And Escape to Philpott Lake
Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy a little rest & relaxation, but many American workers are not maximizing their ability to get away. According to a study by PGi, a global conferencing provider, Americans do not use an average of 2 out of every 14 vacation days each year. This adds up to more than $34 billion in wasted vacation time!
Taking a break from work is beneficial for your physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Do your body a favor and claim those well-deserved vacation days with a visit to Philpott Lake in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Located just an hour west of Danville, Philpott Lake provides a convenient escape that’s perfect for a day-trip, weekend excursion, or week-long vacation.
Philpott Lake is a 3,000 acre man-made reservoir operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. It is located in Southern Virginia in the counties of Henry, Patrick, and Franklin. Philpott Dam and Lake was created in the 1950s, primarily for flood control and hydropower. Today recreational opportunities abound throughout the area because of this resource. Families can enjoy hiking, biking, paddling, swimming, boating, geocaching, hunting, and fishing, just to name a few.
Camping is a fun family activity at the lake and reservations for the lake’s most popular parks are made several months in advance. Sites for RV’s, pop-up campers, and tents are available. If camping is not your preference, there are plenty of hotels, cabins, and B&Bs nearby so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
The best way to begin any trip to Philpott Lake is to step into the Philpott Lake Visitor Center in Bassett. There you can pick up free lake maps and fishing guides and also browse a cultural history exhibit about Philpott Lake and how the dam was constructed. Walk outside to the overlook and enjoy a breathtaking view of Philpott Lake to your left as well as an equally amazing structure created by man as you view Philpott Dam to your right. The view over Philpott Lake is magnificently framed by the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.
Philpott is a pristine getaway. You will not see condominiums or homes along the shoreline or party barges on the water. It’s a simple, quiet place to relax and unwind. The agenda is completely up to you, which means you can choose to hang your hammock by the lake to relax, get out on the water for a little more adventure, or numerous other activities.
Philpott’s nine boat launches make access to the lake convenient for canoes, kayaks, and motorboats. You can explore many waterfalls and rocky cliffs from the water. One of the better known points of interest is Emberson Falls, located between mile markers 10 and 11 on the lake. Cool mountain water cascades down the side of a rock face providing a great photo op and fun place to drop anchor and enjoy the afternoon.
Another exciting place to paddle up to is Bowen’s Creek Falls. Truly a “hidden gem,” the tight cove where the creek enters the lake is shaded by overhanging trees. Mountain water flows through a series of drops before entering the lake and creates a light fog on warmer days. This all natural air-conditioning can drop temperatures in the immediate area of the falls by up to 20 degrees. An oasis of cool on a hot summer day, this is one point of interest to not miss!
Boaters can also enjoy exploring the lake’s three islands. Named in respect to their sizes, Rabbit Island and Turkey Island offer picnicking opportunities, while the more adventurous boater can choose to stay overnight on Deer Island at the lake’s only boat-in campground.
Philpott Lake is a family-friendly destination. Children of all ages will enjoy spending time at playgrounds located in each of the lake’s parks, especially the new playground at Bowen’s Creek Park, which is fully handicapped accessible. Six public swimming beaches are also open for enjoyment during the summer months.
Boaters and campers have a new amenity to enjoy this summer with the addition of Philpott Marina. Located on the lake near Boat Ramp #1, the marina offers a fuel slip and store that is fully stocked with all the essential supplies that boaters, fishermen, and campers need. Even if you do not own a boat, visitors can enjoy a hot dog or ice cream from the marina deck while watching the boats come in and out.
When you need a break from the lake, head to nearby Martinsville for dining, shopping, and fun. You can see exciting attractions like Martinsville Speedway, the Smithsonian-affiliated Virginia Museum of Natural History, and a growing arts and entertainment scene. Close proximity to the lake and affordable prices make this a getaway that won’t hurt your wallet.
Take back your vacation time, reconnect with love ones and unwind this summer at Philpott Lake. You’ll thank yourself when you return back to work relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world.