As far as vacation destinations go, there’s something endlessly appealing about Smith Mountain Lake. This gem of Virginia is a popular place for travelers from near and far to come when they’re pursuing time away from the daily grind and could use some serious scenery and excitement infused into their getaway experience.

Part of the massive appeal of this inviting destination lies in its very terrain. Situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Smith Mountain Lake is a locale where guests can come to freely enjoy over 500 miles of shoreline that await amongst the rolling green hills. In total, Smith Mountain Lake is made up of 20,000 acres of water. These are statistics that bode well for those with a passion for outdoor adventure and fun and are equally intriguing for those who are sure they want to spend a vacation soaking up the spectacular scenery while keeping relaxation top of mind at all times.

While Smith Mountain Lake is by and large a year-round destination, those that make their way here in the summer and fall are in for a treat in the way of weather, opportunities, and attractions to check out. When your travel plans bring you to Smith Mountain Lake during these inviting times of year, be sure to take note of the following stops and activities when you can’t wait to round out your vacation itinerary!

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Things to Do While You’re in Town: From Waves to Vineyards

Summer and fall are the ideal times of year to make the most of time on the water when you’re visiting Smith Mountain Lake. Even if you don’t have any intention of jumping in and going for a swim, there are plenty of places to check out and routes to enjoying a watery vista while you’re here.

Those that are up for time settled into the sand, enjoying the view, and working on their summer glow will want to head over to the Smith Mountain Lake Beach in Huddleston. This family-friendly destination is a great place to set up a beach chair and umbrella in the summer or fall, depending on when your travel takes place. Smith Mountain Lake Beach boasts beautiful white sandy shorelines as well as a snack bar when it’s time to curb a craving or two. There are designated swimming areas for summer travelers that are looking to take the edge of a hot Virginia afternoon, while fall travelers will find this area ideal for bird watching when fall rolls around.

Of course, some travelers head to Smith Mountain Lake with one thing in mind: enjoying the best of boating! Fortunately, you don’t have to look far to find the fun you’re searching for at Smith Mountain Lake Beach. This area offers up convenient boat rental options by the hour or day for those that can’t wait another second to get out on the waves and relax, ride around, sightsee, or cast a line and see what’s biting.

The Smith Mountain Lake Community Beach Park is another great choice when you’re excited to savor waterside fun and make the most of your time in the great and undoubtedly scenic outdoors during a visit. This community beach park also offers up access to designated swimming areas as well as picnic shelters, a playground for little ones, and even a fishing pier when you’re ready to cast a line and let the day roll lazily by.  For those that are interested in pairing their beach adventures with some exercise and exploration, this destination offers up access to a 1.7-mile hiking trail that’s bound to be inviting! Lace-up your boots and grab the binoculars as this route promises to be pristine, a bit of a challenge, and a great opportunity to keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife running around as well.

Smith Mountain Lake and the surrounding communities are also home to a variety of delightful vineyards that are well worth checking out in the summer or fall if you’re the type of traveler that has a passion for mouthwatering moments designed to celebrate the tastebuds! Ramulose Ridge Vineyard is a particularly appealing destination to check out if you’re in the mood for some savory and local red and white varieties. Ramulose Ridge Vineyard is loved for its flavorful selection of award-winning wines just as much as it is for its scenery. Over time, it’s become an extremely popular place for weddings and other special events, but if you’re just looking to make the most of time in the tasting room, that works too! The tasting room is open Wednesday through Saturday from 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm, making it simple to work a stop into your itinerary. In addition to tasting room seating options, this vineyard offers up a beautiful patio and pergola to enjoy when the weather is just right in the summer and fall.  Visitors are even invited to bring their own chairs and blankets if they prefer to make the most of tasting on the spacious lawn overlooking lush fields. Of course, a snack is always a welcome addition to be paired with wine flights and bottles. This location offers up a selection of pizza, crackers, cookies, cheeses, brownies, and beyond to be enjoyed during a visit!

peaks of otter winery

Places to Shop

No matter what season you find yourself in Smith Mountain Lake, a little retail therapy is a good way to spend some of your getaway time. That said, summer and fall excursions are no exception to the rule! Whether you’re on the hunt for just the right souvenir to commemorate your trip, could stand to add a few pieces to your wardrobe, or just want to get your hands on the ideal gift for a loved one back home, this area host plenty of places to choose from when shopping tops your list of vacation activities to enjoy.

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for retail fun, making your way to Bridgewater Plaza is an absolute must while you’re in the area! This Moneta highlight stop hosts a variety of shops and restaurants to enjoy as well as boat rental options when you’re looking to pair your shopping with an on-the-water adventure as well. Bridgewater Sportwear provides everything you’ll need to gear up for Smith Mountain Lake water fun while an afternoon at Glazed Bisque-It offers up a chance to paint your own pottery and keep the final product as a unique keepsake of your adventures in the area! Gifts Ahoy is also found in this shopping center and promises to be a pleasing stop for those ready to collect everything from apparel, keychains, bags, and beyond to return home with. Finish off your shopping experience with a round of on-site mini golf if you’re spending time with the entire family. Yes, Bridgewater Plaza has that too!

Attractions to Check Out

Getting out and exploring is half the fun of a Smith Mountain Lake adventure and there’s no shortage of destinations to discover when you’re in the area during the summer or fall. Above all, make sure you don’t miss out on visiting the Smith Mountain Lake Dam and Visitor Center. Situated in the heart of Bedford County, the dam and visitor center is a great place to connect with nature and area history in abundance. The visitor center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm and offers guests a chance to make their way through a collection of exhibits highlighting the construction and purpose of this impressive area dam which takes two lakes into account. Once you’ve had time to review these insightful displays, make your way to the scenic overlook which provides a bird’s eye view on the dam which is truly one-of-a-kind! During the summer, the focus is firmly on the water flow, but if you make your way out to this observation deck in the fall, you might be treated to some surrounding foliage in the process of changing colors too.

If you’re on the hunt for a stop that perfectly pairs education with engaging fun, time spent at The Science Museum of Western Virginia in Roanoke promises to please. Located at Market Square SE, this exciting stop is filled with fascinating exhibits that highlight everything from waterways and electricity to the human body and the mysteries of the cosmos. It’s an extremely hands-on experience for little ones that even includes access to a mesmerizing butterfly garden to enjoy.

If the time spent indulging a love of adventure sports is more your style, your summer or fall trip to Smith Mountain Lake should definitely include a stop at Treetop Quest Explore Park in Roanoke. This family-focused adventure spot is a great place to spend an afternoon taking on aerial challenges and obstacle courses that are sure to inspire further adventure. The park is open daily from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm and stays open an hour later until 6:00 pm on weekends! Sky-high obstacle courses and ziplines are all part of the fun at this interactive locale while everyone who drops by will want to take advantage of time using the net trampoline area. If you happen to be here with little ones in tow, the park offers up designated activity areas for kids as young as four years old.

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Restaurants to Enjoy

Every summer and fall getaway to Smith Mountain Lake deserves to come with some savory moments included. Luckily, this area is packed with delicious stops to enjoy that might even have you returning a time or two during your stay. Summer travelers who are focused on finding food stops that pair well with boating excursions will love every meal enjoyed at Drifters. This bar and seafood locale is situated shoreside in Moneta and offers convenient dock and dining options for those who are curbing a craving before heading back out on the waves.  Seafood, barbeque, and deli selections are readily available for ordering at this fun and casual stop that features fantastic waterfront views and service that’s notoriously friendly. Vegetarian and vegan fare options are also available for those who adhere to dietary restrictions, but don’t want to sacrifice anything in the way of flavor or the view! Even if you’re just dropping by for a quick bite, there’s plenty on the menu that’s made to inspire. Try the grilled chicken wing bucket, steamed jumbo shrimp, cheesy bacon chips, or ahi tuna bites when you’re in a rush but could use something savory to refuel before the fun ahead.

Feeling more like an Italian dinner would hit the spot? Head over to Vinny’s Italian Grill and Pizzeria while you’re in town. This eatery is also located in Moneta and is easy to access when pasta, pizza, or even seafood selections are top of mind. This restaurant offers indoor and patio seating options, which is ideal when you want to make the most of the menu and the weather in tandem.

Places to Stay in Smith Mountain Lake

When you’re planning a summer or fall getaway to Smith Mountain Lake, having rental accommodations in place that are not only comfortable but conveniently located and incorporate the luxurious details you deserve is key to an unforgettable stay. The team at Premier Vacation Rentals Smith Mountain Lake is proud to provide visiting guests with a wide variety of property options to choose from when a personalized getaway is top of mind. Pick and choose between vacation rentals that enjoy waterfront views, can accommodate large groups of travelers, or provide a cozy and romantic abode when you’re looking forward to an adventure with your significant other. From properties that include luxurious hot tubs to those that feature pet-friendly amenities, Premier Vacation Rentals Smith Mountain Lake makes the most of versatility when it comes to meeting guest preferences and exceeding expectations at every turn. Simply let us know if you’re on the hunt for a charming lakeside cabin or can’t wait to settle into a sprawling multi-level residence! No matter what your idea of a great getaway might be, we’re here to help. Reach out today to start planning.