VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP: The park’s visitor center features exhibits on the history and folklore of the area and the lake’s aquatic environment. Call the park at (540) 297-6066 for dates and hours of operation. The Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park helps operate the visitor center. A small gift shop is operated by the group.
Many interpretive programs take place here or at the newly refurbished amphitheater located nearby. The amphitheater can be reserved for weddings or family reunions at the same price of the large shelter (see above). However, no grills for cooking or picnic tables are in this vicinity, and the area may be used for interpretive events. The location is reserved on first-come first-served basis. Call the park directly at (540) 297-6066 for availability. A small playground is nearby.
NATURE, HISTORY PROGRAMS: Night hikes, hay rides, canoe trips, twilight programs, Junior Naturalists. Junior Naturalists is a program for children 6-10 years old. The program focuses on themes of nature, and arts and crafts. It is sponsored by the Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park.
- Smith Mountain Lake Triathalon in May
- Aspiring Anglers Junior Fishing Clinic taking place in June.
- Big Lick Triathlon, late September
- Christmas Boat Parade, mid-December.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Various
festivals year-round around the lake. Call Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce
at 1-800-676-8203 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and visit www.visitsmithmountainlake.com for
lists of special events and articles on local sights and businesses. The Smith
Mountain Dam Visitor Center is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; call (540) 985-2587.
Also near the park is the Booker T. Washington National Monument, (540) 721-2094).
Blue Ridge Parkway (Peaks of Otter 540) 857-2485). National D-Day Memorial,
(540) 586-3329, www.dday.org .
Visit >www.bridgewaterplaza.com to
learn more about the concession that handles boat rentals at the park.
PICNIC SHELTERS: Picnic area pads have a table and a grill. A water fountain is near the picnic area restrooms. A small picnic shelter, able to accommodate up to 50 people, is also available by reservation on a first-come, first-served basis by calling the Reservation Center at 1-800-933-PARK. The picnic area is open year-round. A large playground is in the picnic area. There's a smaller playground at the visitor center. Parking and swimming fees are not included in shelter rental.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park Picnic Shelter - One
shelter is available for rent. It can be rented from 8 a.m. to dusk (all day).
The park also rents an amphitheater through its office. Shelters may be rented
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
The shelter cannot be seen from the road as it is 50 yards from the gravel parking lot down a wooded trail. It accommodates 48 people under the shelter. Thirty more tables and grills are in the area, but they are not reserved and the general public uses the other tables around the shelter. The shelter has a large grill and picnic tables. Restrooms are accessible at the parking lot, approximately 100 yards from the shelter. There is no electricity or water at shelter. Parking is available in gravel lot with additional paved parking farther from the shelter. There is a playground nearby. Prior arrangements must be made with staff if any guests are handicapped or if a caterer will be used.
- Beach: Buildings, changing areas and restrooms are accessible. There are accessible grades to the beach with a concrete ramp reaching near the water's edge. The dock also has accessible grades, depending on water levels.
- Picnic area: Accessible restrooms, playground and picnic tables.
- Boating and fishing: The boat ramp area has accessible restrooms, and the fishing pier is accessible (112 feet long, provides deep water fishing), as is the launch.
- Office: Fully accessible.
- Visitor center: Accessible building and restrooms, accessible playground, accessible amphitheater with access to the boat dock. Access to the boat dock has the proper grade with a hard packed gravel walkway.
- Campground: The campground has a bathhouse. Site 48 has been developed with accessibility in mind; it is relatively level and closest to the restroom.
- Cabins: There is one fully accessible three-bedroom cabin that is constructed to late-1990s ADA standards.
- Trails: There's an accessible hard packed gravel trail (approximately 100 yards) down Turtle Island Trail that can be used during the managed deer hunt in November. It can also be used as a wildlife viewing blind by anyone wishing to observe wildlife the rest of the year.
- Although motorized vehicles are not permitted on park trails, electric wheelchairs and electric scooters that meet the federal definition for wheelchairs are allowed to enable people with disabilities to use the trails.
CONCESSIONS: The swimming complex offers concessions with food service, various notions and a bathhouse. The park operates the beach and food area Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Times may change because of poor weather. Boat rentals are available during Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Beach hours may be limited during the last two weeks of August when staff members return to school. Please call the park for open-beach hours during this time.
LAUNDRY: The closest Laundromat is 15 minutes away.
HISTORY: Smith Mountain Lake itself was created in 1960 when Appalachian Power built a dam on the Roanoke River in Smith Mountain Gap. Construction of the dam was completed in 1966, and in 1967 Appalachian Power donated the first parcel of park's land for the proposed park. The state bought the rest of the park's land over the next six years. The park opened to the public in 1983.
FRIENDS GROUP: Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park, a nonprofit citizen group, helps conserve the park's natural, cultural, scenic and recreational resources. The group offers various recreational and educational opportunities and promotes environmental stewardship for one of Virginia's largest lakes. Join up or learn more about the friends group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the group's website.