We are well into spring at Smith Mountain Lake and for a lot of residents and SML lake lovers across the country, that means it’s time to start planning for another great summer of fun – first, with the plentiful attractions at Smith Mountain Lake. Though SML offers exciting, diverse attractions all year long, the summer is prime time for a visit to as many as you can squeeze in while the weather is nice and activity is high. Here are a few of our favorite attractions at Smith Mountain Lake.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE PARKS AND BEACHES
Pack a picnic lunch and camera, or don your swimsuits and coolers and head over to one of Smith Mountain Lake’s county parks for a memorable day outdoors. Hike, swim or fish the day away at the SML Community Park in Franklin County. Bike, camp and explore nature at the SML State Park in Bedford County. Each park has beach areas, amazing views, hiking and picnic areas and are a popular way to enjoy Smith Mountain Lake’s natural setting.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE DAM AND VISITOR’S CENTER
Appalachian Power, a division of American Electric Power (AEP), built the Smith Mountain Lake dam beginning in 1960 in the gap of Smith Mountain in Pittsylvania and Bedford counties. Smith Mountain Lake reached its “full pond” water level of 795 feet above sea level the following month. At the Joseph H. Vipperman Visitor’s Center, residents and visitors can learn about the installation of the dam as well as the engineering of a modern hydroelectric dam.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON NATIONAL MONUMENT
Famous African-American educator Booker T. Washington grew up on the 207-acre tobacco farm of James and Elizabeth Burroughs. The site of his childhood as a slave on the Burroughs plantation is part of the National Park Service is a great place for the whole family to spend an off-water day exploring its indoor and outdoor exhibits.
Dedicated by President George W. Bush on June 6, 2001, the National D-Day Memorial is a powerful tribute to all veterans of World War II – and it’s a short drive from SML in neighboring Bedford County. In addition to being a memorial and educational center, the memorial is a center for continued research, identification of D-Day solders and supporter of World War II veterans.
Sailing is a favorite on-the-water attraction at Smith Mountain Lake, and anyone can do it through a local sailing charter. Or, if you’d rather take in the competition from the shoreline, contact an SML sailing club to learn about events open to the public.
The Sailing Scene at Smith Mountain Lake
Blackwater Yacht Racing Association at Pelican Point Yacht Club
Smith Mountain Lake Sailing School
Smith Mountain Lake Sailing Charters
Virginia Inland Sailing Association