Virginia's Lake Anna

Where in the World - Virginia Breezin'

Virginia’s freshwater lakes provide opportunities for exploring recreation in beautiful, natural surroundings. Our third largest lake, Lake Anna, is less than an hour from the outskirts of Richmond, Charlottesville and Northern Virginia, and surrounded by a buffer of rural countryside. Created 40 years ago for the North Anna power plant, Lake Anna has attracted enough development to be convenient, but not enough to detract from the lure of nature. The 17-mile long lake has a “public side,” with a modest amount of commercial activity and a state park, and a private side, fed by warm waters from the power station.

My perfect day at Lake Anna begins from the shoreline, watching the sky brighten as I sip a cup of coffee, serenaded by the birds. If you fish, you might spend those early morning hours casting your line for largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, or other prizes, either on your own or with the help of local fishing guides. Since the lake was stocked when it was first created and annually thereafter, its depths provide plenty of fresh catch. 

Energized by the country air, I soon move past these sedentary moments to active time on the water. Lake recreation runs from tame to tantalizing, from floating on a raft with a glass of wine to testing your skill at an extreme water sport.

Ingredients for swimming fun abound at Lake Anna, too: the calm, clean water can be accessed from the shoreline or pier outside your rental home, from small community beaches or the state park recreational beach, or from off the side of the boat.

Kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards from Lake Anna Outfitters provide a great way to explore the cove and inlets contributing to the 225 miles of shoreline and 13,000 acres of water. As you paddle quietly along, you may spot one of the area’s bald eagles, osprey, water fowl, blue herons, kestrels, or hawks.

If you want a bit more power behind your boating, you can rent motorized watercraft, including the ever-popular jet skis and pontoon boats. You can cruise the lake on your own speedboat or water skis. If you’re a bit more extreme, you’ll be in good company at Lake Anna. I’ve tested my mettle in water skiing and knee boarding, but the locals here are also into wake surfing—catching the boat’s wake and riding it like an endless ocean wave. At Lake Anna, you can become immersed in the challenging water sports, or simply watch and marvel.

If you’re like me, it won’t take long to turn your inner clock to “lake time,” that glorious, vacation-induced state of relaxation. You can kick back in your vacation rental home or camp at the local private campground or the campsites and cabins of Lake Anna State Park. You can create your own meals in the lake house kitchen or campsite fire pit, or let one of the local restaurants do the work: rich double chocolate muffins at Not Just Mocha, hearty seafood at Tim’s, authentic sushi at Asian Café, or other local fare.

Whether you're interested in active travel or relaxation - or a little of both - you'll find your own lake time at this Central Virginia lake. 

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