Geography of Craven County, North Carolina

Craven County, located in the eastern part of the U.S. state of North Carolina, is a region known for its diverse geography, rich history, and vibrant communities. Encompassing an area of approximately 774 square miles, Craven County is situated along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and is characterized by its mix of coastal plains, estuaries, and scenic rivers. In this comprehensive overview, we’ll explore the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other significant features of Craven County. Check homethodology to learn more about the state of North Carolina.


Craven County is bordered by Pamlico County to the east, Jones County to the southwest, Carteret County to the southeast, and the Neuse River to the northwest. The county’s geography is primarily characterized by its low-lying coastal plains, with elevations ranging from sea level along the coast to around 100 feet inland. The county seat and largest city is New Bern, which is located near the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers.


The climate of Craven County is classified as humid subtropical, with four distinct seasons characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters. The region experiences moderate precipitation throughout the year, with occasional thunderstorms and hurricanes during the summer and fall months. Summers are typically hot and humid, with average high temperatures in the 80s°F to 90s°F range, while winters are mild, with average low temperatures in the 30s°F to 40s°F range.

Coastal Plains:

Craven County is part of the North Carolina Coastal Plain, a region characterized by its flat, sandy terrain and extensive wetlands. The county’s coastal plains are dotted with rivers, estuaries, and salt marshes, providing habitat for a variety of wildlife and supporting important ecosystems. These coastal plains also offer opportunities for outdoor recreation, including boating, fishing, and birdwatching.


Craven County is intersected by several rivers and streams that flow through its landscape, providing habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. These rivers and streams also play a vital role in the region’s economy, providing water for agriculture, industry, and municipal use. Some of the notable rivers in Craven County include:

  1. Neuse River: The Neuse River is the largest river in North Carolina and flows from its headwaters in the Piedmont region to its mouth at Pamlico Sound. The river forms the western boundary of Craven County and serves as an important transportation route and recreational resource.
  2. Trent River: The Trent River is a tributary of the Neuse River and flows through the central part of Craven County. The river is popular for fishing, particularly for striped bass and catfish, as well as kayaking, canoeing, and boating.


While Craven County does not have many natural lakes, there are several reservoirs and man-made lakes within the county that offer recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. These lakes provide opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking. Some of the notable lakes in Craven County include:

  1. Brice’s Creek: Brice’s Creek is a tributary of the Trent River and flows through the eastern part of Craven County. The creek is popular for fishing, particularly for largemouth bass and bluegill, as well as kayaking and canoeing.
  2. Lawson Creek: Lawson Creek is another tributary of the Trent River and flows through the city of New Bern. The creek is popular for boating, with several marinas and boat ramps along its banks, as well as fishing and birdwatching.

Parks and Recreation Areas:

Craven County is home to several parks, wildlife refuges, and recreational areas that showcase the region’s natural beauty and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and leisure. These areas offer hiking trails, camping facilities, picnic areas, and other amenities for visitors to enjoy. Some of the notable parks and recreation areas in Craven County include:

  1. Croatan National Forest: Croatan National Forest is located in the southeastern part of Craven County and encompasses over 160,000 acres of protected land. The forest offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting, as well as birdwatching and wildlife viewing.
  2. Union Point Park: Union Point Park is located in downtown New Bern and offers stunning views of the Neuse and Trent Rivers. The park features walking paths, playgrounds, picnic areas, and a waterfront promenade, as well as a marina and boat launch for boating enthusiasts.


In conclusion, Craven County, North Carolina, is a region of diverse geography, rich natural resources, and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. From its scenic rivers and coastal plains to its historic cities and towns, the county offers a variety of landscapes and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re exploring the trails of Croatan National Forest, fishing on the Neuse River, or picnicking in Union Point Park, Craven County has something for everyone to experience and appreciate in the great outdoors.

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