Published: May 06 2019
Known for being the biggest lake in the state of Virginia, Smith Mountain Lake is a beautiful reservoir that spreads across Roanoke and Lynchburg. The lake was first formed in the 1960s when the Smith Mountain dam was constructed on the Roanoke River. Today, the lake is known for being a haven of summer recreation, including boating and endless enjoyment on its beaches. It’s in a valley of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. Several famous movies have had scenes shot on Smith Mountain Lake, including “What About Bob?” and the indie film Lake Effects.
Major highways easily access Smith Mountain Lake within Virginia, but if you’re arriving by plane, the closest international airport is the Richmond Airport, which is a 3-hour drive from the lake. There are smaller regional airports as well that are closer, but it’s more difficult to find flights. Renting a car is a must if you’re arriving by plane. You can also drive in from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, just over the state border.
During the summer, spending time on a boat rental on Smith Mountain Lake is a must. You can bring a picnic onboard your private boat rental or take a boat cruise to learn more about the history of the lake and enjoy the scenery.
Private cruises on Smith Mountain Lake are also an excellent option as a venue for an event. If you’re planning a special day like a wedding, bachelorette party, family reunion, or corporate event, consider booking a private charter on the lake. See Smith Mountain Lake as you enjoy a meal onboard, and have a captain and crew sort out all the little details. You won’t have to stress and instead can enjoy the day with your guests. It's guaranteed to be a memorable party.
Whether you’re a novice angler or a fishing expert, fishing on Smith Mountain Lake is always a fun time. Book a fishing charter if you’d like a local guide or captain to take you to the best spots for casting off. Reel in great catches like largemouth bass and rockfish. Cruise around Smith Mountain Lake in a center console boat for the perfect day of fishing.
Marinas on Smith Mountain Lake
Since Smith Mountain Lake is vast and spreads across a considerable area, there are several marinas scattered around different parts of the lake, so choosing one should be based on where your accommodation is. Some of the top marinas include Parkway Marina, Craddock Creek Marina, Lake Haven Marina, and Magnum Point Marina. The marinas are excellent if you need boating advice from the local staff or any facilities to service your boat. There are restaurants and bars nearby, the perfect spots to enjoy a meal or a drink with a view. Check out the various watercraft moored on the docks or watch the sunset from the comfort at a Smith Mountain Lake Marina.
While on land, there’s plenty to do around the various towns that border Smith Mountain Lake. A favorite local site is the Explore Park reserve, which has loads of hiking trails and picnic spots. It’s the perfect place to visit for an outdoorsy family or nature-oriented travelers who want to see more of the landscape around Smith Mountain Lake.
For avid hikers who want to climb a mountain during their stay, Roanoke Mountain is the perfect opportunity to ascend the elevation and earn breathtaking views. If you plan to climb the mountain, just be prepared with water and snacks, and plan on spending at least a whole day out there. The shortest hiking trails are around 4 miles (7km), so you’ll be walking for a while. There’s also the Roanoke River Trail and outlook.
If you’re visiting with kids and need ways to entertain them, Hot Shots is a fun amusement park to keep the little ones busy! It’s a family fun center with a restaurant serving up delicious fare and activities like miniature golf and a bouncy castle!
For adults who want to enjoy a bit of local wine, head to the Hickory Hill Vineyards for a wine tasting and pairing with delicious bites. It’s the perfect romantic escape or way to enjoy a visit to Smith Mountain Lake with your grown-up friends. There are also lots of nearby pubs and breweries to check out, like Twin Creeks Brewing Company.
There are lots of resorts, hotels, and other accommodation options available all around Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. No matter what your budget is or the size of your group traveling with you, you can find the perfect retreat to relax and enjoy your stay at Smith Mountain Lake.
To pitch your tent or park your RV near Smith Mountain Lake, head to Smith Mountain Lake State Park, Eagle’s Roost, Sweetwater RV Park, or Lazy Cove Campground. You can enjoy waking up in nature with the peace and serenity of being lakeside, without having to sacrifice being close to modern comforts. Some campgrounds have full shower and toilet facilities, while others are more bare-bones and rustic, so be sure to investigate which is best for your camping preferences while visiting Smith Mountain Lake.
For the traveler who prefers a real bed instead of sleeping under the stars, there’s no shortage of resorts, lodges, and hotels around Smith Mountain Lake. Bernard’s Landing Resort, the Lake Inn, Westlake Waterfront Inn, and Halesford Harbor Resort are all excellent picks that will have you waking up with the beautiful lake just outside your window!
Heading to Smith Mountain Lake to beat the Virginia heat this summer? Don’t forget to tag us in your photos @GetMyBoat! We’d love to hear about your perfect #boatday on Smith Mountain Lake!