top of page
  • jcath1

Dry Tortugas National Park

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

Fort Jefferson, otherwise known as Dry Tortugas National Park is one of those parks that's not the easiest to get to, similar to some of the parks in Alaska that you have to fly in order to get there, you need to fly or take a ferry to get here. It's 70 miles off the coast of Key West. It took me a long time to make it there. In August of '20 I was burned out from work and looked for somewhere to go. I found a round trip flight to Miami for $49 and car rental was $11 a day. How could I pass that up??? I couldn't. And it was a wonderful, relaxing, restorative trip.

I took the ferry there. Not going to lie, it was a bit pricey but worth it. You can book your trip here. The ferry left at 8 am, I got there at 7:30. The ferry company said to park across the street from the ferry building. I parked a little up the street because I didn't see the parking sign a little closer to the dock. I had to pay an extra dollar. Not a lot but next time I know where to park. There is one affiliate link in the post, if you should click on it and make a purchase I will get a small commission and it won't cost you anything extra.

The ferry ride out was relaxing. The seas were calm, it was a gorgeous day. The ride out is a little longer than two hours. A breakfast snack and box lunch are included in the price of the ferry. So is the snorkeling equipment if you want to snorkel. When the ferry arrived we disembarked. I chose to do the guided tour of the fort which included a great deal of information. I learned a lot! The fort is massive, and it takes quite a while to walk through and take it all in. Here are some pictures of the fort.

After my tour and box lunch I took a peek in the little gift shop. I bought a book and went back out to the dock. I grabbed some snorkeling gear and headed to the beach. It was such a gorgeous day, I couldn't decide if I should lay in the sun or go snorkel. I opted for snorkeling because I can lay in the sun any time but I can't snorkel in Dry Tortugas anytime. I had a very inexpensive underwater camera which I used for a few shots and it worked okay. I had my little canon camera in a waterproof bag and my phone in a waterproof bag. Here's where you can learn from my mistakes. The phone did not want to work through the plastic and I couldn't take pictures. The waterproof case for the Canon had a screw on lens cover so I could change the size of the lens cover. I thought I had the lense cover screwed on properly. I didn't and the case leaked. I lost my $280 camera and all the pictures I had taken on the camera as well. The SD card corroded before I realized the camera was wet and got the camera out of the water and dried off. The camera never worked again and no matter what I did I could not see the pictures on the SD card. Hard lesson to learn!

I put the phone and ruined camera on the beach with my other belongings and went back into the water with my inexpensive waterproof camera, determined to make the best of a frustrating situation. While I was sitting in the water putting my snorkel and mask back on, I made a friend.

This little guy kept nipping at my foot. I chose to think they were love nips. Brave little guy!

The day went by very fast. I did not have anywhere near enough time to do the exploring and enjoying that I would have like. Before I knew it I had to board the ferry back to Key West. The next time I go I want to camp overnight. I now have better camera equipment, I learned from my stupid mistakes and I will have much more time to do the things I wanted to do. I may even bring my kayak. Will have to do more research on that.

Have you been to Dry Tortugas? What was your favorite part?

What am I drinking:

Nothing today but if you are looking to get coffee and breakfast before your trip I suggest two places. Support local businesses, skip the big chains. You're on vacation!

Keys Coffee Company opens at 7 am. Their website is here


Cuban Coffee Queen. They open at 6:30 and are close to the ferry. Check them out here.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page