Two hours is all it takes to go from Miami’s hustle and bustle to the quaint, quiet shores of the Dry Tortuga Islands. The Dry Tortugas are a group of seven islands that were discovered by Ponce De Leon in 1513 and are currently home to Fort Jefferson, which serves as a year-round tourist attraction.
Tourists take the National Park’s ferry, the Yankee Freedom III, from Key West to Garden Key; one of the Dry Tortugas. For $160 dollars, $10 less then the adult rate, students can enjoy a ten-hour day trip that includes snorkeling, a tour of Fort Jefferson, breakfast, lunch and the round-trip ferry ride. Students can snorkel about the many shipwrecks off the coast of Garden Key, and get a taste of the wildlife that surrounds it. From everything from colorful fish, coral reefs, to turtles, snorkelers can get a real taste of what Florida’s wildlife has to offer. It’s a definite must-see for any Florida resident.
For those out there that would rather see the real wild side of the Tortugas, camping is available. This is not your five star luxury camping, though, this is the real deal! Campers get to enjoy all the activities of a day trip, and are then able to stay for up to three days on the island. Nothing is provided for you, you must bring everything you will need with you, including food, water, and other necessities.
“I camped there overnight last summer,” freshman Rogelio Gonzalez said. “It was really eye opening to see historic monument and something of that size, since the entire island is basically a whole naval fort. The surrounding area itself is composed of reefs which adds to its natural beauty.”
For any of you out there that would like to get to know what Florida has to offer, the Dry Tortugas are the place for you. Whether it’s one day trips or three, the Tortugas are a great weekend or spring break activity for any of you staying local this upcoming break. Something fun to enjoy with friends or a special someone, and a definite must-see.
IF YOU GO:
Key West, FL; (305) 242-7700
words_kamila knaudt. photo illustration_yili wu.