What Are Some Different Types of Bodies of Water?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 10, 2020 3:59:37 PM ET

Different types of bodies of water include brooks, gulfs, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans. Bodies of water vary in size and boundaries. Several names may exist for the same type of body of water.


The smallest body of water is a brook. It is above ground and is sometimes called a creek. Brooks are sometimes tributaries to rivers. Tributaries are smaller bodies of water that flow into larger ones. Rivers are larger bodies of water above ground and flow in a particular direction. Like brooks, rivers may also flow into other bodies of water. Gulfs, such as the Gulf of Mexico, are large areas of the ocean or sea that are partially enclosed by land. Lakes are large bodies of water completely enclosed by land. Ponds are smaller in diameter and water volume than lakes but are also completely enclosed by land. Lakes and ponds may have coves, which are small areas of shoreline that flow into the water. When these coves are large, they are referred to as bays. Seas are large bodies of water surrounded by land or attached to other bodies of water. Oceans are the largest bodies of water on Earth and include the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian.