Created in the 1960s with the construction of the Smith Mountain Lake Dam, Smith Mountain Lake has been a popular draw ever since. Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the breathtaking scenery of the mountains envelops all parts of the lake. Smith Mountain Lake is bounded by Franklin, Bedford, and Pittsylvania counties on the southeast, southwest, and north shores. You can find boating, watersports, hiking, and more along all shores. 

Getting to Smith Mountain Lake is easy whether you’re driving by car or flying into one of the nearby airports in Roanoke or Lynchburg, both less than an hour's drive from the lake. Smith Mountain Lake is around four hours from D.C. and three hours from North Carolina, making it a central location for a lake vacation. 



Smith Mountain Lake State Park

Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Photo Credit: Chad Williams, @echadwilliams

Smith Mountain Lake State Park has several lodging options from cabins to camping. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, rent out one of the cabins and enjoy amenities like on-site grills and kitchen appliances. Their bunkhouse holds seven bunk beds which can house up to 14 people. You can also stay at the campground from the first Friday of March to the first Monday of December. Camping reservations are a must during the peak season from late spring to early fall. 

The Lake House on Sunset Point

The Lake House on Sunset Point is in a quiet nook perfect for a tranquil retreat with lakefront views. The three-bedroom house sleeps up to six people and is near many restaurants and a marina–a central location for guests to enjoy all aspects of the lake.  

Bedford Landings

Bedford Landings
Photo Credit: Karen DeBord

For a comforting stay at a bed and breakfast at the lake, spend your nights at Bedford Landings. They offer several different rooms with a cozy atmosphere and have a grand fireplace, theater room, and game room in the common areas. Take in the beautiful scenery of the mountains and lake during your stay and wake up early for breakfast in the dining room. 

Lake Retreat Properties

Lake Retreat Properties allows you to choose from various lakefront rentals based on your sizing and pricing needs. The knowledgeable staff will help you pick the best vacation retreat throughout the year in all areas of Smith Mountain Lake. 




Smith Mountain Lake Learn to Sail
Photo Credit: John Henley

Smith Mountain Lake is full of fun on the water from casual boating to water sports to taking a paddle on a canoe or kayak through the calmer waters. Several boating rentals are available including pontoon boats, jet skis, kayaks, or tubes to pull behind. Anyone operating a motorboat must possess a certificate from a boating safety course and have valid registration. 

Bridgewater Marina | Smith Mountain Lake

Smith Mountain Lake Boat
Photo Credit: John Henley

Bridgewater Marina offers ski boats, pontoons, wakeboards, personal watercraft, and more to rent during your stay at Smith Mountain Lake. 

Smith Mountain Lake Boat Rentals

SML Boat Rentals has fishing boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards for rent. Pets of any kind are not allowed on their rentals. 

The Dock SML

The Dock rents out pontoon boats for daily use. Not only do they provide boat rentals, but they also have a restaurant on the water. While you’re there, make sure to feed the carp, a popular local draw where dozens of carp swim up to the dock.


Renowned for fishing spots and a wide variety of fish, fishing lovers have it all at Smith Mountain Lake. Before you begin your journey, you’ll need a Virginia Fishing License which you can get with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. 

At Smith Mountain Lake, you can find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, carp, catfish, sunfish, striped bass, and more, the perfect catches for any fisherman. Known for its striped bass especially, you can find these fish at Smith Mountain Lake in the lower lake areas from summer to early fall. Catfish are mainly found in the upper reaches of the Roanoke and Blackwater sections of the lake. 

Find fishing guide services and tours with Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Guide Service, Spike’s Prime Time Fishin’, or Kenny’s Striper Guide Service.


Smith Mountain Lake State Park Beach
Photo Credit: Chad Williams, @echadwilliams

Enjoy public beaches at Smith Mountain Lake State Park or Smith Mountain Lake Community Park. Both beaches are guarded and have small fees for swimming. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the beaches are open to the public.

Hiking & Biking

Smith Mountain Cooperative

The Smith Mountain Lake Cooperative and its 4000+ acres are owned by the Appalachian Power Company and managed by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. For outdoor lovers, enjoy hiking, fishing, and hunting throughout the wooded habitat. 

Smith Mountain Lake Community Park

Among wooded pines and leading out onto a peninsula stretching along the lake, many trails wind through Smith Mountain Lake Community Park. Perfect for wildlife lovers, you can find many species of waterfowl perched along the trees and shore of the park. They also have a public beach and kayak access for those looking for a swim. 

Smith Mountain Lake State Park

Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Photo Credit: Chad Williams, @echadwilliams

With over a dozen trails with varying difficulty, Smith Mountain Lake State Park has adventures for everyone, whether you’re looking to camp, hike, fish, or swim at the beach. Several trails meander through wooded paths, or you can head along the shore of the lake with the Osprey Point or Lakeview trails. 


Mariner’s Landing is an exquisite resort community and golf course that is open to the public on the shores of Smith Mountain Lake. With rolling greens that entice golfers of every skill level, vacationers can book a tee time for any of the courses and stay and play by enjoying all the amenities Mariner’s Landing has to offer. 

Copper Cove Golf Club, formerly known as The Westlake Golf and Country Club, is a premier public golf course at Smith Mountain Lake complete with a pool and clubhouse. Book a tee time and make sure to stop by the Grille for a snack or a cold drink to keep you refreshed while you play throughout the day. 

Smith Mountain Dam

Construction on the Smith Mountain Lake Dam began in 1960 and was finished in 1963. The project created two lakes, Smith Mountain and Leesville, which reached their “full” water level in 1966. Learn more about the dam’s history and how power is generated in the two-lake complex at the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor’s Center. Open Monday-Friday during the winter season and Tuesday-Saturday in the summer, tours are occasionally offered of the dam, so make sure to call before you go to learn about their tours.

Bridgewater Plaza

Bridgewater Plaza is a dining, shopping, and entertainment hub of Smith Mountain Lake. Grab a slice of pizza from the Pizza Pub or wake up for breakfast at SML Coffee House. Bring the whole family and play some rounds of mini golf at Harbortown Mini Golf or win some tickets at Fun-N-Games arcade. Looking for fun on the water? Rent your favorite gear or even a boat to take out onto the lake from Bridgewater Plaza. 

Smith Mountain Lake Alpaca Farm

Smith Mountain Lake Alpaca Farm
Photo Credit: Lovicarious, @lovicarious

A unique draw to the area is the Smith Mountain Lake Alpaca Farm where you can see dozens of alpacas up close with a personal tour. Tours are $10 a person but make sure to reserve a tour in advance because they book quickly. Not only do they do tours, but they also sell many alpaca products from socks to sweaters. 

Buffy’s Blueberries

For pick-your-own blueberries, drive to Buffy’s Blueberries in Moneta where blueberries ripen mid-summer. Prices are per pound for blueberry picking and don’t forget to bring a container to stash your berries as well as plenty of bug spray. 

Booker T. Washington National Monument

Just a short drive outside of Smith Mountain Lake is the Booker T. Washington National Monument. Start at the visitor center and then make your way through the park and its several trails focusing on Black history. No entrance fees or passes are required to visit. The park is open throughout the year with special holiday hours. 



Mango’s Bar & Grill

Mango’s Bar & Grill brings a “tropical state of mind” to the shores of Moneta at Smith Mountain Lake. Grab some food or one of their signature cocktails while listening to a variety of live bands and DJs in the warm summer months. 


Throughout the summer Drifter’s showcases local talents, playing music against the backdrop of the lake. Specializing in fresh seafood, Drifter’s has won several “Best of Smith Mountain Lake” awards for their great cocktails, food, and service at the lake. Open seasonally, park your car (or your boat!) by the water, and step in for stellar food and hospitality.

The Landing

Dining at The Landing Restaurant at Smith Mountain Lake
Photo Credit: Mulbah Media, @mulbahmedia

The Landing in Huddleston serves delicious food and cocktails, complete with a stunning waterfront view. With Chef’s Table events, you are offered exquisite meals prepared by their wonderful team. Throughout the year, find happy hour deals and foodie events, especially coming to life in the summer when the lake is full of activity.

Ice Cream Shops

A trip to the lake isn’t complete without stopping for ice cream during the warm summer days. At Bridgewater Plaza, swing by the Ice Cream Cottage for dozens of flavors and floats. A bit further out, you can find Rookie’s for delicious ice cream sandwiches in rotating monthly flavors. When at the lake, you must find the Ice Cream Boat, which makes frequent stops around the water and coves. Operating since 2000, brothers Travis and Ryan motor the Ice Cream Boat around the lake.

More Dining Options



Hickory Hill Vineyards

Hickory Hill Vineyards is set in a cozy atmosphere, with the winery in an old farmhouse in Moneta. Close to the lake and open seasonally, it's the perfect place to stop for a refreshing glass of wine whether you’re enjoying the summer sun or bundling up for a weekend vacation. With guided or self-directed tastings and flights, you can try a variety of wines made from the acres of vineyards in the countryside.

Ramulose Ridge Vineyards

Swing by for wine, seasonal fruit, or pick-your-own flowers at Ramulose Ridge Vineyard in Moneta. Try one of their homemade sangrias or one of the sweet wine sippers for unique flavors and blends from the vineyard. They’re open throughout the year with reduced hours in the winter, so swing by for breathtaking views and great wines no matter the season.


Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer or are looking for a relaxing stay with beautiful lake views, Smith Mountain Lake is truly “the Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains” with activities and experiences for every traveler.