Johnston County

Johnston County, affectionately known as JoCo to those in the know, is just 30 minutes east of Raleigh – far enough away from the urban areas to offer visitors the charm of farm life and small-town living!


The county seat, Smithfield, is home to many cultural sites and a thriving downtown offering gems like the Ava Gardner Museum. By far, the biggest draw to JoCo is outlet shopping at the Carolina Premium Outlets located at Exit 95 on I-95, offering name brand stores like Coach, Nine West, Nike, and Polo at discounted prices. After shopping, take in a musical comedy show at the American Music Jubilee Theatre, located in the neighboring Selma Antiques Shopping District.


In southern part of the county Benson is home to Broadslab Distillery, offering tours and tastings of moonshine crafted by master distiller and owner Jeremy Norris. Broadslab is part of the JoCo Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail, a self-guided craft beverage trail covering 5 locations in the county. Also along the trail are regionally celebrated craft breweries Deep River Brewing and Double Barley Brewing as well as award-winning Hinnant Family Vineyards and Gregory Vineyards.


To learn about our farming heritage, you can visit the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly. Long known as an agricultural center, our farmers continue to thrive with many working farms in the area welcoming visitors. Explore the NC Civil War Trail that begins at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site east of Four Oaks and ends in Clayton, which boasts a vibrant downtown with local restaurant, shops, and even a cocktail lounge. For hiking and recreation, try Clemmons State Forest or Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center.


There is much to see and do in the county, we invite you to explore our website and get to know JoCo!