On a virtual tour around the world, we’re seeking to discover the most incredible places on Earth. But it wouldn’t be a Williams World Tour without a tender! That’s why we’re uncovering a selection of secret spots and hidden gems that are only accessible by boat.
In the third edition of our world tour, we’re cruising 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, to the beautiful Dry Tortugas – a remote, stunning seven-island cluster in the Gulf of Mexico. Surrounded by miles of open water and nothing but picturesque, white sand beaches, the Dry Tortugas National Park has to be one of our favourite secret escapes.
Start your adventure out on the water, driving your tender between the islands’ many crowd-free coastlines. Dingy Beach, Seaplane Beach and the North and South Beaches are just a few of the idyllic pit stops that offer the perfect place to drop anchor, with views of the islands’ tall palm trees swaying in the gentle sea breeze.
Spend the morning embarking on a range of seaborne activities, including swimming, bird watching and fishing. Or, pilot your tender a bit further out to sea and look down into the ocean to catch glimpses of ancient shipwrecks and the flourishing sea life below.
Pop on your snorkeling fins and mask to explore the islands’ unique, colourful and thriving coral formations as you dive beneath the surface. Prepare to be amazed by Dry Tortugas’s extraordinary natural underwater world, with loggerhead turtles and French angel fish gliding across the seabed.
As the afternoon sun reaches the middle of the sky, now’s the time to retreat from the sea to the stunning Garden Key – the group’s largest island. Indulge in its rich and fascinating history with a tour of Fort Jefferson. This unfinished 1846 fortress, with 50-foot walls, was built to control navigation into the vast Gulf of Mexico and to protect Mississippi from piracy.
After you’ve finished soaking up some history, you can relax and unwind as the sun starts to sink below the sea. Camping in the Dry Tortugas National Park is an experience of a lifetime and one that we highly recommend. Sleep under sparkling stars on an island miles from civilisation, with warm tropical breezes and the rhythmic sound of waves gently lapping against the shore.
With the island group’s remarkable sights and endless ocean vistas, you’ll never forget the sense of wanderlust that comes from visiting a place seen by only a lucky few – and of course, one that’s only reachable by boat.
If you loved learning about this amazing hidden gem, then keep your eyes open for the next adventure in our Williams World Tour, coming soon.