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Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

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Dry Tortugas National Park is a national park off the west coast of Florida. The park covers 101 sq mi (262 sq km) in the Gulf of Mexico, about 68 statute miles (109 km) to the west of Key West. It preserves Fort Jefferson and a small group of islands known as the Dry Tortugas.

The islands of Dry Tortugas got its name because the first European to visit it, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, did not find any fresh water on them. The word Tortugas means turtles. Ponce de León referred to them by that, because he caught 160 sea turtles there.

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park, FloridaFort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
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authorshipNational Park Service
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Fort Jefferson is the fort built on Garden key in 1846. It was built to contain the Garden Key lighthouse and its keeper's cottage. The original brick lighthouse was removed a year after the current one of metal was built in 1876.

On 4 January, 1935, the Fort Jefferson National Monument was proclaimed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Dry Tortugas National Park, including Fort Jefferson, was established on 26 October, 1992.

Fort Jefferson, FloridaFort Jefferson, Florida
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Visiting Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

The only way to reach Dry Tortugas National Park is by boat and seaplanes. Several ferry boats depart from Key West. Contact Yankee Freedom II, phone 800-634-0939 or 305-294-7009 or visit For seaplanes, contect Key West Seaplane Adventures: phone 305-293-9300 or visit

Dry Tortugas National Park is open the whole year round. Fort Jefferson is open year round during daytime. Entrance fee to the park is $5 per visitor aged 17 and older, valid for 7 days, payable via Yankee Freedom and Key West Seaplane Adventures.

List of National Parks in the United States

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