Welcome to Smith Mountain Lake

Smith Mountain Lake, a breathtaking destination located in Virginia, offers the perfect getaway for anyone looking to unwind, connect with nature, and experience unforgettable moments with friends or family. With stunning views of the lake, the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains, and abundant activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Vacation rentals in the area provide the ideal home away from home, making your trip one for the memory books.

Smith Mountain Lake’s vacation rentals offer more than just comfortable accommodations. They also provide the perfect setting for your lake lifestyle experience. Revel in nature’s beauty as you explore the waters and woodlands surrounding the area, immerse yourself in local culture by visiting nearby attractions and participating in annual festivals, or plan a special day at one of the region’s many golf courses, shopping centers, or top-rated restaurants.


Top 3 Facts About Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia


Created for Power Generation

Smith Mountain Lake was created in the 1960s as a result of the damming of the Roanoke and Blackwater Rivers. This was primarily done to generate hydroelectric power, which continues to be a major function of the lake today.


Large Surface Area

Smith Mountain Lake is quite expansive, encompassing over 40 miles, holding 20,000 acres of water, and boasting over 500 miles of shoreline. This makes it one of the largest lakes in Virginia and offers lots of space for water-related fun.


Rich in Aquatic Life

Smith Mountain Lake is home to a variety of fish species, including striped bass, largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie. Fishing tournaments are a common occurrence here, drawing anglers from all over the region.


Must-See Attractions

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Booker T. Washington National Monument

Historic Monument

Discover the birthplace of an iconic American educator and civil rights leader at the Booker T. Washington National Monument. This historic site offers a glimpse into the early life of Washington and the mid-19th-century plantation culture in Virginia.

Smith Mountain Lake State Park

Natural Attraction

Nestled along the shores of Smith Mountain Lake, this state park offers outdoor activities for all ages and fitness levels, including swimming, fishing, hiking, and boating.

Blue Ridge Mountains

Natural Attraction

The majestic Blue Ridge Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to Smith Mountain Lake, offering breathtaking views and outdoor activities in all seasons. Hike along the picturesque trails, enjoy the vibrant fall foliage, and immerse yourself in winter’s solitude. 

Annual Events and Festivals

September, 2024

Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival

Celebrate the rich flavors of Virginia at the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival. Typically held on the last Sunday of September, the cooler weather provides the perfect backdrop to savor tastings from a few of the 30 Virginia wineries in attendance and enjoy delectable artisan foods—all while listening to live music and enjoying the fun atmosphere. 

November, 2024

Smith Mountain Lake Chili Festival

Think you have a taste for the best chili in town? Head to Smith Mountain Lake for their annual chili festival, where over a dozen teams compete for the title of “Best Chili,” “People’s Choice,” and “Best Showmanship.” Besides chili, the festival also features live music, craft vendors, and other food options for non-chili-loving family members.

July, 2024

Smith Mountain Lake Pirate Days

Smith Mountain Lake Pirate Days is a spectacular, lake-wide celebration boasting the title of the biggest pirate party in Southwest Virginia. This event includes a range of pirate-themed activities at various locations around the lake, with highlights like pirate boat water fights, kids’ activities, food and craft vendors, live music, and breakfast with the Pirates of Smith Mountain Lake.

Top Hiking Trails

Turtle Island Trail

1235 Rd 888, Huddleston, VA

Situated within Smith Mountain Lake State Park, this popular trail offers an educational stroll through the forest ecosystem of Turtle Island, enriched by informative interpretive signs. Spanning a comfortable 1.4 miles, it provides numerous opportunities for wildlife spotting and capturing picturesque moments.

Chestnut Ridge Trail

1235 Rd 888, Huddleston, VA

For a longer hike in Smith Mountain Lake State Park, opt for the 5.4-mile Chestnut Ridge Trail. Deemed moderately difficult, you’ll hike amongst large oak and maple trees, past tobacco barn ruins, alongside moss-covered laurel thickets, and to impressive viewpoints of Carter’s Island.

McAfee Knob

Catawba Valley Dr, Catawba, VA

Hiking enthusiasts seeking a challenging hike should be sure to include a trek up McAfee Knob to their itinerary. While the trailhead is located an hour from Smith Mountain Lake, it’s well worth the trip to experience one of the Appalachian Trail’s most photographed spots—reachable by a 4.4-mile trail up 1,740 feet of elevation.

Best Golf Courses

Mariners Landing Golf Club

2052 Lake Retreat Rd, Huddleston, VA

If you’re new to Smith Mountain Lake or haven’t been for a few years, be sure to add a visit to the newly renovated Mariners Landing Golf Club to your agenda. Part of Mariners Landing resort, this stunning 18-hole course offers stunning views, perfectly groomed fairways, and a welcoming clubhouse.

Copper Cove Golf Club

360 Chestnut Creek Dr, Hardy, VA

Copper Cove Golf Club is an ideal option for players eager to golf amongst the region’s scenic beauty while still factoring in strategic play. Starting with a gentle first hole and escalating to more challenging stretches, this course cuts through serene woods and overlooks peaceful coves of Smith Mountain Lake.

The Water’s Edge Country Club

1825 Waters Edge Dr, Penhook, VA

While you’ll need a membership or invite from a member to play at The Water’s Edge Country Club, we couldn’t leave this off the list. Crafted by R.F. Loving, Jr., this 18-hole PGA Championship course is as beautiful and well-designed as they come. And if you’re lucky enough to golf here, be sure to visit the impressive clubhouse for a celebratory drink afterward.

Water Sports

Virginia Dare Cruise

Boat Cruise

For a relaxing and scenic way to see Smith Mountain Lake, you can’t beat the Virginia Dare Cruise. This 2-hour narrated journey showcases the lake’s stunning landmarks, from unique housing developments to historic tobacco barns, and even cruises over an underwater bridge, making it a perfect outing for those who enjoy great views along with a bit of history.

Smith Mountain Paddle Company


Looking to get active on the water? Smith Mountain Paddle Company, formerly known as Sups2go, has got you covered with top-quality kayaks, paddle boards, and floating mats. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, their range of equipment, including Perception Kayaks and Surftech Paddle Boards, is perfect for exploring the lake at your own pace.

Smith Mountain Lake Boat Rentals


If you’re eager to captain your own adventure on Smith Mountain Lake, check out the boat rentals at Mitchell’s Point Marina. SML Boat Rentals offers a variety of options, including pontoons, runabouts, kayaks, and even gear for water skiing, wakeboarding, and stand-up paddleboarding, ensuring fun for the whole family or group of friends.

Winter Activities

Winter Hiking

Winter at Smith Mountain Lake transforms the landscape into a serene getaway, perfect for brisk nature walks along the scenic trails. Wrap up warm and experience the peaceful tranquility of the lake’s surroundings, with opportunities for bird watching and capturing stunning winter photographs.

Year Round Fishing

Fishing enthusiasts will find Smith Mountain Lake a year-round paradise, even in winter, when the cooler temperatures can make for some of the best fishing experiences. Don your winter jacket and enjoy the quiet of the lake, where you can catch a variety of fish like striped bass and crappie amidst the crisp winter air.

Visit Wineries

For those looking to embrace the cozy side of winter, Smith Mountain Lake’s local wineries and breweries offer a warm retreat. Spend a chilly afternoon sampling local wines or craft beers, and enjoy the intimate, relaxed atmosphere, often accompanied by live music or special winter events.

Where to Eat

The Landing Restaurant

$$ – $$$ • New American

The Blackwater Cafe

$ – $$ • Modern American

Portside Grill & Bar

$ – $$ • Sandwiches, Burgers & More

Where to Shop

Gilded Lion of Smith Mountain Lake

Gift Shop

JBohnBishop Mercantile

Boutique Store

Trippie Hippie LLC

Gift Shop

Where to Sleep

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Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Smith Mountain Lake

Choose Your Location Wisely

Smith Mountain Lake has diverse areas, each offering a unique experience. The northern side of the lake tends to be quieter and more secluded, while the southern side is closer to most of the restaurants, marinas, and entertainment options.

Consider Waterfront vs. Off-Water Properties

Waterfront properties offer direct access to the lake, ideal for those planning to spend a lot of time on the water. Off-water homes can be more budget-friendly and still typically offer easy access to the lake and its amenities.

Plan Your Activities

Smith Mountain Lake is a hub for outdoor activities like boating, fishing, hiking, and golfing. Research and potentially book these activities in advance, especially boat rentals, as they can be in high demand during peak season.

Seasonal Considerations

The lake is a year-round destination, but activities vary by season. Summer is perfect for water sports and outdoor dining, while spring and fall offer beautiful hiking weather and fewer crowds. Winter is quieter but still offers fishing and local wine and beer tasting.

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Going Deeper on Smith Mountain Lake

Construction of Smith Mountain Lake began in 1960 at Smith Mountain Gap as part of Appalachian Power Co.’s hydroelectric project on the Roanoke River. This endeavor led to the relocation of entire communities and cemeteries to accommodate the rising waters. By 1963, the dam, towering 235 feet high, neared completion, significantly altering the region’s landscape.

Reaching its full capacity in 1966, Smith Mountain Lake now spans 40 miles and serves as a key hydroelectric resource, capable of producing up to 605,000 kilowatts of electricity. While the lake has become a recreational haven, its depths have remained largely unexplored due to diving hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions about Smith Mountain Lake

At Smith Mountain Lake, you can find a wide array of vacation rentals to suit your needs. These include privately owned homes, townhomes, condos, and lakefront cabins. You can choose from cozy studios to larger rentals with up to four bedrooms, catering to solo travelers and groups.

Yes, there are lakefront cabin rentals available at Smith Mountain Lake. These cabins offer you direct access to the lake and its picturesque views. You can wake up to the blessed beauty of the water and enjoy various water activities just steps from your doorstep.

Vacation rentals at Smith Mountain Lake offer a tremendous number of amenities for a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Some rentals provide on-site restaurants, 18-hole golf courses, beaches, pools, and fitness centers. Moreover, you can expect to find basic amenities such as fully equipped kitchens, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and laundry facilities in most rentals.

Yes, many vacation rentals at Smith Mountain Lake are pet-friendly, giving you the option to bring your furry friends along on your vacation. However, double-checking the rental’s pet policy before booking is always a good idea to ensure it matches your requirements.

To find budget-friendly rentals at Smith Mountain Lake, search for accommodations during the off-peak season when rates are usually lower. You can also compare prices across rental websites and adjust travel dates to find more affordable options. Additionally, consider rentals with fewer amenities or smaller properties to save on costs.

Smith Mountain Lake offers numerous outdoor activities for you to enjoy during your vacation. With its 500 miles of shoreline, the lake is ideal for swimming, boating, fishing, and various water sports. The surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains provide an excellent backdrop for hiking, biking, and nature walks. There are also golf courses and opportunities for birdwatching, making your vacation at Smith Mountain Lake an unforgettable experience.

Muskoka is known for its picturesque towns and charming villages. Some popular towns you can visit include Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, and Port Carling. Each town offers its unique attractions, shops, and restaurants, making them perfect stopovers during your exploration of the Muskoka region.

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