Dry Tortugas Camping requires planning, an expectation of a wilderness experience, and one epic adventure! I say this is a wilderness experience as you are 70 miles from any piece of civilization in the Gulf of Mexico!
Dry Tortugas Camping Guide
You are literally on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean and the only way to get back is by seaplane or by boat. The great news is that those who make this adventure are in for a camping experience that they will never forget.
Dry Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles south of Key West and the Florida Keys.
Dry Tortugas National Park Camping allows you to experience this incredible park like very few get to do.
Imagine having a tropical island to share with only a handful of other campers at night, feeling the warm breeze and an endless view of stars at night!
Make sure to also check out my articles on Things To Do Dry Tortugas National Park. You can also learn more about the history of Dry Tortugas NP.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
How to get to Dry Tortugas National Park
Yankee Freedom Ferry
The first step is just getting here. The two main options to reach the island is ferry or seaplane.
You will arrive by boat as the small seaplanes have size and weight restrictions and you would have to leave your gear behind.
Your best option is to take the ferry on the Yankee Freedom online or call(800)634-1939.
Below is a list of rules for doing so:
Make an advance camping reservation and advise that you will be camping as there is only space for up to 10 campers per day.
Advise the boat's captain on the day of arrival that you are camping and arrive at the dock with all of your gear no later than 6:00 am.
When loading your camping gear on the vessel in the morning, please ask crew members about proper placement
Gear must be packed into tote bags or bins- Please do not have a lot of loose gear.
The cargo area is not protected from rain or spray – pack any water-sensitive gear in waterproof containers. Yankee Freedom recommends something like a Rubbermaid 18 Gallon Tote
You will need to give your arrival and departure date at the time of the reservation as primitive camping space is limited.
Max stay limit is 3 nights
Keep your gear to a minimum and required to have 60lbs. or less. This may sound easy but remember that you also have to bring all of your food and water too!
Each camper is limited to the amount of gear, food, water, and ice that will fit into one Storage
Bin, one Bag (backpack, duffel, or bundled gear) and one Cooler per person.
Carry at least an extra days worth of food and water as sometimes weather can prevent the ferry from getting to the island.
Carry at least 1 gallon of water per person per day. It is recommended that you bring 2 gallons of water per person per day as there is no water available on the island and there is little shade from the sun.
You are required to pack in all of your food. This can be tricky as everything needs to be stored in a hard-sided container as the island has a rat population. Campers who fail to bring a hard-sided container for their food can expect to have rats eat their food, chew through tents, backpacks etc. to get to the food and have every camper near them ready to throw you off of the island.
Any form of liquid fuels are prohibited (This includes propane). You are allowed to bring self-starting charcoal and Sterno cans for camping.
Nothing is allowed to be hung from any tree, everything must be freestanding.
Campsite space is very limited! You will have a picnic table and a grill plus all of your equipment and tents must remain within 10 feet of the picnic table. You are allowed up to 3 tents and 6 people but remember that 10-foot rule from the picnic table!
No more than 3 Canoes/Kayaks (no longer than 15 foot 6 inches) may be transported during each trip and has a $20.00 fee per boat.
Bring heavy-duty garbage bags as you are required to take everything back with you including garbage.
You are required to have a Florida Fishing license if you plan to go fishing while on Dry Tortugas. They are not available at Dry Tortugas so make sure to plan ahead.
You must pay cash for your campsite so make sure to plan ahead and have enough money and correct change.
On the day that you return, you must have all of your gear on the dock and ready to go no later than 10:30 am. Your gear must also be free of sand.
There are vault composting toilets available on the island but they are only open when the Yankee Freedom is not in port. You must use the restrooms on the Yankee Freedom when it is in port.
Quiet Hours are 10pm-6am
Overnight anchoring is only allowed in the area of sand and rubble bottom within 1 nautical mile of the Fort Jefferson harbor light and must not block any designated channel.
Overnight anchoring is not permitted at any other location in Dry Tortugas National Park.
The campground is open year-round
Seaplanes do not offer transportation for campers due to the weight of the camping gear.
The nightly fee of $15 per camping site is collected through a self-service fee area that is located in the campground.
A 50% discount applies to holders of the Golden Age or Golden Access Pass. Group camping is a nightly fee of $30 per camping site.
Camping Fees can only be paid at the park by cash or check no matter your mode of transportation to the park.
Seaplane or ferry concessions do not collect camping fees.
There are 11 total sites: 1 group site (10-20 people) and 10 tent sites
Call (305)-242-7700 to obtain a Group Campsite Reservation Application, or click here.
There is a 3-day maximum stay limit
There are no Reservations and camping is a first-come-first-serve park. You do however have to make reservations with Yankee Freedom which has a 10 camper limit per day.
The Parks address is:
40001 SR 9336
Homestead, Fl. 33034
This is the headquarters for the park, not the actual island.
No Wood Fires Allowed
GPS: 24.3759N 82.5571W
Elevation: 10′ feet
There is no WIFI Service, No Cellular Phone Service, and No Showers
- are permitted on Garden Key but not inside Fort Jefferson historic fort.
- are not permitted on any other key in the park.
- must be on a leash and under physical control at all times.
- waste must be removed by the owner from the park.
There is no transportation available to Loggerhead Key. Access is only via private vessel or canoe/kayaks brought to the park.
Basic Packing List for Dry Tortugas Camping
- Tent - Required! Due to wildlife on the island you can not camp without a tent.
- Ground cover
- Cooler – see above
- Fresh Water- one gallon per person per day minimum for bathing and drinking
- Self-starting charcoal
- Grilling tools and cookware
- Reef Safe Sunscreen
- Sleeping bags/cushions
- Blankets and/or sheets
- Foul weather gear
- Snorkel gear (unless using Yankee Freedom equipment)
- Antibacterial wipes (toilet paper is provided but there are no sinks)
- Camera – There are no charging outlets at the campground so bring extra
batteries for all electronic equipment
- Cash for Campsite Fee – $15 per night per regular site, $30 for group sites (more
than two tents). The fee will be collected at the campsite by the Park Service.
- Flashlight/Lantern and batteries
- Environmentally friendly insect repellent
- First Aid Kit
- Heavy duty Garbage Bags - You are responsible for removing all trash and garbage.
There are no supplies or rentals available at the park! Make sure you plan ahead of time and bring everything you need including food and water.
Campgrounds near Key West, Florida
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Escape Campervans has offices in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New York, and Orlando
If you are unable to make a Dry Tortugas Camping reservation on the Yankee Freedom here are a few of the campgrounds that can be found in the Florida Keys.
Sun Outdoors Marathon - 53 miles from Key West
This campground offers RV sites, lodging, a dog park, and waterfront.
Sun Outdoors Key Largo - 89 miles from Key West
This campground offers RV sites, lodging, beach access, and a boat launch
Key Largo Kampground - 93 miles away
This campground offers RV sites and lodging, a boat launch, beach, and a pool.
Check out other campgrounds in the area on Campspot.
Lodging near Dry Tortugas
There are no designated National Park Lodges within Dry Tortugas NP.
The closest lodging is in Key West, Florida or nearby.
Pier House Resort & Spa - 4-star resort in the heart of Key West Historic District. Close to Duval Street, Pier House Resort & Spa provides a beach bar, a poolside bar, and a terrace. With a private beach, beachfront dining, and sun loungers, this resort is the perfect place to soak up some sun. Indulge in a hot stone massage, a body treatment, and a facial at the onsite spa. Enjoy American cuisine and ocean views at the two onsite restaurants. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi, with speed of 25+ Mbps, and guests can find other amenities such as a garden and a hair salon.
24 North Hotel - 4-star hotel. You can look forward to a poolside bar, a terrace, and a coffee shop/café at 24 North Hotel Key West. Adventurous travelers may like the cycling at this hotel. Be sure to enjoy a meal at any of the 3 onsite restaurants, which feature American cuisine and a poolside location. Yoga classes are offered at the 24-hour gym; the property also has a garden, dry cleaning/laundry services, and an outdoor entertainment area. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi, and guests can find other amenities such as 2 bars.
The Conch House Heritage Inn - 3.5-star bed & breakfast in the heart of Key West Historic District. Close to Duval Street, The Conch House Heritage Inn provides amenities like a garden. Guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
The Reach Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton - 4-star family-friendly hotel in the heart of Old Town Key West. The Reach Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton is located close to Duval Street, and provides a golf course, a poolside bar, and a terrace. This hotel is a great place to bask in the sun with a private beach, rowing, and sailing. Indulge in a massage at Spa al Mare', the onsite spa. The onsite restaurant, Four Marlins, features local cuisine. Enjoy the gym, as well as activities like boat tours, ecotours, and kayaking. In addition to shopping on site and a coffee shop/café, guests can connect to free Wi-Fi in public areas.
Courtyard by Marriott Key West Waterfront - A poolside bar, a coffee shop/café, and dry cleaning/laundry services are just a few of the amenities provided at Courtyard by Marriott Key West Waterfront. Active travelers can enjoy cycling at this hotel. For some rest and relaxation, visit the hot tub. The onsite restaurant, Tiki Bar, features a poolside location and light fare. In addition to a bar and a business center, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Kimpton Winslow's Bungalows, an IHG Hotel - 4-star hotel in the heart of Key West Historic District. Near Duval Street, Kimpton Winslow's Bungalows, an IHG Hotel provides a poolside bar, a terrace, and a garden. In-room Wi-Fi (surcharge) and a bar are available to all guests.
Click on the map below to see current rates for hotels and vacation rentals in Key West, Florida.
Parks near Dry Tortugas
Make sure to check out other great National Park Sites in Florida while visiting Dry Tortugas National Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Curry Hammock State Park
Indian Key Historic State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Check out all of the National Parks in Florida along with neighboring National Parks in Alabama and Georgia National Parks
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