The Beach Times

Having a Look at Orleans' Freshwater Ponds
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, February 17, 2020


Orleans Cape Cod

When spending your vacation in Orleans, Massachusetts, you'll probably want to check out well-known attractions like the Cape Cod National Seashore, Rock Harbor Creek, the Cape Cod Rail Trail, Little Pleasant Bay, and the Jonathan Young Windmill.

At the same time, there's a lesser-known side to Orleans that is equally as entertaining. 

This alternative version of Orleans is hidden from the masses that flock to this town of fewer than 6,000 people every summer.

That's because Orleans has 60 freshwater ponds, which are located throughout the town and provide excellent places to fish, swim, and escape the heat.

When vacationing on Cape Cod, don't forget about the kettle ponds because they provide an off-the-beaten-path oasis that is sure to add another layer to your time in this magical part of the country.

Pilgrim Lake

One of the more popular places to spend time in Orleans is Pilgrim Lake, which is just off Route 28, where Little Pleasant Bay runs into the Namequoit River.

The beachfront area features 20 parking spaces, in addition to picnic tables and a bike rack, making it a beautiful place to head for lunch.

The water here is excellent for swimming, and families tend to frequent the beach because of the shallow, calm water.

If you're into fishing, the pond has smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, pickerel, perch, and trout, and you can quickly put a boat in the water from the parking lot. Keep in mind, however, that you can't bring motorboats onto the pond, so you'll have to stick with a kayak or canoe.

Crystal Lake

Just north of Pilgrim Lake is Crystal Lake, a similarly sized pond in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Crystal Lake has two separate access points, one on the west side and the other on the east side, so you'll have a couple of options if you choose to spend the day there.

On the west side of the pond, you can access the water directly off Route 28 by exiting onto Housewrights Way. Once you're at the water, you'll see a small beach and picnic tables, making it an excellent place to take the family for lunch.

The other side of the pond features a parking lot with a trail that leads to another small beach. This lot is just off Monument Road and has designated accessible parking spaces, too.

You can carry a small boat to the water from either parking area, giving you access to the pond's trout, bass, and perch, as well.

Since each side of the pond only has about eight parking spaces, you'll want to get to Crystal Lake early to avoid disappointment.

Bakers Pond

Bakers Pond is in the western part of Orleans, not far from Brewster's Nickerson State Park. Just off Route 6, you'll come across Bakers Pond Road, which runs right past the pond and eventually comes to a parking lot.

This parking area is small and only has room for a few vehicles, but it's only a short walk down to the water once you arrive.

Generally, Bakers Pond is regarded as a fishing pond, and you can easily carry a small boat to the water from the parking lot. Remember, however, that motorized boats are prohibited.

There is also a small beach area on Bakers Pond that offers a secluded place to relax away from the bustle of the Cape's summers.

Although Bakers Pond isn't much of a swimming hole, you can wade in as the water is clean and calm.

Other Ponds in Orleans

As was mentioned, there are 60 freshwater ponds in Orleans with varying levels of accessibility. Pilgrim, Crystal, and Bakers are the only ponds with direct public access via a beach or boat launch, but some of the other sites have hiking trails to explore.

Boland Pond, which is right by Nauset Middle School and Eldredge Park, is tiny but has some hiking trails that you can take through the woods. As a bonus, there's plenty of parking available nearby.

Woodlands surround Twining's Pond, which is part of a conservation area, and Sarah's Pond. Both of these ponds are in South Orleans and feature hiking trails.

You might also be interested in visiting Gould Pond, but keep in mind that this is where the town gets much of its drinking water, so the area is protected. You are permitted to walk past the pond but can't enter the water.

You'll also encounter other ponds like Uncle Seth's Pond, Uncle Harvey's Pond, and Shoal Pond, but you'll want to steer clear because they often contain toxic algae.

Enjoy Your Vacation on the Kettle Ponds

Visiting Cape Cod can be overwhelming because of the abundance of activities from which to choose. In Orleans alone, you'll come across beaches, marinas, parks, trails, museums, and restaurants, all within a short distance of your vacation rental.

When spending time in Orleans, Massachusetts, taking some time on the kettle ponds is a wonderful way to slow things down and experience a slower pace of life. These ponds have calm waters, quiet atmospheres and provide a break from the constant excitement of the area's towns and oceanfront beaches.

Have a look at the ponds of Orleans during your Cape Cod vacation for a day of living like a local in one of the region's most scenic locations.



Bakers Pond Cape Cod Ponds Crystal Lake Kettle Ponds Orleans Pilgrim Lake

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