Dry Tortugas National Park   Leave a comment

Dry Tortugas NP 00Where Is It: 70 miles west of Key West.

The Birth: From Wikipedia:

Fort Jefferson National Monument was designated by President Franklin D Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act on January 4, 1935. The monument was expanded in 1983 and redesignated as Dry Tortugas National Park on October 26, 1992 by an act of Congress. Dry Tortugas is presently managed by the staff of Everglades National Park. The park was established to protect the island and marine ecosystems of the Dry Tortugas, to preserve Fort Jefferson and submerged cultural resources such as shipwrecks, and to allow for public access in a regulated manner.

It Happened Here: From TerraGalleria.com, the website that provides many of the beautiful pictures, below:

The name “Tortugas” was given by explorer Ponce de Leon in 1513 for the abundance of sea turtles ( the endangered green sea turtle and the threatened loggerhead turtle are still found) while “Dry” refers to the absence of available freshwater. A long-time pirate hide-out, the place was chosen by the US Navy as the “Gibraltar of the Gulf”, a strategic location to control shipping from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Despite formidable logistical challenges, Fort Jefferson, the largest brick structure in the Western Hemisphere, was built on Garden Key using 16 million hand-made bricks. However, by the time the fort was nearly finished, advances in artillery had rendered it obsolete, so its use was mostly as a civil war prison, holding 2500 prisoners and four men convicted of complicity in the assassination of President Lincoln.

Size: 64,701 acres

# Visitors: 58,401 visitors in 2013. This sparsely visited park had peak attendance in January.

Animals: From the Park’s website:

The park’s coral and sea grass communities are among the most vibrant in the Florida Keys. Hosting myriad species of colorful corals and reef fishes, these watery wonderlands entice exploration by intrepid snorkelers. Visitors who prefer to stay dry have the opportunity to observe other wildlife, including nearly 300 species of birds, the majority of which are migratory. The sooty tern finds its only regular nesting site in the United States on Bush Key, adjacent to Fort Jefferson. Large sea turtles lumber onto the park’s protected beaches each summer to bury their clutches of eggs. These and other wonders make this park a truly one-of-a-kind destination for wildlife viewing.

Fees: $5 for adults, good for 7 days.

Staying There: There are 13 camping sites available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact Info:

P.O. Box 6208
Key West, FL 33041
Phone: 305-242-7700



National Park Service:




Photo courtesy of Terra Galleria. www.terragalleria.com.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.