Locals have shortened the name from Johnston County to JoCo, and the rest of the state is joining in and adopting our nickname. From a tourism perspective, promoting the entire county and region with a county name remains a challenge – as you might ask who travels on vacations or out of town trips to a county destination? Most all of us will announce we are headed to a city or town! So call us JoCo, but get to know the small cities, crossroads, and countryside of Johnston County where our rural heritage shines. (literally we are known for our shine – moonshine that is!)
And best of all, during your travels discover the many cool stories and wonderful people throughout the county. Don’t be in a hurry, spend some time at a local country store or learn about hushpuppy making from the master himself, Ray Wheeler, of Atkinson’s Mill. Drop by Johnston County Hams and talk to Rufus Brown, a Curemaster of award-winning hams. Walk along the Clayton River Walk and enjoy the art produced by area school children. Drive along the Civil War Carolina Campaign Driving Trail and listen to author Mark Bradley talk about the largest battle fought during the war at Bentonville. She was named the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, Ava Gardner, and she was born in JoCo and a museum in her honor is located in Downtown Smithfield.