Have you ever been to the Dry Tortugas? If not, next time you’re heading out on a Key West vacation, make plans to visit this natural and historical wonder in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. The Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson is an unforgettable day trip for the entire family.
Located 70 miles west of Key West, getting there is half the fun. Only accessible by seaplane or ferry, the journey itself includes lovely scenery and often times wild dolphin sightings! The Yankee Freedom III Ferry is the official Key West Ferry of the Dry Tortugas and it departs everyday from the Key West Ferry Terminal. The ferry is built for comfort, has an air-conditioned cabin, showers, bathrooms and a crew of experienced pros who know tons about the Dry Tortugas—and will share interesting facts and history with you along the way. You’ll also get free breakfast and lunch!
When you get to the Dry Tortugas, prepare to be awed by the beauty of this natural spectacle. Pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and an abundance of activities are in store. If you like snorkeling or have been wanting to try it, now’s the perfect chance and you’ll be at the most amazing place to do it. You’ll get free use of masks, snorkels and fins from The Yankee Freedom III and once you hit the water you’ll be in for snorkeling like no place else on earth. Vibrant tropical fish, queen conchs, starfish, coral heads, sea grass and many different marine species will be a part of your experience.
If snorkeling is not your thing, a stroll on the beach, basking in the sun, hiking through the trails and bird watching are also favorite things for people to do at the Dry Tortugas. There’s also overnight camping available—imagine pitching your tent and spending the night under the stars, a picturesque adventure to say the least.
Fort Jefferson is also here. It was constructed in the 19th century and was built to protect the southern coastline of the United States. The structure is really unique; it has six sides and is made of 16 million handmade bricks. It’s known for being the largest masonry structure of its kind in the Western Hemisphere and even though it was under construction for more than 30 years, it’s still considered to be unfinished. During the Civil War the fort was used as a prison and is famous for holding Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was convicted for his involvement in the killing of President Lincoln. There are guided tours available of the Fort every day and you can also tour it yourself with the help of signs throughout the structure. If you happen to be there in the evening, be sure to catch the view of the sunset, you’ll find out why Key West sunsets are world famous. Fort Jefferson holds a special place in the history of our country and exploring it is something fun for people of all ages.