Dry Tortugas National Park
Key West, Fla.
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- The Wonder
- About 70 miles west of Key West, the isolated cluster of seven islands is a diver haven with its "ship trap" of shoals.
- The Adventures
- Diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, guided tours, chartered trips, Fort Jefferson, primitive camping on Garden Key
- One for the Bucket List
- Shipwreck diving and snorkeling. The shallows surrounding the Dry Tortugas have been a "ship trap" since the time of Spanish explorers and booty-looting pirates. Hundreds of vessels have wrecked or been caught within its shores. Even modern iron-hull ships have buckled here, like the Avanti, which has a wreckage field (commonly known as the Windjammer wreck site) scattered over the reef off Loggerhead Key.
The park itself does not arrange tours or trips, but a number of outfitters offer snorkeling and diving around the islands. Reef explorers can fin themselves around the corals and remnants of vessels and long-forgotten cargo, including anchors, cannons and pottery. Find Key West diving tours to add to mybook.
- Seasons and Hours
- Loggerhead Key, Garden Key and Fort Jefferson on Garden Key are open year-round during daylights hours, with the exceptions for overnight campers. Middle and East Keys are closed April 1 through October 15 for turtle nesting, while Bush Key's hours vary. Hospital Key and Long Key are closed year round, and visitors should remain 100 feet offshore of both islands.
- Getting There
- Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most remote parks in the National Park System, accessible only by private boats, charter boats or seaplane. The NPS recommends Yankee Freedom II for ferry service to the islands and Key West Seaplanes for seaplane trips.
Average Temps (ºF) High/Low
January - 75/65
April - 82/72
July - 89/80
October - 85/76
Approximate Distance From...
(Driving to Key West. Add 70 miles for boat ride.)
Everglades National Park - 135 miles
Biscayne Bay National Park - 140 miles
Miami, FL - 160 miles
Orlando, FL - 400 miles
Atlanta, GA - 820 miles
America the beautiful. You got that right. From the skytops of the world's tallest trees to the underwater color-play of tropical reefs, the National Park Service (NPS) oversees hundreds of parks and areas to conserve many of our country's most precious natural wonders.
Fewer than half of the national parks charge entrance fees, which usually range from $5 to $25 (often just per vehicle). Children 16 and under are always admitted for free. Daily fees for camping usually range between $10 and $20 per party.
If you're planning on visiting multiple parks, the NPS also offers America the Beautiful Passes that cover entrance fees at any national park.
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