About Smith Mountain Lake Homes, History and More

smith mountain lake homes history more

Many Smith Mountain Lake homes in the area feature water & mountain views

Get Info on the Smith Mountain Lake Area History & More

When considering whether the wide range of Smith Mountain Lake homes offer what you are looking for, it’s important to first find out more about the area you’ll be calling home. We’ve put together this general information guide for you so you can get a feel for the community, local economic conditions, and boating considerations in you are not already familiar with them.

Smith Mountain Lake Homes and Real Estate Information

Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia , Smith Mountain Lake spans 20,600 acres, is 40 miles long and features 500 miles of shoreline. The lake borders three counties (Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania) and offers beautiful views, sparkling water and a multitude of recreational activities. Since it was established in the 1960’s, the few opportunities for Smith Mountain Lake real estate options have gone through a significant change, and now is bursting with custom building opportunities, well-designed developments, maintenance-free neighborhoods and pristine condominium and town home communities that support a high quality of living.

In addition, large lots and land opportunities, low taxes and well-developed neighborhoods aid buyers in turning their dreams of owning Smith Mountain Lake property into a reality. Buyers in retirement or approaching retirement seek SML as the perfect place for entertaining and accommodating guests.

Homes on Smith Mountain Lake  range from modest accommodations on quiet coves to extraordinary luxury homes with striking landscapes and impressive docks. SML is a haven not only for those seeking permanent residence, but also retirees and those looking for a serene setting for a second home, condo or townhouse. Though the lake has increased in popularity, waterfront property remains plentiful and reasonably priced.

You can search for available Smith Mountain Lake homes for sale here.

More Smith Mountain Lake Residents Mean Increased Health Care Needs

Convenient and quality healthcare is an important factor for any home buyer moving to a new location. There was a time when most houses at Smith Mountain Lake were several miles from most types of healthcare providers and even further from the nearest hospitals. But healthcare has come to the Smith Mountain Lake community in a big and exciting way in the last few years. A number of regional medical companies have noticed the need of a growing SML population and have answered with state-of-the-art facilities in the lake towns of Moneta and Westlake.

SML History

The lake was created in 1966 when engineers dammed the Blackwater and Roanoke Rivers , flooding Smith Mountain Gap. Owned and operated by American Electric Power, the dam provides hydro-electric power for surrounding communities.
Get more information on the dam. Check today’s lake levels.


Average temperatures are in the mid-70s in the summer and upper 30s in the winter. Annual precipitation is 45 inches of rain and 15 inches of snow at Smith Mountain Lake. Homes here are generally maintained well with easy winterization techniques.


Approximately 18,000 people live in the Smith Mountain Lake area as permanent residents.

Taxes and Utilities on Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate

The real estate tax rates on Smith Mountain Lake homes are some of the lowest in the state of Virginia.

Real Estate (100% assessment):
Bedford County : $.52 per $100
Franklin County : $.55 per $100
Pittsylvania County : $.59 per $100
State sales tax: 5.3%

Travel Distance

Smith Mountain Lake is about a 45-minute drive from both Roanoke and Lynchburg , Virginia . Below are some additional travel distances.

City Distance in Miles (approx.)
Atlanta , Ga. 445
Baltimore , Md. 272
Charleston , WVa. 225
Charlotte , N.C. 190
Chicago , Ill. 700
Cincinnati , Ohio 460
Cleveland , Ohio 460
Columbus , Ohio 375
Knoxville , Tenn. 290
Lexington , Ky. 385
Nashville, Tenn. 465
New York, N.Y. 505
Norfolk, Va. 225
Pittsburgh, Pa. 365
Raleigh, N.C. 175
Richmond, Va. 150
Washington, D.C. 220

Find out more about Roanoke from VisitRoanoke.com.

Need a vacation rental? Many owners of Smith Mountain Lake waterfront homes offer weekly rental options. Visit Meg Spurrier’s web site.

For more information on dining, accommodations, golf, shopping, fishing, entertainment and all things Smith Mountain Lake, visit the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce or the Smith Mountain Laker magazine.

Virginia Boating Requirements – What is the new law?

Those considering owning waterfront homes at Smith Mountain Lake will need to know the new boating safety laws that effect our area. In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly enacted a law to establish a boating safety education compliance requirement that will depend on your age and boat type. The new law applies to all public waters of Virginia. All motorboat operators using a motor of 10 horsepower or greater (including boats documented by the U.S. Coast Guard) and also personal watercraft operators (i.e. jet ski) are affected by the new law. Sailboat operators do not have to meet the requirement unless the sailboat has a motor that is 10 hp or greater (whether or not the engine is running). A canoeist does not have to meet the requirement, nor does a kayaker, a rower, or operator of other manually propelled craft.

When must I get my boating safety certificate?

The requirement for boating safety education is phased-in over several years according to the following schedule:

  • PWC operators 20 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2009;
  • PWC operators 35 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2010;
  • PWC operators 50 years of age or younger and motorboat operators 20 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2011;
  • All PWC operators, regardless of age, and motorboat operators 30 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2012;
  • Motorboat operators 40 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2013;
  • Motorboat operators 45 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2014;
  • Motorboat operators 50 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2015;
  • All motorboat operators, regardless of age, shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2016.

How do I comply with this new law?

A person shall be considered in compliance with the requirement for boating safety education if he/she meets one or more of the following provisions:

  • Completes and passes a boating safety education course that is approved by NASBLA and accepted by the Department;
  • Passes an equivalency exam;
  • Possesses a valid license to operate a vessel issued to maritime personnel by the United
  • States Coast Guard or a marine certificate issued by the Canadian government or possesses a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card;
  • Possesses a temporary operator’s certificate;
  • Possesses a rental or lease agreement from a motorboat rental or leasing business, which lists the person as the authorized operator of the motorboat. The person must also completed the Dockside Safety Checklist;
  • Operates the motorboat under onboard direct supervision of a person who meets the compliance requirement;
  • Operates a boat not registered in Virginia, temporarily using the waters of Virginia for a period not to exceed 90 days, and meets any applicable boating safety education requirements of the state of residency
  • Has assumed operation of the motorboat due to the illness or physical impairment of the initial operator, and is returning the motorboat to shore in order to provide assistance or care for the operator;
  • Is registered as a commercial fisherman pursuant to the Code of Virginia or is under the onboard direct supervision of the commercial fisherman while operating the commercial fisherman’s boat.

How  do I prove I completed and passed a course?

Boaters that must comply with the new education standards must be able to present to the officer a card or certificate that indicates you have passed a NASBLA approved boating course or that you have passed the equivalency exam.

What if I am only visiting Virginia?

You must demonstrate that you are not a resident of Virginia, that you are temporarily using the water of Virginia for a period of 90 days or less (your boat is registered in another state as the “state of principal use”), and that you meet any applicable boating safety education requirements of your state of residency.

Is there a minimum age to operate?

For a personal watercraft, the minimum operator age is 14 and operators must complete and pass a boating safety course before they can operate. For a motorboat, there is no minimum operator age and there is no minimum age requirement to attend a NASBLA approved boating safety course. Youngsters can operate a boat under direct supervision of a person who meets the boating safety education requirement.

The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (DGIF) supports NASBLA approved boating courses. Information. Information on a classroom course near you can be found by calling DGIF at 800-245-2628 or visit the BoatUS Foundation’s Courseline to look up classes in your area. http://www.boatus.com/courseline/default.asp

Article Topic: About Smith Mountain Lake Homes, History and More