As Josh and I planned for a long weekend getaway in Key West, Florida, we knew we had to add the Dry Tortugas National Park to our must-do list. In this post, I'm sharing with you my findings and tips from visiting this park.
In the 19th century, Fort Jefferson was built to protect the shipping channel. Many factors prevented it from being completed, and it eventually became a national park in 1983. For information on the history of the Dry Tortugas, click here.
How Do I Get to the Dry Tortugas National Park?
We took the Yankee Freedom III Dry Tortugas Ferry. The service from the crew was fantastic. They gave us history and information over the speaker, so the ride didn't feel so long getting there.
Fun Tidbit: We saw a few sea turtles on the way.
How Much Does it Cost to go to the Dry Tortugas?
It's around $190 per person and includes the boat ride to and from the Tortugas, a tour of Fort Jefferson, breakfast, lunch, snorkeling, swimming, and the park entrance fee.
Is Dry Tortugas Worth the Trip?
We thought the Dry Tortugas was worth the trip, and there were even guests that came back a second day in a row because they had such a good time. If you enjoy exploring history and nature, this one is for you.
How Long is the Boat Ride From Key West to the Dry Tortugas?
It's a little over 2 hours each way.
Do You Need a Passport for Dry Tortugas?
When we went, all we needed was a photo ID.
What Can You Do in Dry Tortugas?
Tour the fort, swim, snorkel, sunbath, and walk the beach. If you plan for it 9-12 months in advance, you can camp, and if you have the proper license, you can fish there as well. If you want to bird-watch, be mindful when planning that nesting season is March-September. We went in October, and there weren't many birds.
Fun Tidbit: While staying in the shallow to avoid the jellyfish, a 4-foot barracuda swam up next to me. As Josh continued to look for it again, I immediately stood up and got out of the water.
Are There Bathrooms on Dry Tortugas?
There are changing rooms, and the boat has restrooms for use. For campers, there are composting toilets made available at night.
1. Swimsuit, $30+ at Amazon
This swimsuit allows for the attractiveness of a 2-piece while maintaining coverage. I love the lace detail along the plunging neckline, and it lays flat while wearing it. As I typically wear petite-sized apparel, I was nervous it would be too long in the torso, but the XS I ordered fits me well.
2. Swimsuit Cover-Up, $24+ at Amazon
The lace cover-up I'm wearing in the photos is no longer available where I got it, so I've included a similar option. The lace adds a feminine touch to a casual style making it more comfortable to stop at a restaurant after a long boat ride at the end of the day.
3. T-Strap Sandals (Similar Style), $16+ at Amazon
Since we were going to a beach and there would be lots of walking, I opted for a sandal style with a strap at the back.
4. Sunglasses, $131+ at Amazon
Whether you're sitting on the deck of the boat or walking around the park, you'll want a good pair of shades.
5. Sun Hat, $24+ at Amazon
A cute beach hat helps with UV protection, but if you go to the top of the Battlements of Fort Jefferson, hold on to it because to say it's windy is an understatement.
6. Beach Tote, $33 at Amazon
This large tote is great for carrying all the beach necessities. The pink pom is detachable, and I love taking this on my beach trips.
7. Sunscreen, $8 at Amazon
You will be spending all day in the hot sun, so bring a ton of sunscreen to apply throughout the day!
8. Dramamine, $6 at Amazon
Having Dramamine comes in handy on the way there and back. They sell some on the boat, but avoid the line and bring your own.
9. Snorkel Set, $30 at Amazon
The ferry we took had gear available, but we wanted to bring our own, another great way to avoid lines and be on your own time.
10. Beach Towel, $18 at Amazon
I have a slightly different print of this beach towel, and I love it. It's huge and perfect for laying in the sun or drying off.
Fun Tidbit: It rained a little when we were there, and we used the wind at the top of the fort to dry our clothes and towels.
Be sure to share your favorite part about the Dry Tortugas in the comments below.
Until next time,
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