By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summer vacations are looking a different because of COVID-19. But our favorite landmarks are reopening after concerns about the pandemic closed them in March.

A beacon along the north shore will be back in business as of Wednesday, July 15.

Split Rock Lighthouse is a popular tourist site that’s making changes to protect visitors from the virus.

While Split Rock has stood above Lake Superior for more than 100 years, the lighthouse is just a few months into weathering a different kind of storm.

Split Rock site manager Hayes Scriven says he’s excited to reopen the lighthouse.

“It’s kind of a shame we had to shut down, but we had to be sure we could do this safely and properly for everybody,” Scriven said.

This summer that will mean registering to visit online, following the social distancing stickers and a self-guided tour on the grounds.

The inside of the lighthouse and keepers house will now be off limits.

“We are trying to make the summer along the north shore as great as it possibly can be,” said president of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Janelle Jones.

Jones admits they’ve seen more tourists than they expected as travelers stay closer to home in Minnesota and look to social distance in mother nature.

“I think everyone has been cooped up all spring ready to get out and weather has been gorgeous. We have seen a lot of people, but people have been very respectful,” Jones said.

To balance the safety between locals and visitors, Lake County has launched an online pledge — a reminder of the precautions to take as confirmed COVID-19 cases remain less than 10.

“We were nervous going into summer, but things have turned out just fine,” Jones said.

“There seemed to be plenty of things open,” traveler John Derosier said.

The same as they turned out for the Derosier family headed back to the cities after a restful few days.

“It’s kind of one of those things you know it’s there and you just have to deal with it as you go,” Derosier said.

Split Rock tours have gone from $12 to $8 dollars a piece this summer.

While you’re encouraged to register online first — you can just show up — but registered visitors will get in first.

Liz Collin