Lake Anna is Lively Year-Round
If you’re planning a visit to beautiful Lake Anna, you may think that the only time is during the warm-weather months. Lake equals water. Water equals swimming, boating and other water ventures usually available when the weather is toasty. However, Lake Anna is a perfect getaway no matter what time of year. Each season paints the lake with vibrant colors, providing a picturesque vacation. The surrounding region is filled with charming towns, bursting with quaint shops and restaurants as well as fun, family-friendly events and festivals. Here’s a look at what each season can bring to your family vacation.
Things to Do Year-Round in Lake Anna
Spring in Lake Anna
Spring is when Lake Anna starts to come alive. Beautiful flower buds appear, painting the landscape with color. Start your visit at Lake Anna State Park. As you walk the trails, you’ll witness firsthand life sprouting forth—green leaves reappearing and blossoms everywhere. The park boasts 11 trails totaling over 15 miles giving you plenty of opportunities to take in this serene landscape.
Don’t want to walk? Visit a local stable and see the scenery atop a trail horse. Lake Anna State Park offers 12 miles of bridle trails to gallop and explore. Travel to Gordonsville and ride one of the same trails that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison used centuries ago.
Although it’s not quite warm enough for a dip, take a kayak or canoe out on the water. Spring is the official start of paddling season. With over 13,000 surface acres of fresh water, Lake Anna is a paddlers paradise. Visit Lake Anna’s many coves and see the wildlife reawaken from their winter slumber. Or use the cool spring breezes to slide across the waters in a sailboat. Spring is also when the fishing starts gearing up. Avoid the summer crowds, and be one of the first anglers on the water. For competitive anglers, there are fishing tournaments almost every weekend in Lake Anna.
Get a head start on your summer wardrobe at a local shop. Explore the quaint gift shops, antiques stores and local farmers markets in the area. Spotsylvania Towne Centre is a lively shopping destination featuring your favorite retail stores, restaurants and entertainment.
Take your family to experience a small-town festival. Get into the spirit of Easter in Louisa County with the Easter Eggstravaganza. Or learn about the city’s rich history, complete with 19th-century craftsmen, like blacksmiths and weavers, at Louisa’s Heritage Day in April. Spotsylvania hosts its annual Food Truck Rodeo competition in April as well. The Court House Village is filled with food trucks, as well as other food vendors, offering a wide selection of culinary pleasures.
Experience Virginia’s wine country at the Montpelier Wine Festival the first weekend in May. Sip and swirl on Virginia-made wines and ciders while you tour the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange. There’s something for the whole family, including arts and crafts, live music, food vendors, lawn games and a Most Marvelous Hat contest.
Summer in Lake Anna
It’s getting hot outside. Time to dive into the many water excursions available at Lake Anna. There’s so much to do—waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding, parasailing and more! This is Lake Anna’s peak season for a reason. Pack a picnic and head to the shore for swimming and beach volleyball. You’ll almost forget that you’re in central Virginia while you lounge and play on these white sand beaches. Fishing is at its height; the lake is bustling with life and energy—your family won’t want to leave the water.
However, if you can tear the family away, the nearby counties offer tons of fun excursions. There are amusement parks, racetracks, community pools, tons of restaurants and historic sites. A little something for every taste. When it gets hot outside, experience the indoor attractions. Take a trip to the Louisa Arts Center for a day of cultural enrichment. Or learn how Lake Anna was formed and why at the North Anna Nuclear Information Center.
Summer is prime time for gold hunting. Lake Anna State Park pays homage to the area’s history with Stampmill Sam’s Gold Adventure—a gold-themed event held during summer. The program includes a trip to Goodwin Gold Mine, where the area’s first gold was discovered, a lesson in the methods used to mine gold and a chance to do some gold panning yourself at Pigeon Run.
Cool off from the hot summer sun with a visit to a local brewery or cidery. Take a tour of the tasting room, then enjoy one of the seasonal craft beverages outside on the outdoor patio. Summertime pairs well with a party vibe, so it’s not uncommon to find live entertainment and food trucks on site during this peak season.
Summer months also mean town fairs, farmers markets and Fourth of July fireworks—all in the adorable towns surrounding the lake. As the sun sets, the fun isn’t over. There are live musical events on the lake and in nearby towns happening all summer long. Be sure to save the date for one of the region’s biggest events, the Mineral Bluegrass Festival, featuring loads of fun, food and the best in Appalachian music.
Fall in Lake Anna
The weather is cooling down, so fall is the time to get outdoors before the winter chill sets in. Why not plan a family camping trip? Without the scorching sun, your family will love hiking the trails surrounding Lake Anna. The trees become vibrant with color—the reds, yellows and oranges of a lovely fall landscape. Be sure to plan your visit around one of the local fall festivals in Louisa, Spotsylvania and Orange counties. Get the best of fall at Louisa County’s Fall Harvest Festival. The whole family will love the crafts, hayrides, live music and, of course, picking a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. The Lake Anna Grapes & Grains Festival is a can’t-miss event featuring craft beer, local wine and great food—all right on the lake.
There is so much rich history to experience in the regions around Lake Anna. Some of the most important battles of the Civil War happened just a short distance away. Fall is a great time to tour these important, historic locations, and learn about our nation’s history. Hike through Civil War battlefields like the Spotsylvania Battlefield—one of the most pristine in the entire state. Walk the same land where Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant fought. Historic homes in the region are also open to tour.
According to the Professional Golfers’ Association, fall is the best time of year to play golf. If you’re visiting Lake Anna, hit the links at one of the many golf courses in the region. Practice your swing on the Bermuda grass driving range. The peaceful rolling hills provide the perfect setting to lose your cares on the fairway. Just 30 minutes from the Lake in Locust Grove, golfers can experience the longest hole in the United States. Fore!
Fall is also the best time to experience Virginia’s wine country. The grape harvest begins in late summer and continues into the early fall. Some vineyards offer the opportunity to pick your own grapes. Yet, it’s the wine that’s the real draw. Take a tour of these amazing locations at the height of their beauty, with luscious grape bunches coloring the laden vineyards. Blaze your own tasting trail through wine country.
Winter in Lake Anna
Life slows down around Lake Anna in the winter. Yet, that may present a certain appeal to some. If you’re looking for a weekend of pure relaxation, a winter getaway may be exactly what you need. Book a rental home or visit one of the local bed and breakfasts for beautiful environments at a fraction of the cost.
Pork connoisseurs won’t want to miss Porkapalooza in February. The sleepy town of Gordonsville hosts “the greatest pork fest on earth,” as visitors from all across central Virginia come out for mouth-watering, all-you-can-eat barbecue.
Don’t let the cold weather scare you off the lake. Local anglers know that Lake Anna is still a prime for fishing, so don’t pack up the fishing equipment quite yet. The North Anna Power Station keeps the lake several degrees warmer than normal lakes. That warm water makes Lake Anna a refuge for both baitfish and gamefish, especially striped bass and largemouth bass. Brace the winter chill and enter the Lake Anna Winter Series fishing tournaments from November–January.
Take some time to pamper yourself with a trip to a nearby spa. Treat yourself to a massage, fascial or even a yoga session. Or mix up your hairstyle before the new year. Many spas also offer salon services, including hair, manicure and pedicure. The laid-back atmosphere of Lake Anna calls upon you to invest in some self-care.
Christmas is celebrated with zeal in the quaint counties. See a small-town parade or get cocoa and crafts at the local Christmas fair. The Louisa Christmas Festival and Parade are holiday traditions that have been going on since 1742. Board a trolley or hitch a hay ride through a forest of lights at the Festival of Lights in Bumpass. Explore downtown Orange as it transforms into an old-fashioned village at the start of December. The streets are filled with holiday music, seasonal vendors and, of course, Santa.
Without the crowds, you can get right in to the best restaurants without waiting. Lake Anna and the nearby cities and towns offer some unforgettable cuisine. If you are a gourmand, you may want to plan your visit around Louisa County’s Restaurant Week, happening in February. This is a great opportunity to visit the county’s diverse restaurants at a discounted price.
If you can’t decide which season is right for you, you may just have to visit Lake Anna several times a year! Each season holds a special delight you won’t want to miss.
Be sure to visit LakeAnnaGuide.com for more great attractions plus the most up-to-date Calendar of Events.