Dry Tortugas Location
Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson are located almost 70 miles or 112.9 km west of Key West, Florida.
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Transportation to Dry Tortugas
If tourists want to visit these islands, it is only accessible by a ferry, small plane, or by your personal boat.
Yankee Freedom. Travel safely over 70 miles to Fort Jefferson and Dry Tortugas National Park aboard the Yankee Freedom.
Key West Seaplane Adventures is the only air service that will fly you to Fort Jefferson and Dry Tortugas National Park. The tours and charter flights are available in the morning, afternoon, or all-day.
Dry Tortugas Things to Do
Dry Tortugas Information and History
There are a chain of islands 70 miles west of Key West in Florida called the Dry Tortugas. The Dry Tortugas are named as such, because they were discovered around the 1500s by a Spanish explorer named Ponce De Leon. These islands were unhabited by people, and they still aren't. The reason why they're not inhabited by people, is because they are simply too small and too shallow for any human life. But a huge reason why humans can't inhabit these islands is because there is no fresh water on the islands. This is why the islands are partially known as being dry. Although they aren't dry per se, there is no fresh water, and so the dry name stuck. They are known as tortugas, because the islands reminded the explorers of the shape of the turtle, and many sea turtles inhabited the island. In old times, the sea turtles were used as food, and they were kept on the ships of the explorers. When the explorers got hungry, they would cook the meat of the turtles for food consumption.
The U.S. Navy has attempted to use the Dry Tortugas islands for a variety of missions. At one time, these islands were used as a lookout point to protect pirating from the Caribbean Sea. During later times, there was a proposal to use the islands as a Marine hospital. A testimony of those times is a lighthouse that still stands to this day. While it's not an actual grand lighthouse, there is a light post that is still visible for visitors to look at. Again, it's not a place for people to live, because the islands are too small and too shallow for life. Having said this though, there are over 200 species of birds that are said to be natives of this island, although only seven species actively produce life on the islands currently.
These islands were designated as being part of the National Park System for the U.S. During the early part of the 20th century, President Theodore Roosevelt designated these islands as a bird refuge, because Pres. Roosevelt instituted the National Parks System. As of today, this is a popular destination for visitors who are interested in bird watching, and those for who would like to visit a chain of islands that belong to the U.S. They are uninhabited, and tiny, yet they are surrounded by beautiful aquamarine waters.
These islands are 70 miles west of Key West in Florida. There is a lot to do in Key West, and on the variety of Keys of Florida. Those who visit the Keys are those who want a tropical, yet quiet island experience on the one hand, and desire a deep southern vacation experience on the other hand. The Florida Keys lie right in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico to the West, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The weather here is pretty stable. It doesn't get too hot, nor does it get too cold. Unlike some areas of Florida, the Keys of Florida never seem to get bombarded with hurricanes. This makes them a wonderful vacation destination all year long.