You’re sure to be dazzled at the array of water sports you can enjoy at beautiful Smith Mountain Lake. Water temperatures typically reach 80 degrees by early June and stay swim-comfortable right through September. Water is see-your-feet clear in all but the upper reaches of SML’s feeder rivers and creeks, and somehow feels extra refreshing in the deep coves down where Smith Mountain plunges right to the lake shore. For an especially memorable outing, take along a swim-platform picnic or evening hors d’oeuvres and anchor to float on noodles, life jackets or swim rafts.

Tow sports like tubing, skiing, wakeboarding and wake surfing are all the rage on SML: the adventuresome indulge and the more cautious enjoy watching from decks and docks. Tow-capable boats, both runabouts and pontoons, can be rented by the hour, day or week at nine different marinas. So can paddle boards and kayaks, but paddle craft often come with waterfront home rentals.

Sailing is popular and two sailing clubs host a series of spring and fall regattas for serious sailors. Power boaters can spend hours exploring SML’s many coves and creeks, poking in and out of countless coves and checking out lakefront properties.

Kids can enjoy catching sunfish right off the docks with no license required; professional guides will also help anglers find the lake’s great-eating striped bass. SML is home to some 24 on-water restaurants, and meal excursions by boat are popular. Fare ranges from fine dining to pizza, Mexican, burgers and other moderately-priced choices. An early-morning smooth-water run for pancakes and coffee is an absolute delight!

While there are a multitude of activities to beckon you out on and into the water, relaxing dock-lounging is also treasured activity here. Most lakefront properties have deep swimming water off their docks; some have gradual beaches. The SML Water Safety Council recommends that children wear life jackets whenever on, in or near the water.