avdeev007/Getty Images

Believe it or not, there is more than one answer.

Ellie Storck

If you want to visit the biggest lake in the world, you may need to make more than one trip. Many people assume the largest lake is Lake Superior, though it turns out there's more than one way to approach the question. Are you measuring by depth, volume, surface area—or maybe a combination of all three factors?

Related: World's Biggest Statue

If you’re determination is based on surface area, we head north to Lake Superior, where 10 percent of the earth’s freshwater is contained. The largest of the Great Lakes of North America shares a border with Canada, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, and it spans a grand total of 31,700 square miles.

Related: What to See at the World's Largest Aquarium

For reference, that’s a larger surface area than Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut combined. Massive waves have even been recorded rolling across the surface of Lake Superior, though its main attraction is fishing. Travelers often come here for the smallmouth bass, salmon, trout, whitefish, herring, and northern pike—there's always something biting year round. 

Related: How to Explore the World's Longest River

Of course, "biggest lake" could also mean deepest. In that case, we make our way to far-off southern Russia, where lies Lake Baikal. Here, the icy waters plunge 5,387 feet down into the earth. It's also hailed as the largest freshwater lake in terms of volume. Baikal is so deep and voluminous because of its unique location within an active continental rift zone, which causes the depth to reach almost 4,000 feet below sea level. As much as 20 percent of all the Earth's freshwater is reserved in this Siberian lake. When it come to superlatives, Lake Baikal is also the clearest freshwater lake on the planet. If you're willing to brave the arctic tundra, we suggest an eight-day cruise across the ancient lake

Related: What to Do (and Buy) at the Biggest Mall in the World

Want to learn more about the biggest things in the world? Find out about the world’s largest aquarium—the location may surprise you—and the tallest mountain

You May Like