Dry Tortugas National Park is several islands, but if you make the trip out there, you’ll be exploring Garden Key. Garden Key is the location of Fort Jefferson, a Civil War-era coastal fort that is today part of the Dry Tortugas National Park. Park Rangers have an office here, and they maintain the grounds as well as protect the sanctuary.
Fort Jefferson is a wonderful bit of preserved history, and as you can see from the picture visitors are allowed to explore the fort, including walking on the upper parts of the outer wall. This is a view from the wall looking across the interior of the fort and to the seas beyond. The upper wall is accessible by original circular steps built into the fort by the toiling army soldiers who constructed Fort Jefferson in the mid-1800s under incredible conditions. They suffered disease and extreme heat under US Army orders and many died.
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the country’s most remote parks. The fort was used as a military prison and you can just imagine the conditions for the prisoners and even the guards. In the days when the fort was built, there was no way to get fresh water for the soldiers. Actually, that’s still true: all water must be brought in. Visitors who visit Dry Tortugas Park with a charter company will have plenty of water and soft drinks provided by the crew on their boat.