First, we should find out what does a lighthouse actually do? What are they used for? According to Ocean Service, they are used to help guide ships or vessels safely in and out of harbors. They can be used as a warning to let mariners know of dangerous shallows and rocky coasts.

Unsplash - Paulius Dragunas
Unsplash - Paulius Dragunas

Growing up in Minnesota, I can remember seeing this lighthouse when we went up north and visited the town of Duluth, Minnesota. Duluth is an extremely popular tourist destination for our neighbors to the north and the city sits right on the shores of Lake Superior.

According to World Atlas, Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world so it's always made sense to me why a lighthouse was needed in this city. There were huge ships that would travel using Lake Superior, and when they would get to the town of Duluth, they needed to be able to navigate the extremely rocky cliffs and needed help keeping away from the shorelines at night. That got me thinking...does Iowa have any lighthouses?

Iowa isn't exactly known for its lakes or massive bodies of water but I wanted to know if there were working lighthouses in the Hawkeye state and it turns out there are quite a few of them, sort of. According to to be listed in the lighthouse directory, a lighthouse must actually serve as an aid to navigation as there are a few faux lighthouses in Iowa. You can see a great collection of lighthouses at Iowa's Storm Lake. Storm Lake lighthouse locations are Storm Lake Awaysis Park, Siebens Memorial, and Stoney Point.

In the Ibiblio article, it states you can also find a handful of lighthouses around the entire state. You can find lighthouses on the Mississippi River at Fort Madison Harbor and Peevler Keokuk Yacht Club, which are maintained by the city and the latter, by the club. There's a lighthouse located at Rathbun Lake Marina and Lake Panorama.

There are two located on the Missouri River, one located at Hildrith Lighthouse Marina and another in Sioux City. There are 2 at West Lake Okoboji, located at West lake Okoboji Harbor Starboard and West Lake Okoboji Harbor Port. Our final lighthouse is located in Clear Lake.

Even if Iowa isn't well known for water travel or water recreation I think it's pretty cool to know there are still working and functional lighthouses in Iowa. The more you know!

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