Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park: Address, Phone Number, Fort Jefferson Reviews: 4.5/5

Fort Jefferson
4.5
Historic Sites • Nature & Wildlife Areas
About
This is the largest all-masonry fortification in the western hemisphere and served as a Civil War federal prison.
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What is Travelers’ Choice?
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The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
2 within 6 miles
Popular mentions

4.5
468 reviews
Excellent
380
Very good
65
Average
16
Poor
2
Terrible
5

TrailTrekker15
Tallahassee, FL3,742 contributions
Incredible Historical Structure
Jul 2021 • Solo
I visited and toured Fort Jefferson as part of my time at Garden Key in the Dry Tortugas. The first part of my time in the fort was on the tour provided by the Yankee Freedom Ferry tour guide. He was fantastic and brought that old ruin to life! The purpose of the fort was primarily to act as a deterrent against European aggression in the region and to protect New Orleans. The fort served a number of other purposes as well including a military prison. The size of the fort is truly astonishing as it’s hard to see the other side in some locations on the parade grounds. There are some cannon along the top of the fort. I was able to wander around most of the fort on my own which a really cool experience. Definitely take at least an hour of your visit to tour the fort before snorkeling and other activities.
Written September 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Keith H
Lakeland, FL450 contributions
Fun excursion from Key West
Aug 2021
The fort is an imposing structure with a lot of interesting history. The environment of the island is beautiful and seems healthy. There are plenty of fun things to do on a day trip.
Written August 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

cpixok
Stroud, OKlahoma173 contributions
A wonderful location with great history and scenery!
May 2021 • Friends
We boarded the Yankee Freedom III for our day trip. Bookings must be made months in advance for the ship. Masks were required because it’s federal transportation. That was kind of a bummer for me, but everyone complied. We boarded in groups of 25 in order of checking in that morning, so check in ASAP. The office opens at 7. The crew was fantastic. The ride was BUMPY, but more so on the way home - the roughest seas I have EVER been on. The crew suggested taking Dramamine and sold doses for $1 each. MANY people were sick. Plan accordingly. The trip out is 2.5 hours. There’s a 15 minute historical talk about the fort, followed by an additional 45 minute tour of the Fort. You sign up for these before you leave the ship. The Yankee Freedom III leaves to head back to KW at 2:45 daily. They provide nice snorkel gear, breakfast and lunch and offered other food and drinks for a price. The bathrooms were more than decent. It was a fabulous day for us - a small group of cousins.
Written May 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Drdruid
Bellingham, WA355 contributions
Incredible pre civil war era fortress
Apr 2021
In the middle of the Gulf 70 mikes west of Key West is a towering fortress that was built in 1848 to guard the gulf from pirates and enemy nations from invading the south of the US - the largest brick edifice in North America - go here it is a national park !!Great experience !!
Written April 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Samantha A
41 contributions
Tortugally Worth It
Mar 2021
Went for the snorkeling and it did not disappoint. Snorkeled all the way out to the buoys that lined the swimming area and found some awesome reefs. Saw hogfish, grouper, curious barracuda, vibrant lane snappers, and more! The waves and current were a little strong so there weren’t many people out snorkeling but the visibility was actually great. Also, for bird nerds, so much bird activity happening on the island!

I’m not a huge history buff but Fort Jefferson was also actually pretty cool to explore. It was crazy to imagine soldiers and cannons lining the halls. The he view from the top of the fort is amazing!

Written March 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Raegan L
Lakeland, FL1,735 contributions
All the history, super dope!
Mar 2021 • Friends
Every single brick of Fort Jefferson is a summation of an incredible piece of history. The backstory of building the most secure fort in the world 70 miles away from the nearest shoreline is just fascinating.

Further, the fact that this fort eventually turned into a prison would give anyone goosebumps after seeing how much effort it takes even in modern times just to reach this small spot of barrier island. To be completely locked up/ stranded there as an inmate? It seems like that is too harsh of punishment even for the worst of the worst criminals. But again, just super duper interesting to learn more of how Dry Tortugas came to be.

You definitely want to make the hike up to the top of the fort, because the views up there are basically unrivaled. And walk around until you find Dr. Samuel Mudd’s cell- you will know when you find it by the extra creeps you feel going down your spine, no joke.

Such an unparalleled place, and though a heck of a trek to get there, so worth it to see and know more.
Written March 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bassmanblues
Cape Coral, FL30 contributions
Unlike any other.
Mar 2021
We have been wanting to get here for years so when we got the chance we took it. We were not disappointed. It is a full day trip as it takes the ferry 2 1/2 hours to get there one way, so there is 5 hours of your day. The time at the fort is interesting. You can do the history tour, which I recommend, We planned on snorkeling, but the winds in the previous days had been strong and made the visibility cloudy. We took the rest of our time bird watching as the east side of the island is a bird sanctuary/rookery. The trip back the ferry opens the bar and we enjoyed adult beverages during the trip back. Overall this was a great trip.
Written March 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

sam61554
Pekin, IL55 contributions
Worth the day
Feb 2021 • Friends
We only had two days and key west but spent a whole day of it going out to fort. It was completely worth it. Two notes - bring cash and dry change of clothes.
Written January 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Deborah D
Christiana, TN21 contributions
Truly an amazing experience
Jan 2021 • Solo
Flew out to Dry Tortugas National Park Jan.14, 2021 with Keywest Seaplane Adventures, and needless to say Dry Tortugas is truly a bucket list trip. The fort tself is amazing and the water is beautiful however being it was December and a cold front moved through it was a bit cool for snorkeling but had a wetsuit so all went well. Planning to return late July or early August for more snorkeling can’t wait to get back to this amazing place.
Written January 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

PamC54
Nashville, TN931 contributions
Historical place
Jan 2021 • Friends
This fort is a unique structure that has an interesting but seldom shared history.

From the early 1800s when building began the fort has stood as a fortress and refuge for marine traffic into the Gulf harbors of the US.
We had an amazing tour offered by the Yankee Freedom ferry which was valuable to enjoying our experience. There is also a self guided tour but the anecdotal stories added value to our experience.
Unfortunately the weather was not favorable the day we were there for snorkeling.
We did see lots of frigate birds circling above the beach and coral that was washed ashore.
Written January 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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