Dry Tortugas National Park is located in breathtaking surroundings in the Gulf of Mexico in the state of Florida. Every year the national park, founded on January 4th, 1935, welcomes around 61,000 visitors who discover the history of pirates and treasure chests on an area of 249 km². See directoryaah for museums in Florida.
Beauty and legends
Hardly any national park is in such a fairytale setting as the Dry Tortugas National Park.
Dry Tortugas National Park is located in the Gulf of Mexico and is approximately 70 miles from Key West. The park itself extends around seven tiny sand and coral islands. These are called dry tortugas.
The Dry Tortugas National Park is really known for its underwater life. Not only many legends and stories about shipwrecks, pirates and sunken treasures spin around this underwater world. The lively hustle and bustle of colored coral reefs and magnificent schools of fish is beautiful.
A full 99 percent of the park is underwater. This is unique in the history of any national park in the United States. The remaining overwater percent of the national park is on the islands.
Fort Jefferson is home to one of them. It dates from the middle of the 19th century but was never used for defense. However, it was used as a prison by the US Army until 1874. Given that the prisoners had great views, there are certainly worse places to serve your prison sentence.
Animals and plants in the Dry Tortugas National Park
As the area is very isolated, there are over 442 species of fish in the Dry Tortugas National Park, which have their habitat in almost untouched coral reefs.
In addition, sea turtles cavort and terns and frigate birds nest. Since the area of the Dry-Trotugas National Park was declared an animal sanctuary as early as 1908, beautiful coral reefs were able to develop here, which are also the main attraction in the entire park.
The colorful coral reefs are particularly attractive for divers, but the sunken shipwrecks also have their charm. Since there was a shipping lane here in the colonial times, a corresponding number of ships came under the pressure of no longer being able to avoid the reefs. Many ships fell victim to the coral reefs and are now on the ocean floor.
Scientists have examined the entire area and found that there must have been around 250 ship losses in this area. It was possible to secure many well-preserved artefacts and thus gain new knowledge about shipping at the time, the people and life on board.
Of course, many stories are told about the various ships and shipwrecks. Pirate ships are particularly popular. The pirates of our imagination usually have little to do with the real pirates and their way of life, because this was far more brutal and harder than we imagine, but who knows, maybe a pirate treasure is hidden somewhere in the depths of the sea ? If it’s anywhere, it is definitely here in this beautiful Dry-Tortugas National Park.