National Park Cliff Notes: Dry Tortugas NP – Florida

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Isolated in open water 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park encompasses 100 square miles of shallow reefs and sandy sea floor punctuated with seven small islands.

 

On the largest of the seven stands the imposing Fort Jefferson. The park is accessible by ferry ($175), seaplane ($555), and private boat. The vibrant reef and overgrown shipwrecks provide excellent snorkeling and SCUBA diving opportunities.


 

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Must See:

Fort Jefferson is a huge three story brick fortification, and it’s almost completely open for visitors to explore. I recommend walking the perimeter sea wall and making a lap around the third story roof pathway.

 

Off the Beaten Path:

Snorkel rental is included with the ferry ticket which makes it hard to pass up. While walking around the fort keep an eye out for the home made Cuban refugee boats called “chugs” that landed on the island and are now on display.

 

Next Time:

Overnight beach camping on the island is permitted by reservation only ($15 per site). Reservations are required, and during winter peak season campsites should be reserved months in advance.

 

For more information on my visit, check out my post.

 


Park Information:

National Park Service

Wikipedia

Google Maps


Transportation:

Ferry Booking – https://www.drytortugas.com/

Seaplane Booking – http://keywestseaplanecharters.com/

 

*I not affiliated with either of these companies.


 

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Arriving by ferry.


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Perimeter pathway.

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Fort Jefferson self-guided tour.

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Chug boat from Cuba that landed in Dry Tortugas and is now on display.

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Exposed engine on the chug. A trip from Cuba to Dry Tortugas would takes days in a boat like this. I was fascinated to see it up close, and it makes me more aware of the conditions faced by refugees from the Middle East.

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Second story hall.

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Low level lighting in the stairwell.

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Rounded coral and brick beach cover.

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