Travel has changed significantly during the pandemic and many Americans have been flocking to national parks. And what’s better for social distancing than a national park that’s 99% underwater, located 70 miles from civilization, and only accessible by seaplane or boat?
That’s exactly what Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park is. The park also happens to be one of three designated national parks in the sunshine state and one of the most remote in the U.S. National Park System.
Dry Tortugas National Park comprises a cluster of seven small islands, but most of the 100-square-mile park is crystal-clear water that’s perfect for swimming and sightseeing.
In addition to the water, another main attraction is Fort Jefferson, located on a 14-acre Garden Key, the second-largest island in the Dry Tortugas. Fort Jefferson was constructed in the 1800s as a masonry fort and it’s served as a coaling station for warship, a safe harbor for ships patrolling the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida, and a Civil War prison for Union deserters. Today, it’s a preserved piece of history that’s waiting to be explored.
As mentioned, the park isn’t accessible by car. There also aren’t supplies, food, cell coverage, or internet access at the park, so you’re pretty much off-the grid. The only restroom is aboard the Yankee Freedom ferry, which is only available when it’s docked. For overnight campers, there are composting toilets available from 3 p.m. to 10:30 a.m.