Recreation

Outdoor recreation in Craven County can be summed up in three words: Water. Woods. Wow.
 
Craven County enjoys the rare combination of being both surrounded by water and covered with forests. The county seat of New Bern sits at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, which flow into Pamlico Sound and then the Atlantic Ocean only a few miles away. As a result, the smaller streams and creeks that permeate the county range from fresh water to brackish to salt, creating a delightfully diverse ecosystem throughout the region.
 
But what makes Craven County truly special is that much of this water can be found in and around the densely wooded, 160,000-acre Croatan National Forest. There are 40 miles of streams and 4,300 acres of lakes within the forest, which is bordered by tidal rivers on two sides and the Bogue Sound on the third.
 
“There are all these heavy forest settings right next to large bodies of water. You don’t generally see that together in most places,” says Cody Hutchinson, Croatan National Forest district ranger. “So the views from the water – even from the smaller creeks – are really awe-inspiring.”

Croatan National Forest