1513, the Dry Tortugas was first discovered by Ponce de Leon and named for its abundance of sea turtles. The area became known for its lack of freshwater, hence the name "Dry," as well as its dangerous reefs which caused many a shipwreck before the building of the 1825 lighthouse built on Garden Key.
Today, Dry Tortugas National Park is known for being incredibly beautiful, a nature paradise, and fascinating as the location of Fort Jefferson, a military fort in the middle of the cerulean sea. Fort Jefferson's construction began in 1846 and has since remained an iconic, scenic, and popular destination for Florida Key's visitors.
Dry Tortugas visitors wile away the hours with luxurious walks on the white beaches, interacting with the sea turtles which still call the area home, and touring the historic landmarks. Start your tour at the Dry Tortugas Museum and explore the many exhibits featuring everything from Ernest Hemingway to the Civil War, before moving on to the Fort Jefferson tour. Tour the island over 40-60 minutes and learn everything there is to know about the fort's construction and use during the Civil War and on into modern times. After that, you have the opportunity to explore the natural side of the park through snorkeling and scuba diving, participating in nature walks or camping, birding, or simply relaxing on the beaches.
Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson is an incredibly beautiful, meaningful, and significant region of the Florida Keys for a number of reasons. Visit and find out which is your favorite!