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Overview

The Dry Tortugas are a series of islands rising from the aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico, 70 miles offshore from Key West, as far southwest in Florida as you can go — and reachable only by seaplane, hydrofoil, or private boat. Garden Key is the most well known of the Dry Tortugas, a landmark from air and sea, thanks to a historic site you can’t miss — Fort Jefferson. This 1846 brick fortress is an imposing sight, and is one of the largest built in America. It was constructed to oversee early shipping traffic passing into the Gulf from the Caribbean, and was captured early on in the Civil War by Federal troops to command the shipping ...

The Dry Tortugas are a series of islands rising from the aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico, 70 miles offshore from Key West, as far southwest in Florida as you can go — and reachable only by seaplane, hydrofoil, or private boat. Garden Key is the most well known of the Dry Tortugas, a landmark from air and sea, thanks to a historic site you can’t miss — Fort Jefferson. This 1846 brick fortress is an imposing sight, and is one of the largest built in America. It was constructed to oversee early shipping traffic passing into the Gulf from the Caribbean, and was captured early on in the Civil War by Federal troops to command the shipping lanes. Later used as a prison, its most famous prisoner was Dr. Samuel Mudd, the physician that treated John Wilkes Booth after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. But dry land is only one aspect of this national park. For visitors who immerse themselves in the Gulf of Mexico, the park’s main appeal lies underwater, with spectacular coral reefs and shipwrecks to explore.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Sandra Friend for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

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