Crystal Bay is between West Arm and Lower Lake Minnetonka, located in the cities of Orono, Navarre, and Minnetonka Beach. Homes for sale on Crystal Bay are a part of the Orono School District and Mound Westonka School District. In the mid-19th century, Crystal Bay was a hotel hotspot. City dwellers escaped the Twin Cities to enjoy a summer on Lake Minnetonka. At the industry’s peak, resorts drew the attention of customers from eastern and southern states. Out of state residents started to spend their summer around the lake. However, during the later part of the century, the tourist industry began to fail. All of the hotels and resorts closed and Crystal Bay became an almost entirely residential bay. Crystal Bay is still known as a summer oasis with its beautiful water. Crystal Bay is the deepest bay in Lake Minnetonka, with a depth of 113 feet. Crystal Bay is a great spot to perform recreational activities like wake surfing, water skiing, and wakeboarding.
Allen French, an early settler, named Crystal Bay because of the crystal clear water that mirrors the sky above. The name stuck and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District reaffirms French's initial opinion and gives Crystal Bay an A in water quality. The water quality is exceptional and can be enjoyed recreationally all year.
There are not any boat launches or marinas directly on Crystal Bay, but there are launches in the neighboring bays of North Arm and Maxwell Bay. The North Arm Launch and Maxwell Bay Launch are close and provide easy transportation to take boats in and out of the water.
The century-old Lafayette Club sits on three thousand feet of shoreline. The club stands between two bays: Crystal Bay to the north and Lafayette Bay to the south. The Lafayette Club was once a hotel, built by famous railroad tycoon James J. Hill. He built the Lafayette Hotel in 1882 to capitalize on the increasing popularity of the area. The original hotel had 300 guest rooms and became the center of Lake Minnetonka's social life. The hotel was shut down by Hill in 1897 and burned down in a fire later that year. Some say Lafayette’s demise signaled a shift in Lake Minnetonka's resort culture. Today, a rebuilt Lafayette Club still stands and offers private club amenities like indoor and outdoor pools, a golf course, tennis courts, and boat docks. Crystal Bay is home to another local favorite, Noerenberg Gardens, a 73-acre formal garden that offers rental space for weddings and school dance photos. It is most known for its beautiful greenery and picture-esque settings.