A vacation in Virginia typically involves the beach, mountains, or river. We are lucky enough to boast all three – and then some. Our lakes are equally as stunning, and there’s no better time to enjoy them than in the summer. You might remember an
article written last summer featuring this very topic. Well, this year we want to reintroduce some of our favorites while also updating the list a bit. Grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and a great read, and head to these beautiful lakes for some quality fun and relaxation. We’ll see you there!
1. Lake Anna (Louisa)
With 13,000 acres of water and 200 miles of shoreline, Lake Anna has room for just about any water activity you could imagine. Located in the center of the state, Virginia's third-largest lake is a beloved attraction for those near and far. It's also the best lake for large-mouth bass on the entire eastern seaboard.
2. Lake Arrowhead Beach (Luray)
Lake Arrowhead is a lake beach that spans 34-acres with the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Does it get any better than that? With a lifeguard on site, swimming is a popular activity. This is also a great spot for camping and hiking with plenty of nearby trails. Here's a beautiful shot of the lake as seen from Skyline Drive.
3. John H. Kerr Resevoir/Buggs Island Lake (Clarksville)
Lake Kerr is Virginia's largest lake, with over 50,000 acres of fresh water and 800 miles of gorgeous shoreline. It goes without saying that during the summer, this is a prime spot for water activity. If you're a fisherman, you'll be especially delighted to enjoy this nationally acclaimed fishing spot. The lake is nearby to Staunton River State Park Occoneechee State Park, allowing for plenty of dry land activities as well.
4. Cave Mountain Lake (Natural Bridge)
This beautiful lake can be found in one of the loveliest campgrounds in the state. The Cave Mountain Lake recreation area is nestled in Jefferson National Forest. The 7-acre lake is complete with a beach area to accommodate swimming and sunning.
5. Claytor Lake (Dublin)
Claytor Lake is primarily known for boating and sport fishing, although this pristine area also makes fora wonderful camping and hiking spot. The lake is part of Claytor Lake State Park, which offers lodges as well as 13 cabins for incredible lake view accommodations. There are also bikes to rent so visitors can make their way around the 4,500 acre body of water. During the warmer months, there's a snack bar with some seasonal treats.
6. Lake Maury (Newport News)
Lake Maury is owned by the Mariner's Museum in Newport News. It's a 165-ace lake that was constructed in 1931 and named for a noteworthy Virginian oceanographer. During the spring and summer, visitors can enjoy the surrounding sites by renting paddle boats. There are also some scenic trails located around the lake, which is the center to a larger park.
7. Lake Gaston
Lake Gaston was formed in the early 1960s along with the Gaston Dam. With more than 350 feet of shoreline, there is plenty of activity surrounding the lake. Its proximity to I-95 makes it an ideal getaway for those looking to take a break from suburban life. Folks can choose from a number of charming accommodations nearby, including hotels and bed and breakfasts. The lake is also home to a number of fishing tournaments throughout the year.
8. Smith Mountain Lake (Huddleston)
Smith Mountain Lake is the second-largest lake in Virginia and is part of a breathtaking recreational area. The lake is only about 40 miles from both Lynchburg and Roanoke. This lake is ideal for families, as there are picnic areas, boating docks, and ample opportunities for fishing. The park system also includes trails to show off the natural scenery of the area.
9. Lake Moomaw (Covington)
Lake Moomaw can be found in the 13,000 acre T. M. Gathright Wildlife Management Area. The lake itself is 2,500 acres and is open year-round for all sorts of water activities. Moomaw is especially popular for fishing and boating. Visitors of the park and lake enjoy spotting wildlife in the area, such as turkeys, white-tailed deer, and bald eagles, which can be viewed from the observation deck. There are also designated picnic areas around the lake.
10. Burke Lake (Fairfax Station)
Burke Lake is a smaller lake that is situated behind the South Run stream. While the lake has only 5 miles of shoreline, is it one of the most popular spots for fishing in the area. Their are designated fishing piers , but visitors are welcome to also fish by boat. Burke Lake is unique for it's perfect-for-summertime attractions, including a volleyball court, golf courses, mini golf courses, a miniature train, and a carousel.
Whether it’s fishing, boating, sunbathing, or just relaxing outdoors — you’ll find there’s pure magic awaiting at these beautiful Virginia lakes. Where are some of your favorite lakes to spend time during the summer? As always, we’d love to hear from you!