Booking Widget Bar

Birds Walking On The Beach

The Dry Tortugas, a group of seven small islands located about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, offer a captivating blend of history and natural beauty. This remote paradise is home to the Dry Tortugas National Park, encompassing nearly 100 square miles of pristine water, coral reefs, and diverse marine life. Whether you are a history buff or a nature enthusiast, visiting the Dry Tortugas is an experience like no other. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of the Dry Tortugas and explore the natural wonders that make this destination a must-visit.

History of the Dry Tortugas

The history of the Dry Tortugas is as intriguing as its natural beauty. Discovered by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1513, the islands were originally named "Las Tortugas" due to the abundance of sea turtles in the area. However, the name was later changed to "Dry Tortugas" to indicate the lack of fresh water on the islands.

Fort Jefferson: A Monument to Military Engineering

One of the most significant historical landmarks in the Dry Tortugas is Fort Jefferson. Constructed in the mid-19th century, Fort Jefferson is one of the largest masonry forts in the United States. The fort was built to protect one of the most strategic deep-water anchorages in North America and served as a key military outpost during the Civil War.

Construction and Design: The construction of Fort Jefferson began in 1846 and continued for over 30 years. The fort is made up of over 16 million bricks and covers 16 acres. Its hexagonal shape and massive size are a testament to the engineering prowess of the time.

Historical Significance: During the Civil War, Fort Jefferson served as a Union military prison, housing some of the most notorious prisoners, including Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was implicated in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Preservation Efforts: Today, Fort Jefferson is a well-preserved historical site, offering visitors a glimpse into the past. Guided tours are available, providing detailed insights into the fort's construction, history, and the lives of those who were stationed there.

Dry Tortugas: Natural Wonders

The natural wonders of the Dry Tortugas are equally compelling. The islands and surrounding waters are home to a diverse array of wildlife, making it a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Coral Reefs and Marine Life

The coral reefs surrounding the Dry Tortugas are among the most vibrant and diverse in the world. These reefs provide a habitat for a wide variety of marine species, making it a popular destination for snorkeling and diving.

Coral Species: The reefs are home to over 30 different species of coral, including brain coral, elkhorn coral, and staghorn coral. These corals create intricate structures that provide shelter for countless marine organisms.

Marine Wildlife: Visitors can expect to see a variety of fish species, including parrotfish, angelfish, and barracudas. The waters also host sea turtles, dolphins, and even the occasional nurse shark.

Bird Watching: Avian Species of the Dry Tortugas

The Dry Tortugas is a critical stopover for migratory birds, making it a haven for bird watchers. The islands provide a resting place for hundreds of bird species, some of which are rare and endangered.

Bird Species: Among the notable species are the Magnificent Frigatebird, Sooty Tern, and Brown Noddy. The islands are particularly important during the spring and fall migrations when thousands of birds can be observed.

Bird Watching Tips: The best time for bird watching is during the early morning or late afternoon. Bringing a pair of binoculars and a bird guidebook can enhance the experience.

Pristine Beaches and Crystal Clear Waters

The beaches of the Dry Tortugas are among the most beautiful in the Florida Keys. The white sandy shores and crystal-clear waters offer a perfect setting for relaxation and recreation.

Beach Activities: Popular activities include swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. The calm waters are ideal for kayaking and paddleboarding.

Underwater Exploration: For those interested in underwater exploration, snorkeling gear is available for rent. The clear waters provide excellent visibility, allowing snorkelers to observe the vibrant marine life up close.

Visiting the Dry Tortugas

Visiting the Dry Tortugas is an adventure in itself. Due to its remote location, access to the islands is limited to boat or seaplane. However, the journey is well worth the effort, offering a unique opportunity to explore this remote paradise.

Getting There

Ferry Service: The most common way to reach the Dry Tortugas is by ferry. The Yankee Freedom III ferry operates daily trips from Key West, providing a comfortable and scenic ride to the islands.

Seaplane Tours: For a more unique experience, seaplane tours are available, offering breathtaking aerial views of the islands and surrounding waters.

What to Bring

When planning a trip to the Dry Tortugas, it's essential to come prepared. Here are some items to bring:

Sunscreen and Hat: The Florida sun can be intense, so protecting yourself from UV rays is crucial.

Water and Snacks: There are no facilities on the islands, so bringing plenty of water and snacks is important.

Snorkeling Gear: While rental gear is available, bringing your own ensures a perfect fit and comfort.

Planning Your Trip to the Florida Keys: Explore the Dry Tortugas

Exploring the Dry Tortugas offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty that is unmatched. From the historical significance of Fort Jefferson to the vibrant coral reefs and diverse wildlife, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply seeking a remote paradise to unwind, visiting the Dry Tortugas is an experience you will never forget. The islands' rich history and natural wonders make it a must-visit destination in the Florida Keys.

Incorporating the historical and natural highlights of the Dry Tortugas into your travel plans will provide a truly enriching and memorable adventure. So pack your bags, set sail, and embark on a journey to explore the Dry Tortugas.

Stay at Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo

For an unforgettable experience, book your stay at the Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo, the perfect base for your adventure to the Dry Tortugas. Nestled in a serene tropical setting, Ocean Pointe Suites offers spacious accommodations with stunning ocean views, private balconies, and fully equipped kitchens. After a day of exploring the historical and natural wonders of the https://www.visitflorida.com/travel-ideas/articles/florida-keys-the-keys-dry-tortugas-national-park/https://www.visitflorida.com/travel-ideas/articles/florida-keys-the-keys-dry-tortugas-national-park/, unwind in the comfort of your suite or take advantage of the resort's luxurious amenities, including a private beach, swimming pool, and tennis courts.

Located just a short drive from Key West, Ocean Pointe Suites provides convenient access to the ferry or seaplane services to the Dry Tortugas, making it an ideal choice for travellers seeking both relaxation and adventure.

Book your stay today and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich history of the Florida Keys.

related stories

July 03, 2024

Making the Most of Lobster Mini-Season 2024 in Key Largo

Read More About Making the Most of Lobster Mini-Season 2024 in Key Largo
June 25, 2024

How to Stay Cool in The Summer Heat : Best Water Activities in Key Largo

Read More About How to Stay Cool in The Summer Heat : Best Water Activities in Key Largo
June 25, 2024

The Top 5 Waterfront Bars to Hear Live Music in Key Largo & Islamorada

Read More About The Top 5 Waterfront Bars to Hear Live Music in Key Largo & Islamorada
June 05, 2024

Your Guide to 4th of July 2024 in the Florida Keys

Read More About Your Guide to 4th of July 2024 in the Florida Keys
May 30, 2024

Exploring the Dry Tortugas: History and Natural Wonders

Read More About Exploring the Dry Tortugas: History and Natural Wonders
May 29, 2024

Planning a Destination Wedding in the Florida Keys: Tips and Ideas

Read More About Planning a Destination Wedding in the Florida Keys: Tips and Ideas
May 24, 2024

Florida Keys Wedding Venues: Places to Stay if You are Attending a Wedding in Key Largo

Read More About Florida Keys Wedding Venues: Places to Stay if You are Attending a Wedding in Key Largo
May 08, 2024

Day Trip to Everglades National Park: Exploring Near Key Largo

Read More About Day Trip to Everglades National Park: Exploring Near Key Largo
May 08, 2024

Day Trips from Key West: Exploring the Surrounding Islands

Read More About Day Trips from Key West: Exploring the Surrounding Islands
May 02, 2024

How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Tavernier, Key Largo

Read More About How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Tavernier, Key Largo
May 02, 2024

Planning a Romantic Getaway in Tavernier: Activities and Ideas for Couples

Read More About Planning a Romantic Getaway in Tavernier: Activities and Ideas for Couples
April 23, 2024

Creating the Perfect Family Vacation in Key Largo

Read More About Creating the Perfect Family Vacation in Key Largo
April 23, 2024

Why The Month of May is the Best Time To Visit Key Largo

Read More About Why The Month of May is the Best Time To Visit Key Largo
April 03, 2024

The Definitive Guide to Key Largo Snorkeling

Read More About The Definitive Guide to Key Largo Snorkeling
April 03, 2024

The Top 5 Best Seafood Restaurants in Key Largo To Visit in 2024

Read More About The Top 5 Best Seafood Restaurants in Key Largo To Visit in 2024
March 22, 2024

Five Historical Sites in Key Largo You Should Visit

Read More About Five Historical Sites in Key Largo You Should Visit
March 22, 2024

The Iconic Places to Stay in Key Largo: A Definitive Guide

Read More About The Iconic Places to Stay in Key Largo: A Definitive Guide
March 11, 2024

Key Largo Vacation Planning Guide

Read More About Key Largo Vacation Planning Guide
February 20, 2024

A Guide to Seafood Festivals in the Florida Keys

Read More About A Guide to Seafood Festivals in the Florida Keys
February 20, 2024

Everything You Need to Know About the Florida Keys Nautical Flea Market

Read More About Everything You Need to Know About the Florida Keys Nautical Flea Market
February 02, 2024

Things to Do in Key Largo, Florida: A 2024 Guide

Read More About Things to Do in Key Largo, Florida: A 2024 Guide
November 17, 2023

Chasing Adventure: Water Sports and Activities in the Florida Keys

Read More About Chasing Adventure: Water Sports and Activities in the Florida Keys
November 17, 2023

Exploring Islamorada: The Sport Fishing Capital of the World

Read More About Exploring Islamorada: The Sport Fishing Capital of the World
November 17, 2023

Exploring the Underwater World: Key Largo Dives and Snorkeling Tours

Read More About Exploring the Underwater World: Key Largo Dives and Snorkeling Tours
October 17, 2023

Family-Friendly Fun: Kid-Friendly Activities in the Florida Keys

Read More About Family-Friendly Fun: Kid-Friendly Activities in the Florida Keys
October 17, 2023

Key West’s Famous Sunset: Where to Watch the Magic Unfold

Read More About Key West’s Famous Sunset: Where to Watch the Magic Unfold
October 16, 2023

Exploring Big Pine Key and the Lower Florida Keys: Dive into Nature and Wildlife Encounters

Read More About Exploring Big Pine Key and the Lower Florida Keys: Dive into Nature and Wildlife Encounters
September 22, 2023

Discovering Key Largo: The Best Vacation Rentals in the Florida Keys

Read More About Discovering Key Largo: The Best Vacation Rentals in the Florida Keys
September 22, 2023

Family Getaways: Top Family-Friendly Vacation Rentals in the Florida Keys

Read More About Family Getaways: Top Family-Friendly Vacation Rentals in the Florida Keys
September 22, 2023

The Advantage of Vacation Rentals Over Hotels in the Florida Keys

Read More About The Advantage of Vacation Rentals Over Hotels in the Florida Keys