Key West Park and Beach Information
TORTUGAS & FORT JEFFERSON
Ponce de Leon discovered the Dry Tortugas in 1513 when he caught
over 100 sea turtles there. Subsequently the islands were referred
to as the "Tortugas" (turtles). During the 1600s and 1700s the
area around these islands was used by pirates as a base for
attacking merchant shipping in the Gulf.
War of 1812 a group of forts from Maine to Texas was envisioned to
provide defense for the United States of America. Fort Jefferson
was built to protect the southern coastline of the United States
and the lifeline of commerce to and from the Mississippi River.
The fort was planned to be the greatest of these.
and after the Civil War the fort began to be used as a prison for
deserters and other criminals, most notably Dr. Samuel Mudd, who
was sentenced to life in prison for his part in President
In 1908 the area was
designated as a bird reserve and transferred to the Department of
FORT ZACHARY TAYLOR
park covering a total of 87 acres is a National Landmark that
played a significant role in the early history of Florida. The
fort, built in 1845, served as an important Union outpost in the
Civil War. The Fort was again used during The Spanish American
- The west side of
the park is ideal for fishing.
- Shaded picnic
areas are available as well as tables, BBQ's, outdoor showers
and restroom facilities.
- Guided tours of
the fort are available daily.
Entrance through Truman Annex at Southard Street entrance.
area around Bahia Honda is one of the deepest channels in The
Florida Keys. Bahia Honda is unique among other Keys because it
has long sandy beaches and deep waters that offer excellent
swimming and snorkeling. The park was originally part of Henry
Flagler's railroad holding. Part of the railroad bridge still
swimming, fishing, camping, boat ramps.
- Sand and Sea
- Nature trails,
rare animal and plant life.
Located at Mile Marker 36, Big Pine Key, Florida.
(45 minutes from Key West).
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