The travel diaries, camping on Crystal Lake


Crystal Lake is located in the beautiful northwoods of WI. It is part of the Northern Highlands State Park system. We had the opportunity to camp on this lake twice and several times at surrounding lakes at the same state park. The best thing about this vacation is that you only need a tent and some camping gear to do it. So it is very affordable (unless you need to fly across the country or internationally to get there). LOL. The worst thing about it is that you practically have to sacrifice your first born to get a site there. It is THAT popular. I remember sitting at the computer on dial up at midnight exactly 11 months before I wanted to reserve a site here. Before my modem could connect they were all gone. Now I think that it has to be 11 months in advance at 9AM instead of midnight, but it has been awhile since I reserved a site.

So it was a fluke thing both times that we got a site on the lake. The neighboring lakes are all very nice, but Crystal Lake is the best. One time we went to check in to a neighboring lake’s site when we were told that a site opened on Crystal Lake. Within 2 seconds we took it. We took my mom and kids to the site and pretended that it wasn’t ours. Surprise!

What isn’t to love about Crystal Lake? The lake is large with a sandy beach around it. It takes about an hour to walk around the beach at a leisurely pace. It is great for swimming. After wading in about 10 feet of shallow water, there is a drop off with water that is cool, crisp, and crystal clear over your head. The water is so clean that you can see down to the bottom at the middle of the lake. Once we decided to swim across the lake. The kids and I would play underwater tag. It was like a tropical location within my home state if you replaced the palm trees with pine trees. Plus surrounding the beach, there are miles of hiking and bike trails. 

We only had the very basic camping gear. We had a couple of tents. Paul would make all of our meals over the open fire. He was always up for the challenge, even during unexpected rainy weather. His food was always great, especially after being active all day. He was really the person that made this all happen for us.

On the picture below, we experienced the most fabulous sunset ever. It was after a time of struggle. That particular afternoon we experienced a couple of hours of intense (in tents) rain. Paul dug a trench so the water would flow away from our tents. We hunkered down reading books and playing games while fellow campers loaded up their gear and left. That night we were rewarded for our perseverance by seeing one of the best sunsets that I have ever seen over the water.

But isn’t that oftentimes how life is? After making it through life’s storms, we can appreciate the beauty of life more.


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