Places to Visit in Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most unique national parks in the world. The park is made up of seven small islands. Each island can only be reached by boat or seaplane. The stunning landscape takes you to a different world. If you like snorkeling and scuba diving Dry Tortugas is a must visit. Here we have mentioned the top places to visit in Dry Tortugas National Park.

Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson is one of the major attractions of Dry Tortugas. The historic Fort Jefferson was once used as a prison during the Civil War. Fort Jefferson is located on Garden Key, it is one of the largest 19th century forts in the United States. Exploring the fort is one of the must to do in Dry Tortugas National Park.

You can explore the fort by a guided tour or self-guided tour. You can join the 45 to 60 minute guided tour. This tour is led by one of the park ranger where you get to hear stories about the fort, its remarkable history and its surroundings. If you like to explore by yourself, you can download a self-guided tour of Fort Jefferson.

Garden Key

Garden Key is the second largest island in Dry Tortugas National Park. The only way to visit Garden Key is by boat or seaplane. If you like to go by Ferry and seaplane you can travel directly from Key West to Garden Key. Garden Key is the most visited spot in the park as it features the historic Fort Jefferson.

Garden Key is the perfect place in the park for camping. There are individual sites that can accommodate up to three 2-person tents which are first-come, first served basis. There are even campsites available for 10 or more. It is also the best places for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Bush Key

Bush Key is an undeveloped, subtropical island. You can walk the entrie key which is a 1-mile loop. Due to the constantly changing landscape and shifting sands, at times Bush Key is accessible to Garden Key via a land bridge, at other times you can only get to Bush Key by  kayak or canoe. 

Bush Key is the best spot in the park for bird watching. You get to see some of the rare species. During the breeding season, it is home to birds not found elsewhere in the United States. It is also the best spot for viewing the sunset and sunrise.

Loggerhead Key

Loggerhead Key is the largest island in the Dry Tortugas. The island features a lighthouse, historic Carnegie Laboratory for Marine Ecology and it is the site of shipwrecks. The island was named after the frequently-spotted loggerhead sea turtles. Loggerhead Key is a 3-mile paddle from Garden Key. It is one of the most popular trips among kayakers. Loggerhead Key is the best spot for watching marine life.

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