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Parks in and around Key West, Florida
Parks in and around Key West
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.
the 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
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 Lincoln's assassination.
the area was designated as a bird reserve
and transferred to the Department of Agriculture.
The 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 War.
- 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.
Truman Annex at Southard Street entrance.
The 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
- Snorkeling, swimming, fishing,
camping, boat ramps.
and Sea Nature Center
trails, rare animal and plant life.
at Mile Marker 36, Big Pine Key, Florida.
(45 minutes from Key West)
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