While many visitors enjoy the beaches in Virginia, the state is also abundant with beautiful lakes, mountain ranges, and rugged wilderness.
Whether you’re visiting for a few days or a full week or more, Virginia offers plenty of lakes with lots of great activities to choose from. Here are some of the best lakes in Virginia to rent a lake house for big families, explore, and have fun with your crew.
John H Kerr Reservoir
Also known as Buggs Island Lake, John H Kerr Reservoir is the largest lake in Virginia and is located just along the Virginia/North Carolina border. This massive freshwater lake covers 50,000 acres and features 800 miles of natural shoreline. With plenty of recreational opportunities, it’s no surprise that this Virginia lake is a popular choice for visitors from all over the state and the country.
John H Kerr Reservoir is popular for catfish, bass, and crappie fishing, and it is home to many state and national fishing tournaments. There are many boat ramps available throughout the region. Motorized boats are popular in this lake, and you can enjoy some water skiing, inner tubing, and sightseeing for a day of fun in the sun.
Enjoy a day of swimming thanks to several designated swimming areas. Never swim in the lake in unauthorized areas, as the risk of being caught in an undertow is high.
Lake Anna is located 60 miles northwest of Richmond. This popular lake includes a fishing pond, a boathouse facility with a boat launch and concessions, and beautiful views. Lake Anna has its own boat ramp which is accessible as early as 5:30 a.m. for morning fishing.
The lake has over 15 miles of trails to explore, and you can also participate in a fun guided tour of the Goodwin Gold Mine for a fun history lesson. Your family can enjoy a day of hiking, biking, or horseback riding as well as swimming near the beach.
The lake offers plenty of options for overnight stays including camping, six cabins, two six-bedroom lodges, and 10 two-bedroom cabins. The lodges are perfect for large families and give you quick access to the lake’s many amenities.
Smith Mountain Lake
When it comes to natural beauty, it doesn’t get better than Smith Mountain Lake. This stunning lake is located in the Roanoke Region of Virginia, just southeast of Roanoke and southwest of Lynchburg. The lake was created in 1963 when the Smith Mountain Dam was built.
Seasonal boat rentals are available, and there is a 500-foot beach where you can enjoy some leisurely swimming. During the summer, the beach also has a snack bar.
Fishing for bass, catfish, and other local species is a popular activity, and fishing tournaments can be scheduled here. Boat launches are available for public use, but overnight mooring is available to cabin guests only. You can rent a canoe, kayak, ski boat, pontoon boat, or jet ski for fun on the water.
Claytor Lake is located 10 miles from Radford, Virginia, and offers many outdoor activities to choose from. This 21-mile long lake features swimming, camping, hiking, and fishing opportunities. Swimming is available from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend and features a snack bar, gift shop, and diving tower. You can also enjoy a day of hiking with three miles of easy trails. Motorboats are permitted for fishing, and many species can be found here including walleye, muskie, catfish, and bass. Cabins, yurts, lodges, and a bunkhouse are available for overnight stays.