1. The marina at sunrise. When you make your trip I suggest not showing up at 3AM to sleep in your car until it is time to board the ferry, and getting a hotel room the night before instead.
2. The dock to board the Yankee Freedom. Campers must show up earlier than everyone else to get their stuff on board.
3. Beautiful views of the main island as you approach.
4. Fort Jefferson, the 19th century US military fort, is well-preserved. The fort and its island environment are an unlikely match and make for a very surreal experience.
5. Date palms!
6. You can take a self guided walking tour and follow these signs or you can take a guided tour provided every day by the Yankee Freedom staff.
7. Inside of Fort Jefferson, the largest masonry building in the western hemisphere.
8. Hundreds of years of sun, wind and salt weathered beautiful textures into the brick walls.
9. Dreamy views of the tropical water from inside the fort.
10. Fort Jefferson was at times a prison and actually held Samuel Alexander Mudd, a doctor accused of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the 1865 assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
11. Relics of Fort Jefferson’s past are littered across the property.
12. More great views from the ‘windows’. Those fortunate enough to have a boat, i.e. rich people, can come to the park whenever they wish, and drop anchor just a short distance off the main island, Garden Key.
13. The roof of the fort is accessible and provides 360 degree views of the surrounding keys in the Gulf of Mexico.
14. The inside of Fort Jefferson is a huge enclosure housing some original structures, as well as the trees planted on the island by the Fort’s first inhabitants.
15. The Park Service has also planted various wildlife around the park.
16. Conocarpus erectus are all over the inside of the fort. These rare trees are hundreds of years old and grow in sprawling formations across the ground. Not to be missed!
17. View of north beach from the top of Fort Jefferson.
19. A view of Bush Key, which is off limits to visitors during the crucial bird mating season. We saw many birders with HUGE camera lenses while camping on the island. The Dry Tortugas are apparently wildly popular with hardcore bird watchers.
20. The view leaving the fort. The park rangers were extremely nice and helpful throughout our stay.
21. One of the best attractions the park has to offer: snorkeling!
22. This pair of Morning Doves hung out around the camp sites during the day and promptly jumped on any food that hit the ground. They were fearless and would get very close to humans in search for a meal. On our last night we realized that they were sleeping maybe 5 feet from our tent!
23. You can see the lighthouse and Loggerhead Key, which we kayaked to on our trip.
24. Sally checking out the view after our three mile kayak journey and arrival at Loggerhead Key, which we had completely to ourselves.
25. Another view of the west side of Loggerhead Key, which was deserted when we arrived.