Dry Tortugas National Park
Located about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, there is a group of seven islands known as the Dry Tortugas. Together with the surrounding shoals and waters, they make up Dry Tortugas National Park, which is famous for amazing birds and marine life, along with stories of pirates and sunken treasure. One of the highlights of the Dry Tortugas is Fort Jefferson, a Civil War-era structure that's open for tours.
The perfectly clear waters of the Dry Tortugas allows for incredible snorkeling. Reef fish are the predominant species, which include parrotfish and butterfly fish. There are many predatory fish, such as pompanos, groupers, and mackerels. Other fish found here are snapper, pagellus and conodon. In addition, there is other sea life, everything from sea anemone and lobsters to sponges and sea turtles (Tortuga is Spanish for turtle). For more information, visit www.drytortugasinfo.com/snorkeling.html
Birders of all interests will be drawn to the Dry Tortugas. There are more than 300 different kinds of birds. The most common are the hummingbird, peregrine falcon, and yellow-billed cuckoo. If you're lucky enough, you'll catch a glimpse of the large frigate with its impressive seven-foot wingspan. While birds are around all year long, the best time to come is during the spring. For more information, visit www.drytortugasinfo.com/bird-watching.html
The Dry Tortugas are comprised of seven islands. Most prominent are Loggerhead and Garden Key, which is home to historic Fort Jefferson. Some keys feature thin mangrove growths or other types of vegetation while others are not very geographically appealing, highlighted simply by patches of sand or grass. For more information, visit www.drytortugasinfo.com/the-dry-tortugas-islands.html
Tour one of the largest coastal forts every constructed. Built during the Civil War to protect the Tortugas Anchorage, Fort Jefferson housed many of the biggest and most advanced weapons of that time. The largest of the guns were 5-inch Rodman smoothbores and they each weighed an incredible 25 tons. A crew of seven was required to fire the gargantuan weapons that could launch a 432-pound projectile up to three miles. For more information, visit www.yankeefreedom.com/fort-jefferson-tour.htm
Dry Tortugas National Park is open all year long. Garden Key, Loggerhead Key, East Key, and the Middle Keys are open during the daylight hours. Bush Key is only open from October to January. That's because sooty and noddy terns are nesting during the other months. Hospital and Long Keys are closed all year. For more information, visit www.drytortugasinfo.com/park-information.html
Visitors to our Key West, Florida historic hotel on the beach will enjoy spacious guestrooms and suites, courteous service, and appealing amenities. An exceptional location puts many top destinations within easy reach, such as Dry Tortugas National Park.