Wild South Florida's Virtual Tour of

Dry Tortugas National Park

Monroe County

falcon and lighthouse

Cover Photo: Some people make the journey to Dry Tortugas National Park for the nature; some come here for the history. This photo sums up both aspects of the park. In the foreground, perched in a tree is a merlin; in the background, the Garden Key Light, aka Tortuga Harbor Light. The island is a major stop for migrating birds, raptors especially in the fall. The first structures built in the islands were lighthouses and supporting structures. Work started on the first Garden Key Light in 1824 and completed in 1826. Over the years, it was variously destroyed by storms or torn down and replaced until the current structure, made of boilerplate iron and 70 feet tall, went up atop on of Fort Jefferson's bastions in 1876. The light was deactivated in 1924. Click on the photos below for full-sized images and detailed descriptions.

  • Long Key: A Frigatebird Refuge
    long key frigatebird refuge
  • A Fortress, An Island, An Ocean
    the fort the island the ocean
  • Loggerhead Key, Another View
    loggerhead key daylight
  • Bush Key: Sooty Terns and Brown Boobies
    bush key nesting grounds
  • The North Coaling Dock
    north coaling station
  • The Parade Ground
    inside the fort
  • Loggerhead Key at Sunset
    loggerhead key sunset
  • Fort Jefferson and Garden Key
    frontal view of the fort and island
  • Bush Key: Another View
    another view of bush key
  • Atop Fort Jefferson
    atop the fort

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Published by Wild South Florida, PO Box 7241, Delray Beach, FL 33482.

Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.