3 National Parks to explore in Monroe County
Monroe County includes the islands of the Florida Keys. Although 87% of the county's land area is on the mainland, that region is part of the Everglades and is virtually uninhabited. Over 99% of the county's population lives on the Florida Keys.
The park preserves Fort Jefferson and the seven Dry Tortugas islands, the westernmost and most isolated of the Florida Keys. The archipelago's coral reefs are the least disturbed of the Florida Keys reefs. The park is noted for abundant sea life, tropical bird breeding grounds, colorful coral reefs, and legends of shipwrecks and sunken treasures. The park's centerpiece is Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress.
Largest tropical wilderness in the United States. The Everglades are a network of wetlands and forests fed by a river flowing 0.25 miles (0.40 km) per day out of Lake Okeechobee, southwest into Florida Bay. The park is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America and contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere.
70 nautical square miles (240 km²) of adjacent Atlantic Ocean waters. The park is approximately 25 miles in length and extends 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. It was the first underwater park in the United States. The primary attractions of the park are the coral reefs (such as Molasses Reef) and their associated marine life.