Dry Tortugas National Park Guide 2020 : National Parks Navigator

Fort Jefferson Light

Dry Tortugas National Park

America's most remote Park is mostly a 19th Century American Fortress surrounded by a moat, surrounded by extensive coral reefs, several other keys, and the Gulf of Mexico.

The principal departure point for access to the Dry Tortugas is Key West. You may arrive in Key West by ferry, cruise ship, plane or car, to this southernmost point in the continental United States. Key West is a vibrant place with tropical shops, hotels, restaurants, museums, artist colony, and music. Ferry Service is available to access Garden Key and Fort Jefferson (63 nautical miles West of Key West): https://www.drytortugas.com. Visitors can otherwise come by private boat or seaplane.

The Park consists of 100 square miles of water in the Gulf of Mexico containing seven islands, or keys. The water itself is remarkable in its many shades of blue. The coral reefs here are teeming with marine life. The main keys are Loggerhead Key and Garden Key. Facilities include primitive campgrounds outside the walls of Ft. Jefferson on Garden Key.

What to visit?

All visitors should start at the Visitor Center at Fort Jefferson. The coral reefs are also home to many shipwrecks available for snorkeling or dive visits. Ranger led tours are also available. The Keys contain two lighthouses: Loggerhead Key has a 151 foot tall lighthouse (lower half white, upper half black) at its center and Garden Key has a lighthouse on the S.E. Bastion 67 feet high.

How to get around?

Tours are available from the Park Visitor Center. Ranger tours are available. Snorkeling is also excellent at the Fort. You are also welcome to visit in your own boat.

Where to stay?

Find the best Hotels near this National Park at Key West Sheraton Suites Key West, and Harborside Motel & Marina.

For camping Garden Key is available for camping: Facilities include tent sites, picnic tables, grills and composting toilets. Camping is available for tents only. Campers as well as visitors to the keys are advised to be prepared for mosquitoes and noseeums in the warmer months.

Where to Eat?

This is a bring your own food type of Park. Key West offers a variety of restaurants and markets prior to getting here. Water is not available in the Dry Tortugas and all trash must be packed out.

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How to get to the Park?

Access: If you arrive by car, the most direct route is US Route 1 South to Key West. Then take the Ferry Service to access Garden Key and Fort Jefferson. By private boat, travel to the end of the Intracoastal Waterway to Key West then continue West 63 miles to Garden Key. Nautical Charts are available.

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