Smith Mountain Lake is a popular summer destination and is full of attractions. These are typically really full of tourists, so we put together this list of amazing things to do in Virginia in the Smith Mountain Lake area that are more under the radar. These unique Virginia attractions show you the real Smith Mountain Lake without having to deal with crowds to have fun.
Services at “The Floating Chapel”
Bill Bowling Memorial Chapel, or otherwise known as “The Floating Chapel” or “Boat Church,” is a custom chapel raft/dock that is located three quarters of a mile south-southeast of channel marker B-4 at the Arrowhead Campground. This chapel was built and run by the Sandy Level Baptist Church and hold services that you can attend by boat or by car. The Floating Chapel is open from the first Sunday in May through the last Sunday in September and subject to weather, but it is a must see no matter what your faith. They hold services on the complete with music starring at 9:15 am and Pastor Kendell Smith runs the services. If you happen to be in the area during Easter, the church normally runs an Easter Sunday service from the Floating Chapel as well. This is a really interesting way to celebrate your faith or observe a local tradition and should be a must visit while in Smith Mountain.
Smith Mountain Cooperative Wildlife Management Trail
The Smith Mountain Cooperative Wildlife Management Trail is an area that encompasses nearly 5,000 acres in Bedford and Pittsylvania counties. The area is split between two areas by the Smith Mountain Dam. Hiking and wildlife viewing are popular activities in the management area. Access from Silver Dollar Lane in Huddleston gives you the opportunity to trek to the top of the mountain and then descend into gorgeous rocks that allow you to rest or enjoy a snack while gazing over the dam and at Craddock Creek which is located just below. Bank fishing is allowed along the lakeshore; however, the terrain is rough, and access is primarily by boat. Primitive camping is allowed; there are no developed facilities. Appalachian Power Company’s Smith Mountain Lake Dam Visitors’ Center is a popular attraction and is open to the public throughout the year. Also, Smith Mountain Lake State Park is within a short drive.
The Moose at Bridgewater Plaza
Built in the early 1990s by local Jerry Earick, the Moose has been an iconic symbol of Smith Mountain Lake throughout the years. The Moose is the designated mascot and symbol of Moosie’s Deli at Bridgewater Plaza. This large statue is a cornerstone of the Bridgewater Plaza and has become a must visit and photo opportunity. While you are here to visit the Moose, make sure that you grab a bit to eat at any of the amazing restaurant at Bridgewater Plaza. Along with Moosie’s amazing deli sandwiches, you can grab a slice at Pizza Pub, a sweet treat at Ice Cream Cottage, or even an adult beverage or two at Mango’s Bar and Grill.
Craddock Creek Lighthouse
Craddock Creek Lighthouse is a beautiful and picturesque lighthouse that has been a local staple since the 1970s. As you round the corner on channel marker C-2, towards Mitchell’s Point Marina, you will find this full-size lighthouse that has served as the backdrop for the amazing Craddock Creek. When you are traveling out of Mitchell’s Point Marina, you will have the opportunity to capture the lighthouse and mountain in the same photo. This is an especially beautiful sight at night when the lighthouse is fully illuminated. Owners are currently looking to renovate the lighthouse and restore it to its full glory, but this amazing vintage lighthouse is beautiful as is. This lighthouse is no longer in use as a navigational marker, but it’s a part of history that sits beautifully in Smith Mountain Lake.
The Ice Cream Boat
The Ice Cream Boat is a true Smith Mountain Lake original institution. This amazing boat was started by brothers Travis and Ryan Burke in May 2000. At the time, Travis was 15 and Ryan was just 12 years old. The Burke brothers started the Ice Cream Boat with a pontoon boat, a few signs, a new generator, and freezer, with some help from their parents. The first summer that the Ice Cream Boat started, they had to grab people’s attention with a small bell and a music horn they got at Radio Shack. With some of the first profits of the business they purchased a real music box, and ever since, people can hear them coming a mile away with their classic ice cream truck music. On a day with no wind, people report that they can hear the Ice Cream Boat 30 to 45 minutes before they see the boat. The Ice Cream Boat is serving up sweet treats on the lake from Memorial Day Weekend through September.
Enjoy a variety of lesser-known Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia attractions during your stay with us on the lake! Contact us today to book one of our fantastic vacation rentals.