When it comes to planning your stay in Smith Mountain Lake, a local’s knowledge of the place can help you check off a few boxes on your to-do list and put you on the right path towards having a fantastic time here. On that note, we’ve put together a short guide on the best insider Smith Mountain Lake tips you should keep in mind before and during your vacation. Read on below to learn more!

What to Know Before You Go to Smith Mountain Lake

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

We’ve all heard the sage advice to keep our eyes on the road while driving, but this is one of the most important Smith Mountain Lake tips to keep in mind. While the mountain roads here are well-maintained and are in excellent condition, their narrow width and winding paths can make for dangerous driving conditions if you’re not attentive. Several routes and roads are designated bike routes by the Commonwealth, so please watch out for tour bike groups and expert cyclists training or competing in triathlons.

Clean, Drain, and Dry Your Boat Before Bringing It Here

If you own your own boat, chances are good that you have visited other lakes or ocean locales. In turn, it’s also likely that an invasive species or two, such as hydrilla weeds or non-native zebra mussels, may have hitched a ride on your boat. Invasive species are illegal in Smith Mountain Lake, which is why the adage of “Clean, Drain, and Dry” is a real thing here.

Before bringing your boat to Smith Mountain Lake, do a sweep of your boat, trailer, and gear to ensure you have no invasive species attached. Zebra mussels in particular are known to produce millions of microscopic larvae, invisible to the naked eye. If you clean, drain, and dry your boat and associated equipment, any larvae that might have become attached should all die off, keeping our water free and clear of the species. Smith Mountain Lake is known as the cleanest lake on the East Coast, and we all want to maintain that quality.

Internet/High-Speed Quality

The high-speed Internet at Smith Mountain Lake depends on which road and which way the home faces. Some homes can only obtain high-speed quality with hot-spots, while others have satellite. Please check our website for limited or unlimited high-speed options that best suit you. Better yet, throw the computer in the lake and just enjoy yourself!

Trash and Recycling

Guests are always surprised to see that we all still drive to the local waste center/dumpster here. Well, that is a part of the day to day life living and working here—and we all do it, no matter how much money we have. Some homeowners have actually purchased trash pickup for your home; however, this pickup is only once a week, and the owners cannot obtain more than that, so your can or cans might be full upon arrival. Therefore, at some point, you might be driving past the wonderful hay fields to the local recycle/waste station, approximately five minutes from any of our homes. We do it year-round, and you might even run into some famous actors, actresses, writers, or even government officials. You never know, trash can become a meeting point! Make sure you have a pen and paper in the event you need to obtain an autograph from someone.

Sheets and Towels

Please note that due to Commonwealth laws, sheets and towels must be sterile. Owners have elected to keep their rates lower and allow you to bring them yourself. Alternatively, you can rent them from several sterile companies. We can assist with this, please let us know prior to your arrival if you wish to take advantage of this service.


The homes each have an occupancy limit. Bedford County considers anyone over the age of 2 as an occupant. Occupancy is based upon the septic size of the home; septic permits, which enable licenses for these home, allow for two guests per bedroom. If you have any concerns on any home you are booking, you can check with the county or ask to see their license. Please be careful, as penalties and or eviction is possible with overpacked homes anywhere on Smith Mountain Lake.

Bonus: No Wake Coves

When you’re boating out on the lake, you’ll undoubtedly see no-wake buoys—legal reminders that you must drop your boat speed to the lowest possible that will still allow you to navigate forward. Should you fail to follow this law, there is a fee of $65.00, plus processing fees.

Escape to the Beauty of Smith Mountain Lake with Premier Vacation Rentals!

Our reservation specialists are brimming with even more insider tips to help you enjoy Smith Mountain Lake to the fullest extent possible. Contact us by phone or email and find out more about what Smith Mountain Lake has in-store for you when you reserve your lodgings in one of our pristine vacation rentals today!