Travel Tips

A Guide to Dry Tortugas National Park

A Guide to Dry Tortugas National Park
Michelle Saco

Only 70 miles from Key West and made up of seven small islands, Dry Tortugas is one of the world’s most unique eco-attractions and a top attraction in Key West. Explore the historic Fort Jefferson and enjoy an array of activities from snorkeling to birding. Check out this guide to get the scoop on things you can do at this beautiful national park.

Where to Stay
NYAH is exactly where you’d want to stay if you’re looking to explore Dry Tortugas on your Key West trip, as the hotel is just a quick, less than 5-minute walk from the ferry port that takes you on this excursion. NYAH is a unique hotel transforming the traditional travel experience with its rooms that can be customized to meet the specific needs of guests. The versatile furniture can be configured to accommodate a single traveler, a pair of vacationing friends, or a group up to six, without any added fees – ideal for group travelers looking for an affordable hotel option!

Getting There
Guests can make their way to Dry Tortugas by boarding the Yankee Freedom III ferry or by seaplane. The round-trip ferry takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Ferry fees includes park admission, as well as breakfast and lunch. The seaplane takes about 25 minutes each way. The Ferry costs $175 for adults and $125 for children. The seaplane costs $329 round-trip.

Fort Jefferson 
Yankee Freedom III passengers have the option of joining a 45-minute guided tour of the fort led by one of their expert naturalists. During the tour, you’ll learn about the history and making of the fort, as well as some fun facts. You can also download a self-guided tour of Fort Jefferson to view on your mobile device  beforehand since you won’t have any service to download the app at the park. Fun Fact: The Fort is one of the largest forts in the U.S., made up of 16 million bricks!

Snorkeling 
If you love to snorkel, then Dry Tortugas is where you’ll want to visit on your next trip to Key West. The shallow waters (5-15 feet) make snorkeling at the Dry Tortugas fun for everyone. Whether beginner or expert, you can enjoy exploring the underwater life and see several of colorful tropical fish and living coral among the waters. Complimentary fins, mask, floating vest, and snorkel are provided. Pro Tip: you’ll find most fish and corals along the walls of the fort.

Secluded Beaches 
Travelers won’t have much luck finding pristine beaches in Key West, but they will if they travel just 70 miles from Key West to the Dry Tortugas. This national park offers beautiful beaches with crystal blue waters, swaying palm trees, and soft powdery sand. Whether you plan on going swimming or sun bathing, these beaches are a must when visiting Key West. The park is made up of two beaches, North and South Beach, and both are beautiful.

Birding 
Nearly 300 species of birds have been spotted at Dry Tortugas in the past. Dry Tortugas is a vital layover for migrating birds traveling between South America and the United States. Some of the bird species you may find include ruby–throated hummingbirds, peregrine falcons, yellow billed cuckoos and white-eyed vireo. Although spring is the best time to go birding, any season at Dry Tortugas offers the chance to see something unique.

Camping 
Yes, that’s right, you can camp at the fort overnight! Those staying overnight will get to experience a stunning night sky, ideal for stargazing and night sky photography. Camping costs $195 for adults and $145 for children.

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Travel Tips
Michelle Saco
@michellesaco

Although destinations with sand, water and the warm sun are Michelle’s preferred spots, she will never miss out on an opportunity to travel and explore the world. As a fitness enthusiast, she makes sure to live an active lifestyle whether its participating in crossfit classes or going for a stroll with her pup, Kozmo!

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