Dry Tortugas National Park is a known National Park in United States, located at 68-miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. Today the National Park is protected under IUCN category II. The park is known for its rich sea life, colourful coral reef, shipwrecks with sunken treasure and breeding ground for many birds. The National Park preserves seven Island and Fort Jefferson, and isolated Florida Keys.
Fort Jefferson is a coastal fortress and largest stonework in the Western Hemisphere. The structure is composed of around 16-million bricks. The National Park is one of the unique composition of historic artefacts and tropical ecosystem, the land is accessible by boat or seaplane. Around 60,000 visitors visit the place. The place is developed as a great tourist spot, as it offers picnicking, bird-watching, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking and so.
Name – Dry Tortugas?
You must be wondering, why the place is named as ‘Dry Tortugas’. In 1513, when Ponce De Leon a Spanish explorer discovered the place, got amazed with the number of sea turtles covering the land. Hence, he decided to name the island after these turtles, ‘Las Tortugas’ a Spanish word. The National Park is rich with picturesque landscape and nature around, but the place has a shortage of fresh water. The shortage of fresh water was the reason to add ‘dry’ word to its name. Visitors and sailor entering this archipelago were instructed to carry water to drink. But the issue of fresh water was soon solved by Yankee Freedom III, who provided sufficient amount of food and fresh water on the island.
The island is rich with its treacherous reefs, in 1825 a lighthouse was constructed to warn and safeguard the ships. There are shipwrecks dating back to 1600s, at present Dry Tortugas holds numerous shipwrecks. The main reason of the shipwrecks is the reefs surrounding the place.
The island is surrounded by water bodies from all sides, which makes the place accessible by seaplane or boat only. The seven islands which makes the park are Garden Key, Bush Key, Hospital Key, Long Key, Loggerhead Key, East key and Middle Key. To be very accurate, the island is around 104-acres. Best time to visit this place is between November to April.
Things to do
If you are planning to visit the island, then try to add this cool things on list to do!
- Bird-watching at Florida Keys
- Snorkelling at Fort Jefferson
- Exploring Fort Jefferson Tour
- Beaches and so!
Eco Tours are also conducted at the Dry Tortugas National Park to explore the shallow healthy coral reefs and fertile marine fields. The park is the kingdom of threatened and endangered sea turtles. If you want to explore Great Island with option to dip in sparkling blue water, then Dry Tortugas National park must be on your list!