The summer of 2020 brought many new experiences into our lives. My social media feeds were filled with unique ideas to keep kids busy, bread-baking, new puppies, Pelotons, and more. We decided this season of our lives was ideal for investing in a water-front property on Lewis Smith Lake.
I grew up on the lakes of Wisconsin with much of my childhood summers spent on boats and jet skis. I never realized how much I took those opportunities for granted until I moved away.
Falling for Smith Lake
Our first introduction to Smith Lake occurred a few years ago when a co-worker invited us to enjoy a day with their family on their boat. I had never heard much about it, so my expectations were pretty low. That all changed when we arrived at the boat launch and got out on the water. I immediately felt at home and all my excitement for lake life resurfaced.
Smith Lake is a deep reservoir that spans across Cullman, Walker, and Winston Counties. The Smith Dam and water levels are controlled by Alabama Power and the entire area includes over 500 miles of shoreline. It is the deepest lake in Alabama with average water temperatures near 80 degrees. It has been recognized as one of the cleanest lakes in the United States.
My girls and I enjoyed the day on the clean, warm waters with friends. We enjoyed tubing, swimming, and looking at all the houses along the lakefront. I have always wanted to have one of those places on the water. But I honestly always thought when we were ready, it would be on the waters of Wisconsin where I grew up.
The Booming Real Estate Market
The summer of 2020 provided us with the opportunity to evaluate our financial situation and explore opportunities for different investments. The real estate market was booming, so I started sharing my wish list with the family. It didn’t take long for them to buy in and get excited about the possibilities of property on the water.
After several months of reviewing listings, meeting with a fantastic realtor, and visits to different properties, we finally landed on a home of our own in October 2020. Our primary objective was to have a place we can enjoy year-round with friends and family. We also wanted it to serve as an income stream when we have it ready for renters to enjoy.
Since purchasing the home on Smith Lake, we have learned even more about the area and different opportunities for fun. We have already spent many weekends there and can’t wait for the warmer weather to enjoy kayaks, boating, fishing, and more.
Three Things We Learned About Smith Lake Real Estate
If lake property is of interest to you, here are three things we learned on our journey that we found extremely helpful to know:
- Not all areas have water year-round. Since the water level is controlled by Alabama Power, certain areas will be without water–or with very low levels–during the winter months. If deep water is important to you, this is an important question to ask.
- In many places, access to the water comes with a serious climb. Gentle slopes down to a dock are available, but we found them more difficult to come by. We looked at many properties with steep drop-offs and long, winding staircases. We ultimately landed somewhere in between.
- The lake itself is somewhat hard to view by car. There are places where a bridge will cross the water, but in general, it’s a sprawling body of water that you can’t quite appreciate from one spot. This also means that the distance from home varies based on the different parts of the lake. We chose an area right at a 60 minute drive door-to-door. Other areas could be closer to two hours.
Areas in Smith Lake to Explore
Here are some opportunities at Smith Lake to enjoy with your family, even if you don’t own property on the water:
- Camping spots like Clear Creek or Hidden Cove
- Explore beautiful waterfalls in the Bankhead Forest including the Caney Creek Falls
- Enjoy camping, boat rentals, ski competitions, and a small public beach at Smith Lake Park in Cullman
- Endless fishing spots and fishing tournaments
- Restaurants with water views at Trident Marina, Arrowhead Marina, Brothers on Smith Lake, and more
We are a family who still enjoys a good beach trip, but we are looking forward to summertime a little closer to our home base. Smith Lake is a great place to explore as a day trip or secure a weekend rental for a fun time on the water.