Lake Anna is situated in north central Virginia, centrally located between Fredericksburg, Richmond, Charlottesville and Culpeper, Virginia. These cities/towns provide much of the shopping, restaurants, medical facilities and other amenities for Lake Anna Residents, Vacationers and guests. The town of Louisa is approximately a 30 minute drive and provides several restaurants, fast food chains, food and other useful stores etc.
Lake Anna was created to provide cooling waters for the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant. This was accomplished by building a 90 foot high dam, on the North Anna River, creating the lake by flooding the north side of the dam for approximately 17 miles. Lake Anna now consists of the main lake following the path of the North Anna River, Pamunkey Creek which forks to the north at the "splits" approximately 9 miles north of the dam, along with a number of tributaries off of the main lake and Pamunkey Creek.
Three main tributaries, off of the southeast side of the lake, were separated from the main lake to create a means of cooling for the power plant. 3 Dikes were created to separate these tributaries. Warm water from the plant is pumped into the most western tributary, which in turn runs into the 2nd and then into the 3rd, and then flows back into the main lake, just west of the dam. Allowing these warm waters to flow through these restricted tributaries, allows the warm power plant water to cool, before being returned to the main lake.
The portion of the lake, not included in the 3 restricted tributaries, is referred to as the public side of the lake. The 3 tributaries used to cool the power plant water is referred to as the private (or warm) side of the lake.
The public side is much larger than the private side and includes marinas and launch ramps, camping facilities, the Lake Anna State Park and a number of other amenities. Because the public side is more available to the public, boat traffic is generally heavier than the private side.
The private side, on the other hand, has no marinas or launching facilities. In order to boat this side of the lake, you need to either live there or know someone who will allow you to use their facilities. For this very reason, some prefer to live on the private side, due to the lesser activity there. Also, the fishing is supposidly better as this side of the lake remains warmer into the winter months.
Boating limitations on the lake are few on the lower side (from the dam to the splits), as only one bridge crosses it. This bridge is the main bridge crossing the lake, and is high enough to allow most boats underneath. Bridges on the upper lake (North Anna River and Pamunkey Creek), are generally lower and can restrict some boats due to their height. Also, the higher reaches of the upper lake, become very shallow where the North Anna River and Pamunkey Creek turn from actual lake to the creeks that feed the lake.
Lake Anna is located within 3 counties. Spotsylvania to the north and northeast, Orange to the northwest and Louisa along it's southern boundary. Because the Power Plant is located in Louisa County, with it's tax support, property taxes in Louisa are generally lower than the other counties.
Properties around the lake are generally within communities, most which have Owner's Associations and a variety of rules and regulations.