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Dry Tortuga National Park

A cluster of seven small islands about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, and surrounding waters and reefs make up Dry Tortugas National Park. The islands still do not exhibit any standing fresh water or even seasonal streams, hence the name dry. The first European to visit the area, Ponce de Leon, named the islands tortugas because his crew caught 160 sea turtles in the vicinity. To help protect American shipping from pirates in the Carribean and the U.S. Gulf Coast from invasion, in the mid-1800s, the United States started construction on a fort, named Fort Jefferson, on one of the Dry Tortugas. Although the fort was never completely finished, it served first as a prison and later as a quarantine station until the early 1930s. Fort Jefferson is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere, composed of over 16 million bricks. More than 80,000 people come to the park to tour the fort every year. Visitors also enjoy snorkeling in the park's warm waters, viewing the marine life of the coral reefs and a multitude of shipwrecks. Dry Tortugas National Park is open year round during daylight hours; but a visit takes planning because the park is accessible only by boat or seaplane. Commercial ferries go back and forth daily from Key West. Current Internet Travel Offers for Dry Tortuga NP...

This article is based on work found at WikiTravel. A list of contributors is available a the original article. This article is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license.


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