Few people know Dry Tortugas National Park even exists. That’s all the better for those of us who get the chance to visit this wonderful location.
Dry Tortugas National Park is located approximately 70 miles west of Key West. Named for the abundance of sea turtles that once made their home on these islands, it provides the habitat for loggerhead, hawksbill, green and leatherback sea turtles, among myriad sea birds and marine life. The remote park’s waters, full of shipwrecks, coral reefs and shoals, are popular with snorkelers and scuba divers. It is also the location of Fort Jefferson – a fort started in the 1820s (it was used in the Civil War as a prison) and big enough to fit Yankee stadium in. The fort is currently in process of being restored.
Visitors can reach the Fort Jefferson and the park by private boat, or by charter. There are a limited number of campsites on the island for campers, but most people will want to simply spend the day exploring Fort Jefferson and the surrounding waters.
Be prepared for some wonderful snorkeling and a great trip into history.
Dry Tortugas National Park is a great day trip for anyone in the Florida Keys.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.