Smith Mountain lake attracts people from all over the country with its gorgeous scenery, sparkling waters, and welcoming community. There’s plenty of fun events and activities to enjoy.

Annual Events at Smith Mountain lake

There are many popular annual events that add to the fun and showcase the best that the lake offers. There is almost always something fun to attend. Here’s a sample of some of the favorites.

SML Pirate Days

An exciting pirate-themed weekend in July chock full of events including a pirate ball, a pirate ship parade, costume contest, pancake breakfast, and the infamous pirate water canon battle. Owners go all out decorating their boats like pirate vessels. 

SML Fireworks

4th of July on the lake

Several area marinas host fantastic fireworks displays over the lake on the July 4th weekend. Watch from a location on a dock/shoreline or better yet, watch from your boat. Parkway marina makes a daylong event of it with live music, fun activities, kids zone, and food vendors.

SML Poker Run

Memorial Poker Run

The Tom Maynard Memorial Poker Run is an annual event in June sponsored by the Smith mountain lake Boating Association. It brings out al the fast boats, but winning has nothing to do with speed. Participants travel to multiple stops around the lake in hopes of collecting the best poker hand and winning a cash prize.

SML Charity Home Tour

The Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour takes place each October and allows visitors to travel by car or boat and tour some of the area’s premier homes. This charity event has raised over $4 million for local charities.

SML Chili Festival

SML Chili Festival

This popular fall tradition at Smith Mountain Lake each November allows visitors to sample chili from participants and then cast their votes for “Peoples Choice”, “Showmanship”. and “Best Chili”. Local artisans and craft vendors are also onsite.

SML Wine Festival

The Smith Mountain Lake Festival is a can’t miss fall event showcasing Virginia wineries, live music, gourmet food, and artisian vendors.

Smith Mountain lake Area Attractions

Rain or shine you will never be at a loss for something fun and interesting to do. Whether your interested in history, scenery, cultural events or recreation Smith Mountain Lake and the surrounding areas have it all. 

Smith Mountain Lake State Park has wonderful facilities to enjoy the lake including a large beach, well maintained boat ramps, cabins a campground, walking trails, picnic facilities, a fishing pier, small boat rentals and more.

SML Dam Visitor Center

Visitors Center at the Dam

Tour the dam that created Smith Mountain lake. Tour includes model of the lake, a chance to explore the history of the dam, and a chance to learn how the pump-back system operates. There are great views from the top of the dam and a scenic picnic area at its base. (accessible only by road)

One of the country’s most scenic drives stretching almost 500 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to The Great Smokie Mountain National Park in North Carolina. Go hiking, biking, picnicking, or exploring on one of the many trails up one of the peaks. Tour one of the orchards where you can purchase or pick your own fruit, or sample wine at one of the wineries. Visit historic Mabry’s Mill where they still grind flour as they have for a century.

Cruise the lake aboard the Virginia Dare, a Mississippi-style river boat that offers lunch, dinner and sight seeing cruises.

The birthplace of Booker T. Washington, who was born on a plantation in 1856 and went on to become the founder of Tuskegee University.

The nine acre, $14M national memorial honors D-Day veterans with dramatic life-size sculptures of soldiers struggling to survive and gain a foothold on the shell-swept coast of Omaha Beach in Normandy.

Smith Mountain Lake Boat Rentals

Virginia boating licenses are required for residents operating all powered boats and jet skies over 10 HP. Rental companies require participation in a training program in lieu of a license. Virginia boating licenses may be obtained by taking a certified on-line or classroom course. Additional information about VA boating licenses is available at the Virginia Department of Game and inland Fisheries


Smith Mountain Lake Boat Rentals located at Mitchell’s Point Marina offers pontoons, runabouts, kayaks, water skis and many types of water toys.

Parrot Cove Boat Rentals located at Hales Ford Bridge, offers houseboats, runabouts, fishing boats, pontoons, jet skis & kayaks.

Bridgewater Marina Boat Rentals has six convenient locations; Bridgewater Marina, Bernard’s Landing, SML State Park, Mariner’s Landing, Hales Ford Harbor and Crazy Horse Marina. In all they have over 140 rental craft including Mastercraft Wake boats. Many boats are dog friendly.

Westlake Boat Rentals has an array of various sized pontoon boats, runabouts/deck boats and jet skis.