Lake Laura is a mile-long, man-made lake near the border of the Virginia, West Virginia state line, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. The lake is surrounded by mountains, homes hidden in the trees high up on the shore.
We'd intended to launch our own kayak...
Literally up a creek without a paddle but not yet realizing it, we unloaded our tandem kayak at the boat launch at Lake Laura and prepared to launch, and then suddenly realized we were 2 hours away from home and that's where our paddles were!
(We've now named our kayak Charlie, after our sweet elderly beagle who loved loved LOVED car rides and who died a year ago, because all our kayak did that weekend was ride around, just as Charlie loved to do.)
Our daytrip was saved by the Bryce Resort kayak rental, which provided kayaks. Bryce Resort Boat Rental offers several options, in addition to sit-on-top kayaks. Paddleboards, paddleboats, canoes, and tubes are also available.
Don’t feel like swimming, but still want the view? Take a walk on the relaxing nature trail that wraps around the entire lake. The trail is open daily all year long and takes anywhere from one-and-a-half to two hours – an easy to moderate hike for all ages.
The Lake Laura Trail is beautiful any time of year and a fun activity with children as young as four years. Start from the Lake Laura Beach Area, the parking lot at the base of the dam, or the boat launch parking lot on the southern end of the lake.
Getting there: The boat launch is hard to find and I don't have an address for it. So. Get to Bryce Resort at 1982 Fairwview Drive, Basye VA. Then, turn onto Resort Drive, and follow it all the way out to Orkney Grade and turn right. Follow Orkney Grade to Happy Valley and turn left onto Happy Valley. Follow it until it forks (it basically looks like a T intersection) and turn left onto the gravel road. It looks as if you're making a wrong turn. Turn left there anyway. Follow it the gravel road to the lake and the rough boat launch.
The boat rental at Bryce Resort is at the opposite end of the lake. Get to Bryce Resort at 1982 Fairwview Drive, Basye VA. Then, turn onto Resort Drive, and follow it all the way out to Orkney Grade and turn left onto Orkney Grade. You'll start to go up the hill, but instead you'll turn right onto Arnold. Follow Arnold as it turns into a gravel road and then dead ends into a parking lot, at the base of the dam. To get to the rental place, you'll walk along the gravel path up and over the dam and up the hill on the other side.
Hours: Boat launch, dawn to dusk or whenever you feel safe on the lake. Bryce Resort Boat Rental is open May 25 – September 2, Monday - Friday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday - Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.