About Smith Mountain Lake

Smith Mountain Lake is Virginia's most popular recreational lake. With 4 distinct seasons, low taxes, low crime, and traffic a non-issue, Smith Mountain Lake is a great place to live. The lake community is friendly, welcoming, and full of transplants, so you'll likely never feel like an "outsider."

Smith Mountain Lake offers a wide variety of restaurants, shopping, medical facilities, fitness centers, vacation accommodations, recreational and social activities, golfing, fishing, camping, annual festivals, cultural activities in nearby towns, and of course, water sports of all kinds. There are many fun and interesting things to do year round. Most shopping is located within about 5 miles either side of Hales Ford Bridge, along Rt. 122. We have a YMCA, and two public libraries. Medical services include an urgent care facility, a medical evacuation helicopter stationed at the lake, physicians, dentists, veterinarians, chiropractors, and physical therapists. Five full service hospitals are available within 25-45 minutes, and 8 hospitals including a VA Medical Center are located within an hour's drive.

The lake was originally created in 1966 for the purpose of generating hydroelectric power during periods of peak energy demand. The dam at Smith Mountain Lake is operated by American Electric Power (AEP), under a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

  • The map above shows some popular locations at the lake, and information people often ask about.
  • Smith Mountain Lake has two main counties; Franklin County and Bedford County. As you can see from the map, one side of the lake is Bedford, and the other is Franklin.
  • Two large, modern supermarkets serve the Smith Mountain Lake community; Kroger and Food Lion.
  • Westlake Corner is the lake's primary shopping area, with everything from restaurants, banks, fast food, drug stores, movie theaters, auto service, medical facilities, hair salons, UPS/Fedex/Post Office, and much more.
  • Did you see the movie "What About Bob?" Although the story-line has the plot taking place at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, the movie was actually filmed right here at Smith Mountain Lake. The location of the house from the movie is shown above (note: this is a private residence-please be respectful.).
  • The locations of our beautiful state park, and the Smith Mountain Dam are also shown.

To see eight of the lake's most beautiful waterfront homes, attend the Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour. On the second weekend of October every year, more than 1,000 volunteers welcome many thousands of visitors to the three-day event. The event raises up to $200,000 that helps to fund eight local charities. Mark your calendar...and bring your friends and family for a close-up view of some exceptional properties!

Lake water levels:
Nearly all Smith Mountain Lake homes are built above the "100-year flood plain", which is 803.7 feet above sea level. At "full pond", the surface of the water at Smith Mountain Lake is 795 feet above sea level. Typical water fluctuations are 2 feet which happens frequently. Fluctuations of 5 feet happen about once every year or two. Get the current water level anytime at: https://www.smithmountainlakelevel.com/

Smith Mountain Lake Facts

Smith Mountain Lake covers parts of three Virginia counties: Franklin County and Bedford County primarily, and a very small part of Pittsylvania County.

Average temperatures at Smith Mountain Lake (degrees in Fahrenheit):
Summer:       High 86    Low 63
Fall:                High 70    Low 46
Winter:           High 48    Low 27
Spring:           High 69    Low 43

Total miles of shoreline: 500 miles
Average water depth: 55 feet
Maximum water depth: 250 feet
Total area: 20,600 acres
Elevation: 795 feet above sea level
Average snowfall: 10 inches per year
Permanent residents: About 22,000

Water level fluctuations: Since the lake was built for generating hydroelectric power through the dam, water levels will often fluctuate by about 2 feet as the dam operates, and then pumps water back into the lake to run through the dam again (these fluctuations are far less than other lakes in the Eastern United States). Water fluctuations of 5 feet are more rare, but may happen once every 1-2 years on average. Once again you can check the current water level of the lake at any time at https://www.smithmountainlakelevel.com/

Driving times to Nearest Cities:

Roanoke, VA 45 minutes
Lynchburg, VA 1 hour
Richmond, VA 3 hours
Washington, D.C. 4 hours, 15 minutes
Virginia Beach, VA 4 hours, 30 minutes
Greensboro, NC 1 hour, 45 minutes
Raleigh/Durham, NC 2 hours, 45 minutes
Charlotte, NC 3 hours, 15 minutes
Charleston, WV 3 hours, 30 minutes

Smith Mountain Lake in Movies and TV

  • The most famous movie filmed at Smith Mountain Lake was the 1991 comedy "What About Bob?" starring Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, and Julie Hagerty. A charmingly neurotic patient (Bill Murray), follows his psychotherapist (Richard Dreyfuss) and his family to Lake Winnipesaukee, where they have gone for a summer vacation. It's a great movie to enjoy that's clean and family-friendly, and it's just hilarious. Although the story-line has the plot taking place at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, the movie was actually filmed right here at Smith Mountain Lake. The location of the house from the movie is shown above (note: this is a private residence-please be respectful.).
  • The independent film "Lake Effects" starring Jane Seymour is about Smith Mountain Lake, and was filmed here. It's the story of a family raised at the lake, and later in life returning home. The dramatic comedy first aired on the Hallmark Movie Channel in May 2012.
  • In an episode of the science fiction series "The Outer Limits" starring Mark Hamill (of Star Wars fame) Smith Mountain Lake appeared in a dream sequence. The episode "Mind Over Matter" aired in 1996.

Smith Mountain Lake Utilities

Once you purchase Smith Mountain Lake real estate, you'll of course need to know how to setup your utilities. Or if you are researching prior to buying and want to get some questions answered (about high speed internet for example), provided below is information regarding the utility companies that serve the lake. Click the name of each company to go to their website, or call the number provided for service.

Of course we can always provide you with recommendations about the best services to go with. Please just let us know if you have any questions.


Xfinity 855-870-1311
Shentel 800-743-6835
Centurylink 877-862-9343
Starlink Internet
B2X Online 540-389-7924
Verizon 800-837-4966


Shentel 800-743-6835
Xfinity 800-266-2278
B2X Online 540-389-7924


Appalachian Power Company  (local division of AEP, American Electric Power)
(Bedford, Franklin, Pittsylvania counties) 800-956-4237
Southside Electric Cooperative (Bedford & Pittsylvania counties) 800-552-2118


Centurylink 877-862-9343
Verizon 800-837-4966


Bedford Regional Water Authority (Bedford County) 540-586-7679
Western Virginia Water Authority (Franklin County) 540-853-5700

Comments about Internet and cell phone service:

If you need high-speed Internet, fast cellular service, and cable TV access, there are many options for your Smith Mountain Lake home. All three counties at the lake now offer high speed cable/internet service. Cellular phone service works great at almost all parts of the lake, but you should test it yourself to be sure. Be aware there are still a few small parts of the lake where high speed cable internet is not yet available. In those cases, Starlink internet is available, and is a viable option. Ask your realtor about utilities at various locations; a good real estate agent will have this information.

If you are thinking about purchasing property at Smith Mountain Lake, or just have some questions, please visit our home page at smithmountainlake.homes to see available homes and lots for sale. You can also click Contact to reach Ted for a quick reply to any questions you may have.