Both in Clayton and Benson, historic renovated school auditoriums offer theatre productions, live music, plays, and much more in very intimate surroundings. Listings of area performances can be found on the Visit Johnston County website’s calendar of events. More visual and public art can be found around the county in the Town of Clayton and the Frank Creech Art Gallery at Johnston Community College. Residents and visitors may also find sculptures in Downtown Clayton and art along the greenways while out enjoying a walk. Local artists and potters are often found at local farmer’s markets and their creations adorn the walls of area businesses such as Double Barley Brewery.
Agritourism and farming heritage is truly our strength, as it defines many of the experiences available in the county. With the largest number of working farms in North Carolina, the county continues to lead the nation in production of cash crops, including sweet potatoes. For years, area farmers have expanded their operations to sustain the family farm, offering agri-tourism activities, farm markets, on-farm tours, promoting local products with pick-your-own operations, and even becoming wedding venues. For an educational experience on farming heritage, we offer several area museums to explore. If you grew up on a farm, many of these exhibits will bring back memories for you like cotton pickin’, harvesting tobacco, hard-working mules, or riding in wagons. Tobacco Farm Life Museum has been offering agri-tourism educational programs, group tours, and special events for over 30 years and continues to enhance the site with the Iredell-Brown restored homestead, farm life exhibits, one-room schoolhouse, weekly heritage demonstrations, and more. Take a trip outside the city to one of our area farms….pick strawberries in the Spring and pumpkins in the Fall. It’s a fun-filled farm day for the whole family!
Johnston County offers multiple trails for hiking and experiencing the life along the Neuse River where many of our venues intersect as the river runs from north of Clayton to the south past the Bentonville community. Nature and recreation are abundant with greenways for hiking and biking, kayaking and canoeing access to the river, hunting, and many fishing access points as well. For family outings visit two managed forests in the county for more activities like bird watching, horseback riding, picnics and fishing at Howell Woods and Clemmons. Additional parks in the Towns of Clayton, Smithfield, Selma, Kenly, Four Oaks and Benson offer playgrounds and trails. Enjoy a variety of indoor and outdoor recreation activities including golf, paintball, batting cages and community centers for additional workouts.
Over seven million shoppers would agree Johnston County is their destination of choice for outlet shopping. Carolina Premium Outlets, where national name brand stores offer 25-65% in savings every day, and JRs, branded as the largest cigar outlet in the world, are just two reasons to stop by. But that’s not all… residents and visitors will also find DeWayne’s, a home & garden store featuring a gift shop, boutique, men’s shoppe and Christmas land – open seasonally. Plus, Selma’s Antique Shops and Malls offer over 14 antique dealers for the serious or casual hunter of antiquities.
Residents of Johnston County are served by Johnston Health which is Johnston County’s health care system. Established in 1951, the flagship hospital in Smithfield has 149 acute care beds and shares a campus with the SECU Hospice House and the Johnston Medical Mall, which is anchored by HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center. Johnston Health Clayton, which opened in 2009 as an outpatient center, became a full-service hospital after adding a three-story, 50-bed addition in January 2015. Through a recent affiliation, Johnston Health is now part of UNC Health Care.
Residents and visitors experience all four seasons in Johnston County. The weather is not too cold in the winter, with average temperatures in the 50s with an average of 2″ inches of annual snow fall. Spring temperatures typically fall in the 70s with rain bringing us May flowers. Summers are rather warm with temperatures in the 90s making a glass of cold sweet tea and air conditioning called for in June, July, and August. Fall is the best time of the year with low rain fall and mild temperatures in the mid 60’s to low 70’s. For the most up-to-date weather reports, visit the WRAL Weather website.