virginia beach virginia


Lake Smith and Lake Lawson Natural Area Improvements

Published: September 17, 2012
The Lake Smith and Lake Lawson Natural Area is a network comprised of three wooded waterfront peninsulas newly designated as a Virginia Beach natural area.

Located in the northwestern part of Virginia Beach, the Lake Lawson and Lake Smith Natural Area is a 42-acre preserve with more than 12,200 feet of shoreline.

Improvements were developed to have a low environmental impact and include green design elements. The plans feature a new boat launch, restrooms, playground, pedestrian bridge and walking trails.

Construction will begin this fall and is scheduled for completion in late spring of 2013. The area will be closed to the public while construction is underway. The first phase of development will include implementation of the following features:
New boat launch area

Car and trailer parking

Shoreline stabilization

Shore fishing areas/platforms

Pedestrian bridge

Overlook platforms

Additional parking (further down Shell Road)


Office/restroom building


Education shelter

Floating dock (additive bid item – depending on construction bid submittals)
The properties that comprise the Lake Lawson and Lake Smith Natural Area were acquired via the City of Virginia Beach’s Open Space Acquisition program between 2005 and 2009.
According to Brian Solis of the the Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation: "Currently, the site is used for a variety of recreational activities including bank fishing, boat fishing, motorized boating, kayaking and canoeing, picnics, as well as walking and hiking."

Parks and Recreation staff is exploring additional programmed activities such as hiking for kids, basic birding, orienteering and geocaching, city-organized overnight camping, archery, a low ropes course and more.
The Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Master Plan was established in December 2010 with input from the public.
For more information on this plan, contact Brian Solis at or by calling (757) 385-1109.