Lighthouses in Minnesota

10 Lighthouses in Minnesota waiting to be discovered 2024

When most people think of Minnesota Lighthouses, they immediately go to Split Rock Lighthouse. But lighthouses are scattered all over Minnesota, including St. Paul. One of the best parts is seeing how many lighthouses you can find.

There are six active lighthouses in the state of Minnesota, as well as many decommissioned lighthouses. Most of the lighthouses are found along Minnesota’s North Shore.

What makes up a lighthouse?

The simplest definition of a lighthouse is a tower or other structure containing a beacon of light to warn or guide ships at sea. The US Coast Guard operates a ton of light beacons and light stations throughout the state.

These lights warn sailors of shorelines. But should we include every light beacon on the list? For that reason, the lists of Lighthouses in Minnesota contain the ones with history and are easily accessible.

They also have more structure to them than a beacon.

How many lighthouses are in Minnesota?

According to the U.S. Coast Guard there are five active lighthouses in Minnesota. 

Then why does my list have more? That’s because there are a few lighthouse ruins and light beacons that are fun to explore.

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Lighthouses in Minnesota

Boom Island, Minneapolis MN

 3-29 Plymouth Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413, Parking $2,9  More Info

On Boom Island in Minneapolis is a miniature lighthouse on the river. They created this lighthouse in 1988 when Boom Island was being developed by the Minneapolis Park Board. The park also got a boat launch and Mariana.

The paddleboat Anson Northrup began using the docks at Boom Island Park to board passengers for river cruises, and later the Mississippi Queen operated out of the marina.

In 2012, all riverboats used the park to help impede the spread of Asian Carp. A new Nice Ride Bicycle Rental kiosk and a Paddle Share kayak rental station were added. Today you can view the Lighthouse from Boom Island Park.

Where to find Boom Island Lighthouse in Minneapolis?

Park at Boom Island Park, near the event center. From there, you can park feet away from the lighthouse. The house is on an island and inaccessible.

Visiting Boom Island? You’ll also want to check out these interesting parks nearby.

Boom Island Lighthouse

Duluth Harbor North Breakwater

601 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802, FREE, More Info

One of the most recognizable lighthouses in Duluth is the Duluth Harbor North Breakwater Lighthouse on Lake Superior.

Strolling through the Duluth Lake Walk and Canal Park, it’s a favorite spot to watch the ships come through and see the lift bridge.

On March 4, 1909 Congress allocated $4,000 to light the North Pier. They connected the lighthouse to the city’s electric lighting system.

The lighthouse is still in operation today and is owned by the Coast Guard. It serves as a beacon for boats making their way into the harbor.

Where to find Duluth Harbor North Breakwater Lighthouse?

To find the Duluth Harbor North Breakwater Lighthouse, park at Canal Park and walk toward shore.

At Canal Park? Make sure to explore 26 BEST Things To Do in Canal Park in Duluth, MN

Canal Park Duluth Lighthouse

Duluth Harbor South Breakwater Outer Lighthouse

601 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802, FREE, More Info

As shipping and production increased in the area thanks to the railroad, more boats were complaining about the difficulties getting through the channel at night, prompting the need for a lighthouse or two.

The South Breakwater Outer Duluth Lighthouse was constructed shortly after the building of the Inner lighthouse.

In 1870, congress allocated $10,000 to build a lighthouse in Duluth. The lighthouse was finished four years later and comprised a square and an open-framework tower. It also had a keeper’s quarters with seven rooms.

Book a Helicopter Tour over Duluth’s most iconic features including the Lift Bridge and Lighthouses!

Where to find Duluth Harbor South Breakwater Outer Lighthouse?

To find the Duluth Harbor South Breakwater Lighthouse, park at Canal Park and walk over the lift bridge.

the duluth south breakwater outer light in minnesota
Photo by John Nail on

Duluth Harbor South Breakwater Inner Duluth Light Beacon

 601 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802, FREE More Info

The route for boats around Minnesota Point was difficult to navigate, prompting the growth of the Duluth Canal. A second inner lighthouse was requested.

In 1889, they completed the structure for $2,264.58. It comprised a four-story wooden pyramid tower with a lantern at the top.

Where to find Duluth Harbor South Breakwater Inner Light Beacon?

To visit the South Breakwater Inner Light Beacon, park at Canal Park and walk over the lift bridge.

Did you know you can book a stay right next to all the lighthouses on Canal Park by clicking here?

Zero Point Lighthouse in Duluth MN

 Minnesota Point, Duluth, MN 55802, FREE, More Info

Also referred to as Minnesota Point, Zero Point Lighthouse was built in March 1856. Minnesota Point is the stretch of land that extends out from the Duluth Lift Bridge.

The sliver of water to the South of the island is known as Superior Bay. It marks the divide between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Realizing the need to mark the entrance to the harbor, Congress appointed $15,000 to mark the entrance. They erected a tower along with the lighthouse keeper’s house.

Unfortunately, the house was not built to last. In 1893, the house was moved to the Wisconsin Point of the entrance. All that remains are the ruins of the old lighthouse. Today you can still see the tower.

Where to find Zero Point Lighthouse in Duluth?

To get to Zero Point Lighthouse in Duluth, park by the Airport at the end of Minnesota Point. Then walk along the Park Point Nature Trail for about 1.5 miles.

If you walk all the way to the end of the Island, you can see the new Lighthouse on the Wisconsin Side.

Two Harbors Red Brick Lighthouse, Two Harbors, MN

 Two Harbors, MN 55616, FREE Exterior/$5 to enter,  More Info

Because of the increase in Iron Ore shipments out of Two Harbors, congress appropriated $10,000 for a lighthouse and keepers dwelling at Tow Harbors. Construction started in July 1891.

The Two Harbors lighthouse is a two-story redbrick house, with a twelve-foot-square light tower attached. In 1981, the light was automated.

The Lake County Historical Society leased out the property in 1987. They offered tours soon after. In 1999, to help provide funds for restoration and maintenance, the lighthouse became a bed and breakfast.

Visitors can tour the light tower, the assistance keepers’ dwelling, and the pilothouse.

Where to find Two Harbors Red Brick Lighthouse?

You can access the Tow Harbors Red Brick Lighthouse from Highway 61. Follow the signs leading to the lighthouse, turning on 5th or 6th street towards Lake Superior. From there, take South Avenue to third street and park in Agate Bay Parking lot.

Here you’ll get a good view of the Lighthouse. You can also tour the lighthouse as long as there aren’t events.

Book your stay in Two Harbors by clicking here!
For more great things to do in Tow Harbors, Check out 30 Best things to do in Two Harbors Minnesota

Two Harbors Red Brick Lighthouse
Two Harbors Agate Bay Lighthouse

East Breakwater Light Beacon in Two Harbors

 Two Harbors, MN 55616 FREE More Info

In 1887, construction started on two breakwaters along the entrance to Agate Bay. In December 1895, a white, eight-day lantern light was added to the end of the breakwater, sitting 30 feet above lake level.

They constructed compartments to hold the gas tanks, lighting the beacon. Four years later, the gas light was replaced by an enclosed lighthouse with electric light.

Where to find East Breakwater Light Beacon in Two Harbors?

You can access the Tow Harbors Red Brick Lighthouse from Highway 61. Follow the signs leading to the lighthouse, turning on 5th or 6th street towards Lake Superior. From there, take South Avenue to third street and park in Agate Bay Parking lot.

Park at the lighthouse bed and breakfast and walk along the breakwater.

Two Harbors Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse, Two Harbors, MN

 3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd, Two Harbors, MN 55616, $12  More Info

After a November storm on November 28, 1905, where twenty-nine vessels were destroyed or damaged and thirty-six men lost their lives, it was decided that a lighthouse was desperately needed.

On March 4, 1907, $75,000 was appropriated to build a light and fog signal near Split Rock.

Of all the lighthouses on the list, this was the most amount of money allocated to the construction.

It shows too. The lighthouse has stood for over 100 years and looks like it did when it was first built. They built brick dwellings.

The Minnesota Historical Society manages the lighthouse and is the most visited of all its properties.

If you do not wish to tour the lighthouse, you can also view it from a roadside stop and at the Split Rock State Park shoreline.

Those that decided to paddleboard or kayak near the base of Split Rock Lighthouse can also see a shipwreck.

Find out more about the event leading to the lighthouse’s origins. So Terrible a Storm: A Tale of Fury on Lake Superior

Where to find Split Rock Lighthouse, Two Harbors MN?

This lighthouse is along the shoreline further north of downtown Two Harbors. You can first spot it along the roadside stop just before you get to Minnesota State Park. A mile up the road is the entrance to Split Rock Lighthouse.

You can see it from the shoreline of the state park. Just past the park office, turn right, and take the road to the first parking lot. From there you can take the trail down to the shoreline.

Alternatively, you can also stay left at the entrance to Split Rock and enter the museum. This is where you can get inside the lighthouse during summertime or visit the exterior vantage points in the fall.

Find out some great discounts on how to see Split Rock Lighthouse by clicking here.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Grand Marais Lighthouse

Grand Marais, MN 55604 FREE More Info

The Grand Marais lighthouse was first constructed in 1885. It took almost another 10 years before they could construct a lighthouse keeper dwelling nearby because of the lack of land available.

The original lighthouse saw its share of storms since its construction. Often needing to be patched up. By 1902, they changed the design and put in the pyramid lighthouse you see today.

You can get to the lighthouse by walking along 350 feet of the breakwater. Parking at the lot near the coast guard, walk along the breakwater’s shores until you get to the tower. This is a narrow and rocky walkway. Be mindful if you take children.

Grand Marais is a charming town you have to see for yourself. Check out all the Perfect Things To Do in Grand Marais MN for Everyone including Artist Point

Where to find the Grand Marais Lighthouse?

The lighthouse house can be spotted almost everywhere in Downtown Grand Marais. If you want to get closer to the lighthouse, take a walk on Artist Point.

You’ll walk along the breakwater on some narrow walkways. I don’t recommend this for younger children.

Book a room right on Lake Super by clicking here!

Grand Marais MN Lighthouse

Zippel Bay Light Beacon, Lake of the Woods

3684 54th Ave NW, Williams, MN 56686 FREE, with State Park Pass More Info

Zippel Bay Lighthouse is probably more of a light beacon, but it’s too iconic not to add to the list. For those doing the MN State Park Passport program or Hiking Club, you’ll get to see this beacon located off the shoreline at the park.

The light beacon is one of many managed by the United States Coast Guard on Lake of the Woods. There are a few others around the lake that are technically in Canada.

Find out more fun things to do at Zippel Bay State Park in Northern MN

Where to find Zippel Bay Light Beacon?

This beacon is a great find because it’s in a relatively non-visited part of the state. At Zippel Bay State Park, walk along the beach west from the Swimming Beach and you’ll run right into it. You can also see it via boat.

Hiking Club Password - Light Beacon

What is my favorite Lighthouse in Minnesota?

There are a lot of awesome lighthouses in Minnesota on the north shore, but my favorites are the ones from the 1800s. They are all over the place, from Lake Superior to the shoreline, and even in the frigid waters.

I like to stop at the lighthouses and take in the beautiful scenery and history. How many lighthouses you have visited?

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