Dry Tortugas National Park is a cluster of seven islands in the Gulf of Mexico, about 70 miles west of Key West. It is so isolated; you need a seaplane, ferry, or boat to get there. No wonder it is one of the least visited National Parks in the country. This unique and breathtaking location is the perfect place to experience American history. There's tons to explore - from shipwrecks, and sandy beaches, to the third-largest coral reef in the world. Rising sea levels are changing the topography of the islands - parts have already vanished, so experience the Dry Tortugas while you can.
They used 16 million bricks to build Fort Jefferson back in the mid-1800s, but it was never completed or armed. The fort's original purpose was to protect vital shipping lanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Later, it became a military prison during the Civil War and primarily held captured deserters. Over time, new weaponry developed capable of penetrating the fort's walls making Fort Jefferson obsolete. The Army abandoned it in 1874.
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