©

Crystal Lake trip planner

Create a fully customized
day by day itinerary for free

Itinerary planner

+ Add destination
2 adults
Adults
- +
Teens
- +
Kids
- +
Close
Trip Planner USA  /  Illinois  /  Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake

3.9
Performances · Nightlife · Wildlife Areas
Crystal Lake is a city in McHenry County in the U.S. state of Illinois. Named after a lake southwest of the city's downtown, Crystal Lake is 45 miles northwest of Chicago. The population was 40,743 in 2010. Crystal Lake is the largest city in McHenry County, part of the Chicago metropolitan area.HistoryFoundingThe City of Crystal Lake traces its origin to two separate communities which were established in the 1800s. Those communities were generally known as Nunda and Crystal Lake. In 1835, Ziba S. Beardsley had come to the shores of the lake and commented that the "waters were as clear as crystal", thereby giving the lake its name. Ziba Beardsley continued south to Naperville. In February 1836, the first white settlers, Beman and Polly Crandall and six of their ten children, came from New York State traveling to Crystal Lake in a covered wagon. Their original cabin was built in the vicinity of today's intersection of Virginia Street and Van Buren Street. Four of the Crandall children were born there. Najah Beardsley's family was the second to settle in the area; his grandson, William Beardsley, was the first white child born on the Crystal Lake prairie, on May 7, 1837.The town was first known as Crystal Ville. It was changed to Crystal Lake sometime before 1840. The area known today as downtown Crystal Lake was first called Dearborn and later, Nunda, from an area in New York where many settlers originated. The village of Dearborn was founded in the 1850s after an extension of railroads through the area. The first train station was built in 1856, although it was pre-fabricated and shipped from Chicago on a flatcar. At that time, the main business district for the village of Crystal Lake was located on Virginia Street, about one mile (1.6 km) southwest of the railroad station. The railroad served to connect both the people and industries of Crystal Lake and Dearborn to Chicago and the rest of the country. Dearborn grew quickly due to this new rail connection.
Use our United States driving holiday app to arrange the hows, wheres, and whens of your trip to Crystal Lake.
Source
Create a full itinerary — for free!

Plan your trip to Crystal Lake

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Popular things to do in Crystal Lake

See all ›
Three Oaks Recreation Area ©
Wildlife Area
Three Oaks Recreation Area
4.5
Duration: 4 hours
Veteran Acres Park ©
Cross-country Ski Area
Veteran Acres Park
4.6
Duration: 4 hours
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church
Religious Site
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church
4.1
Duration: 2h 30 min
Monkey Joe's
Playground
Monkey Joe's
1.6
Duration: 2 hours

Side trips from Crystal Lake

Six Flags Great America ©
Water Park
Six Flags Great America Gurnee
3.5
Duration: 8 hours
Illinois Railway Museum ©
Specialty Museum
Illinois Railway Museum Union
4.5
Duration: 2h 30 min
Volo Auto Museum ©
Specialty Museum
Volo Auto Museum Volo
4.6
Duration: 2 hours
Raging Waves Waterpark ©
Water Park
Raging Waves Waterpark Yorkville
3.3
Duration: 8 hours

Places to visit with Crystal Lake

Chicago Trip planner BEST FOR: Observation Deck, Art Museum, Park Springfield Trip planner BEST FOR: History Museum, Historic Site, Landmark Galena Trip planner BEST FOR: Historic Site, Distillery, Nightlife Ottawa Trip planner BEST FOR: Spa, State Park, Specialty Museum Oak Park Trip planner BEST FOR: Architectural Building, Historic Site, Religious Site