Bar Lake, MI- A Hidden Gem

Bar Lake, MI- A Hidden Gem

I was sitting in our cabin Up North in Michigan, perusing the handy box the owners keep full of flyers and maps for places to go. This day, we're heading to Sleeping Bear Dunes but will have plenty of time to kill before the drive-in movie (I know, when was the last time you went to one of those?) which starts at 9:45 PM.

In the box, I spy a photocopy of a very old map. I find the Dunes, and see a tiny lake off of a small road right past the Dune Climb. Interesting... I put the old map into our atlas and we're off.

We climb the dunes. It's hot. It's beautiful. There is a large lake right across the street looking inviting, but we decide to try and find this small lake, as it's on the way.

I look at the atlas. Hhmmm, it's not there. How could a road and a lake not be on a detailed atlas? I grab the old map, and sure enough, right past the 'scenic overlook drive' we whiz past it- Shauger Hill Road. We turn around...

It's a beautiful, downhill dirt road through a forest. All eyes are looking for deer, bear, wild turky and fallen trees in the road. It's awesome. (To watch a video of us driving down- click here). At the bottom there's a State Park parking lot (a good sign). We park. After a decent hike later, we round the bend to see the most beautiful little lake I have ever seen, surrounded by trees and sand dunes as far as you can see.

The sign said 'Bar Lake'.

We get in. It's cold. Refreshing. Ooof- and there's a sudden drop off. There is only about a two-foot rim and then the floor falls away. It's shaped like a cone. Like the top of a glacier fell of and landed right there. It's suddenly really deep too, so kids need to know how to swim.

We sit. Swim. Bask. Hhhmmm. What's over there?

All these bigger kids keep walking past with boogey boards. Where are they going? We follow. The lake has water flowing through into it via this long, narrow channel between the towering sand dunes which surround and protect Bar Lake. They are surfing on the water flowing into Bar Lake. But from where?

We traverse the channel and come out to find a roaring and wavy Lake Michigan. Wait- this same lake we've been on all week- calm, rippling... now with huge oceanic-like waves crashing around? Cool. The kids jump in and play.

Then we notice all the rocks! The beach is littered with 'em. We find agates and petoskys. Red, green and blue ones. It was the best rock beach we'd seen yet. We left laden.

I look up and down the waterfront, and there is nothing to either side but nature. State Park serenity. Idyllic. Heaven.

Leaving was another adventure, as the only other way to this lake is along old numbered routes. We meander our way south and east for dinner and then the drive-in. They only charged the adults $8, and the kids crashed out in the back of the station wagon.

It was the perfect day.

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