Claytor Lake is a park, lake and stunning wilderness area ideal for swimming, picnicking, hiking, and much more. The full-service marina in the beautiful state of Virginia includes everything from docking slips and bike rentals and everything in between. Additional amenities include a fishing pier, a playground, two gift shops and historic Howe House. Whether you stay on the lake or in the mountains, you can find your ideal Claytor Lake vacation rental made for family fun memories. To help you get the smiles started, here’s a list of the top 12 Claytor Lake vacation rental locations.

1. Claytor Lake

trees at the park

You’ll feel light-years away from the hustle and bustle of city living when you stay at Claytor Lake, home to scenic Claytor Lake State Park with picnic shelters and pavilions that boast charcoal grills. Everywhere you look, extraordinary scenic views of the lake or mountains encompass your adventures. Claytor Lake Water Sports offers a chartered evening tour of the lake with a boat captain who takes care of the driving, leaving you and your family to enjoy your onboard picnic and sightseeing. The company also rents boats, along with skiing and tubing packages if desired. As the park features four miles of biking trails, you can also rent bikes from the same place. The closest shopping and dining opportunities are in Dublin, about 20 minutes away.

2. Radford

museum building

Whether you opt for a Radford vacation rental downtown or down on the waterfront of Claytor Lake, you can find more adventures than one day can handle. Swimming, fishing, boating and picnicking at the lake take care of plenty of vacation hours. The Glencoe Museum takes you back to Victorian days before the Civil War when you enter Confederate Brigadier General Gabriel C. Wharton’s home. The house features furniture, art exhibits and artifacts from the New River Valley and beyond. The art gallery exhibits range from traditional to modern, including photography and paintings. To indulge your curiosity in the macabre, a nighttime tour of the abandoned St. Albans Sanitorium should do the trick. Paranormal teams tout it as a very active location not recommended for the faint-hearted.

3. Hiwassee

reflection of nature

Hiawassee vacation rentals located amongst rustic, backwoods settings allow you to collect your thoughts and reconnect with your family in serenity and peace. Appalachian Waters fishing tour company guides visitors on personal fishing trips along the New River. You can float the river while participating in your choice of fly fishing or spin fishing for smallmouth bass or trout. If you prefer to create your own adventure, Mountain 2 Island rents paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, pontoon boats and electric boats.

4. Draper

blooming autumn trees

Your dream vacation in the mountains comes true when you stay in Draper. Your vacation rental gives you easy access to the Blue Door Restaurant, the quaint Village Shoppes and the Mercantile, where you can browse local foods and bakery items. If you bring your golf clubs, Draper Golf Course presents options for nine or 18 holes of golf on a course designed to fit in with nature.

5. Allisonia

trees and lake

Allisonia is all about that bass fishing, especially striped bass and smallmouth bass. If you bring or rent a boat and trailer, it’s free to use the public boat ramp where New River enters Claytor Lake. From there you can boat about 15 miles to Claytor Lake State Park or go upstream on New River. Straight across the river from the boat ramp is a good spot to go bass fishing. While staying in this quaint little village, you can enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing on New River and the lake from the public ramp as well.

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6. Pearisburg

clean hiking trail

Pearisburg’s rustic surroundings create a mountain vacation paradise for people who love outdoor activities. Experienced hikers like to take their dogs out to Angel’s Rest, a five-and-a-half trail that includes lovely wild flowers, the mossy forest floor and pure, sweet mountain air. It is a lightly traveled, uphill hike that is beautifully worth the effort. A less strenuous family day at Back Country Ranch offers your family a chance to visit with some alpacas and llamas as you learn about the animals. It’s a 63-acre farm that is beautifully situated among rolling pastures and mountain vistas. Grabbing some grub is easy at Friends and Family Restaurant, a friendly little spot where the locals go to enjoy American country cooking.

7. Christiansburg

hot air balloon above the meadow

When you say you want to do something different, Christiansburg is the place to do it. Besides being the county seat of Montgomery County, it’s a city that sprawls on out into more rural digs. Your vacation rental can put you close to Huckleberry Trail for hiking, biking and plain old walking. The Starlite Drive-In Theater gives your family the rare opportunity to catch a couple of flicks after sunset in the comfort of your own vehicle or wherever you want to sit. When you’re ready for something that’s really over the top, Virginia Hot Air Balloon Rides features rides that soar up to 2,000 feet above the earth and float silently, soothingly above the breathtaking landscape.

8. Narrows

waterfalls
Source: Flickr / Ray Bouknight

Narrows got its name from the narrowing of New River where it meets with Wolf Creek. In this mountain community, you can find a general store, a local brewery and a gift shop that features items made by local artisans, including alpaca socks. To get in some hiking, head over to Mill Creek Nature Park where 140 acres of mountain land offers hiking and biking trails, waterfalls and fishing in a mountain stream. For a quieter day go to the Narrows Duck Pond and Mill Dam located at the edge of downtown, which offers visitors a chance to relax and watch the geese and ducks.

9. Pulaski

bicycle parked on the road
Source: theratcliffemuseum.com

When you stay in Pulaski, you can expect interesting days and peaceful nights, served up with pure mountain hospitality. A thrilling little gem that suits this quaint town is the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Transportation Museum. Besides scale model railroads and trains, the museum features two of Pulaski’s historic fire trucks on permanent display: a 1909 International Harvester and a 1917 LaFrance pumper. Other antique vehicle displays occur on rotation. When you stop to dine at one of the local eateries, the locals are glad to direct you to some good hiking or fishing spots. If your family loves a good challenge, the Draper Mountain Bike Trail offers about seven miles of adventure.

10. Dublin

fishing boats at rest

Dublin sprawls over several miles between the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and Claytor Lake. Besides dining, shopping, and local attractions, your vacation rental includes easy access to the D.C. Wysor Observatory and Museum. Located on the grounds of the Dublin Elementary School, it began in 1969 with a hand-built telescope. Later upgraded with a larger telescope and a computerized location and projection system, the Observatory allows visitors on the first floor to view images without having to climb up to the dome. After a starry Friday night at the observatory, whether you want to go sailing or rent a pontoon boat, head over to Rock House Marina. If you’re inclined to fish, Mike’s Tackle Shop inside the marina sells all the fishing tackle and bait you need for a day on the lake.

11. Salem

historical home

Nestled between the Alleghany and Blue Ridge Mountains along the Roanoke River, Salem captures all of the breathtaking beauty and charm of the Shenandoah Valley. You might spend the day visiting museums, frolicking with the kids, or marveling at the beauty of underground caverns. You can get lunch or enjoy tea and scones at White Oak Tea Tavern, which is housed in historic Preston Place and is the oldest house in town. Tavern service operations complement the colonial atmosphere of the 1821 house and feature an open-air cafe during mild weather. Head to the Thunder Valley Family Entertainment Center later on for go-karts, laser tag, mini golf and an arcade to keep the kids busy for hours.

12. Floyd

old windmill

Perched atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, Floyd offers a unique and surprising array of arts, entertainment, nature, history and family activities. The beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway winds through the county and passes close by the Mabry Mill, drawing more visitors than any other scenic stop along the Parkway. In town, the Floyd County Historical Society Museum exhibits include a moonshine still from the 1800s, a treadle sewing machine and many other artifacts that tell the story of the Native Americans and the settlers who once lived in the area. Just down the street from the only traffic light, the Floyd Country Store offers a place to order a sandwich, catch some live mountain music or browse barrels of candies and gifts. While checking out the delights tucked away on the mountain you should visit the Floyd Center for the Arts.

 
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