Area Information


Penhook is a census designated place located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Franklin County, Virginia. Our area is renowned for its rich history, unique cultural experiences and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Penhook is served by Highway 40, with Interstate 81 just to the northwest.

Franklin County was formed in 1785 from parts of Bedford and Henry Counties; it is named for Benjamin Franklin. During the Prohibition era of the early twentieth century, the area around Penhook was nicknamed the “Moonshine Capital of the World”, a name still used today for historic purposes. By the 1980s the area around Penhook, particularly Smith Mountain Lake, began to become a popular destination for residents and retirees looking to escape the hustle of cities such as Raleigh, NC, Washington, DC and metropolitan areas of the New England states.

Today, Franklin is one of Virginia’s fastest growing counties due to the abundance of lakefront homes and condos, hunting properties and farms available.


Our community experiences a seasonal climate with four distinct seasons. Summertime highs can reach into the high 80s, with lows comfortably in the 60s at night. Even the coldest part of January still sees high temperatures well above freezing; from late April through October most nights are frost-free. On average, Penhook receives 44 inches of rain and 14 inches of snow annually.

Comprehensive medical services for residents in the Penhook area are provided by Carlion Franklin Memorial Hospital in nearby Rocky Mount. Franklin County Public Schools offer primary and secondary educational opportunities with 12 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, a high school and an adult education center. College degrees in our area may be perused at Ferrum College, Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke and Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville.

The area in and around Penhook is a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Nearby Smith Mountain Lake State Park is home to the second largest body of freshwater in the state, and is popular for swimming, fishing, camping, hiking and biking; to the south and east, Fairy Stone State Park offers additional outdoor enjoyment.

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