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I'm trying to make travel plans for the next few years, related to a very specific set of dates. I'm trying to avoid the stomping grounds of legendary hockey-masked serial killer Jason Voorhees every time a Friday the 13th rolls around. Where are these blood-spattered stomping grounds?

The only clues I'm aware of:

  • Somewhere in the US

  • Rural area, largely covered by coniferous forests, with at least one moderate size pond/lake

  • A brief water voyage from New York City (as seen in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan)

  • Competes with Haddonfield, Illinois and Springwood, Ohio (or at least one street in the latter) for violent deaths among sexually active teens

Where in the United States is "Camp Crystal Lake", the place no one should ever be (but randy drunken teenagers always are) on Friday the 13th?

Note: I'm asking about the in-universe location. Feel free to also add a real world filming location, but the question is about where the camp is supposed to be within the movies.

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Probably near Sussex County NJ, or its fictional equivalent

  • Sussex County is the most frequently quoted location.

  • Tomahawk Lake is within 13 miles of Camp Crystal Lake. From the first movie:

    enter image description here

    This is a real location in New Jersey.

    The picture below shows Tomahawk Lake, circled, and Sussex County.

    enter image description here

    There is another Tomahawk Lake in New Jersey, which is both larger and somewhat outside of Sussex County.

    There are many lakes within a 12-mile radius of this larger lake, some with water access to the Hudson River (and thus to New York).

    enter image description here

    Regardless, both lakes are fairly close to Sussex County, home of many of the real-life filming locations of Friday the 13th (and thus most consistent with its plant life, geography, etc).

  • This article tries to determine the location of Camp Crystal Lake from contextual information.

    According to the article, the camp must be within about 10 miles of the Moravian Cemetery, which is a real place:

    In the first installment of this famed series, hitchhiker Annie is looking for a ride to Camp Crystal Lake. She’s told that it’s about 20 miles away and a trucker agrees to drive her half the distance. She’s dropped off in front of the Hope, New Jersey Cemetery, meaning the camp is within 10 miles of this location. The circle below represents 10 miles in every direction.

    The article asserts that Paulins Kill Lake basically meets this criterion, as well as an additional one:

    There is a lake large enough just outside of our 10 mile search radius, but very close to both our nearby camp and our Green Valley convenience store.

    This is indeed in Sussex County, as shown in the image below (Paulins Kill Lake circled in red):

    enter image description here

    That said, this relies on knowledge of the filming locations. Still, as an added perk, Paulins Kill Lake and the smaller Tomahawk Lake are within about 12 miles of each other by certain routes. A further negative is that there does not appear to be any water route from Paulins Kill Lake to New York, but then, it is virtually guaranteed that some two aspects of the movie's fictional geography will fall apart if compared too closely to real life.

  • On the other hand, according to the wiki, the Friday the 13th: Part III novelization by Michael Avallone places Camp Crystal lake in Pinehurst County, New Jersey. This is not a real county and constitutes an entirely fictional location.

    Death walked in Pinehurst County again, for the ninth and tenth time in a matter of days.

    Two days, to be exact.

    That said, Pinehurst county might nonetheless correspond (in fictional New Jersey) to some part of Sussex County in real-life New Jersey.

  • In real life, the filming location for Camp Crystal Lake was in Blairstown, NJ.

  • Any idea how the boat got from there to NYC in Jason Takes Manhattan? – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jun 29 '16 at 6:42
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    @WadCheber - Probably the same way the shark gets from the Bahamas to New York in a few days in Jaws: The Revenge. ;) But in all seriousness, all the evidence except that seems to point to Sussex County. Unfortunately, none of the bodies of water I can see in Sussex County (within 12 miles of Lake Tomahawk) have an outlet to the sea. – Adamant Jun 29 '16 at 6:46
  • @WadCheber - Oooooh, wait a second. I saw something interesting - another Tomahawk Lake (larger) near Sussex. Let me look at that one. – Adamant Jun 29 '16 at 6:50
  • @WadCheber - it probably took a similar route to the one the shark in Jaws 3D took to get to Orlando. – John Sensebe Jun 29 '16 at 16:44
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The inspiration for the original Friday the 13th film is Crystal Lake, located about 7 miles east of Philadelphia. The majority of NJ in that area during the late 70's and early 80's was, and still is pine forest, all stemming from the Pine Barrens of South Jersey which occupy over 1,000,000 acres of land. The lake itself is located in a NJ township called Voorhees, hence the inspiration for Jason's last name.

Crystal Lake, Voorhees, NJ

  • Welcome to SFF! This would appear to be a nice answer but do you have any evidence that this is the lake that the location was inspired from? Also what does NJ mean? – TheLethalCarrot Jul 11 '18 at 8:49
  • @TheLethalCarrot I think NJ stands for New Jersey but I am not quite sure. – Mr Pie Jul 11 '18 at 9:50
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Sand Pond is the real name of the lake from the movie. It's just a bit north of Blairstown NJ. Most people don't know this.

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    The question was about the in-universe location, which might not be the same as the filming location. – Adamant Oct 31 '16 at 1:20
  • I grew up in Blairstown NJ and the diner is visible in the film. Locals know it to be Silver Lake, in next door Hope NJ – Celestialgranturismo Apr 14 '17 at 18:43

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