Lake Martin is a haven of special memories for many of us. It’s a place where folks come to unwind, create family bonding moments, and tell dock-side stories that last a lifetime. It’s a timeless destination- and no wonder why it would be a perfect choice for your engagement.
When thinking of your dream place to propose, it is easy to get stumped on creative ideas. After all, it’s a story you two will share for years to come. And everyone will want to know, “how did you do it?”
And I am excited to say, I am writing this article based on my own proposal at Lake Martin, so I have a few ideas that can help you have the perfect engagement too.
Do You Know What You Want For Christmas?
This past fall, I had the dream proposal of a lifetime at Lake Martin. It honestly was like something out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. And above all, it was a complete surprise.
It was the day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday to be exact. Word on the street was Santa Claus was going to be at Russell Crossroads for their annual holiday celebration, and Stephen and I thought it would a great opportunity to snap a few photos for our Christmas card this year.
When we arrived, Russell Crossroads was already buzzing with excitement from the festival, and we took our place in line with all the eager kids and their parents waiting to see Santa on the big stage. We laughed as we waited, joking about what we would say if Santa asked us what we wanted for Christmas. A weekend getaway? Our college football team winning the Iron Bowl?
Well, that’s when it happened. We finally took our seats on Santa’s lap and Stephen asked me, a bit more seriously, if I knew what I wanted for Christmas. I laughed, thinking he was still joking.
But that’s when Stephen stood up. It was in that moment that he says, “Well, I do know what I want ….”
As he got down on one knee, there was a sudden realization of what this was all about. I was overwhelmed with surprise and excitement as Stephen asked me to marry him. Santa laughed – he was just as surprised as I was! And the crowd clapped and cheered as Stephen slipped the ring on my finger.
Proposing with Santa, and both of our reactions, makes it a fun story that we now love to share with everyone who asks!
Your engagement proposal is one of the most exciting days of your life! And you too can have a fairy tale engagement at Lake Martin. Whether you are looking to put on a big show or prefer an intimate, private setting – here is our list of Top 10 places on the lake to pop the big question.
Top 10 Engagement Spots At Lake Martin
1. Smith Mountain Fire Tower
Hands down, the Smith Mountain Fire Tower has some of the most exceptional views of Lake Martin available. Along with endless hiking trails and a scenic pavilion rest stop, the tower most famously has an overlook enclosure at the very top, offering 360-degree views of both picture-perfect woods and miles of Lake Martin shorelines that stretch as far as the eye can see.
This spot makes for great photos and is stunning any time of the year too, which makes it a perfect engagement option no matter the season. Plus, visiting the tower is a fun outdoor activity that is sure to get your other half out without suspecting a thing.
If you are imaging an incredibly unique proposal with breathtaking water views, the Smith Mountain Fire Tower is my top suggestion for you.
2. A Horse Drawn Carriage Ride or Horseback Riding at The Stables
You, too, can have a storybook engagement at Russell Crossroads – and you don’t even have to wait for Santa to do it. The Stables at Russell Crossroads is a beautiful, two-story equestrian center sitting on rolling hills and acres of picturesque, wooded forest.
If you are looking for something a little more elegant yet leisurely for your proposal, The Stables offers horseback riding and horse drawn carriage rides – a perfectly romantic way to cozy up together and take in the views side by side. They even offer options to arrange private picnics in the forest.
This is also an ideal setting if you would like friends and family involved. After you pop the question, loved ones can be waiting at The Stables with champagne and cameras to celebrate the special moment.
No matter how you plan to do it, there is something so beautiful and romantic about the rustic atmosphere, which is probably why The Stables is one of the top wedding venues in the area too.
And just think – what better way to celebrate your big day than to plan your wedding at the same place you got engaged?
3. The Lighthouse At Children’s Harbor
When you think of Lake Martin, you can’t help but think of The Lighthouse. It is an iconic staple to the Lake Martin community and represents a safe harbor and peace on the waters.
This to me is the perfect location for a timeless proposal. The Lighthouse is located at Children’s Harbor and sits on the shoreline of Lake Martin, with the Kowaliga Bridge resting in the background. It’s easily one of the most photographed icons on the lake and no matter the time of day, the views are absolutely breathtaking.
You can work with the Children’s Harbor staff to reserve the location and make the moment your own. There is also a charming little white chapel onsite too, that can be reserved as a wedding venue – just saying.
4. Overlook Park At The Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail
This is one of the most popular spots to visit at Lake Martin, and for a good reason!
The Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail is located near the Lake Martin dam and is most notably known for its scenic trail loops and famous overlook view of the lake. This area is called “Overlook Park”, where visitors are greeted with displays about local wildlife, beautiful hiking trailheads, and one of the most iconic views of Lake Martin.
There is no shortage of places to propose at this destination. You could spend the day hiking the trails to enjoy nature and see famous sights, such as Chimney Rock. There are also picnic tables and benches at Overlook Park to enjoy a lunch together and take in the beauty of the moment. Then when you have your courage up, you can pop the question with one of the most memorable sceneries at Lake Martin.
5. Fireworks on the 4th of July at The Amp
Fourth of July is one of the most exciting holidays of the year on Lake Martin! Every year, Russell Lands hosts the largest firework show in the Southeast at The Amp, along with a concert packed with special guests and live music.
The good news there’s no boat needed to enjoy the fireworks or the concert. Guests can easily access The Amp by car and sit on the big grassy hill to enjoy views of the lake behind the stage. In my opinion, the hill makes for the perfect place to lay out a blanket, pop open a cooler, and snuggle up close to your sweetheart under the stars.
Then, as the firework show comes to a crescendo, you can pop the question while colors light up the night sky. Your proposal is sure to go off with a bang!
6. Wind Creek State Park
Wind Creek State Park is a gorgeous destination that stretches over 1,440 acres of woods and Lake Martin shoreline, complete with beautiful hiking trails and endless options for outdoor activities. It also has the largest public access to Lake Martin, offering you the opportunity to spend a fun and memorable day on the lake without having to own a boat or lake house.
There are plenty of options to include family and friends in your special day if you’d like, such as renting a pontoon boat to hit the open water or perhaps planning a mini camping trip.
Plus, there is a historic Silo at Wind Creek State Park – as old as Lake Martin itself. You can actually climb to the top of it and catch stunning sunsets and lake water views from the rooftop, making it a unique and beautiful spot to bring your significant other to wow them before asking the big question.
Check out all of the activities Wind Creek State Park has to offer and see if they spark an idea for your perfect proposal!
7. The Zipline
If you are looking for a daring and adventurous proposal, I present to you the zipline at Lake Martin! Within Wind Creek State Park is the Screaming Eagle Adventures Zipline Canopy Tour. You can take your significant other across 11 ziplines and 6 skywalks, making it an exciting and epic date leading up to your big moment.
Something unique about this zipline experience is that your guides actually take pictures at various points during your tour, capturing the most memorable sights along the way. When booking your appointment, I suggest giving them a heads up that you are planning to propose and ask your tour guide for the locations that they take the souvenir photos.
Imagine, your significant other ziplining up to a platform and you are already there, down on one knee. With their camera ready to capture the special moment, all you need to do is make sure you have steady hands and a safe place to store the ring!
8. A Dinner Proposal
Maybe you have an anniversary coming up or have been planning a romantic getaway to Lake Martin. If you are looking for a table setting to pop the question, the good news is you have endless options. Here are my top two picks:
For an elegant dinner proposal, SpringHouse at Russell Crossroads immediately comes to mind. Nestled on rolling country hills, SpringHouse has one of the most unique settings and menus on the lake. Set the tone with their southern inspired cuisine and a few glasses of wine, then make your way to the beautiful walking path through the woods. As the sun begins to set and fireflies glow in the trees, it makes for a fairytale moment to ask for your other half’s hand in marriage.
If you are looking for a casual dining experience with water views, my top suggestion would be Kowaliga Restaurant. It has a lake lodge feeling to it and pays homage to the great Hank Williams and his famous song, “Kow-liga”. Even better are the sunsets and lake views. Kowaliga sits on the shoreline of Lake Martin and has a beautiful wrap around porch and small beach area. It would be a great place to have dinner with family and friends or enjoy a sunset together as a couple before making your big ask. Check out all of the lakefront dining options on Lake Martin here.
9. Sunset On The Water
You can’t go wrong with a classic proposal on the Lake Martin waters. After enjoying a day visiting iconic locations such as Goat Island, Chimney Rock, and Pirate Island, you and your sweetheart can set sail to just about anywhere that there is open water and catch a famous Lake Martin sunset.
As you watch the sun slip beneath the horizon and brilliant colors paint the sky, you can pull out your ring and let it sparkle as you ask your love to marry you. To make sure you get your timing just right, visit Sunrise-Sunset.org for the exact sunset time for that day.
10. A Meaningful Place You And Your Partner Share On Lake Martin
Maybe it’s the location of your first visit to the lake? Or favorite place to catch the sunrise?
From fishing trips, to endless restaurants and adventures- choose a place on Lake Martin that holds a special memory for the two of you. Your significant other will love that you included a personal touch to your proposal and it will be a happy memory to begin your new journey.
It can feel like lot of pressure on making sure you get the proposal right, but the most important thing is to remember to make the moment about the two of you. Hopefully this list gives you some ideas to find the perfect place to start your own Lake Martin memories!
And after your significant other says, “yes,” be sure to check out our upcoming article on Wedding Venues at Lake Martin to say, “I do!”