A unique group of islands off the Florida Keys, this National Park is home to a pre-Civil War fort. Fort Jefferson is not only impressive, it's actually the largest brick structure in the Americas, with over 16 million blocks. Built between 1846 and 1875, the massive fort was never finished. But that doesn't make it any less incredible to behold, full of ornate masonry accents and upwards of 2,000 carefully constructed arches.
Sunrise to Sunset
Hourly, starting at 11am
Shortly after the U.S. bought Florida from Spain in the early 1800s, contradicting Navy reports led to construction of Fort Jefferson in the isolated Dry Tortugas. The strategic location of the islands was meant to secure trade in the Gulf, and naval supremacy in the Americas.
The Dry Tortugas
A small group of 7 islands, 67 miles off the coast of Key West, Dry Tortugas consists of Loggerhead, Garden, Bush, Long, Hospital, Middle, and East Key. As the name implies, none of them harbor fresh water, though their isolated location is ideal for birdwatching with nearly 300 species of migratory birds, snorkeling, viewing sea turtles in early summer and fishing.
Can I take a boat to Dry Tortugas?
Actually, Dry Tortugas are only accessible by boat or seaplane. The primary provider of charter boat service is the Yankee Freedom III ferry.
Is there food or fresh water at the park?
Unfortunately, there is no food, fresh water, grocery stores, or fuel on any of the islands, so be sure to plan and pack for your trip accordingly.