Crystal Lake, Connecticut, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Crystal Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Crystal Lake
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Crystal Lake Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Crystal Lake Gifts
Looking for Crystal Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake lies in Connecticut’s River Valley. A dynamic region of cities and countryside, visitors may experience a fusion of entertainment, culture, history, and the breathtaking beauty of New England geography. Crystal Lake lies between the semi-rural towns of Ellington and Stafford, close to the dynamic Shenipsit State Forest.
The first white settlers in the region called the lake Square Pond, because of its square shape, or Ruby Lake, for the many garnets that were found in the surrounding land. Before that, the Nipmuc people, who had an ancient village on the northern shore of the lake, called the lake Wabbaquasset which was a reference to the grass-like cattails that grew all over the lake. The name of the lake was changed in 1889 to Crystal Lake.
Surrounded by forests of oak, maple, pine, chestnut and hickory and a sandy beach, Crystal Lake became a popular resort area in the 1890s, attracting throngs of fun-lovers. Hotels, tourist cabins, and cottages were built to accommodate a growing patronage. The Sandy Beach Ballroom which saw its heyday in the 1930s, hosted big bands to the likes of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. The ballroom also doubled as a roller-skating rink where youngsters from nearby towns came to socialize and have a good time. Another ballroom, the Crystal Ballroom also enjoyed a large patronage that sought out its polka orchestras. The passing summers saw canoe carnivals, sailboat races, and plenty of fishing and swimming. And the winters brought out their own share of fans as ice skating and icefishing attracted still more crowds of people. In the 1930s, with its dances, beach fun and novelties (like the beach hot dog stand that served hungry customers from 1929 to 2004) Crystal Lake had the thrill of an amusement park.
Today, the entire shoreline is dominated with homes. As real estate began to develop from the small cottages that nearby town residents built at the lake, the once summertime resort slowly transformed into a year-round home for many, while vacation rentals continued to offer options to seasonal visitors. One thing definitely remained unchanged. Crystal Lake is still a hubbub of recreational delight.
Sandy Beach, operated by the Town of Ellington, offers a host of summertime activities. Fishing, boating, and swimming are still popular at the lake. Swimming lessons are offered in sessions through the summer. A state boat launch on the western shore of the lake gives boaters easy access. Crystal Lake offers a prime fishery. Designated a trophy trout lake in 1993, the lake is now a trout management lake and attracts anglers from everywhere. Atlantic salmon was stocked in 2007 by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and an annual bass tournament has wide appeal and attracts a loyal gathering.
The Ellington and Stafford areas offer much to do. The Ellington Annual Winterfest and Tree Lighting Ceremony feature choirs, a Christmas play, baking contest, parade and more. Summer concerts offer a delectable mixture of musical performances from country to jazz and will be a treat to music lovers. The stunning New England foliage during autumn is worth some sight-seeing adventures. And apple picking on apple farms and farmers markets are a fun way to appreciate the richness of these agricultural communities. There is so much more with Hartford only 15 minutes away from Crystal Lake.
At Crystal Lake you will contribute to the lake’s traditions of good old-fashioned fun. Aside from the endless amusements at your fingertips, you will create lifetime memories of refreshing boat trips on the calm water, the chatter of the lakeside birds and the luminosity of the setting sun casting its glow.
Things to Do at Crystal Lake
- Vacation Rentals
- Fishing Tournaments
- Cabin Rentals
- Ice Skating
- State Forest
- Amusement Park
Fish Species Found at Crystal Lake
Find Places to Stay at Crystal Lake
If you’re considering a Crystal Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Crystal Lake Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Crystal Lake lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
- Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
- TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
- Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
- KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
- RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
- CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Crystal Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed
Water Level Control: Crystal Lake Association
Surface Area: 200 acres
Average Depth: 20 feet
Maximum Depth: 50 feet
We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.
Shop Crystal Lake Gifts
Advertise Your Crystal Lake Business or Vacation Rental
LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.
Looking for the Crystal Lake Forum?
LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!
Crystal Lake Photo Gallery
New photos coming soon!
Spread the word! Share our Crystal Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!