The park is located one hour from both Richmond and Northern Virginia and is on the site of the old Goodwin Gold Mine. Gold was discovered here in 1829! Sadly, mining reached its peak during the 1880s.
Then in 1971 Lake Anna was created to serve as a water coolant for Virginia Power’s nuclear plant. The area became a Virginia State Park in 1983.
Today many visit the park to enjoy the large 13,000 acre lake and to explore the area and see if they might discover some gold. The park offers guided tours of the mine and gold panning programs.
The visitor center’s Goldmine Gift Shop has souvenirs and information about the area and also exhibits on the history of the area’s gold mining and natural features of the park.
Here are some of the other activities that you can do during your visit to Lake Anna State Park:
Swimming at Lake Anna State Park
A special feature of Lake Anna State Park is that visitors can swim year round! The reservoir’s temperature is warm year-round because its water is used as a coolant for the local nuclear plant.
The park’s designated beach area has a nice sandy beach and lots of grass adjacent to it. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day guarded swimming is available for an additional fee (unless you’re an overnight guest). You may swim at other times at your own risk.
A bathhouse-concession complex is open seasonally and the snack bar has nachos, hotdogs, chicken fingers, fries and other goodies. Picnic areas are nearby.
Boating at Lake Anna State Park
No boat rentals are available inside the park at this time but you can bring your own kayak, canoe, paddle board or other small boat and launch from the public boat launch. This is a great way to enjoy this large beautiful lake.
Fishing at Lake Anna State Park
Lake Anna is known for being a great spot to catch bass, black crappie, bluegill, bream, catfish and white perch. Fish from your boat or the shore. A small fishing pond, located near the visitor center, is perfect for children and is universally accessible.
Remember to pick up a Virginia freshwater fishing license.
Trails at Lake Anna State Park
Lake Anna State Park has more than 15 miles of trails that wind through forest, fields, rocky streams and along the lake. Most of these trails are open for pedestrians, mountain bikers and horseback riders (remember to carry a negative Coggins report for each horse brought into the park).
Here are a few of the popular trails within the park:
- Railroad Ford Trail – This easy 1.8 mile self-guided trail is well marked, peaceful and offers breathtaking views of the lake.
- Old Pond Trail – Easy .2 mile interpretive trail that starts at the visitor center and loops around the fishing pond.
- Goodwin Gold Mine Loop – A 6.8 mile moderate trail through the woods, across streams, past sawmill ruins and up to the old gold mine.
- Fisherman’s Trail – An easy .8 mile walk that starts at the boat launch and follows along the lake to the picnic area and playground.
Wildlife Viewing at Lake Anna State Park
The park’s large lake, pond, rocky streams, open fields and forest area offer ideal conditions for lots of wildlife viewing. While exploring you’re sure to come across deer, squirrels, raccoons, opossum as well as many birds.
Native and migrating songbirds and waterfowl appear everywhere during the summer. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, wild turkeys, ducks, geese, sparrows, warblers and eastern bluebirds.
While swimming, boating or fishing in the lake watch out for copperhead snakes, alligator snapping turtles and possibly piranha!
Camping at Lake Anna State Park
Lake Anna State Park has many choices for overnight accommodations – tent and RV camping, camping cabins, lake view cabins and lodges, yurts and a bunkhouse.
The camping season runs from the first Friday in March through the first Monday in December and bathhouses and coin-operated laundry facilities are available during that time. The rustic cabins and lodges are open year round for reservations.
Here’s a closer look at each of these accommodations:
- Campground – the park has 23 standard sites for tents, RVs or popups up to 60 feet long and 23 sites with water and electricity hookups for RVs, popups or tents up to 60 feet long. The electric connections are 20-, 30- and 50-amp.
- Yurts – The 4 yurts are located in a wooded section of the park where there is more shade and privacy. Each yurt sleeps 3 and has a dining table, chairs, sofa, large wooden deck, picnic table, a grill, fire ring and water spigot. There’s no electricity, heat or air conditioning and no smoking, cooking or pets allowed inside. Bring your own linens and extra sleeping bags if needed.
- Camping Cabins – The park also has 6 camping cabins that can each sleep up to 4 people. These rustic cabins have 2 sets of bunk beds, a table and chairs and a porch with 2 rocking chairs. They have electricity but no bathroom, kitchen, fireplace, heat or air conditioning. Each cabin also has a picnic table, fire ring and lantern post outside.
- Bunkhouse – The Bunkhouse is a 3 room climate controlled trailer that sleeps up to 14 guests. It has 7 bunk beds, a refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker and electric outlets plus a deck, fire ring, and picnic shelter.
- Cabins – The park has 10 two-bedroom cabins that sleep 6 to 8. (Seven of these have views of the lake) Each cabin has a fully equipped kitchen and combined dining and living room area with rustic furniture plus an outside wraparound deck. Cabins do not have a dishwasher, washer/dryer, telephone, tv or linens.
- Lodges – The 2 family sized lodges each sleep up to 16 and have gorgeous views of the lake. Each lodge has 6 bedrooms, 3 baths and an open floor plan kitchen, dining area and living room, all with comfortable rustic style furniture. They also each have a large front and back porch with a picnic table and grill.
Whether you stay in a cabin or lodge you will need to bring your own linens, pillows, warm blankets (it can get very chilly at night), food, dishwashing liquid, dish towels, coffee and filters, salt and pepper, bath towels and toiletries and activities such as board games, cards, magazines and books.
Pets at Lake Anna State Park
Pets are allowed inside the park but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet or in an enclosed area. There’s an additional $10 fee per pet per night for the bunkhouse, cabins and lodges. Please clean up after your pet and do not leave them unattended at any time.
Lake Anna State Park
6800 Lawyers Rd
Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA 22551
Open Daily 7am-dusk
*Day-use parking areas near the beach and picnic areas fill up quickly on summer weekends and holidays. When this happens, the park road may be closed until parking spots open up later in the afternoon.
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Lake Anna State Park: