Roanoke, Lynchburg and Danville are just over the rolling hills and mountains from Smith Mountain Lake. They offer visitors additional sightseeing, shopping, cultural and educational experiences, plus a big-town atmosphere.
Roanoke: The Star City boasts the world’s largest free-standing man-made star, perched atop Mill Mountain. From the star, walk across Mill Mountain Park to visit Mill Mountain Zoo, a small nonprofit conservation facility. After your visit, head down the mountain into downtown Roanoke, where Center in the Square features the Science Museum of Western Virginia, Kids Square, Opera Roanoke, the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, the Roanoke Pinball Museum, and Roanoke STARcade. While you’re downtown, don’t miss the Taubman Museum of Art or the Virginia Museum of Transportation, both a short walk away. The Blue Ridge Parkway will carry you to local and regional wineries, Mabry Mill and more.
Lynchburg: Located in Central Virginia, Lynchburg has many attractions to offer as well as shopping and entertainment. With loads of historical buildings including the Lynchburg Museum and the Old City Cemetery.
Danville: Danville has small-town charm, but is also full of exciting new adventures. There are a wide variety of activities and outdoor festivals and events to attend as well as great shopping in the revitalized downtown area!
If you’re looking for more nature, scenery, history or sports, there are several interesting places to visit on day trips from Smith Mountain Lake. Here are just a few:
Charlottesville: Home to the University of Virginia and surrounded by presidential homes and beautiful horse country.
Appomattox: Where Lee surrendered to Grant and the Civil War ended.
Lexington: Stonewall Jackson’s home, the George Marshall Museum, Lime Kim Theatre and the Virginia Horse Center.
Natural Bridge: One of the original Seven Wonders of the World.
Wintergreen: Resort for skiing in the winter and fun in the summer.
Blacksburg: Home of the Hokies! Small-town charm with a lively community that will welcome you with open arms upon your first visit. The town of Virginia Tech is full of enthusiasm for college events, culture and much more.
Catawba: Here you will find hiking opportunities because of the Appalachian Trail that passes right through it! You will also find delicious home-cooked southern food at The Home Place restaurant! Great day trip.
Peaks of Otter: At Peaks of Otter you’ll find a wonderful dining experience, hiking, beautiful views, a great lodge, a winery, and much more. Great for a romantic getaway!
The state tourism website is a wonderful resource: Virginia.org