Virginia’s lakes are excellent summer destinations for families, couples, friends, reunions … you name it! Take a few-day getaway to enjoy everything lakes have to offer. Tuck away into a private cove in a rental home, hit the water on jet skis, or swing the hours away in a waterside hammock. It’s your playground, find your fun!
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE
Photo Credit: Kelsey Johnson, IG account: @heykelseyj
Forty-eight hours fly by when you’re having fun at Virginia’s second largest lake, Smith Mountain Lake. With 500 miles of shoreline, SML has many access points from the three counties that share it. Here’s just an example of a way to while away a weekend.
Check into “Rustic Cottage” in Moneta. Sitting up on a bank, the view of the deep water cove is fantastic. Amenities include a paddle boat, swimming pool, ping pong, and more. Four bedrooms. Located between lake markers R26 and R27.
If you’re bringing the whole family or just want to stay in luxury, check out the Wind Family Compound in Moneta. At 7,000 square feet, “spacious” is an understatement. Amenities include two master suites, two docks, 320′ of waterfront, game room, two kitchens, large playroom, huge screened porch, and tons more. Located near lake marker R19.
- Rent a boat at Bridgewater Marina & Boat Rentals, lake marker R28.
- Dine at Mango’s Bar & Grill or Moosie’s Deli Restaurant, also at marker R28.
- Put your toes in the sand at Smith Mountain Lake State Park, marker R19 (Bridgewater Marina’s State Park location)
- Take a lunch or dinner cruise on the Virginia Dare, marker R21
- Come ashore to sample the craft libations at Sunken City Brewing Co. in Hardy (10.6 miles, just off route 122).
If camping is more your speed, pull in your RV, pitch your tent, or rent an on-sight park model at one of these lakeside camping retreats:
- Halesford Harbour, Moneta
- Smith Mountain Lake State Park Campground, Huddleston
- Blue Ridge Campground and Marina, Wirtz
Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson
Virginia’s largest lake is Kerr Lake, also called Bugg’s Island, which stretches from Scottsburg to Boydton and down into North Carolina and includes three counties in each state. Fifty thousand acres of fresh water and more than 800 miles of shoreline make it an outdoor enthusiasts paradise. Fishermen especially love Kerr Lake, and In-Fisherman magazine has hailed it as the number one Crappie fishing lake. In fact, numerous fishing tournaments are held at Kerr Lake annually.
Choose your stay. Camp or set up cabin at Occoneechee or Staunton River state parks, Longwood Campground in Clarksville, or North Bend Campground in Boydton.
Want to step up your stay a notch or two? The Clarksville area (Virginia’s only lakefront town) has options!
Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson
- Cooper’s Landing Inn is a beautiful bed and breakfast with its own restaurant, Traveler’s Tavern, on site. Enjoy their pool and hot tub while the innkeepers act as your concierge for explorations.
- Blue Heron Lodge is a vacation rental home located on a quiet cove across the lake from Occoneechee State Park. Sleeps 12.
Get out and about!
- Rent a pontoon from Clarksville Marina.
- Take a guided fishing tour with Rick Morris Fishing.
- Go beachin’ at Liberty Hill Public Beach or Rudd’s Creek Recreation Area, both in Boydton.
- Enjoy lunch or dinner at The Lake House Restaurant, Clarksville
There are numerous wildlife management areas bordering Kerr Lake. If you love wildlife photography or birding, this is a great destination for you.
Photo Credit: Mike Zorger
Lake Anna is Virginia’s third largest lake with 200 miles of shoreline and 13,000 acres of water, yet it remains fairly private.
You won’t want to leave “Kindred Spirits” once you check in. Located in a quiet deep water cove, this home sits on nearly two acres and has 250′ of waterfront for you to enjoy. A boat slip, jet ski lift, and fantastic water views are just a few of the great features this vacation home offers.
Would you rather camp? You’ll find Christopher Run Campground in Mineral to be a fine choice with 200 campsites and a variety of cabins available. Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania is a gem for camping, too.
- Rent a boat at Anna Point Marina in Mineral.
- Book a wakeboard, wakeskate, or wakesurf lesson with the pros at Wake Anna Surf & Ski in Spotsylvania.
- Venture out with a fishing guide or rent a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard at Lake Anna Outfitters in Mineral.
Lake Gaston straddles the Virginia/North Carolina border and covers 20,000 acres with 350 miles of shoreline. In fact, along with Kerr Lake, it is part of the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway. From both, you can get an incomparable view from the air by Sand Dollar Seaplanes. That would be an unforgettable experience!
You’ll love the waterfront camp sites at Lake Gaston Americamps in Bracey. Cabin rentals are available, too.
- Get a “World Famous Murder Burger” at Shady Shack Grill at Lake Gaston Water Sports.
- Rent a boat or kayak at Holly Grove Marina.
Photo Credit: Preethi B. Harbuck
Lake Moomaw is tucked away in the Alleghany Mountains in Covington. It’s 2,530 acres are abundant with a variety of fish species while the wildlife around it are plentiful, too. The 43 miles of shoreline are wooded and undeveloped. True outdoorsmen will find the peace they long for when they choose a camping location on this lake.
- Bolar Mountain Recreation Area offers waterside campsites, a sandy beach area, boat ramp, boat rentals, and 11 miles of hiking trails. Access this camp area from Warm Springs.
- Greenwood Point is a 3.3-mile hike in (no road access), or you can paddle your way directly to the campground shore. Only five campsites are available here; first come, first served.
If the lake doesn’t keep you occupied, venture out to see a few gems …
- Falling Spring – A scenic waterfall south of Lake Moomaw on Hot Springs Road (Route 220).
- Humpback Bridge – The only single span 100′ wooden arched covered bridge in Virginia.
Enjoy these lakes and more!