Dry Tortugas

Visiting Fort Jefferson

Just less than 70 miles west of Key West in the Florida Keys is an often overlooked national park. It is named after the islands that the park protects — Dry Tortugas National Park.

The main attraction at the Dry Tortugas National Park is Fort Jefferson. This fort is a Civil War-era military post designed to guard and protect the Gulf of Mexico for the Union. It is located on Garden Key.

The park is a series of islands in the Gulf of Mexico about three hours by ferry from Key West. It is one of few national parks that cannot be visited by automobile. It is also reachable by seaplane from Key West Airport.

This isolation has created a pristine place ideal for studying history, marine and wildbird life, for diving and snorkeling, and for camping.

The history of the island is equally appealing. The fort has connections to the Spanish-American War and the Lincoln Assassination, for example.

Take a look at our work and pay a virtual visit to the park or use our stories, multimedia, and photographs to play your own trip into the Gulf.

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