coral reef


Dry Tortugas National Park

Coral Reefs and a Magic Sea Life


The Dry Tortugas National Park can be found just inside the United States of America – only 68 miles of Florida such as Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. The seven Dry Tortugas Islands and Fort Jefferson is preserved in the park as well as the west and the most isolated parts of the Florida Keys also.

The sea life is certainly one of the most amazing features of the Dry Tortugas National Park. What is more, the park is one of the best places to find amazing colourful coral reefs and tropical bird breeding grounds. However, there are many stories and legends of sunken treasures found from many ship wrecks in the oceans.

However, Fort Jefferson is going to be one of the best places to visit – in fact it is the centrepiece of the entire park. This is going to be a massive coastal fortress though the fortress is not finished areas also. Fort Jefferson is considered to be the biggest masonry structure in the entire western hemisphere; and the fortress has over sixteen million bricks also.

There is a lovely and very unique combination of historical artefacts, exotic and large undisturbed tropical ecosystem also. The Dry Tortugas National Park does attract more than eighty thousand visitors each and every year. However, to get to the park, visitors are going to need to use a boat or a seaplane as this is the only accessible way to get to the park.

Some of the activities that can be done inside the park are scuba diving, bird watching, snorkelling, camping, salt water fishing and picnicking also.

Dry Tortugas National Park facts
Dry Tortugas National Park, Aerial view

The Geography of the Dry Tortugas National Park

The seven major islands found in the park are:

Hospital Key

Logger Head Key

Garden Key

The Long Key

The Bush Key

The East Key

The Middle Key

The park is home to a tropical maritime climate; this means that there are rainy seasons which occur with the hurricane season. This starts from the month of May through to October and there is a drier season. This starts from the month of November through to the month of April; and most of this region is going to be effected by hurricanes which are frequent also. There are many tropical storms which occur in the area also.

Though, there might be tropical systems but it is going to be one of the driest regions throughout Florida also. There are more than 49 inches of rain that fall every year and the high temperatures are going to reach 32 degree Celsius. The low temperatures won’t be any less than 19 degrees Celsius also.

Throughout the year, the Dry Tortugas National Park is going to be a fantastic place to visit and the temperatures are going to be fairly good. At times it will be quite warm but it still will be a great place to visit no matter the weather. Of course during the hurricane season, the park is not going to be the best place to visit. The park does offer amazing scenery and opportunities to learn about the history.

The west and north parts of the par, which include the central island groups; are going to be almost 46 square miles of land designated area. This is a natural research area which was formed on the 19th of January in 2007. In this area, it means that there are no boats or vessels allowed to anchor and no fish or marine life can be taken from this area also.

For any fishing vessels which want to moor in the natural area, they must use the mooring docks or buoys which are designated in the area also. Only 54 % of the park is going to be opened for fishing purposes; however many disagree with this.

Many people have hoped to close the entire park region down for those who wish to fish. Many believed that the fish and marine life are being depleted here and are very concerned. Fishing however is a very popular past time for many locals and international visitors coming from abroad also.

Dry Tortugas National Park Information
Lighthouse – a part of Dry Tortugas National Park.

There is a huge 70 mile stretch of Key West in which the park sits in; and to get to the park, visitors are encouraged to use boats. However, using private boats to get to the park can be a little tricky at times because of the distance to the park. Instead, there are many catamaran, seaplanes and ferry crossings which are available to use to get from Key West to the Dry Tortugas National Park.

There are official ferry services to use as well as other transportation services to reach Dry Tortugas National Park. This includes the popular Yankee Freedom III Catamaran which many love to use to reach the park.

There are a lot of features to view in the park and the scenery is amazing also. This has become a famed area and certainly one in which many love to visit. More and more people are going to head to the Dry Tortugas National Park; and the park is certainly an amazing park.

Important Things To Remember

Dry Tortugas is a beautiful national park which is going to be opened all year round. However, there is a fee to get into the park. This is going to cost around $5 this is for adults; and it is going to be wise for visitors to plan for the trip to the park. To get to the park, it might mean a boat or a plane so wearing appropriate clothing is going to be very important.

Visitors will also need to note that they will need to bring everything they might need along with them for the visit to the park. There are actually no services available in the park so visitors need to prepare. However, visitors are going to be able to stay overnight in the park as camping is allowed.


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Biscayne National Park

An underwater paradise


The Biscayne National Park is located in South Florida, just south of Miami. Biscayne is an American National Park and this helps to protect and preserve the Biscayne Bay and of course the offshore barrier reefs also. In the entire country of America, some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving can be found here and almost 95% of the entire park is water!

A large extensive mangrove forest is the location of the shore of the Bay also. There are almost 172, 971 acres of land which make up the park. This can include Elliott Key which is the biggest island of Florida Keys also. At first, this was formed from a fossilized coral reef; and all of the islands which are north of the Biscayne National Park are transitional islands. This means that they are made up of sand and coral also.

There are 4 ecosystems within the park and these are all protected in the Biscayne National Park also. They are the Shallow Waters of Biscayne Bay, the Shoreline Mangrove Swamp; the offshore Florida Reef and the Coral Limestone Keys also. These are all very delicate ecosystems of the park and they are considered to be shoreline swamps of the mainland and islands also. They will help to provide a nursery for juvenile fish, crustaceans, molluscs and larval also.

The Bay waters does offer a home place for adult fish and some immature fish also; there are also soft corals, sea grass beds and sponges and at times are can be manatees found in the bay waters also. Though, the keys in the Biscayne Park are going to be covered in tropical vegetation; there are also the endangered palms and cacti that are found in the area. Though the beaches are going to be able to provide a great area for nesting grounds for all of the sea turtles which are endangered.

Biscayne national park Facts
Lighthouse at Boca Chita key in Biscayne national park

The waters and the off shore reefs are going to be the home place of over 200 species of pelagic birds, fish, hard corals and whales. There are at least 16 endangered species including the Small tooth sawfish, the Schaus swallow tail butterfly, the hawksbill turtles as well as the green sea turtles. There are also the manatees found in the park also. However, there is a very small population of American Alligators and American Crocodile; these groups are threatened species however.

It is said that more than 10 000 years ago was when the first people came to Biscayne Bay. The region was inhabited by the Glades culture before the bay was filled by rising sea levels. For a good 4000 years before the 16th century, the islands and the shoreline was occupied by the Tequesta people. This was before the Spanish took control of Florida into their possession; but a lot of the reefs claimed many Spanish ships until the 20th century.

There are at least 40 different wrecks that were documented that occurred in the Biscayne National Park area; however, there might have been more wrecks that went undocumented throughout the years also. It was very difficult to have a sustained agricultural because of the rock soil and hurricanes which occurred in the region during the 19th and 20th century periods. The islands were farmed but it was very difficult to rely on this as a stable income as the land was ravaged by the hurricanes.

Though, during the 20th century, the islands were secluded regions and they become a great destination for the rich and famous locals of Miami. Many Miami locals built second homes and beach properties here in the islands as well as little social clubs and amusement centres for all.

One of the most elaborate private retreats was the Boca Chita Key which had a mock lighthouse. There was also the Cocolobo Cay Club which has been owned numerous times by the Miami developer Carl G Fisher. The club was also owned by Bebe Reboxo, who was a friend of President Richard Nixon as well as the yachtsman Garfield Wood. Four of the Presidents of the U.S. visited the islands and the community of Stiltsville was created during the 1930s.

This occurred on the shores of the north part of Biscayne Bay; this was because of the amazing remoteness of the area to help promote alcohol and gambling during the Prohibition era. Though during 1959, Elliot Key was actually used for a training facility for those who were infiltrating Cuba – at the time, under Fidel Castro. Elliot Key was used by the CIA of America and even by some exile groups that came from Cuba.

Biscayne National Park Information
Biscayne National Park during sunset

At first, the Biscayne National Park was forgotten about because of the establishment of the Everglades National Park. The Everglades draw most of the attention and the establishment of another preserved area, was being argued increasingly. This meant that the Biscayne National Park was left undeveloped until the 1960’s; and this is why many people proposed to help the Keys reach a development the same way it was done in Miami Beach.

There were many plans to help build a deep water sea port; this was for bulk cargo and that there would be a petrochemical facility as well as a refinery being created also. These were to be on the mainland of the Biscayne Bay.

Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, there were 2 nuclear power plants created as well as 2 fossil fuelled power plants created on the shores of Biscayne. There was a huge backlash against this development; which in 1968, lead to the creation of the Biscayne National Monument.

During the 1980’s, the area was preserved and expanded and then it became the Biscayne National Park. The park is used mostly by boaters but the only part of the park which isn’t reached by boats is the visitor centre which is found on the mainland.

The park is one of the best areas to visit. Its special and the scenery are beautiful.


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