Four blue graduation caps raised in the air.

Complete Guide to Smith Mountain Lake Schools

Smith Mountain Lake schools transcend traditional boundaries, encompassing diverse opportunities that cater to every stage of life. 

Comprehensive public and private schools at Smith Mountain Lake (K-12), acclaimed colleges and universities, career and technical schools and lifelong learning opportunities make SML not only a scenic haven but also a dynamic center for learning and personal development.

Four blue graduation caps raised in the air.

Public Schools at Smith Mountain Lake

In Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania counties, public schools are recognized for providing quality education. These systems offer specialized programs for high achievers, career and technical exploration centers, STEM resources and collaborations with local community colleges to earn college credits while in high school. 

Beyond academics, you’ll find a robust extracurricular scene with accomplished sports teams, diverse clubs and a focus on performing arts.

Private Schools at Smith Mountain Lake

Students and teachers gather outside SML Christian Academy.
Courtesy of SMLCA

In recent years, private education has experienced significant growth, with Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy on the Bedford County side leading the way. Serving more than 550 students from K-12, the academy prides itself on providing Biblical integration with academic rigor, state-of-the-art facilities, and vibrant athletic and performing arts programs.

Christian Heritage Academy in Rocky Mount also offers an alternative choice for families seeking a private education. With a focus on values-based learning, Christian Heritage Academy is inter-denominational and provides a structured and supportive environment for students to thrive academically, spiritually and personally.

Embracing a holistic approach to education, One Forest School in Huddleston combines traditional academics with a deep appreciation for nature and outdoor learning. Students at One Forest School not only gain knowledge in conventional subjects but also cultivate a connection with the environment, fostering a well-rounded and hands-on educational experience.

Colleges Near Smith Mountain Lake

The chapel at Ferrum College set against a bright blue sky.
Courtesy of Ferrum College

Ferrum College, just 40 minutes west of Smith Mountain Lake, is a four-year private liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Established in 1913, it offers more than 30 undergraduate majors and minors, along with a handful of graduate programs.

Known for its scenic campus, close-knit community, accomplished athletic programs and commitment to community service, Ferrum College is an excellent option for higher education at Smith Mountain Lake.

A little further out in cities such as Bedford, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Blacksburg and Charlottesville are a number of community colleges, renowned private colleges and major universities, and excellent options for those seeking degrees in the healthcare field.  View an extensive list here.

Career and Technical Schools at Smith Mountain Lake

The red brick exterior of The Franklin Center in Rocky Mounta, VA.
Courtesy of The Franklin Center

In downtown Rocky Mount, The Franklin Center for Advanced Learning and Enterprise provides diverse classes and services. From employment training to small business development, GED classes, English courses for speakers of other languages, and certifications for CPR, first aid, and hunter safety, the center serves as a practical resource for skill enhancement.

Lifelong Learning and Camps at Smith Mountain Lake

An aerial of the Skelton 4-H Center with abundant green space; participants in a Roads Scholar program Smith Mountain Lake in the background.
Courtesy of W.E. Skelton-4-H-Educational Conference Center

Right on the shores of Smith Mountain Lake, the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Center hosts Road Scholar programs, attracting adults worldwide for educational experiences and excursions.

Recognizing the importance of fostering curiosity and a love for learning from a young age, the center offers a range of youth-focused programs, workshops and camps. These tailored activities cover an array of subjects, from environmental science and outdoor education to team-building exercises and leadership development.

Moreover, the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Center serves as a host for family-oriented programs with interactive workshops, outdoor adventures, and hands-on activities designed to strengthen familial bonds while imparting valuable knowledge.

List of Colleges and Universities Near Smith Mountain Lake

In parenthesis is the approximate driving time from Bridgewater Plaza, centrally located between Franklin and Bedford counties.

Bedford (30 minutes)

Roanoke/Salem (40-60 minutes)

Lynchburg (45 minutes)

Martinsville (1 hour)

Danville (1 hour, 15 minutes)

Blacksburg (1 hour, 20 minutes)

Radford (1.5 hours)

Lexington (1.5 hours)

Charlottesville (2 hours)

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