a double occupancy room for Friday and Saturday) with a hearty Southern breakfast that includes an egg dish, meat, homemade baked goods, fruit and yogurt. Special diets are no problem if you notify them in advance.  Call or text Becky at 404-373-0566 to make your reservation.

Sylvan Falls Mill B & B, Rabun Gap, Ga. This historic working gristmill, now a cozy bed and breakfast inn, is tucked away in Wolffork Valley (about a 15 minute drive from Clayton). Guests enjoy a delicious breakfast featuring locally grown ingredients and baked goods made from organic grains ground in the mill with a view of the waterfall. Dogs allowed in some rooms.  Call Mike and Linda at 706-746-7138.

Hotels

Quality Inn and Suites, Hwy. 441, Clayton, Ga. This no frills hotel is clean and well maintained with friendly staff, near downtown Clayton.

America’s Best Value Inn, Hwy. 441, Clayton, Ga. Standard chain style motel with friendly owners. Located on Hwy 441, just a few minutes walk from downtown Clayton. Even though it is located along  Highway 441 the rooms are well soundproofed and quiet.

Camping

Rabun County offers a multitude of camping options, from RV hook-ups and hot showers, to secluded simple campsites with composting toilets.  We don’t recommend camping in secluded areas of the National Forest. Below you will find our two top recommended sites to camp. Both are great for our students because they offer multiple campsites and lots of options for plant watching and building community. You can also check out HipCamp for more suggestions.

Keep in mind that, due the elevation here, you may find extremely cold temperatures (even snow!) when other parts of the South are warm and balmy. Camping is best between May and October.

Timpson Creek Farm, 6093 HWY 76 W, Clayton, GA. Located just down the road from our classroom, this thriving biodynamic farm offers primitive camping (with porta-potty) along the beautiful Timpson Creek. Campers have access to an open air kitchen with potable water, limited refrigeration, and a commercial gas stove. During the growing season, vegetables, fruits, and herbs are available for purchase. If you are interested in foraging while on the property, participating in a farm tour, or getting involved with some of our exciting ongoing environmental projects at the farm, let us know and we can tell you more. Cost is $25 per night. To reserve your campsite or for more information, contact Darby Weaver, (678)670-9024, darbymccrea@gmail.com

Hatch Camp and Art Farm, 1060 Joe Speed Road, Clayton, GA.  This campground, about a 15 minute drive from our classroom, offers 6 exclusive campsites along Warwoman Creek with composting toilets, potable water, a fire pit and lots of quiet.  Hatch Camp was created to further the sport of Fly Fishing on our catch and release stream and other local waters, as well as provide a venue for musicians and artists. The Camp has  a small stage where they  host a few concerts a month and other events such as folk art and music markets, bluegrass festivals, songwriting and angling clinics. Contact Scott and Nicole at 706-782-3747 (landline).

State Parks in Rabun County: We have three state parks! Check out their individual sites for details about camping, cabins, hiking and other activities.

Black Rock Mountain State Park
Moccasin Creek State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park

 

Places to Eat

Rusty Bike Cafe is open from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Great breakfast spot! Open 7 days a week.

The Clayton Cafe, on Main Street in downtown Clayton, is classic southern diner with no-nonsense food. Your standard American breakfast and “meat and three” lunches. Their fried chicken is famous. Open at 6:00 AM and closes after lunch. Monday to Saturday. No credit cards, cash only.

Grapes and Beans Cafe, known locally as “The Bean,” is a local favorite. Open from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM daily, with salads, homemade soups and sandwiches (lots of vegetarian options) featuring seasonal and local ingredients, free trade coffee, cappuccino and espresso, plus a sophisticated selection of local and international wines by the glass or bottle. Located on Savannah Street in downtown Clayton.

Manrique’s Mexican Store and Restaurant is a family-run restaurant serving authentic Mexican food for lunch and dinner, all made with fresh ingredients. Average meal is about $10 and the quality is MUCH better than any other local Mexican restaurants. If you are a soccer fan, grab a seat in front of the huge flat screen TV. Beer and wine available.  No website. Closed Tuesdays. Located on Hwy 441 at 613 Hwy 441 S, Clayton, 30525, 706-782-5815

Fortify features a farm to table menu that rivals anything you’d find in a posh urban restaurant. Full bar with interesting seasonal cocktails using house-made herbal liqueurs. Schedule changes seasonally so check the website (where you can also make dinner reservations). Closed Sunday in the winter, and on Monday throughout the year. Reservations are almost always needed for dinner, though you may be able to squeeze into the bar….

Fortify Pi is the newest creation of the Fortify team. Featuring a casual setting and a menu that includes pizza, salads and sandwiches with lots of vegan and vegetarian possibilities. Gluten free menu. Beer and wine.  Open 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Tuesday to Saturday. To go orders available.

The Universal Joint is the place to be on a summer night. Formerly a gas station, the U Joint has lots of outdoor seating, serves salads, sandwiches and appetizers (and a gluten-free menu) with has a full bar. Live music on their outdoor stage on weekend nights during tourist season (June to October). Leashed dogs are welcome. Games for kids. A great place to relax and enjoy being in the mountains! On Main Street in downtown Clayton, just next to the post office. Open every day from 11:00 am until late.

Clark’s on Main offers lunch and dinner in a sports themed setting. Nice selection of tacos, sandwiches, pizza and salads, as well as daily specials, all made with fresh ingredients.  Unfortunately there is no gluten-free menu available, so be sure to ask about ingredients if you are avoiding gluten, or any other allergenic ingredients. Wine list and full bar. Open every day for lunch and dinner.

Moon Pie Pizza, Pasta and Bakery is a hidden jewel of restaurant in Dillard, about 5 miles north of Clayton on Hwy. 441. Much more than a pizzeria, with nightly specials, gluten-free options and a lovely wine list, Moon Pie is one of my favorites! To go orders. Open 11:30 am to 8:00 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and until 9:00 pm Friday and Saturday. Closed Monday.