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SML State Park | Community Park


These two parks happily situated on the water are often brought up when newcomers ask where to swim at the lake. Yes, they are home to the only public sand beaches here at SML, but they have so much more to offer if you're looking to spend a beautiful day out-of-doors. Let's take a look at some of what you'll find.


Smith Mountain Lake State Park 

is located in Bedford County - down beyond Mariner's Landing by car. It has a public boat landing, but also some slips where you can dock on the Discovery Center's peninsula. The swimming beach and snack shack are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


The park boasts quite a lot of shade with several different picnicking areas, so it's a great place to enjoy an al fresco meal in the heat of summer. There are shelters available to reserve if you're planning an event for a large group. The Discovery Center hosts educational talks throughout the year - nearly every day, in season. If hiking is your thing, you'll love the variety of trails that take you all over the 1200-acre park. The roads are quite bike-friendly - just be prepared for some hills. The kiddos will enjoy the playgrounds scattered throughout. Some with beautiful views of the lake!


Smith Mountain Lake Community Park

is located in Franklin County - an easy drive down Scruggs from Westlake Towne Center. The swimming area is open from May 25th-Sept 2nd this year. Neither of the parks allow dogs on the beach, but fido is welcome everywhere else. There is a lovely 2ish mile gentle walking trail that keeps you close by the water, yet still in the shade for much of the duration.


If you're looking for reservable shelters, you'll find two here, along with a playground. A few individual picnic tables are also available. One of our “best kept secrets” is that the pier at this park (from which you can nearly throw a stone across the Roanoke to the State Park!) stays quite cool thanks to the situation of the land and waterways. We're often able to take a brunch picnic with us to enjoy leisurely into the early afternoon and are shocked at the temperature difference between sitting in the shelter of the breezy pier and how hot it feels when you get back to the parking lot! Because of where the sun sets, this park is also the perfect backdrop for lakeside golden hour photo shoots.


Swimming Fees

State Park: Ages 3-12, $3ea (weekday) $4ea (weekend). Ages 13-adult, $4 (weekday) $5 (weekend). Age 2 and under, FREE. Swimming is free for camping guests. *Parking fee also applies for admission to the park.

Community Park: Ages 4-adult, $3ea. Age 3 and under, FREE.


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