The Dry Tortugas are a group of seven small islands located about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. The islands and surrounding waters comprise Dry Tortugas National Park. This is one of the least accessible U. S. national parks, with access by commercial ferry, private boat, or seaplane only. Fort Jefferson is located on Garden Key, and is the National Park Headquarters. Activities include exploring historic Fort Jefferson, beachcombing, snorkeling, camping, sea kayaking (bring your own) and relaxing.
Dry Tortugas National Park
The Dry Tortugas are composed of Garden Key, Bush Key, Loggerhead Key, Long Key, Hospital Key, Middle Key, and East Key. Fort Jefferson is located on Garden Key, and Bush Key is immediately to the east, and is sometimes connected to Garden Key by a sand bar. The islands are composed of coral and loose sand and their size and configuration changes somewhat over time. Access to islands other than Garden Key or Bush Key requires a sea kayak (bring one over on the ferry) or a private boat. Some islands are closed at certain times due to nesting seabirds.
Seaplane on Garden Key (Bush Key is attached by narrow sand bridge)
Snorkeling is possible just off Garden Key, outside the moat of Fort Jefferson. Snorkeling is better around some of the other keys, but a sea kayak or private boat is necessary.
A moat surrounds Fort Jefferson
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