Ultimate Dry Tortugas National Park Guide to the Best Adventurous Things to Do

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Are you ready to embark on the ultimate adventure at Dry Tortugas Adventure Park? Look no further for the best tips and tricks to make the most out of your experience at this adrenaline-pumping destination!

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Quick Facts about Dry Tortugas National Park

  1. Location: Dry Tortugas National Park is located about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico.
  2. Size: The park encompasses approximately 100 square miles, including a cluster of seven small islands and the surrounding waters.
  3. Establishment: Dry Tortugas National Park was established on October 26, 1992, to preserve and protect its unique natural and cultural resources.
  4. Fort Jefferson: The park is home to Fort Jefferson, one of the largest 19th-century coastal forts in the United States. Construction of the fort began in 1846 but was never completed. It served as a military prison during the Civil War.
  5. Marine Life: Dry Tortugas National Park is known for its diverse marine life, including vibrant coral reefs, tropical fish, sea turtles, and other marine creatures. The park’s waters are part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
  6. Bird Sanctuary: The park is an important nesting and migratory habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and other bird species. It is designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.
  7. Accessibility: Access to Dry Tortugas National Park is primarily by ferry, seaplane, or private boat. There are no roads connecting the park to the mainland, making it one of the most remote national parks in the United States.
  8. Recreational Activities: Visitors to the park can enjoy a variety of recreational activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, birdwatching, beachcombing, kayaking, paddleboarding, camping, and stargazing.
  9. Limited Facilities: The park has limited facilities, including picnic areas, primitive campsites, and restrooms. There are no stores or restaurants on the islands, so visitors are encouraged to bring their own food and water.
  10. Conservation: Dry Tortugas National Park is managed by the National Park Service, which works to preserve and protect its natural and cultural resources for future generations to enjoy.

Best Things to do in Dry Tortugas National Park

Explore Fort Jefferson:

Fort Jefferson was built in the 19th century and served as a strategic military outpost during the Civil War. Its impressive architecture and massive structure make it one of the largest forts in the United States. As you wander through the maze of corridors and ramparts, you can almost hear the echoes of the soldiers who once guarded this fortress.

Explore Fort Jefferson: Dry Tortugas NationalPark

Snorkeling in Dry Tortugas National Park:

The beauty of Dry Tortugas snorkeling lies in the park’s diverse underwater ecosystems. The coral reefs here are some of the healthiest in the Florida Keys, with a kaleidoscope of colors and textures that will leave you in awe. From vibrant coral formations to schools of tropical fish, there is no shortage of wonders to discover beneath the surface

Dry Tortugas Snorkeling

Scuba Diving in Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park boasts some of the clearest waters in the United States, with visibility often exceeding 100 feet. This crystal-clear water provides divers with unparalleled views of the diverse marine life, coral formations, and shipwrecks that call this underwater paradise home. From colorful tropical fish to majestic sea turtles, there is no shortage of marine species to encounter during your dives in Dry Tortugas National Park.

Scuba Diving in Dry Tortugas National Park

Kayaking and Paddleboarding Dry Tortugas National Park

The crystal-clear waters surrounding Dry Tortugas National Park provide the perfect setting for kayaking and paddleboarding enthusiasts. With its diverse marine life, colorful coral reefs, and historic shipwrecks, every paddle stroke offers a chance to discover something new and exciting. Whether you are a beginner or experienced paddler, the calm and serene waters of the park cater to all skill levels, making it an ideal destination for water sports lovers.

Kayaking Dry Tortugas National Park

Bird-watching Dry Tortugas National Park

With its diverse ecosystems, including coral reefs, seagrass beds, and sandy beaches, Dry Tortugas National Park offers a unique habitat for a wide range of bird species. From magnificent frigatebirds soaring high above the crystal-clear waters to colorful warblers flitting among the lush foliage, this park is a bird-watcher’s dream come true.

Bird-watching Dry Tortugas National Park

Stargazing Dry Tortugas National Park

When you visit Dry Tortugas National Park for stargazing, you can expect to see a dazzling array of stars, planets, and even the Milky Way galaxy. The lack of artificial light allows for optimal viewing conditions, making it easier to spot celestial objects and enjoy the beauty of the night sky.

Stargazing Dry Tortugas National Park

Other Things to do

  1. Beachcombing and Relaxation: With its pristine sandy beaches and tranquil atmosphere, Dry Tortugas offers the perfect setting for relaxation and beachcombing. Visitors can soak up the sun, swim in the turquoise waters, or simply unwind on the beach while enjoying the island’s natural beauty.
  2. Camping: For a truly immersive experience, consider camping overnight on Garden Key, where Fort Jefferson is located. The park offers primitive camping facilities, allowing visitors to spend the night under the stars and experience the peaceful ambiance of the island after the day-trippers have departed.
  3. Photography: Whether you’re capturing the historic architecture of Fort Jefferson, the vibrant marine life beneath the waves, or the stunning sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico, Dry Tortugas National Park offers endless opportunities for photography enthusiasts.

Trip Planning Resources


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Hi!I’m Kim!

A passionate adventurer, homesteader, home cook and food lover who loves nothing more than sharing my favorite trips, skills , and recipes with the world.



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