Some 225 years ago, Congress approved the support of lighthouses, beacons, and public piers, which led to August 7 being annually hailed as National Lighthouse Day. Because we border one big lake and support one big river, several pretty cool lighthouses line our shores. Some are big, some are small, some are visitable, all are cool. Here are a few that are worth the time to seek out.
Split Rock Lighthouse, Two Harbors: Probably our most well-known lighthouse, Split Rock overlooks Lake Superior. Back when iron ore was being shipped in frequently, the North Shore was a rather treacherous place. Split Rock was built in 1910 to alleviate the danger. Now it's a historical site, offering visitors a peek into the life of a once-working ligthhouse.
Split Rock Lighthouse, Photo by Joe Michl
Two Harbors Light Station: First lit in 1892, this is the oldest operating lighthouse in Minnesota. Visitors can tour three of the buildings on-site; you can even stay at the Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast. The four rooms available all have lake views.
Grand Marais lighthouse: This one sits on a breakwater in the harbor. It was at one time run manually, but was automated in 1937. Grand Marais in its entirety is a beautiful place to sightsee.
Photo By Amanda Fretheim Gates
Duluth Harbor: A favorite visitor activity while in Duluth is to head out to Canal Park and watch the ships come in. To make it through the narrow canal and beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge each way, ships need inner and outer lighthouses on the north and south end. Walk down the pier for a great photo opportunity.
Boom Island, Minneapolis: A popular city park, Boom Island (no longer an island) offers a boat launch, marina, playground, picnic space, and a lighthouse.
Lake City Marina: Located on Lake Pepin (the birthplace of waterskiing!) and the Mississippi River in Lake City, about 65 miles south of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Lake City Marina lighthouse is the only working lighthouse on the entire Mississippi. Great camping nearby at Hok-Si-La, too.