February 02 2015
Written By
Josey Orr
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The Great 59 - Part 17: Dry Tortugas National Park

The Great 59 is a series on America’s National Park Service.

Dry Tortugas National Park

State: Florida

Created: October 26th, 1992

Size: 64, 701 Acres

Dry Tortugas National Park was initially discovered in 1500 by Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon. At first, it was used as a pit stop for Spanish ships en route to Florida, then shortly after it was purchased by America as part of it’s acquisition of the Florida territories. The idea at the time was that the Dry Tortugas could be a great place for a naval base.

In 1846, construction began on Fort Jefferson, but before they could finish the civil war had started and the project remains unfinished to this very day. While you’re at the park you can take a 45-minute guided tour of the base. Oh, did we mention you have to fly or take a boat to get to the park?

What To Do:

Snorkle – There is a designated snorkeling area within the bounds of the park. Always make sure that your equipment is functioning and fits properly. Do not touch or stand on the coral as you can destroy it and harm yourself in the process.

Fish – You may also fish in certain areas of the park. A Florida fishing license is required.

Camp – There are campsites available in the park. Cost is only three dollars a night. Snorkeling, stargazing, and beautiful sunsets are just a few steps away from the campground.

Kayak – You can kayak from one little island to another, just make sure to let a park ranger know your float plan so you don’t get lost at sea!

Places Of Interest:

Fort Jefferson - The most historical landmark in the park. Definitely take the guided tour and soak up a history lesson while you’re at it!

Coral Reefs – Who doesn’t want to see beautiful coral and colorful fish on their vacation?

The Moat Wall – You can actually take a short (.6mi) hike around the moat wall. Pretty neat!

The park is open all year long, barring severe weather conditions that prohibit transportation to and from the island. Make sure to check the weather before your trip.

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