Craven County offers an array of outdoor recreational opportunities, from the water to the woods.

We have 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 Trent and Neuse Rivers, which flow into the Pamlico Sound and then the Atlantic Ocean, just 30 miles away. The smaller streams and creeks that permeate the county create a rich tapestry of freshwater, brackish, and saltwater ecosystems. As a result, the region has become a haven for diverse wildlife and a true angler’s paradise.

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.”

Craven County’s temperate climate further enhances the allure of outdoor activities, making golfing, boating, and hiking enjoyable most of the year.