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Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park, USA

Wartime history meets tropical paradise at Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida.

 

This is where two very different worlds collide. A harsh and imposing 19th-century fort used until 1874 as a post Civil War federal prison, meets an isolated tropical paradise, home to bird breeding grounds, coral reefs and legends of sunken treasures.

The sight is quite arresting. Terrible pun intended.

Fort Jefferson, now a National Monument, is situated in the Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys.

Mainly open water interspersed with seven small islands, the park’s coral and sea grass habitats are among the most vibrant in the Florida Keys, making it a coveted spot for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Camping here is an incredible experience. The primitive campground has ten sites on Garden Key (where Fort Jefferson is located) which are on a first-come, first-served basis.

But plan ahead… there are no services on the island and the nearest human-inhabited island, Key West, is over 100 kilometres away.

Visitors get here by seaplane or boat over 68 nautical miles of open sea… but the reward of experiencing this one-of-a-kind island is surely worth it. nps.gov/drto

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This article appeared in issue 5

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