Why Smith Mountain Lake Is A Dreamy Virginia Vacation Spot

The investment will be good for your health, your wallet, and your happiness.

Aerial view of homes on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia

Kelsey Johnson/Courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

With a nickname like the Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s easy to see why Smith Mountain Lake is such a beloved place for Virginians. The 20,000-acre lake stretches out over 40 miles with 500 miles of shoreline, and it’s all nestled into the loving embrace of the mighty Blue Ridge Mountains. The visually arresting combination of sparkling deep blue water and rolling green hills is truly a sight to behold.

As the second largest body of freshwater in the state, Smith Mountain Lake has been drawing locals from surrounding small towns, as well as cities like Roanoke and Lynchburg (each about an hour’s drive away), for decades. Recently, the cat’s gotten out of the bag about what a gorgeous and serene destination this is, and more folks from outside the area have been popping by to see what the fuss is about.

Boats on a dock at The Landing Restaurant on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia

Joel Mulbah/Courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

Evolve, a popular vacation rental home company, named Smith Mountain Lake one of its 12 best places to buy a lake home in 2023. To make their picks, the company looked at three metrics: vacation rental performance metrics for lake towns across the country to determine which bookings led to higher median value; Zillow’s 2022 median home to identify listing prices in lake towns; and the estimated yearly expenses to operate a vacation rental to help calculate the cap rate.

Based on all that data, Smith Mountain Lake came in as number five on the list. The company determined median rental revenue in Smith Mountain Lake to be $33,692, while the median listing price for homes in the area was $462,772, leading to a cap rate of 5.1%. True lake front properties in Smith Mountain Lake largely fell in the range of $500,000 to $1 million, but the state’s lower property taxes could easily offset the larger initial investment.

If you’ve been fantasizing about owning a lake home, Smith Mountain Lake may be the perfect way to turn those dreams into reality. The lake is a popular spot for every watersport imaginable from power boating, canoeing, and kayaking to wakeboarding, waterskiing, and jet skiing. With summer water temperatures averaging in the 70-degree range, it’s always an inviting place to dive in and go for a swim. For the ardent anglers, the lake is stocked with several species of freshwater fish. There are striped, smallmouth, largemouth, and black bass, as well as crappie, catfish, muskellunge, and walleye.

A beach during sunset at Smith Mountain Lake State Park in Virginia

Chad Williams/Courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

One of the best places to spend time on Smith Mountain Lake (other than your own private dock, of course!) is Smith Mountain Lake State Park. Located on the lake’s northern border, the park includes a 500-foot beach with a snack shack, a public boat launch, boat rentals, 13 miles of hiking trails, cabins and campsites, and several picnic shelters.

Still need convincing to consider this Virginia lake town for a vacation home? Just imagine the fiery sun setting over tranquil waters and majestic mountains looming just behind. We can’t think of a more awe-inspiring image to see from the comfort of your home.

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