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Celebrate 100 Years of the U.S. National Park Service in the Florida Keys

by | Sep 28, 2015 | Press Releases

As America counts down to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service in Summer 2016, the Florida Keys & Key West are welcoming British holidaymakers to their two national parks – Dry Tortugas and Everglades – to demonstrate that U.S. national parks go well beyond the traditional vision of majestic mountains.

Visit America’s largest coastal fort in the Dry Tortugas

Located some 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico, the remote Dry Tortugas National Park can be reached by either seaplane, ferry or private boat. Consisting of seven coral-and-sand islands surrounded by turquoise waters and coral reefs that are ideal for snorkelling and sportfishing, the Dry Tortugas became a national park in 1992 and are home to Fort Jefferson, a remote Civil War-era fortress.

Since Spanish explorer Ponce de León discovered them in 1513, the islands have played a key role in maritime and political history. Fort Jefferson was once a Union military prison where Dr. Samuel Mudd was held after being convicted of conspiracy in U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Today, the fort continues to be a key attraction for visitors, as do the islands’ underwater treasures which include several shipwrecks and coral reefs that are home to an abundance of marine life including sea turtles. On a trip to the Dry Tortugas, visitors also can enjoy activities such as kayaking, bird watching and fishing.

For more details on visiting the fort, go to http://www.nps.gov/drto/planyourvisit/directions.htm.

Go fishing and wildlife watching in Everglades National Park

When asked about the Everglades, many travellers may not realise that a portion of this national park wilderness is located directly next to the Upper Florida Keys. Covering around 1.5 million acres, the Everglades was established as a national park in 1947. As America’s largest subtropical wilderness, it is home to a range of rare and endangered species. On a visit to the area of the national park near the Keys, visitors can spot wildlife such as the endangered American crocodile and alligators in Flamingo, the only place in the world where the two co-exist, dolphins, sea turtles and manatees along with a variety of bird species.

A big draw for eco-tourists, the region’s popular activities include kayaking along the mangrove waterways, hiking, camping and “hook-and-cook” fishing experiences. Sportfishing and eco-tours to Florida Bay and Everglades National Park are offered by a wide range of operators in the Keys.

Take me to the Florida Keys: Based on a departure in March 2016, Bon Voyage has seven nights in the Florida Keys from £1,495 per person, based on two adults travelling. The price includes Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to Miami, convertible car hire for the duration, three nights’ room-only accommodation at the Island Bay Resort in Key Largo, followed by four nights’ room-only accommodation at Azul Key West. To book, call 0800 316 0194 or visit www.bon-voyage.co.uk.

For further Keys information, including options for other accommodations offerings, visit www.fla-keys.co.uk.