In Bedford County, approximately 40 miles from Roanoke, you will find Smith Mountain State Park, resting on the northern shores of the massive Smith Mountain Lake from which it derives its name. Smith Mountain Lake is not only the second largest fresh water lake in Virginia but also one of cleanest, making it a must visit for the RV enthusiast. Initially created to help generate electricity, the lake has risen over the years to become one of the favorite outdoor hubs in the region. Sitting on 1,148 acres, Smith Mountain Lake State Park is reputed for its lively aquatic recreational activities. Other than the water sports, this park offers visitors many activities such as picnicking, hiking, and educational talks.
The first thing that captures your attention after parking your RV is the serenity and cleanliness of the facility. Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and covered by forests, you will love the breathtaking scenery. How about taking morning stroll to catch the sunset on the shores of crystal clear water? Whatever activity you choose, you are bound to fall in love with the amazing views of Smith Mountain Lake.
RV Rentals in Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Transportation in Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Smith Mountain Lake State Park is approximately a 45-minute drive from both Lynchburg and Roanoke on Highway 460. Drive carefully as the narrow road leading to the park is rough, winding, and hilly, with numerous curves and corners. For those with larger trailers you can opt to drive along Highway 122, which is easy to navigate and more RV-friendly.
Inside the park the roads to the campground, cabins, and lake are easily accessible. There are plenty of parking lots strategically located across all areas including at the entrance, beach area, lake view, overflow section, cabin, and campground. Always remember to confirm if the campground is open as sometimes it may be closed depending on the weather.
Campgrounds and parking in Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Campsites in Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Smith Mountain Lake State Park Campground
Smith Mountain has a family-friendly and pet-friendly campground. The campground is located in the woods and boasts over 70 campsites. 25 of the sites are dry, meaning they offer no hookups and are exclusively reserved for tent campers. There are also 36 standard electric back-in and pull-through sites for trailers, RVs, and tents. The campground is open every year from March to December.
The 19 back-in campsites can accommodate RVs of up to 30 feet while the 5 pull-through sites can fit an RV of up to 50 feet. Amenities include a dump station, 30 and 50 electric hookups, water hookups, and hot showers. The non-site specific reservation policy applies to half of the campground’s sites while the other half are open for specific reservation. Therefore, remember to notify the park staff of your trailer's length when booking or arrive early for proper allocation. Each campsite features a sleeping area with a separate section furnished with grill, a picnic table, and a fire ring. The internet service and cell coverage within the facility is fairly good. There is an overflow parking lot available if needed to store your boat trailer or towed vehicle.
Additionally, there are 20 cabins open for reservations. The cabins are divided into 19 two–bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit, with a few of them having excellent lake views. A bunk house is available for rent during the camping season with a minimum of two nights stay. There is a separate per night fee for those camping with their pets in these facilities. For groceries, you have the option of either driving to Lynchburg or Roanoke, both 40 miles away. Reservations for a campsite or cabin can be made up to 11 months in advance.
There are no first-come, first-served campsites available at this state park.
Seasonal activities in Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Smith Mountain Lake State Park boasts some of the most beginner-friendly and well-marked hiking trails. For a leisurely stroll, you can try the barely half-mile Beaver Den Trail, which leads to the calm lake waters where you can spot mallards, waterfowls, and ospreys. Another serene trek is the Chestnut Ridge Trails that will lead you to the woods where you can enjoy the blooming of dogwoods. The Striper Cover Trail going around the park offers endless photography opportunities. Hiking in Smith Mountain Lake State Park is fun, accommodating to people of all ages and abilities.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park has always been known as a prime fishing destination in Virginia. You can park your RV near the boat launches and then proceed to the lake. Smith Mountain Lake is stocked with huge bass, muskie, and bluegill. Here you can fish from the handicap accessible public fishing pier or from the shores. Smith Mountain State Park holds regular fishing tournaments throughout the year such as Aspiring Angler Tournaments and Youth Fishing Clinics. You can always inquire about their schedule in the park office.
For the close to three decades, this 500-foot beach has been open to public Smith Mountain Lake Park has been a paradise for swimmers. Usually, the sandy beach opens its doors from Memorial Day through Labor Day. During this season you don’t have to worry about your kids splashing in the water as there are highly skilled lifeguards manning the swimming area. Other amenities in the beach area include a volleyball court, amphitheater, and a spacious parking lot where you can park your vehicles. Note there is a separate fee to access the swimming area.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park offers an amazing picnicking area to bond with your family and friends. It is a great place to unwind, explore the natural scenery, and make memories with your loved ones. There is a huge playground where kids can enjoy running around. For your convenience, the picnic tables are shaded. Grills, drinking water, and restrooms are available in the picnic area.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park offers the best boating experience around. Since the park is so popular with boating you might want to secure a boat by booking early enough to avoid disappointments. For all your boating needs check out on the boat rentals strategically located on the beach area. Additionally a variety of water sports gear rentals are available, including canoes, kayaks, sky boats, fishing boats, and hydro bikes. For your own safety and that of other lake users remember to adhere to Virginia’s speed limits and other boating regulations.
Attending Park Programs and Events
There is no dull season at Smith Mountain Lake State Park. Occasionally the park’s Discovery Center, together with Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park, holds special programs for adults and kids annually in support of parks projects and conservation. From organized races around Smith Mountain Lake to junior rangers programs and winter lecture series, the park hosts multiple noble activities. For music lovers, there are live music performances at the beach pavilion so be on the lookout special programs during your RV vacation.