One of the highlights of our trip on Minnesota’s North Shore was visiting Split Rock Lighthouse. Andrew is a huge fan of lighthouses (despite his fear of heights). Split Rock Lighthouse is located within Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. If you are visiting the lighthouse and paying for a tour, there’s no need to get a state park pass for the day as it is included in the price of your tour.
When you arrive at the lighthouse area, they have a large parking area and a large visitor center that houses restrooms, a gift shop, and small museum. We quickly bought our tour tickets and had about 15 minutes before the tour went out, so we took time to browse the museum exhibits. One of my favorite exhibits had four different light samples you could watch and you had to figure out which light belonged to which lighthouse.
Our tour begin on an outcropping of rock that was the location materials were brought in for the lighthouse and the keeper’s houses. They also gave the history of the lighthouse and why there was a need for one in that particular area.
From there the tour moved to a set of benches that sit just to the side of the actual lighthouse. From there you can see all the buildings that still sit on the grounds. Our guide gave us the history of all those buildings and told us what each of their purposes was. After that we were free to browse all the buildings on our own.
Because of it’s remote location, there were several keepers houses located on Split Rocks property. They all were constructed the same and furnished in the same way so no one could be jealous of the others. They also came with indoor plumbing, another draw to the area despite its remote location. We decided to tour the keeper house they have open first.
Next we went into the Fog Signal building. This building now houses various display boards talking about the history of the area.
The final stop was the lighthouse itself. You can climb the stairs to the top. It’s actually a rather small lighthouse since it makes up for it’s lack of height due to it’s location on a high cliff.
If you continue back in front of the keeper’s houses, you can take a walk way down to the beach to view the lighthouse from the bottom of the cliff. Be prepared! It’s a lot of stairs down and you have to take them all back up to get back to the visitor center after climbing down, but the view is worth it! this picture below was still taken just a little way down the stairs.
We had a great morning at Split Rock Lighthouse and it’s one of our favorite lighthouses we’ve ever had the chance to visit.
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