Learn About Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park History & Natural Features
Dry Tortugas Packing List: What to Pack For a Dry Tortugas Family Vacation
Dry Tortugas National Park Packing List
How To Get to Dry Tortugas National Park
- Yankee Freedom ferry
- The Key West ferry to Dry Tortugas is the easiest and cheapest way to Dry Tortugas, though still quite pricey (at the time of writing $190/adult for a day trip). It’s also the most common option. Be sure to book in advance as the ferry does fill up!
- Permitted tour guide
- Bring your own boat
Where to Stay in Dry Tortugas National Park with Kids: Dry Tortugas Lodging for Families
Camping in Dry Tortugas National Park
Hotels Near Dry Tortugas National Park
Key West, FL Lodging with Kids
Here are some of the best Key West hotels for families:
Additionally, here are a few lovely VRBO properties we considered:
Where to Eat in Dry Tortugas
Once you’re back on land, here’s where to eat in Key West!
How to Get Around Key West: Dry Tortugas Transportation
Best Time of Year to Visit Dry Tortugas National Park
What To See in Dry Tortugas National Park: Top Dry Tortugas Checklist: Dry Tortugas National Park Itinerary
Unlike many other national parks, hiking at Dry Tortugas National Park is not readily available. After all, 99% of the park is underwater! Other than the loop around Garden Key (where Fort Jefferson lies), there aren’t many established trails. Still, there are plenty of other incredible Dry Tortugas activities.
Best Things to Do in Dry Tortugas National Park with Kids: Day Trip To Dry Tortugas
1. Explore Fort Jefferson
The most prominent building (and one of the only ones!) at Dry Tortugas National Park is Fort Jefferson on Garden Key. The fort was built to protect a strategic deepwater anchorage on a busy sailing route. Though it was never completed or fully armed, it did stand as a symbol of strength from a young United States. It was used by Union troops during the Civil War as a prison and as a point from which to blockade Southern shipping.
While at the fort, you can walk around the top for some spectacular views, as well as through the interior. It’s a wonderful place to explore!
2. Snorkeling Dry Tortugas or Diving Dry Tortugas
No trip to Dry Tortugas would be complete without doing some snorkeling or diving! Dry Tortugas is located at the southwest corner of the Florida Keys reef system, which is the 3rd largest in the world, so there are some amazing corals, fish, and other marine life to witness. Along the moat wall is a wonderful place to snorkel. The Yankee Freedom ferry provides snorkel equipment free of charge to all passengers.
If you’re interested in diving, keep in mind that the Yankee Freedom ferry cannot carry compressed air canisters, so you’ll need to arrive by your own vessel or on a charter boat.
3. Play at the Beach
If you’re not interested in exploring by snorkel or diving, you can still swim and splash in the water at the beautiful white sand beaches. We loved the area on the west side of the fort, just before the moat wall.
4. Fishing in Dry Tortugas National Park
Did you know you can go fishing inside Dry Tortugas? Here’s everything you need to know about Dry Tortugas fishing permits, locations, and types of fish.
5. Dry Tortugas Scenic Boating
6. Go Birding & Other Wildlife Viewing
Especially during spring migration, Dry Tortugas is an incredible place for birding. In fact, nearly 300 species have been spotted there! There’s also an incredible diversity of reefs and fishes, and 5 different sea turtles are found in the park.
7. Dry Tortugas Junior Ranger & Ranger Guided Tours
There are also several ranger guided talks and tours. You can see what is available on the calendar.
8. Photography in Dry Tortugas
9. Picnicking in Dry Tortugas National Park
If you arrive via the Yankee Freedom ferry, a sack lunch will be provided for you to take ashore. Be sure to let them know at the start of the ride if you have any dietary preferences (vegetarian seemed fine; I don’t know how many food allergies they accommodate). If you prefer, you’re welcome to bring in any food of your own.
10. Work on Survival & Safety Skills
11. Other Key West Activities
Before or after your Dry Tortugas day trip or overnight visit, consider doing some other activities in Key West. Here are some options:
<div data-gyg-href="https://widget.getyourguide.com/default/activities.frame" data-gyg-locale-code="en-US" data-gyg-widget="activities" data-gyg-number-of-items="3" data-gyg-partner-id="JKLJ0JT" data-gyg-q="key%20west"></div>