Tag Archives: airplanes

Dry Tortugas National Park

Overview

Only accessible by boat or floatplane, Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote paradise 70 miles west of Key West and home to a diverse array of birds and sea life.  Fort Jefferson was built on Garden Key starting in 1846 and was never completed before it was abandoned in 1874.  Today birders come from all over to see the rookery of 100,000 sooty terns on Bush Key, and also get the joy of watching the acrobatic dives of brown pelicans, double-crested cormorants, and magnificent frigatebirds with their seven-foot wingspan.

Echo was bringing the CHAOS to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Highlights

Fort Jefferson, snorkeling, birding, overnight camping

Must-Do Activity

Turquoise blue water is home to amazing coral reefs right offshore from Garden Key, with some coral and sea fans growing on Fort Jefferson’s brick moat wall and old dock pylons.  Snorkeling among the historic debris feels like exploring an ancient shipwreck.  The daily ferry ship provides free snorkeling gear for day-trippers.

Best Trail

Walk the sea wall that circles Fort Jefferson for great views and a chance to see the endangered American crocodile that sometimes resides in the moat.

Instagram-worthy Photo

Walking the archways of Fort Jefferson in the rays of the rising sun or watching a sunset from atop its ramparts is a great reason to spend the night here.

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Peak Season

Weather permitting, the Yankee Freedom ferry boat runs daily all year, but you may want to be cautious during hurricane season.

Hours

https://www.nps.gov/drto/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Fees

A park entrance fee is collected by the Yankee Freedom ferry service when you purchase your tickets, but is refundable at check-in if you have an America The Beautiful Pass.  A nominal camping fee is charged to stay on Garden Key.

Road Conditions

A parking deck (fee) is located right near the docks and check-in for the Yankee Freedom ferry boat.

Camping

Primitive camping is allowed on Garden Key for a small fee.  Campers must bring all of their own water and the only way to cook is with charcoal since fires and stoves are prohibited.

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Scott walking on the moat

The lighthouse with Majestic Frigatebirds

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A view of the ferry boat from atop Fort Jefferson.
Yankee Freedom ferry boat docked outside Fort Jefferson.
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When snorkeling only ten feet from shore, this stingray swam right past us.
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Our original logo is for sale on a variety of products on Amazon and Cafe Press

Explore More – Why were the islands of the Tortugas labeled “Dry” on early maps?

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WONDON WAS HERE

Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

Overview

Aircraft developed at an incredible rate between the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903 and the 1940s.  Yet at the outset of World War II, African-American men were not allowed to be pilots in the Army Air Corps (before the 1947 creation of the Air Force).  In 1941, an experimental program was started at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to train hundreds of pilots, bombardiers, and navigators for the looming war.  The site is housed in the old hangars at Moton Field airport where historic airplanes and excellent interpretive panels  tell the story of the group of African-American men that came to be known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

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Highlights

P-51 Mustang airplane, interpretive film

Must-Do Activity

Start your tour inside Hanger No. 1 then watch the film inside Hanger No. 2, where you will learn about the Tuskegee Airmen’s goal of Double-V, victory over the enemy abroad and victory over racism at home.  After the war, in 1948, President Harry S Truman signed an order calling for “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services.”

Best Trail

No trails

Instagram-worthy Photo

Get a shot in front of the P-51 “Red Tail” hanging from the ceiling inside Hanger No. 2.

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Peak Season

The site is open year round, but every Memorial Day weekend there is a big celebration at Moton Field and many of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen visit the site.

Hours

https://www.nps.gov/tuai/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Fees

None

Road Conditions

The site is handicap accessible, and if you contact the NPS before your visit they can arrange parking closer than the main visitor lot on the hill above Moton Field.

Camping

Dispersed camping is allowed at nearby Tuskegee National Forest.

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Jump at any chance to meet some surviving Tuskegee Airmen.  This event was in Cheyenne, WY.

Explore More – The 72 Tuskegee Airmen combat pilots shot down how many enemy aircraft during World War II?

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WONDON WAS HERE