The small lake below is North Bar Lake. The name describes how the lake formed: it is ponded behind a sand bar. At times, the sand bar builds up and separates North Bar Lake from Lake Michigan. At other times, a small connecting channel exists between the two lakes. North Bar Lake occupies part of a former bay on Lake Michigan. This ancient bay was flanked by headlands on both sides: Empire Bluffs on the south and Sleeping Bear Bluffs on the north. Shorelines have a natural tendency to become straighter with time. Wave action focuses on the headlands and wears them back, while shoreline currents carry sediment to the quiet bays and fill them in. Deeper parts of the bay are often left as lakes when sand fills in the shallower parts. The same process that formed North Bar Lake also formed many of the other lakes in northern Michigan: Glen, Crystal, Elk and Torch Lakes, for example.
…North Bar Lake is one of the most popular beaches in the Lakeshore because it has shallow, clear water over a sandy bottom makes for warmer swim than in Lake Michigan. But for those who like the refreshing cool water and wave action of the big lake, you can walk across the low dunes that separate the two lakes in just a couple of minutes. The beaches of pure sand and the small outlet to Lake Michigan is ideal for the kids to play.