If you’re wondering where to go swimming during your Blue Ridge Parkway trip, we’ve rounded up all the best spots for you here.
It’s important to note that while there are many beautiful streams, lakes, and waterfalls located right on the Parkway itself, swimming is not allowed in Parkway waters.
There are no shortage of great swimming holes nearby, as well as guided rafting tours, kayak rentals, tubing, and some beautiful lakeside rentals and accommodations with their own swimming holes and water features. Choose any of these below for a safe and fun day in the water during your Blue Ridge Parkway vacation.
Lakes to Visit on Your Parkway Trip
To begin with, here are some of the more popular area lakes for swimming in the regions of the Parkway. If your trip includes a stay or drive in any of these regions, you’re not too far from a great place to swim.
Blue Ridge Parkway Ridge Region
Blue Ridge Parkway Plateau Region
If you’re visiting Bedford, Franklin County, or the Roanoke areas of central Virginia on your Parkway trip, Smith Mountain Lake touches all three of these and is known for its sunsets and historic sites.
Blue Ridge Parkway Highlands Region
Lake James, the 6,000+ acre lake located in Lake James State Park in McDowell County, NC is a popular lake getaway for residents and visitors around the region.
Blue Ridge Parkway Pisgah Region
In charming Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure is another popular family-friendly swimming beach located right in the town of Lake Lure with restaurants and lodging nearby.
Lake Arrowhead Beach is located in the Lake Arrowhead Park of Luray, VA and is known for its shady wooded beauty.
Great Smoky Mountains Region
Lake Fontana is the largest lake in NC. Located near popular Bryson City, it includes public access swimming and facilities clearly marked along NC Hwy 28.
Where to Raft, Canoe, Kayak and Tube
If you’re looking for a more active adventure, you can rent a boat or canoe at Price Lake located right on the Parkway at Milepost 296.7.
You’ll also find rentals, tours, and opportunities for rafting, canoeing, kayaking and tubing at these places located just off the Parkway:
- Nantahala Outdoor Center
- Shenandoah River Outfitters
- Zaloo’s Canoes
- Rafting in the Smokies
- Twin River Outfitters
Overnight Accommodations with Onsite Swimming
While you’ll find many Blue Ridge Parkway area lodging providers have a swimming pool onsite, here are a few distinctive places to stay if swimming and fun in the water outside are at the top of your family’s must-haves list.
Massanutten Resort has all the amenities you’d expect – plus its own onsite water park!
For a budget-friendly family getaway, Bear Den Mountain Resort offers cabin rentals or camping and an onsite lake for swimming with a small beach area.
Wintergreen Resort offers both great views and a beautiful lake with its own beach – Lake Monocan.
Fontana Village Resort has pontoon, canoe, & kayak rentals, fishing guides, scenic lake cruises, and free boat launching for guests.
If waking to the serenity of a lake view is just what you need to get away from it all, these lodging providers offer lakeside rentals near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
But that’s not all! Even more water sports opportunities are available across the Blue Ridge Parkway regions.
We hope you enjoy some of these places to get in the water and cool off this summer with gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountain views as the backdrop.