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Smith Mountain Lake State Park has wonderful facilities to enjoy the lake including, a beach, boat launch ramps, cabins and camping, walking trails, picnic facilities, a fishing pier and more.
AEP Visitor's Center at the Dam
Tour includes model of the lake, explore the history of the dam, and learn how the pump-back system operates. Great views from the top of the dam and a scenic picnic area at its base. (Accessible only by road.)
Blue Ridge Parkway
One of the country's most scenic drives; go hiking, biking, picnicking, or exploring on one of the many trails or up one of the peaks. Tour one of the many orchards where you can purchase or pick your own fresh fruit, or sample wine at Château Morrisette or the Villa Appalachia Winery. A visit to the historic Mabry's Mill where they still grind flour as they have for a century is an wonderful way to spend the day. Tour the blacksmith shop, have a meal at the onsite restaurant, and see demonstrations on spinning, basket making, and other Appalachian crafts.
Booker T. Washington National Monument
Birthplace of Booker T. Washington, who was born on this plantation in 1856 and went on to become the founder of Tuskegee University. (540) 721-2094.
Cruise the Lake
Aboard the Virginia Dare, a Mississippi-style river boat that offers lunch, dinner and sight seeing cruises. Cruises can be custom designed for groups.
D-Day National Memorial - Bedford
The nine-acre, $14-million memorial honors D-Day veterans with dramatic life-size bronze sculptures of soldiers struggling to survive and gain a foothold on the shell-swept coast of Omaha Beach in Normandy.
Frontier Culture Museum - Staunton
Tour German, Irish, English, West African and American farms of the 1700's. Learn the story of the early American immigrants and their descendants and how Americans' lives are shaped today by our history.
Amazement Square - Lynchburg
is Central Virginia's first multidisciplinary, hands-on children's museum! Climb, slide and discover as you make your way through four floors of exciting interactive exhibits, activities, and programs. Visitors of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can explore global and regional topics, the arts and humanities, science and health-related themes, and expand their creativity.
Smith Mountain Lake Farm Alpacas
Smith Mountain Lake Farm Alpaca Tour covers everything Alpaca. Feed and touch these gentle creatures, sometimes regarded as the Royal Fleece. There is also a farm store where you can buy soaps, lotions, body wash, and a selection of clothing items items made from alpaca . Call 540-719-0281 for reservations.
Virginia Lake Country Wine Trail
The Bedford Wine Trail in the Central Virginia region includes 6 vineyards and wineries surrounding Bedford. At the wineries, you can expect a unique experience. Several offer additional opportunities including interaction with farm animals, tours of vineyards, orchard tours, and picnic areas.
Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival- Held every year in the last weekend of September.
Hickory Hill Vineyards - Tour the vineyard and enjoy the onsite tasting room.
Virginia Museum of Transportation - Roanoke
The largest collection of locomotives in the Southeast, with over 40 pieces of rolling stock in the rail yard. Also on display are antique carriages, cars, trucks, buses, and trolleys. Special events and more!
Mill Mountain Zoo - Roanoke
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Zoo exhibits 45 plus species including Snow Leopards, Red Pandas, Japanese Macaques, Bald Eagles and much more.
Boating licenses are required for operating all powered boats and jet skis over 10 hp. Rental agencies require you to participate in the training program offered by their boat or jetski rental business. Alternatively, state of Virginia boating licenses may be obtained by taking an on-line course or class room course. For additional information about boating licenses, please visit the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries-boating licenses- web site.
Smith Mountain Lake Boat Rentals located at Mitchell's Marina offers pontoons, runabouts, kayaks, water skis, wake boards, stand up boards, knee boards and tubes. 540-484-3980
Parrot Cove Boat Rentals, located at Hales Ford Bridge, offers for rent houseboats, run-a-bouts, pontoons, fishing boats, wave runners and kayaks.
Bridgewater Marina Boat Rentals boasts three locations; Bridgewater Marina, Bernard's Landing and the Smith Mountain Lake State Park. They offer for rental pontoons, ski boats, jetskis/waverunners, paddle boards, wakeboards, skis and tubes.
Smith Mountain Lake has gained national attention for its striped bass fishery. Other popular sport fish include largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, and catfish. Fishing tournaments are held throughout the year. There are many local fishing guides who offer half-day and full-day tours. Fishing licenses are required in Virginia. Licenses can be obtained by visiting the Virginia Department of game & Inland Fisheries web site-fishing licenses.
Mixing challenge and scenic beauty, several golf courses at SML feature mountain and water views. The Westlake Country Club and Mariners Landing are open to the public. Private courses include The Waterfront Country Club and The Water’s Edge Country Club.
Sunken City Brewing Companyis a 25-barrel, four-vessel brewhouse, featuring a tasting room and pub, retail store, and beer garden located in the West Lake area. Apocalypse Ale Works in Forest, Virginia offers a tasting room to enjoy their creations. The first brewery in Forest since Thomas Jefferson brewed at Poplar Forest in the 1800's. Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers is a local craft brewery in Downtown Roanoke, Virginia. Open tasting room, growlers & kegs, live music, and food trucks.
I recommend renting a private condo or home when visiting as as they are generally higher quality and provides a much better feel for what SML lake living would be like should you acquire your own place. Please call or e-mail me and I will be happy to make suggestions on rental properties that best fit your needs. If you prefer a hotel or B&B here are a few links:
Sometimes referred to as the "Jewel of the Blue Ridge" or "Lake Tahoe of the East", Smith Mountain Lake is tucked among the Blue Ridge Mountains of peaks reaching elevations of 4,000 feet. Created in 1963 by the damming of three rivers, it remains one of the East Coast’s hidden treasures. Smith Mountain Lake is recognized for clear water, beautiful communities, recreational activities, spectacular views, and a mild climate. SML is approximately 40 miles long with 500 miles of shoreline, the 22,000 acre lake offers fun for everyone whether you enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, or just relaxing by the water.
Public Beach at Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Mexico Viejo, Mango's Bar and Grill, Moosies, Pizza Pub, and the Ice Cream Cottage are all located in Bridgewater Plaza at Hales Ford Bridge. Shopping, putt-putt, boat rentals and live music are also located at the Plaza. (ABW)
Heath's Waterfront Grill - Lake front dining at Mariner's Landing. (ABW)
The Landing - upscale dining at Bernard's Landing. (ABW)
Mexico Viejo - located at Crazy House Marina on the Blackwater. (ABW)
Jake's Place - casual dining on the water.
Portside Bar & Grill - located at the Virginia Dare marina. Casual dining dockside.
Waller's- Located in Crystal Shores Marina.
Blackwater Cafe - Upscale dining on Scruggs Road.
Tuscan Tavern - Italian Fare 1/2 mile north of Hales Ford Bridge.
Old Oak Cafe- home-style food in a casual atmosphere.
Edo Grill & Sushi- Japanese dining in Downtown Moneta.
Mitchell's Restaurant and Lakeside Pizzeria- outdoor patio and tiki bar located at Mitchell's Point Marina.
King's Point Pub- Irish Restaurant in Lake Haven marina on Craddock Creek. (ABW)
Dock It Grille and Bar - casual food at Indian Pointe Marina. (ABW)
JJ's Meat Shak- Wood fired pizza, burgers, and BBQ in downtown Moneta
David Simon - Front Door Properties Wainwright & Co.
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