covered bridgePeaks of Otter

Three mountains surround a pristine lake, plus spectacular views from 4,000 feet above sea level. Hiking trails, natural springs, waterfalls, restaurant, gift shop, travel lodge, campsites, flora and fauna galore.

The Peaks also feature Johnson Farm, a restored, museum quality, working farm, Polly Woods Ordinary (food, drink and lodging for early travelers), an Outdoor Amphitheatre (summer shows) and last of all, Balance Rock, a true natural wonder! (A boulder the size of a car is perched atop another one, and it wobbles back and forth like a rocking chair!) www.peaksofotter.com

mabry millMabry Mill

Working 19th century grist mill, it's the most photographed site on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway.

Mill Mountain Zoo

Wildlife exhibits, including the delightfully entertaining prairie dog colony. Also features a stunning overlook of Roanoke. www.mmzoo.org

Center in the Square

farmer's marketFeaturing science, history, and art museums, planetarium, 20 restaurants, 2 live performance stages and farmer's market. www.centerinthesquare.org

D-Day National Memorial

National monument to WW-II's turning point. 23 Bedford men made the ultimate sacrifice. (As a percentage of the town's population, it's more WWII casualties than any other city in the United States. And it all happened in one day!) www.dday.org     

county cabinBooker T Washington Park

Childhood home of the ex-slave and pioneer of education for black Americans. www.nps.gov/bowa

Transportation Museum of Virginia

Lovely collection with an emphasis on trains. Also features a nice assortment of local historical photos and memorabilia. www.vmt.org

Grandin Theatre

grandin theatreThis independent and locally owned treasure is meticulously maintained to look just like it did in the 1930's. Only the seats and projection equipment are modern. Truly a delightful cinema experience.

Poplar Forest

Beloved country retreat of President Thomas Jefferson. He designed and oversaw it's construction, and well as the landscaping, and called it "the most valuable" of his possessions."  

taubman museumTaubman Museum

Numerous artistic delights in a building so stunning it stands as art itself. www.taubmanmuseum.org


Don't forget the surrounding area when you need a little inspiration. This is the prettiest place in America! There are thousands of different mini vacations you can make with the Lake as your launching point. If you haven’t gone scenic driving to explore our delightful back roads, then you’re just plain depriving yourself. So if you have cabin fever, pick up your keys, jump in the car, and go! “Off the beaten path” heaven awaits. In a half-hour you can be someplace you’ve never seen before. Here are links to a few suggested stops, but personally, I find the back roads leading to no place special the most special of all!

Luray Caverns
Natural Bridge
Natural Tunnel


Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Exhibits, trails, swimming, boating, camping, and vacation cottages.
(540) 297-6066

Smith Mountain Lake Dam Visitor’s Center
Features a stunning overlook and a self guided tour that explains how hydro electric power generation works.  
(540) 985-2587

Raining? ...
Valley View Mall
120 stores and 16 theatres

More Rain? ...
Tanglewood Mall 
80 stores and 10 theatres