Dry Tortugas National Park is located approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of Key West, Florida. This remote 100-square mile park is mostly made up of open water containing seven small islands. The islands are better knows as ‘keys’ and include Garden, Loggerhead, Bush, Long, East, Hospital, and Middle Key. Collectively known as the Dry Tortugas, they are located on the edge of the shipping channel between the Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean.
On the island of Garden Key, visitors will find the historic Fort Jefferson, one of the largest 19th century forts in the U.S. The fort was built between 1846 and 1875 and features 16 million bricks, 2,000 arches, and a lighthouse on top. There are also a few historic Rodman cannons near the lighthouse. The open concept of the unfinished fort makes it easy to tour.
The region is accessible only by boat or seaplane, so there are several tour operators available that depart from Key West, including the Yankee Freedom (Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry). This boat offers day trips and delivers campers for overnight stays.
The scenic waters of the Dry Tortugas are excellent for diving and snorkeling due to magnificent coral reefs and marine life in the region, as well as hundreds of interesting shipwrecks. On land, nature lovers will appreciate the vast array of birds that visit the area.
⦿ To watch our tour of the Dry Tortugas, visit our YouTube video HERE and be sure to use the highest quality playback settings.
Photo — Wallpaper Cave by Steven L Markos