Should you move to Willow Spring, NC?

Willow Spring is an unincorporated area in Wake, Johnston and Harnett Counties

Willow Spring, NC aka Willow Springs, NC

Willow Spring Location

Willow Spring is a large unincorporated area located in the three counties of Wake, Johnston and Harnett County.  Unincorporated territory means that the area is not an official town and it is not affiliated with any other town or city.

These unincorporated areas have lower taxes since town services are not provided and do not need to be funded.  Water is handled by community utility companies, sewage is handled by individual household septic systems, trash is removed by private companies and policing is handled by the county sheriff when you live in Willow Spring.

In contrast, if you live in a city or town, you pay higher taxes to cover the salaries of a town police force as well as other government employees.  You will be billed directly for water, sewer, and trash if you are a town resident.  The town is supplying these utilities to your home so they need funds to help cover expenses.

Now that you understand the type of community that Willow Spring is, let’s go on to learn how to pronounce the name and what the life is like as a resident of the community.

How do you say it?

There’s a belief that the Johnston County part of Willow Spring has an “s” added to the word “Spring,” but this is incorrect.  The correct pronunciation of the town is always the single “spring” no matter what county you are talking about.  Even though the community is located in three different counties but it is always called Willow Spring.

This area is not as well-known as many of the more populous towns nearby, but the territory of Willow Spring covers almost 42 square miles.  The 42 square miles is almost equal to the town of  Holly Springs which has 46 square miles of territory, so it has an impressive land mass.

Well Known Willow Spring Locations

Porter Farms, (pictured above) the United States post office and Willow Spring’s Elementary are major landmarks.  Willow Spring is also the home to Stephenson’s Bar-B-Q which is a well known Bar-B-Q restaurant that has fabulous vinegar style Bar-b-Q, Brunswick stew and lots of tasty treats.

stephensons barbque willow spring
Willow Spring is the place for great barbeque at Stephensons

Did you know that wine is grown in Willow Spring?  Yes, it is.  Stop by Adams Vineyards and grab a bottle of local wine and see for yourself.  The winery even has a tasting room so you can try before you buy.  Adams Vineyards has a great reputation so you will be very pleased.

The Willow Spring area has been quite rural until very recently so there aren’t many other landmarks.  Great wine, excellent bar-b-que, fresh produce, beautiful homes, and farmland landscapes are enough to impress nowadays.  Willow Spring is a beautiful country style community, serene, quiet and friendly.

adams winery in winter
Adams Winery is located off highway 42 in Willow Spring, NC

Truly, this unincorporated area of Willow Spring could almost be seen as a hub linking the three counties of Wake, Johnston, and Harnett.  The Willow Spring territory acts like a jigsaw puzzle piece that connects these three counties.

Willow Spring Lifestyle

Willow Spring residents benefit from lower taxes, larger lot sizes, and picturesque landscapes.  The extra five or ten-minute drive into the neighboring town to pick up groceries or go to church is well worth the trade for serenity and starry night skies.

homes for sale Willow Spring, NC

Commute Times When You Live in Willow Spring

Surprisingly, some Willow Spring residents have an easy commute if they work in downtown Raleigh.  From some parts of Willow Spring, the trip can be as short as twenty minutes to the Wake County Courthouse or to your tech job at Red Hat. Commutes to Western Wake Hospital in Cary are about thirty minutes.  Campbell University and the US Army base at Ft. Bragg are quick commutes too, both less than 40 minutes.  As additional roads are added these commutes are expected to be greatly improved.

The completion of Interstate 540 will positively impact the commuting times for residents of Willow Spring and the surrounding towns.  As you can see from the video link, this additional loop will help give easier access to work areas throughout the region.

Population Growth in Willow Spring

Triangle area population has increased by leaps and bounds and this growth has impacted life in Willow Spring too.  Many newcomers are moving to Willow Spring because they are looking for the quiet life that the area offers.  The larger yards and lower taxes because the area is unincorporated and not affiliated with any town also helps to draw newcomers.   New subdivisions are being built, and more are on the planning board.  Schools are also being built to help with increasing growth.  Some information about both schools and neighborhoods is listed below.

Willow Spring Schools

In this part of North Carolina, children attend schools that are managed by the county that the school is located in.  Willow Spring territory is located in three counties so children who live in the community will attend school in their respective county school districts.

Wake County School District

Currently, there is only one school physically located within this unincorporated area.  Willow Springs elementary school is located on the Wake County side of Willow Spring.  The school is across from the Willow Spring Post Office.

A new high school is being built at the edge of Willow Spring in the town of Fuquay-Varina, again on the Wake County side of the area.  The high school will be called Willow Spring High School and it is expected to be open by the end of 2019.

It’s always wise to remember that continued growth in Wake County may affect student school assignment.  If a particular school assignment is important you will want to verify this before you move into your new home.  Check out the Wake County School district to learn more about the educational system in Wake County.

Johnston County School District

Children who live in the Johnston County part of Willow Spring attend school in the Johnston County school district.  Like Wake County, Johnston County has seen a major increase in population so many schools are newer and school plans are always in the works.  Check out the Johnston County schools here.

Beautiful Willow Spring Farmland

Harnett County School District

If you live in the Harnett County area, you’ll notice that Harnett has begun to see impressive population growth too.  Children who live in the Willow Spring community that’s located within Harnett County will attend school at these Harnett County Schools.

As you can see, there’s a decision to be made about which county you want to live in when you move to Willow Spring.  Schools and services are handled by the county and the services stay within the boundaries of the county.  Wake children cannot attend Johnston County schools, and Harnett county sheriff will not police in the Wake side of Willow Spring.  Every county is responsible for their own turf.

Neighborhoods in Willow Spring, NC

When you decide which county you prefer, you’ll have an easy time finding a great home since there are good neighborhood options in all locales.   So, first things first: Do you prefer Johnston, Wake, or Harnett?

Homes for sale Wake County NC - Willow Springs Houses
Homes for sale Willow Spring, NC

Johnston County Neighborhoods

In the Johnston County side of Willow Spring, neighborhoods such as BryerstonePecan GroveSandy GroveShadow LakesSummer Ridge, and Walton Springs are some of the options which may be appealing to you.

Harnett County Neighborhoods

Currently, there are just a few neighborhoods with a Willow Spring address in Harnett County.  Forest Edge, Fox Hollow, and Deer Haven are small communities that fit this category, but as the area continues to grow many more developments may appear in this area of Kennebec Road near the Angier border.  If new communities are built or if homes are on the market in this location then the families would be served by Harnett County services.

Wake County Neighborhoods

On the Wake County side of Willow Spring, you will find great neighborhoods such as BloomfieldBlalock Forest, Honeycutt LandingKendall Hills, and Judd Reserve.

There are always new communities popping up though, so make sure to do a full search so the hidden gem neighborhood doesn’t escape your search.  Also, please remember that Willow Spring is usually a great choice if you’re looking for a house with scenic views, lower taxes, and an easygoing lifestyle. Search for your Willow Spring Home Here

Find a Willow Spring Realtor

When you want to learn more about the Willow Spring area, call Christina McCaffrey with Triangle Trusted Realty.  She lives in Willow Spring and has been selling homes in the greater Triangle area since 2000.

You can reach Christina at (919) 868-4310 or email her at, and you can always shop for homes for sale in Wake, Johnston or Harnett counties on the website:

Triangle Trusted Realty, Inc.
Christina McCaffrey
Christina McCaffrey, Broker, Realtor, CRS
Triangle Trusted Realty, Inc.
(919) 868-4310