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Three Oaks Recreation Area, Crystal Lake

#9 of 25 in Wildlife in Illinois
Wildlife Area Nature / Park
The plan some 20 years in the making converted the long-abandoned Vulcan Lakes quarry, which was first mined by the Vulcan Lakes Materials Company in the 1950s, opened to the Community in October 2010. The city entered into an agreement with the company in 1990, allowing use of Three Oaks Road in exchange for ownership of the property once mining was depleted. In 2007, the property was deeded to the city, and the Vulcan Lakes Advisory Committee and city staff began creating the vision for a recreation area.

The City of Crystal Lake reclaimed the quarry and turned it into an amazing passive community recreation experience. Pristine waters, natural habitat, and incredible fishing. Rent rowboats, canoes, kayaks, sailboats, paddleboats, or enjoy a grassy picnic, various overlooks with breathtaking views of the water and lake islands. Enjoy the swimming beach, hiking trails, a small-child playground/spray park and a Culver's Restaurant with outdoor lakeside dining patio.


Highway Route 14 entrance (between Harris Bank & Cooper Tire) to enter the park from the north

or ..

The Main Street entrance brings you into the park from the west and is located by Mairfair Furniture & Carpet.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
87 reviews
  • Enjoyed our experience paddle boarding Max was fun and very engaging. Beautiful area. The lake was peaceful.  more »
  • Clean, something to do for everyone. Beach, sand, water features for the younger children, and zip lining for the older kids. If you don't want to bring food, there's Culvers' and a more upscale resta...  more »
  • Fun place to hang out for a snack and drink while watching different activities. Beach is great and so is paddle boarding and sailboarding!  more »
  • Close by. Reasonably priced. Picnics welcome or buy food on site (Culver's or Dukes.) Kayak, row boat (w/ electric motor) and sup rentals. Sand beach, fishing. Oh, and wake boards running on a cable system overhead that just pulls you on a circuit, with jumps if you want. What's not to like?
  • Great place to spend the day. Clean, nice atmosphere for a beach day. Loved the availability of chairs to rent since we were tourists without our regular beach equipment.
  • Nice of your a Crystal lake resident, it's free. Otherwise plan on spending $5 on parking and another $5-10 a person depending on age, but worth the $ when spending the day their with family. Very nice beach!
  • Nice beach, free for Crystal Lake residents, cheap if you travel with a Crystal Lake resident. A few activities are available here, picnic, boating on the small lake, motorized wake boarding, volleyball and more. The beach also has a Culver's in there. Park entry fee is also free for Crystal Lake residents
  • Love it here and not just to swim!! I do yoga and Tai Chi by the picnic area early in the morning and it's awesome!! Warning: opt for West or Main beach on hot weekend days. It's sooooo crowded. During the week it's nice.

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