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Smith Mountain LakeVirginia's most popular lake, offers superb recreational activities, a wide variety of water sports on its 20, acres, and affordable lakefront and off-water real estate. This insiders' guide by year lake residents includes Smith Mountain Lake vacation and relocation information. It's a comprehensive guide - laid out as a continuous web so that you can print it out and bring it along when you visit the lake.
The links on this web are unpaid, selected for their value to vacationers - and to those considering retirement or relocation somewhere along SML's miles of shoreline. Smith Mountain Lake Vacation Rentals SML self-catering vacation rentals are offered by the week, long weekend, and month - directly from homeowners and from vacation rental property managers.
Rental rates vary by season, size of rental, and included amenities. Most are bargains compared to other lakefront, oceanfront, and resort vacation rentals in the USA. Restaurants are plentiful, and there are two large supermarkets, so you won't go hungry!
Off-water rentals are bargains, and houseboat rentals below are another option. During peak season, you'll typically need to check in and out on a Saturday, and rent for a full week.
Mid-season weeks preceding and following summer you can expect warm pleasant weather, fewer visitors, modest discounts from peak rates, flexible check-in and check-out dates - plus weekend and daily rate options. Some SML lakefront vacation rentals include a dock for your boat. Public and marina boat launching ramps are plentiful.
SML is a beautiful and friendly place to visit all-year-round. If you're visiting for one week or longer, we recommend a vacation home rental. For shorter stays, consider these other lodging options, where summer but non-holiday rates are the highest rates shown:. Why is there a gorgeous, mile long, 20, acre lake, with miles of shoreline, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of rural southwestern Virginia? Because Smith Mountain Lake was created to generate electricity, and to help manage water flows downstream.
The damming of the Blackwater and Roanoke Rivers formed this reservoir in a filling process that began on September 24, - and ended almost 2. SML turned 50 in ! SML's surface covers 32 square miles. Its highest normal water level "full pond" is feet above sea level.
It holds about billion gallons. There is typically very little seasonal variation in the water level. The daily variation for electricity production is inches. During severe drought conditions, including andlake levels have fallen by five feet.
Under extreme flood conditions, the water level could reach seven feet above full pond to the top of the Smith Mountain Dam, which itself is feet above sea level. The US Army Corps of Engineers publishes a daily water level report that is also available graphically over time. Surrounded by mountains, Smith Mountain Lake's deepest point is about feet below full pond, near the dam itself. Its "average" depth is 55 feet for more stats, see Lakes for Vacation and Recreation - Lakelubbers.
Outside the lake's many coves in its main channel, feet is typical. Water purity is excellent. Water temperatures invite swimming from May through September. Fishing tournaments abound; ESPN has sponsored some. SML residents are friendly and helpful, and are exceptionally talented and generous volunteers of their time and other resources to local causes. The surrounding counties vote Republican, but the state of Virginia is dominated by Democrats. Many retail stores and services are available around the lake.
Most are located on or near Rt. There are two large, modern supermarkets, dozens of restaurants, a half-dozen banks, a dozen marinas, dozens of churches, a YMCA, a wellness center with a yard swimming pool, two libraries, physicians, dentists, veterinarians, real estate brokers, attorneys, ants, a Rotary Club, a Lions Club, and scores of independent retail stores. Its hot who wants hang at lake Blackwater Virginia urgent care center and a medical evacuation helicopter are located at Westlake, near the intersection of Routes and A second helipad is six miles away, at the Scruggs Volunteer Fire Department.
Regional and community hospitals, including a regional heart and trauma center, are minutes away from SML in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Bedford, and Rocky Mount. Exceptional teaching hospitals, at UVa and Duke, are The east end, including Huddleston, is closest to Lynchburg, Virginia population 70, Both Roanoke and Lynchburg are within minutes' drive time for most lake residents. Both cities provide convenient "big-city" amenities like large shopping malls - and modern regional airports where you can park your car within a five-minute walk of the terminal, and be driving home with your checked luggage minutes after your flight hits the tarmac.
Smith Mountain Lake is home to about 21, permanent residents. Average air temperatures are 73F in summer and 41F in winter. Annual rainfall averages 43 inches. Annual snowfall averages 10 inches; most snowfalls melt in a day or two. The lake offers a wide range of housing types and real estate prices, on the water and off. Top realtors can show them to you by land or boat. With miles of shoreline, you can find a first or second home in a quiet cove with just a few neighbors in sight - or retire to a well-planned community with shared or private amenities that include swimming pools, fitness facilities, boat slips with powered boat lifts, and golf courses.
If you prefer to build your own Smith Mountain Lake homeabout lakefront lots are available. Some do not include the feet of lakefront required to build a dock, but have nice views and access for your kayak or SUP:. Smith Mountain Lake real estate is diverse and affordableespecially when compared to similar real estate on the USA's coasts. You can buy a furnished home, and move in "tomorrow. Before you buy, check the lake depth at the dock. If a dock and the surrounding water don't have a depth of at least feet at "full pond", you may be unable to use your boat during extended droughts, when water levels can drop by five feet or more.
It can also be difficult to climb down and back up from a fixed dock to a floating dock "floater" during drought; ask to see how access to your boat will be provided. Looking for an undeveloped lot? For a bit more, you can buy a waterfront lot with a coveted view of the Smith Mountain "gap. If you consider buying a lot or home without a dock, ask your real estate buyer's agent or attorney to carefully check the dock-building regulations. You will need at least feet of waterfront to build a new dock on your lot.
If a dock is included, ask your attorney to confirm that it was properly permitted and built according to an approved plan. Nearly all Smith Mountain Lake homes are built above the "year flood plain", feet above sea level.
If you're planning to buy a condo or house, and then offer it as a vacation rental to help pay the mortgage, be sure to first check county, subdivision, and homeowner association rules and regulations. Vacation rental restrictions and prohibitions are increasing as the popularity of vacation rentals grows. Bedford County is not as well-served, but is very rapidly improving. If cable, Internet, or cell service are important to you - test them yourself, including a WiFi "speed test," or you may weep later.
If you want to buy or rent Smith Mountain Lake real estate, or book an SML vacation rental, dozens of experienced professionals can help you to find your "perfect SML vacation or retirement home.
Untilthe rapid pace of development had residents and three county governments scrambling to protect the lakefront environment and to provide new infrastructure. The recession slowed development and reduced those pressures, but new construction is again underway. Lake water quality is preserved as responsible new home construction retains natural waterfront buffers of native trees and vegetation that filter lake pollutants like lawn fertilizers and pesticides.
All three lakefront counties forbid the feeding of geese and other waterfowl within feet of the lake, to help control fecal coliform. Franklin County enforces regular five-year maintenance and pump-out of septic systems near the lake. Boaters and homeowners may not dump wastes of any kind into Smith Mountain Lake, including fallen leaves. SMLA has recorded and publicized water quality test continuously since - a database that is unmatched by any other major lake in the USA - supported by dozens of residential volunteers and by generous Ferrum College faculty and their students.
Aquatic invasive species pose a major threat to nearly all USA lakes. The three counties surrounding SML initially responded to non-native weeds with funding for targeted chemical treatments to limit weeds' spread. Insterile grass carp voracious consumers of hydrilla and other invasive weeds were introduced to the lake - in controlled s carefully calculated to limit their effect on desireable native vegetation. That program has been successful; grass carp are added each year as needed, in weed-impacted areas.
Invasive zebra and quagga mussels are a threat, migrating southeast from the Great Lakes and hitchhiking nationwide on trailered boats from infested lakes. SML so far remains free of these noxious pests, which have no natural enemy or cost-effective chemical treatment; they cannot be remediated.
Virginia is one of just 17 states that remain uninfested, and is surrounded by states that are infested - except for mussel-free North Carolina. No government or organization has taken effective action to block their arrival in Virginia, or at SML. Invasive species are illegal to transport here; visitors should " Clean, Drain, and Dry " all trailered boats before launching in SML. Better yet, rent a mussel-free boat at one of SML's marinas!
Properties are reassessed once every four years. Throughout Virginia, there is no reduction of taxes for primary homes or for low-income or retired homeowners. Homes are assessed at fair market value, and everyone in a county pays the same property tax rate. There is no "town level" of government at Smith Mountain Lake, so the three lake-surrounding county governments provide safety and public services and infrastructure needs.
Private wells and septic systems are most common, but public water and sewage system availability is growing. The lake itself is a growing source of public water. The three county governments, Appalachian Power Company, and the U. Corps of Engineers control lake development. Some local residents and organizations want to establish an additional local level of taxation and control - a special tax district or a town of Smith Mountain Lake spanning all three lakefront counties, to support an increase in tax-based services provided around the lake.
The result would be dedicated funding for critical needs like water quality, at the expense of higher taxes.
Most residents have opposed a lake-based tax district. Among the lake's many water activities are power boating, canoeing, sailing, parasailing, swimming, fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and jet skiing. SML's lakefront includes seven free public boat launching sites, plus paid launches at more than a dozen marinas.
Some lakeside developments maintain their own private ramps. A map of free public launches is included below in " Boating ".Its hot who wants hang at lake Blackwater Virginia
email: [email protected] - phone:(771) 540-9271 x 6607
E. coli found at Smith Mountain Lake sites