A list of counties in North Carolina is all very nice, but it's hardly the best learning aid. For those of you considering moving to this state, I've written a crash course summarizing what county some of the cities and towns are in:
The city of Beaufort is in Carteret County while the City of Washington is in Beaufort County. In Washington County you'll find Lees Mill. Lee County has very little other than the city of Sanford.
Pittsboro is in Chatham County while the city of Greenville is in Pitt County. Greensboro is in Guilford County. Greene County has Snow Hill.
The town of Rutherford is indeed in Rutherford County but the town of Rutherford College is in Burke County and no longer has a college.
Franklinton is--mercifully--in Franklin County but the town of Franklin is in Macon County. Stokesdale is in Guilford and Stokesville is in Rockingham, but all Stokes County has is a small town named King--not to be confused with the cities of Kings Mountain or Kingstown which are both in Cleveland County, or Kinston (formerly called Kingston) in Lenoir County. The city of Lenoir, of course, is in Caldwell County.
Wilson is in Wilson County but the tiny town of Wilson's Mill is so small that I can't figure out what county it's in.1
Jacksonville is in Onslow County, while Jackson County has Dillsboro to compete with Duplin County's Mt. Olive. Mt. Olive, not being happy with merely one county, has spilled over the county border into Wayne County. "Where's Waynesville?" you ask? It's over in Haywood County. The town of Davidson is in Mecklenburg County. Davidson County has Thomasville.
Jonesville is in Yadkin County leaving Jones County with New Jersey-copycat Trenton as its only claim to fame. Polkville is in Cleveland County and Tryon is in Polk County. Tryon Palace, our state's first capitol, is in New Bern. Mooresboro is in Cleveland County and Mooresville is in Iredell County. Moore County has both Southern Pines and Pinehurst--not to be confused with Pine Knoll Shores or Pineville.
The city of Rockingham is in Richmond County. Eden is in Rockingham County but Edenton is in Chowan County. Although Hendersonville is in Henderson County, right where it should be, the town of Henderson is located in Vance County. The town of Clayton is in Johnson County while Clay County has Brasstown.
1 Update: I've finally figured it out: Wilson's Mill is in Johnston County, not to be confused with Johnson County.