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Best Places to Boat in Virginia

Virginia is home to many great boating locations. Whether its visiting one of several beautiful lakes or taking a boat up the coast, there are plenty of opportunities. Here is a list of some of the best lakes to boat in Virginia. We'll narrow it down to the top 5, with a couple honorable mentions.


1. Smith Mountain Lake

Smith Mountain Lake is located in Huddleston, VA which is in Bedford County. The lake sits in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is the second largest fresh water lake in the state with over 20,000 acres of water. There are numerous activities to do at Smith Mountain Lake:

  • boating

  • swimming

  • boat rentals

  • fishing

  • fishing pier

  • and more!


2. Lake Gaston

Lake Gaston sits on the Virginia and North Carolina border. The lake spans across 3 counties in North Carolina and 2 in Virginia. It is also around 20,000 acres. Lake Gaston is a popular vacation spot and offers tons to do for the entire family.

  • fishing

  • boat rentals

  • trails

  • playgrounds

  • swimming

  • and more!


3. Lake Anna

Lake Anna is located in Louisa and Spotsylvania counties in central Virginia. Lake Anna is very popular as its fairly easy to access from Washington D.C., Richmond or Charlottesville. The lake has over 13,000 beautiful acres. This unique lake offers:

  • boating

  • swimming

  • fishing

  • water sports

  • camping

  • and more!


4. Buggs Island Lake (John H. Kerr Reservoir)

Buggs Island Lake or Kerr Lake is Virginia's largest lake with over 50,000 acres and 800 miles of shoreline. The lake is located near Clarksville, VA. Buggs Island Lake is well-known as a great fishing spot and hosts many fishing tournaments. There is so much to explore at this awesome lake!

  • boating

  • fishing

  • swimming

  • hiking

  • camping

  • and more!


5. Claytor Lake

Claytor Lake is located in Pulaski County, VA in the New River Valley. The lake covers 4,500 acres. Activities include:

  • boating

  • hiking trails

  • swimming

  • camping

  • and more!


Honorable Mention


Philpott Lake

Philpott lake is located near Martinsville, VA and spans across 3 counties. The lake covers over 3,000 acres and sits in the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Lake Drummond

Lake Drummond is at the center of the Great Dismal Swamp in eastern Virginia. This shallow lake spans over 3,000 acres. Enjoy the unique wetland scenery!


Lake Moomaw

Lake Moomaw is located in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. It is not as well-known as others on this list but still just as beautiful and fun. It also holds nostalgic value to me as I spent a lot of summer weekends here as a kid boating, camping and swimming.




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