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Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West

4.8
#1 of 184 in Nature in Florida
National Park Nature / Park
Encompassing the most isolated and far-flung islands of the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas National Park showcases vibrant coral reefs, tropical landscapes, and an island fortress. Set in the Gulf of Mexico nearly 109 km (68 mi) away from Key West, the park can be accessed only by sea. You climb aboard the official ferry service licensed by park authorities to reach the seven islands. Stop by the visitor center located inside Fort Jefferson, a 19th-century brick castle occupying the second-largest islet, for information on the park's history, oceanic ecology, and archaeology. Watch carefully for some of the park's nearly 300 species of birds, including nesting pelicans, terns, and frigatebirds. Add Dry Tortugas National Park and other attractions to your Key West trip itinerary using our Key West family vacation planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
3,945 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • This is a must do if visiting KeyWest! The boat trip out and back is long, but the fort is worth it. Definitely remember to take your Dramamine. Such a beautiful day! Snorkeling equipment is provided,...  more »
  • My husband and I went on this trip on 08.12.17. We were so impressed by the boat trip out there. It was entertaining and cool. There was lots of food and drinks and the bathrooms were very clean and a...  more »
  • My son and I are seeing 20 National Parks this year so we took the ferry to Dry Tortugas. The crew was fabulous!!! Thank you :-)  more »
Google
  • Great camping experience. Beautiful and Historic Fort Jefferson is a treasure located 70 miles from Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. The Ferry Yankee Freedom 3 takes you there in 2.5 hours, loads and unloads your gear. Snorkel, kayak or swim. A relaxing vacation.
  • So breath taking. Took the seaplane did the full day. Well worth it got to see everything and take our time. Our first hour snorkeling the water was super cloudy as the day went on it cleared to show the beauty.
  • This is now my favorite‚Äč National Park. We were only able to camp for one night on our trip but I already want to go spend more time here. The park rangers were knowledgeable, safety conscience, and very helpful. Fort Jefferson is really fun to explore in the rain, in the sun, in the day and at night. I loved camping here. We met some new friends who were birding. They taught us about several species of birds I never heard of. And I named the campground walk way "hermit crab way", there were so many.
  • Another "must see". Extremely beautiful place. Amazing history behind the the fort. It was good going there but water got a little rough on the way back. Very informative staff. Definitely one of our highlights of our vacation.
  • Beautiful, isolated island you can visit either by seaplane (300$ and up round) or ferry (180$ return), besides private boat. A maximum of 10 campers are allowed every day on the boat but you must book months in advance, and then take everything you'll need during your stay. What you get is good snorkel, wandering inside Fort Jefferson, lots of magnificent fish and birds and other animals, quiet beaches, peace and calm. If you have a kayak you can bring it on the ferry and paddle to Loggerhead Key weather allowing. You can visit Garden Key, where Fort Jefferson is, all year round, but the neighboring Bush Key is only open to visitors from about December to March. One should appreciate the hard work of rangers and workers in Fort Jefferson - pay a visit to the visitor store, where you can learn more about the fort and island, have your national park passport stamped and buy some nice souvenirs.

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Where to stay in Key West

To explore the best of what Key West has to offer on foot, stay near Old Town, a picturesque neighborhood famous for its streets lined with tropical trees and gardens. Most hotels in this area feature rooftop decks, where you can meet friends for cocktails and enjoy ocean views at sunset. If you don't mind driving to where most of the action is, consider staying at a budget-priced inn or bed and breakfast on the eastern end of the island.
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