Recreation in Dunn, NC

By Carson O'Shoney on April 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm EST

PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Bennett

Harnett County may lack a major city – with a population of less than 10,000, Dunn is the county's largest – but it does not lack in things to do. Visitors and residents have a variety of outdoor activities to choose from, from golf to horseback riding. Area parks provide an outlet for leisurely afternoons, while the Cape Fear River is a great place for canoeing.


Golf is one of Harnett County's main attractions – and residents and county officials take pride in it. It may not be as nationally known as its nearby neighbor Pinehurst, but avid golfers know that Harnett County is a great place to play affordable golf while surrounded by gorgeous scenery. The county boasts a total of eight golf courses that mix quality with affordability. Included in the mix is Anderson Creek, a course that was designed by PGA Tour golfer Davis Love III and was named "Best New Course of 2001" upon its opening by North Carolina Magazine. Keith Hills I and II are owned by local Campbell University, and the courses are ranked among the best in the state for their mix of challenging holes and fun playability. Pine Burr Golf Course, Carolina Lakes Golf Club, Sandy Ridge Country Club, Chicora Golf Club and Hidden Valley Country Club can also be found in Harnett County.

Fun For All Ages

Harnett County has fun options for all ages. The city of Dunn hosts an annual outdoor monthly concert series where families and children are welcome. For a fun family outing, parents and kids head to Duffie's Exotic Bird Ranch, also in Dunn, which is home to more than 1,000 brilliantly colorful live birds from all over the world.

Seniors in the area have plenty to do, with county-sponsored senior golf tournaments and bus tours in addition to the Anderson Creek Senior Center's educational programs, craft classes and more. Little league and municipal sports leagues are also offered throughout the county, giving younger kids and adults an opportunity to participate in team activities.

Parks & Water Recreation

The parks of Harnett County provide residents and visitors with a wide range of activities to enjoy. The Erwin-Dunn Rail Trail was converted from old train tracks into a new destination for bikers, hikers and casual walkers. Like the name suggests, the trail stretches from downtown Erwin to downtown Dunn, with plenty of beautiful scenery on the way and shops surrounding the trailheads, rewarding those who make it the length of the trail. The 5,000-acre Raven Rock State Park attracts more than 12 million visitors per year, who come for a variety of activities including hiking, fishing, biking, paddling and camping. More parks and trails are being added in the near future. Anderson Creek Park and Jack Marley Park will soon add to the already numerous trails in Harnett County. The Cape Fear River Trail Park is a great place to access the Cape Fear River, which runs right through the county. The river has a stretch of 56 miles set aside specifically for recreational water travel, and people come to the Cape Fear River Trail Park to do their kayaking and canoeing.

Find more fun outdoor activities in Dunn, NC.

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