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The Ultimate Guide to the Outdoors and Environment in Broward, Collier, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties.
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Dry Tortugas National Park
Monroe County
dry tortugas national park
Click on Photo for Larger Image and Description
dry tortugas national park
dry tortugas national park
dry tortugas national park
Click on Photo for Larger Image and Description

40001 SR-9336


This place should be on every birder's bucket list. Camp there for a few days, if you can. Make it a day trip if you can't. It's not the easiest place to visit, but by all means try. The park itself is a collection of seven small islands about 70 miles west of Key West. You get there by air or by boat. The Yankee Freedom ferry makes the trip once a day; seaplanes fly in several times a day.

Garden Key is the hub of the park, the site of Fort Jefferson, the Civil War era bastion that guarded the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. Its strategic location also makes it a magnet for migratory birds as they make their way to places north and south. The list of species that use the islands as a pit stop numbers into the hundreds. Some breed here, including the magnificent frigatebird, brown noddy and sooty tern. At times, hundreds of noddies and terns can be seen buzzing neighboring Bush Key. Sea turtles nest on Loggerhead Key and some of the outer islands, and there is a resident crocodile. And there is magnificent coral in the shallow, blue waters just offshore.

There is an entrance fee to the park and a fee for camping. Only Garden and Loggerhead are open to the public year round. Bush opens only for a few months in late fall and early winter. Note: Getting to the park by boat is the only way to camp, either your own or the Yankee Freedom. Make reservations as far in advance as possible to ensure getting the dates you want.


More Resources for Dry Tortugas National Park
Take Our Dry Tortugas Virtual Tour Great Florida Birding Trail Institute for Regional Conservation  
Photo Gallery for Dry Tortugas National Park
heliotrope orchard oriole chuck  will's widow amerian redstart
falcon indigo bunting tern white flower
northern parulla ruby-throated hummingird geiger tree cape may warbler
black and white warbler blackpoll warbler catbird
bay cedar prairie warbler frigatebird ovenbird
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without their express permission.