What’s the difference between a pond and a lake? My children recently asked.
I decided to answer their question yesterday. I needed to press the pause button and be outdoors. So after school I took them to a wood a mile away.
Head towards the broken tree and you’ll soon see water.
And as we emerged from the shadows within the woods, the sun introduced the pond to us. A footprint left by a glacier.
Was it a lake or a pond? Well, it’s called Round Pond but is close to seven acres in size.
I breathed. They took turns to leap.
I rested and gazed at the season’s changing colors. They threw sticks and watched the ripples.
Are you sure it’s a pond? It looks like a lake, my daughter said. And then I knew I was in trouble trying to define the difference between a pond and a lake but I resorted to simple answers. We know when it’s shallow and small it’s a pond. And when it’s deep and large it’s a lake. But no one seems to agree on when a pond becomes a lake.
Just like my fears, I thought.
The experts even disagree on whether plants underwater can define a body of water.
And then we left the water someone had named a pond, not a lake.
My daughter picked two tiny leaves to take back home with us. If it had been a lake, and not a pond, she said, she would have looked for larger souvenirs.
And here’s an update…
Is there a difference between a lake and a pond? When does a pond become a lake?
There is no official distinction between a pond and a lake. Neither are definitions given by limnologists – inland water experts – always consistent. In fact they can vary in different regions and countries. Although there is no universal standard to categorize ponds and lakes, the difference between these types of waterbodies is often defined by their size and depth or even the type of plant growth in them. To make it even more confusing some experts differentiate between ‘shallow’ and ‘deep’ lakes and ponds. For example, light is able to reach the sediment and affect plant growth on ‘shallow’ lakes and ponds.
Round Pond, Sag Harbor
Round Pond was named by the early European settlers to this area near Sag Harbor in the Hamptons. It is a coastal plain pond nearly seven acres in size originally formed by glaciers and fed by groundwater seepage.
From the 1840s to early 20th century there was an ice house located on the southern side of Round Pond. In the past it was also a favorite haunt of ice skaters when the water froze.
Round Pound can be reached by hiking on the Long Pond Greenbelt, by car either to the end of Middleline Highway or following a short trail off Round Pond Lane.
And on another adventure in the Hamptons, my kids found out what was so special about a vernal pond…
Catherine Graham (Adventure Togs) says
I wouldn’t know the difference either! I love your photos, such vivid colours and the children having fun…just popped in via #countrykids
The kids had fun seeing a pond instead of a beach for a change. Thank you for your lovely comments.
Charly Dove says
What a lovely post Kriss, looks like a fabulous location especially at this time of year. I would have said lake but that’s only because I think of a pond being something in garden. I’m probably very wrong there 🙂
Thank you Charly. I think the only thing that experts agree on is that they’re usually ponds in small gardens so you’re right there!! The place I visited with the kids is called Round Pond but that’s just the name given to it by early settlers. All very confusing to me which is why I opted for ultra simple answers with the kids!!
The Reading Residence says
So many stunning photos. And a tricky question to answer. I do like your daughter’s thoughts behind her leaf souvenirs!
Thanks! I did some research before the walk and discovered limnologists (inland water experts) can’t agree amongst themselves on pond and lake differences so it was better keeping my answers simple for the kids.
Becky @lakessinglemum says
What beautiful photos. I’m sure we learned the difference in geography many years ago but I have forgotten…
Thank you. I guess it would have been up to the individual geography teacher as there’s no real official definition strangely enough!!
Mary @over40andamumtoone says
I have no idea either, but those photos are stunning #CountryKids
Sara (@mumturnedmom) says
First of all, stunning photographs Kriss! Just beautiful.
We’ve had the pond/lake debate here too, as we are surrounded by them, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the naming, some huge ones are called ponds and some small ones lakes! I’ll just stick with them being beautiful places for a walk 🙂
Hi Sara – completely agree with you! Thank you
Coombe Mill - Fiona says
What a gorgeous place and ideal for exploring and having fun. Like you I would find it difficult to describe the difference, especially being confronted with such a large body of water like this and then calling it a pond! Thanks for linking up and sharing your lovely photos with Country Kids.
Thanks Fiona – it was lovely visiting the ‘pond’ which funnily enough is one of the smallest ponds near us…
Only Best For Baby says
What absolutely stunning photos and an amazing wilderness you have a mile away from you. I love the colours of the leaves. Your children look like they really enjoyed their adventure in learning about the difference between a pond and a lake. Thank you for linking up with #CelebrateAutumn
Cheryl (@CherylInTheUK) says
Whether lake or pond, it looks a lovely place to walk. Nice place to shake off that stuck-inside feeling. #CountryKids
What amazing photos! I think ponds tend to be smaller and shallower but who knows? But taking them out to see a pond is the best way to see what they think.Popping over from Country Kids.
How lovely to have this a mile away from home. It looks beautiful and a lovely place to have fun with the children. 🙂
great post, the photos are amazing. #CountryKids xx
Glamorous Glutton says
Beautiful photos of a truly beautiful place. it looks amazing. Love the quandary! GG
Thank you – yes I first thought it would be simple to explain the difference. Which it is.. if it’s a tiny pond or a huge lake but not in the area in between!
I love your daughter’s take on it too. It definitely looks like a lake to me!
What a beautiful autumnal walk. The colours are stunning and I love the photo of the leaves in the water.
Gina Caro says
What a lovely little adventure and some great photos 🙂
How lovely to all be enjoying the outdoors together – a blooming large pond – and a beautiful looking adventure!
I love the photo’s and the colours in them! They are so clear and what a stunning place to take the kids to #countrykids
Wow, amazing photos showing off the colours of autumn so beautifully. To me a pond is ornamental and small, a lake is gargantuan.
Nipping over from Country Kids.
Erica Price says
Great pictures. I think you are right the difference is about depth, but to be honest I think I’d have called your pond a lake.
This particular one is called Round Pond and is part of a series of local ponds in the area. One of the funny things I discovered is that it’s so arbitrary of a definition that sometimes people will change the name from pond to lake if it helps house prices around it!
Lisa Nelson - The Squishable Baby says
Ahh, thank for the clarification. I also didn’t know the difference between a pond and a lake. all I knew was that there were free standing – nothing goes in our out.
Not much knowledge is it?
Thanks for the lovely pictures!
Dean of Little Steps says
I sound like a broken record – I do love your photos… always! Oh and did I mention that I have such a blog-crush on yours? 😉