Dry Tortugas National Park features a historical fort and gorgeous, serene beach with turquoise waters, which is considered one of the best destinations in Key West. If you happen to stay in the area and have a day or two for leisurely traveling, visiting this place is a great idea to get some enjoyable and relaxing experience.
The trip to the beach on Dry Tortugas Ferry includes two meals, snorkeling equipment, and a tour of Fort Jefferson, where you can learn a little bit of U.S. history. This beach is a perfect place to soak up the sun, swim, snorkel, and stroll along the picturesque shore. The serene views of the beach and ocean are truly breathtaking!
Location and Access
Dry Tortugas National Park is located on an island about 90 miles from Key West and can be accessed by ferry. Due to this remote and difficult-to-reach location, this place is pretty uncrowded most of the time.
The boat trip to the island is not cheap and takes about two and a half hours of riding through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico but it’s going to be a beautiful and inspiring journey. The crew is friendly and serves alcohol on the ride back.
Admission to the park costs $15. Many visitors say that one day on the island isn’t enough, so probably you should consider overnight camping, which costs $15 and should be booked in advance.
There are no public restrooms on the island but you can use those on the ferry. There are no shops, so you should bring everything you may need like sufficient water for drinking and bathing, food, tents, etc. If you stay a longer time, you can get supplies only twice a day when the boat comes.
Sand and Water
The island features two beaches: you can either sunbathe on Seaplane beach which is located right near the ferry station; or go to a more remote beach on the northern side of the island. Just go straight north from the ferry station and you'll reach it in several minutes. This beach features absolutely no amenities and some people dare to sunbathe naked here (illegally though).
Dry Tortugas Beach is mostly crushed coral, with very little sand, so barefoot walks can be challenging and water shoes are recommended. The water is clear, pristine, bright blue and emerald. You can swim, snorkel, or just wade in it – everything is enjoyable.
However, note that late in fall, the water can get quite chilly and you may want a wetsuit for a more comfortable experience. Always exercise caution in the water since there are no lifeguards on site.
Here, you have chances to spot frigate birds, turtles, barracudas, eels, stingrays, and plenty of fish, which makes snorkeling quite interesting. When the weather is good, the waters are crystal clear and just perfect for this activity. You will be provided with all the necessary equipment and information on where to find more sea life.
Driving Time (till Grinnell Street)
You can drive till Grinnell Street, leave your car on the nearby parking lot and take a 2,5-hour ferry trip to the National Park. The ferry departs from the point where Grinnell Street meets the seafront.
- 1 hour 5 minutes from Marathon, FL
- 2 hours from Key Largo, FL
- 3 hours 10 minutes from Miami, FL