Top 12 Best Vacation Lakes In Virginia

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There are a number of high quality vacation destinations on America’s East Coast, but one of the top ones on the lists of most people is the state of Virginia. Virginia has a great deal to offer the lucky traveler that heads its way including historical sites, shopping opportunities, and ocean front beaches. Another resource that the state has to offer though that often gets overlooked are the wonderful lakes found there. These lakes are perfect for relaxing camping trips, fun fishing trips, and even quick day trips and picnics.

Visit Virginia and experience these 12 beautiful lakes. Southwest Vacations offers great rates to destinations such as Virginia. Use a expedia promo code for additional savings. An expedia coupon is the best way to get the most for your money. Now, here is a look at twelve of the best lakes in the state of Virginia.

Claytor Lake

Claytor Lake is actually a stretch of the New River that has backed up behind a dam built there in 1939. The lake sits within the very popular Claytor Lake State Park and the area is a wonderful destination for those looking to enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, camping, and more. Bass fishing tournaments are regularly held on the lake and have increased in popularity over the past few years. The lake is located in Pulaski County and stretches for twenty one miles.

Smith Mountain Lake

Located just south of Roanoke, Virginia is Smith Mountain Lake which was formed as a reservoir on the Roanoke River when it was dammed in the early 1960s. The lake has more than five hundred miles of shoreline and is one of the prime natural resource destinations in the area. The lake sits in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains and travelers often see the area as a great getaway from the more urban areas of the state. Some of the many activities available on the water and in the area that surrounds Smith Mountain Lake include boating, fishing, hiking, camping, sailing, and more.

Burke Lake

Located within Burke Lake Park sits Burke Lake, a small lake formed as a reservoir behind a small dam on a stream known as South Run. The lake has almost five miles of shoreline and is most popularly used as a fishing destination. Fishing is available from boat, land, and a few different fishing piers and bulkheads. There are a number of unique attractions surrounding the lake including campgrounds, a carousel, volleyball courts, a miniature train, golf courses, picnic areas, miniature golf, hiking trails, and more.

Mountain Lake

Sitting near Pembroke, Virginia is Mountain Lake which is one of just two natural freshwater lakes located in the state of Virginia. Mountain Lake drains into Little Stoney Creek which eventually plunges over a waterfall before emptying into New River. The water level of the lake can vary greatly from time to time during the year but it is a popular destination for those looking to relax in the great outdoors. The Mountain Lake Hotel sits on the shores of Mountain Lake and film buffs will recognize it from the many scenes filmed there for the popular 1980s movie Dirty Dancing.

South Holston Lake

South Holston Lake sits on the Tennessee-Virginia border, with much of the water actually sitting in Tennessee. South Holston Lake is popular with anglers from around the region and offers a great opportunity to land a number of fish species including crappie, walleye, catfish, sunfish, black bass, and bluegill. The lake offers a number of different fishing scenes including rock bluffs, open waterways, shale banks, lake front forest groves, and even mud flats. The scenic views that surround the lake are also popular with many people who choose to travel there.

Lake Anna

Lake Anna is probably the most popular water recreation destinations in the state of Virginia. It is located just over seventy miles south of the city of Washington D.C. and receives visits from citizens of the nation’s capital as well as from the Richmond and Charlottesville area. Lake Anna is a reservoir formed by the damming of the North Anna River. The lake is more than seventeen miles long and includes more than two hundred miles of shoreline. There are a number of parks, campgrounds, marinas, boat launches, and recreational opportunities on the shores of the lake. The area has grown a great deal in recent years as more people discover it for both vacation purposes as well as a site to retire to. Sailing, boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, and more are all popular on-water activities, and there are a great many businesses in the area that rent watercraft to both locals and travelers alike.

Lake Drummond

The second of Virginia’s only two natural lakes that can be found within its borders, the first being the previously mentioned Mountain Lake, Lake Drummond sits in the center of what is known as the Great Dismal Swamp. This lake falls under the governance of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and sits right on the Virginia-North Carolina border. The lake covers well over 3,000 surface acres of water with the maximum depth of the water being no more than six feet deep. Few fish thrive in the lake due to its low pH levels and it mainly serves as a location for protected wildlife and natural resources.

Lake Gaston

Located near the community of Roanoke Rapids, Lake Gaston is thirty five mile long reservoir on the Roanoke River formed with the building of Gaston Dam in the early 1960s. The lake has more than three hundred and fifty miles of shoreline and is somewhat known as a destination for local retirees. Being located so close to the popularly used freeways I-85 and I-95, as well as to the the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, has made the lake popular with those seeking long getaway weekends as well full vacations. There are plenty of accommodations available in the area including campgrounds, hotels, resorts, and bed & breakfasts. The lake is also popular with fishermen from far and wide and hosts a number of fishing tournaments as well.

Lake Maury

One of the more interesting lakes in the state of Virginia is Lake Maury. This man made lake is home to the Mariners’ Museum and is located in the community of Newport News. The reservoir was constructed specifically to be used as part of the museum that was founded in 1932. The museum highlights the areas strong ties to shipping and shipbuilding and is home to a number of great exhibits and artifacts from maritime history including actual pieces of the famed Civil War era ironclad, the Monitor. A visit to Lake Maury and the Mariners’ Museum is a must for anyone with an interest in history.

Lake Chesdin

Located in south-central Virginia, Lake Chesdin is a popular destination for anglers seeking to land some of the best largemouth bass available in the state. The lake is also home to several other types of fish including crappie, gizzard shad, white perch, striped bass, bluegill, and walleye. Besides being a popular fishing destination, Lake Chesdin is also popular with campers and those seeking a relaxing time away from the city.

Kerr Lake

The largest reservoir in the state of Virginia is located on the Virginia-North Carolina Border and was formed in the early 1950s as part of the damming of the Roanoke River. Kerr Lake has over eight hundred and fifty miles of shoreline and is sometimes referred to by locals as Bugg’s Island Lake. This is one of the most popular lakes in the area with both anglers and water recreation enthusiasts from both Virginia and North Carolina. The most popular fish caught in the lake are striped bass, largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. The United States Army Corps of Engineers owns and administers the lake, as well as a number of campgrounds that can be found on its shore. If there is a water sport out there, it can be found on the water of Kerr Lake. This lake is home to everything from fishing to power boating and jet-skiing to swimming. Sailing is even popular on this wonderful oasis of blue water surrounded by lush trees and other vegetation. The many communities that surround Kerr Lake take full advantage of the water and offer some of the best ways to have fun in the area.

Lake Barcroft

Lake Barcroft is a privately owned lake located in the community of the same name. The community is a suburb of Washington D.C. and is a popular residential option for those that work in the city. The lake is not open to the public and allows no access to gas or diesel powered motorboats. Even the beaches at the lake are private and for use by residents of the local area. There are a number of festivals and celebrations held regularly on the lake, the most popular being on the Fourth of July. The lake was originally built as a reservoir for drinking water but then was later purchased by investors seeking to develop the shoreline into a community.

While there are a number of reasons to visit the great state of Virginia, and a number of things to do once a traveler has gotten there, one of the top attractions in the state has got to be the many lakes found there. These lakes, including those listed above and more, are the perfect destination for those seeking to escape city life and experience some time either in or alongside some of the most beautiful bodies of water in the region. The lakes in Virginia are also home to some of the best fishing in the area with many seasoned anglers swearing by the fishing opportunities that can be found there. Visiting Virginia is a wonderful idea for anyone seeking a truly unique vacation destination, and once there a quick trip to one of the state’s many lakes is a definite must.

{ 1 comment }

Long and Foster June 1, 2010 at 9:42 am

Just returned from a gorgeous trip to Smith Mountain Lake. Truly is a beautiful place.

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