Smith Mountain Lake
|Known as “the Jewel of the Blue Ridge” Smith Mountain Lake is 20,000 acres of pristine waters considered by many the most beautiful lake in the east. It is located 30 miles south of Roanoke and is bordered by 500 miles of shoreline in Franklin, Bedford, and Pittsylvania counties.
The lake was formed in 1966 when Appalachian Power Company built Smith Mountain Dam to generate hydroelectric power. Since that time, much of the surrounding farmland has been transformed into spectacular residential developments that people from all over the world call home. There are about 14,000 permanent residents in the lake area. While the lake has grown in terms of economic development, there still remains a rural charm that is the true appeal of Smith Mountain Lake.
Of the many activities Smith Mountain Lake has to offer, recreation is first and foremost. Boats of all types and sizes navigate the 40 mile length of the lake. For visitors, local marinas have boat rentals available. Parrot Cove Boat Rentals has a full line of pontoon boats, runabouts, PWCs, fishing boats, and the largest houseboat rental fleet in the Mid-Atlantic. If fishing is your passion, Smith Mountain Lake has been the source of numerous citation small mouth, large mouth, and striped bass. Smith Mountain Lake State Park features camping and a full service beach area along with a host of in-season activities. Enjoy a round of golf at one of the local public courses. For more information about these and other recreation opportunities, click here.
In addition to the lake, there are several other special places of interest in the area. The National D-Day Memorial is in nearby Bedford, which lost more men in the Normandy invasion per capita than any community in the nation. The Booker T. Washington National Monument, located just minutes from the lake, is the restored birthplace of the famous African-American statesman. Stop by Smith Mountain Dam Visitors Center for a tour of the facility. The historic Farmers Market in Roanoke (along with its many other attractions) is just a short drive away.
There are two primary commercial centers in the lake area. Westlake Corner, located at the intersection of Scruggs Road (Rt. 616) and Booker T. Wash. Hwy. (Route 122), features grocery and retail shopping, restaurants, banking, healthcare, and many other services. Bridgewater Plaza at Halesford Bridge offers many specialty shops, restaurants, an arcade, miniature golf as well as the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center. Live music is performed on summer weekends on the lakeside plaza deck. You will find Parrot Cove Boat Rentals located directly across the street. Adding to the local flavor are the many antique and craft shops throughout the area.
Overnight accommodations range from reasonably priced motels or bed & breakfast establishments to waterfront condominium and house rentals. Better yet, stay “on” Smith Mountain Lake in a houseboat from Parrot Cove Boat Rentals. There are models available that can accommodate up to 10 people with all the comforts of home.
For more information about Smith Mountain Lake, click here for the SML Chamber of Commerce.