If you like exploring the great outdoors and being active, Johnston County, N.C., has plenty to offer. Walk along the region’s greenways and hiking trails, get moving at one of the sports facilities, or work on your swing at one of many golf courses.
Start your outdoor adventure on the 3-mile Buffalo Creek Greenway in Smithfield or the 4-mile Clayton River Walk, which are both part of the Mountains to the Sea Trail and meander along the Neuse River banks. Both trails provide access to the river for kayaking and canoeing for boating enthusiasts.
If you want to take in some of the natural beauty that Johnston County has to offer, check out Clemmons Educational State Forest or Howell Woods. Clemmons Forest (the first managed forest in North Carolina), located near Clayton, offers 850 acres of beautiful rolling terrain with interactive hiking trails surrounded by stands of hardwood and pine forests. The forest is open from mid-March to mid-November each year and offers school programs and shelters for rent.
The Rudolph Howell & Son Environmental Learning Center — or Howell Woods for short — is located near Four Oaks and is a unique 2,800-acre natural outdoor classroom designed to provide educational experiences while fostering environmental stewardship. It’s also dog-friendly. Visitors to Howell Woods can rent cabins to enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, horse-riding (bring your own horse), bird-watching, or controlled hunts. Fees do apply for programs.
For golf enthusiasts, the JoCo Golf Trail offers six excellent courses to test your skills on the links. Golfers can play year-round in our mild climate. Stop by from March to November for the best weather.
There are agritourism experiences and events — perfect for families to enjoy to enjoy the outdoors together — throughout the month of October in Johnston County.
Boyette Farms in Clayton, N.C., has Halloween fun for families, including hayrides, a playground, a corn maze, pumpkin-picking, games, and other activities. For daring families with older children, check out Boyette Farms at night. Boyette Clayton Fear Farm isn’t just a haunted house or maze, but a spooky destination with seven uniquely terrifying haunted attractions.
Entering its third year, Sonlight Farms offers a corn maze, as well as an animal barn, bounce houses, hayrides, and more. Smith’s Nursery and Produce Farm runs a pumpkin patch every October on its sprawling family farm; not only can you get a pumpkin for carving, but you can explore the farm, which has a sunflower field, a pond, and beehives. Lazy O Farm in Smithfield also offers fall fun-on-the-farm experiences for kids and families every weekend in October.
Johnston County is located 30 minutes east of Raleigh, N.C., along Interstate 95 and Interstate 40, providing rural experiences just outside the city.