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 Miami International Airport Main Terminal.
Fort Jefferson on Garden Key at the Tortugas National Park.

Dry Tortugas Ferry tours
Take the high speed catamaran to the Dry Tortugas National Park.

Park info

70 miles west of Key West lies seven small islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, that make up Dry Tortugas National Park. The area is known for its famous bird and marine life, and its legends of pirates and sunken gold.

The Tortugas were first discovered by Ponce de Leon in 1513. Abundant sea turtles or "tortugas" provisioned his ships with fresh meat, but there was no fresh water-the tortugas were dry. Since the days of Spanish exploration, the reefs and shoals of the Dry Tortugas have been a serious hazard to navigation and the site of hundreds of shipwrecks.

In the early 1800's, U.S. military attention was drawn to the keys due to their strategic location in the Florida Straits. Plans were made for a massive fortress and construction began in 1846, but the fort was never completed. The invention of the rifled cannon made it obsolete. As the military value of Fort Jefferson waned, its pristine reefs, abundant sea life and impressive numbers of birds grew in value. In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt set aside Fort Jefferson and the surrounding waters as a national monument. The area was redesignated as Dry Tortugas National Park in 1992 to protect both the historical and natural features.

Visitor Information
Phone: 305-242-7700
Web: www.nps.gov/drto

Operating Hours
The park is open all year. Fort Jefferson on Garden Key is open during daylight hours; closed at dark. Loggerhead, East and Middle Keys are open year-round during daylight hours. Bush Key is closed to visitors February through September to protect nesting Sooty and Noddy Terns. Hospital and Long Keys are closed all year.

Entrance Fees
$5 for 7 days

The 10-site campground is located on the same island as Fort Jefferson and is a short walk from the public dock. Eight individual sites can accomodate up to 6 people and 3 tents, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Should a regular campsite not be available, an overflow area is provided. A group site is available for 10-40 people and must be reserved in advance. Call 305-242-7700 to obtain a reservation application. Groups of 10 or more arriving without a reservation will not receive exclusive use of the group site. The campground is a self-service fee area with a nightly fee of $3 per person. Fees paid for transportation (seaplane or ferry) do not include camping fees. Campsites have picnic tables and grills. Saltwater flush toilets and saltwater sinks are available at the dock. Campers must bring all supplies, including fresh water, fuel, ice, and food. All trash and garbage must be carried out upon departure.

Getting there by boat
Coming from Miami Beach, take 5th St. (395) west to the Florida Turnpike (Route 821) south until it ends, merging with U.S. 1 at Florida City. Turn right at the first traffic light onto Palm Drive (State Road 9336/SW 344th St.) and follow the signs to the park. Visitors driving north from the Florida Keys should turn left on Palm Drive in Florida City and follow the signs to the park.

Getting there by seaplane
Seaplane transportation is provided by Seaplanes of Key West. For schedules, prices, and reservations, contact 800-950-2FLY or 305-294-0709.

Weather & Climate
Subtropical climate. Temperatures range from the 60's to mid-80's. *April, May, and September are often idyllic.

Getting Around
The park may be explored by personal vehicle, tour bus, bicycle, motor boat, or canoe. Most areas of the Park are handicaped accessible.

Flamingo and Long Pine Key Campgrounds are open all year. Make Reservations by phone at 1.800.365.CAMP.

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