Dry Tortugas National Park has long been a dry for visitors from around the globe. Its remoteness being a prominent draw, means that it requires some pre-planning before you get here. Thankfully, the Parklimits the number of visitors it has at any one time, promoting an atmosphere of desolate tranquility, as well as maintaining the delicate integrity of the flora and fauna that call this idyllic string of islands home.
As mentioned above, a visit to the Dry Tortugas National Park is not as simple as jumping in a car, hopping a bus, or catching a train. The only form of transport to and from Key West, a main departure point, is by boat or plane. The first option is on board the Yankee Freedom, a large ferry, that operates out of Key West daily. The ferry itself departs early in the morning, ensuring you make the most out of your time at the Dry Tortugas National Park. On board, guests will enjoy a fully air conditioned main cabin, plenty of restrooms, comfortable seating, a full service galley, and an on board naturalist who will educate you about the region and what to expect when you reach the National Park. A delicious continental breakfast is served to ensure you’re all fuelled up for the day and an array of snorkeling equipment is always on board for those who want to take a dip in the tepid seas. Dolphin and turtle sightings on your way to the islands are a regular occurrence, so you’ll want to make sure you have you camera in hand at all times! During your journey out to one of North America’s most remote National Parks, the scenery of Boca Grande and Marquesa Islands will surely steal your breath. This is not your average ferry ride!
The other way to get yourself to the Dry Tortugas is by seaplane. This is not the most popular means of transportation, but it is certainly the most thrilling. One of the benefits to taking a flight is that it cuts your transport time virtually in half. Within 45 minutes, you’ll be whisked out of the Key West harbor and have be padding around on the sugary sands of the Dry Tortugas. Another plus, is that you don’t have to rub shoulders with the nearly 200 passengers that arrive via ferry to the islands. Soar above it all and and take in bird’s eye views of the Fort Jefferson, the lighthouse on Loggerback Island and the coral atoll known as the Marquesa. Everyone on board receives their own headset, therefore having access to the pilot pointing out natural splendours along the way!
As for your actual visit to the National Park, there is plenty to see in terms of natural beauty, and plenty to learn, as it is steeped in history. The park is home to the most vibrant coral and sea grass gardens in the Florida Keys, and every summer, large populations of sea turtles come to the shores of the Dry Tortugas to lay and bury their clutches of eggs. The beaches are fiercely protected to ensure the flora and fauna thrives with little or no interruption from the human footprint. Visitors can explore the historic Fort Jefferson, learn about the history of these tiny islands or just spend the day lounging around, dipping their toes in the ocean and basking in the warmth of the Floridian Sun. A trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park is more than just a boat journey or exhilarating plane ride, it’s a journey into the heart of peaceful tranquility.