Embedded in the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills, outdoor adventure waits for you around every turn in Franklin County, Va. If you’re looking for a day out on the water, the area’s rivers and lakes provide an abundance of spots to swim, kayak, or fish. Bordering the Blue Ridge Parkway to the west, it’s easy to go for a scenic drive or bike ride on the winding road. If there’s one thing that’s for sure, you won’t want to miss all that Franklin County has to offer.
Enjoy a relaxing day at Smith Mountain Lake Community Park, where you can access Virginia’s second-largest freshwater lake and over 500 miles of shoreline. Located directly across the water from Smith Mountain Lake State Park, there are a variety of activities you can choose from at this scenic park. Build a sandcastle at the public beach, go for a swim in the protected swimming lane, or cast a line from the fishing pier. Plus, with easy access to lodging and dining options around the lake, it’ll be hard to pull the family away from this spot.
The campground at Jamison Mill Park on Philpott Lake is the perfect place to set up camp before you head out on the water. As the smallest campground on the lake, featuring only 11 sites, this is a quiet spot to enjoy the natural beauty all around you. Each site comes with a picnic table and grill, as well as access to drinking water and a bathhouse. From the park, launch your non-motorized boat as you paddle out to Picnic Point or Beards Creek Inlet. You can even listen to live music without ever having to leave the water with the annual summer Concerts by Canoe series. Held at the Twin Ridge Recreation Area, paddle up for some pickin’ and grinnin’ as local and regional Appalachian musicians brave the floating stage
If you prefer to explore by land, check out the 15 miles of multi-use trails and over 10,000 feet of play in the new disc golf course at Waid Park. Make sure to warm up on the popular bike skills loops before hitting the flowy singletrack. Mountain bikers are sure to enjoy features such as a jump line, river crossings, and wooden ramps. The state-of-the-art disc golf course features a nine-hole beginner course and an 18-hole pro course, so you can perfect your skills and challenge your game all from one convenient spot. On the weekends, rent a tube to float down the Pigg River through the park, including the ability to customize the length of your trip.
In addition to all of its outdoor offerings, Franklin County is also the eastern gateway to the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. This 330-mile route connects music venues, concerts, jam sessions, and music history sites through 19 southwestern Virginia counties. If you’re a music fan, see if there’s a show playing during your visit at the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount or Coves Amphitheater on Smith Mountain Lake.
After spending a day outdoors, head into the charming small town of Rocky Mount, Franklin’s county seat, for a bite to eat. Fill up at Buddy’s BBQ, one of the tastiest spots in the area, before visiting the award-winning Chaos Mountain Brewing or the newly opened Living Proof Beer Company to grab a drink in the “Moonshine Capital of the World.”
When it comes time to plan your next trip, look no further than the mountains, waters, and parks of Franklin County, Va. It’s a trip you’ll be thinking back on for years to come.