Discover 5 Stunning Lakes in Virginia That Have Sandy Beaches

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: July 11, 2023
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Virginia is a state brimming with natural beauty and diverse landscapes. While many may associate the state with its rich history, Virginia is home to over 176,000 acres of lakes and thousands of miles of shoreline. These stunning lakes provide the perfect opportunity for residents and visitors alike to bask in the sun, splash in crystal clear waters, and enjoy sandy beaches.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an adventurous outing, Virginia’s lakes offer something for everyone. In this article, we will explore 5 of the most stunning lakes in Virginia that have sandy beaches, highlighting the numerous recreational activities and comfortable accommodations available for visitors.

1.      Lake Anna

Aerial view of Lake Anna Virginia in autumn

Lake Anna is one of the most popular lakes for swimming and recreation in the state of Virginia.


Lake Anna is one of the most popular lakes in Virginia, located in Spotsylvania and Louisa counties. The lake offers more than 20 square miles of water, with several beaches spread around its shoreline. Lake Anna State Park is one of the major attractions with a beach, camping, more than 15 miles of hiking trails, and much more. Lake Anna State Park’s swimming beach is the perfect destination for visitors looking to relax on the sand or take a dip in the refreshing water.

In addition to swimming, visitors can also enjoy boating, water skiing, and fishing. Lake Anna is also home to extensive parkland, including a fishing pond, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Whether you’re looking for a scenic getaway or an active outdoor adventure, Lake Anna offers something for everyone.

2.      Smith Mountain Lake

Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia

Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia has 500 miles of shoreline.

©Noel V. Baebler/

Smith Mountain Lake is a popular destination in Virginia for those looking to relax on a sandy beach and explore the great outdoors. The lake offers over 500 miles of shoreline and numerous sandy beaches, including Smith Mountain Lake State Park Beach. At the State Park Beach, visitors can swim in the clear water or relax on the sand, and picnic areas and changing facilities are also available.

Fishing is also a popular activity at Smith Mountain Lake, offering an opportunity to catch bass, catfish, crappie, and perch. In addition to swimming and fishing, the lake offers a range of recreational activities, including boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, and water skiing.

For those looking for a more adventurous trip, hiking, and biking trails are also available in the area. With so many activities to enjoy and beautiful scenery to explore, Smith Mountain Lake is a great destination for a family vacation or a romantic getaway.

3.      Hungry Mother Lake

Dawn breaks on a cold and misty autumn morning at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia.

Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia is a vacation destination with over 1000 acres of stunning scenery.

©Anne Katherine Jones/

Hungry Mother Lake is a beautiful vacation destination located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The park encompasses over 1000 acres of natural beauty, with nearly 7 miles of shoreline, and a sandy beach with bathhouse facilities. The beach is a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying various water sports. The lake is also the perfect spot for fishing, with an abundance of catfish, bass, and trout.

In addition to swimming and fishing, Hungry Mother Lake and the surrounding area offer numerous recreational activities. For hikers, there are more than 17 miles of trails to explore, including the challenging Molly’s Knob Trail, which offers spectacular views of the region. Visitors can also enjoy boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding on the lake, or relax at any of the several picnic areas or playgrounds located around the lake.

Hungry Mother Lake is also an excellent destination for those interested in history and culture. The park offers opportunities to learn about Virginia’s Native American and pioneer heritage. The park also holds numerous cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and educational programs.

4.      Lake Moomaw

Lake Moomaw, Bath County, Virginia

Lake Moomaw is a gorgeous lake located in Bath County, VA.

©Michele M Cook/

Lake Moomaw, located in Bath County, Virginia, is a popular destination that offers numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. One of the main attractions at Lake Moomaw is the sandy beaches that line its shores, providing visitors with the perfect spot to sunbathe, swim, or enjoy a variety of water sports. The cool and clear water of Lake Moomaw also draws water enthusiasts to go kayaking, canoeing, and enjoy fishing.

There are several recreational activities that visitors can enjoy in and around Lake Moomaw. There are over 40 miles of hiking trails, which are great for hiking and mountain biking. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding are popular activities at nearby Hidden Valley and Homestead Resorts.

For those who want to enjoy the beauty of the lake from the water, boat ramps are available to launch your own watercraft. Additionally, there are pontoons, canoes, kayaks, and fishing boats available for rent at the Twin Ridge Marina. If you’re interested in fishing, the lake is known for its bass, catfish, and various species of trout.

5.      Lake Fairfax Park

The trees are turning colors in Lake Fairfax park with the beginning of Autumn.

Lake Fairfax is in the center of Lake Fairfax park and is a popular spot for a variety of water-related recreations.

©Joe Benning/

Lake Fairfax Park is an expansive county park located in Reston, Virginia, that offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors of all ages. The park’s centerpiece is Lake Fairfax, which features a sandy beach that provides a spot for swimming and basking in the sun. The beach is staffed with lifeguards and is open for swimming from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

In addition to swimming, Lake Fairfax Park offers a range of other recreational activities. Visitors can rent paddle boats, kayaks, and rowboats to explore the lake or rent bikes to explore the park’s numerous trails. There is also an 18-hole mini-golf course, a carousel and a playground for children.

For those who enjoy camping, the park offers both campsites and cabins for rent. The campsites are spacious with access to restrooms, showers, and electric hookups. The cabins are air-conditioned and feature kitchens, bathrooms, and showers.

Lake Fairfax is also an excellent place for fishing and is open for fishing year-round. The lake has a variety of fish, including catfish, bass, sunfish, black crappie, bluegills, channel catfish, and bullhead. A Virginia fishing license is required to fish in the lake, and fishing is accessible for shoreline fishermen. It’s also worth noting, Lake Fairfax hosts a Kid’s Fishing Derby annually for local youth. There are several fishing reports available for Lake Fairfax, which provide information on fishing spots and baits to use.

Summary of 5 Stunning Lakes in Virginia with Sandy Beaches

Lake NameFeaturesAmenities
Lake Anna20 square miles of waterSwimming, boating, water skiing, fishing
Smith Mountain Lake500 miles of shorelineSwimming, fishing, boating, hiking
Hungry Mother Lake1000 acres of natural beautySwimming, fishing, water sports, hiking, festivals
Lake Moomaw40 miles of hiking trailsSwimming, fishing, water sports, hiking, skiing
Lake FairfaxSurrounded by huge parkSwimming, fishing, boating, camping
Table of 5 Stunning Lakes in Virginia with Sandy Beaches

In Conclusion

As you can see, Virginia is home to an impressive number of stunning lakes with gorgeous sandy beaches. Each one of these lakes boasts a distinct beauty that attracts visitors from all around the globe. Whether you want to soak up the sun, take a dip in crystal-clear waters, fish, or enjoy a variety of water sports, Virginia’s lakes have something for everyone. With such incredible scenery, it’s no wonder that these natural wonders have become such popular vacation destinations. Visit any of these lakes, and you’re sure to enjoy a fantastic lake experience that you’ll never forget!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Erin HG/

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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