The Dry Tortugas have been on my must visit National Park list for a long time. I was so excited to finally get to visit the park recently and spend time exploring this amazing area. Today I am sharing our Dry Tortugas National Park Travel Tips! Everything you need to know to plan a trip to Dry Tortugas National Park! Camping, Dry Tortugas Ferry, Fort Jefferson, How to get to Dry Tortugas and more!
Dry Tortugas National Park Travel Tips
The Dry Tortugas are in the Central Time Zone. If you take a seaplane ride into the park you cross the timeline 45 miles west of Key West. You actually land 15 minutes before you take off! To keep things simple the Park Service, Yankee Freedom, and Key West Seaplane Adventures operate on Eastern Time.
Please keep in mind there is:
No Cell phone coverage
No Public Phones
No Bathrooms – Composting toilets are available for campers from 3 p.m. to 10:30 a.m. At all other times, the bathrooms aboard the Yankee Freedom ferry can be utilized.
No Fuel for boats
No Trashcans and trash disposal
No Other basic amenities
You can download Dry Tortugas park brochures ahead of your visit here to help plan your trip.
Head over to this post to see Things to do in Dry Tortugas National Park
How much does it cost to visit Dry Tortugas National Park?
Entrance fee for the park is $10.00 for per visitor. Under 16 are free. This fee covers the entrance to the park for 7 days.
America the Beautiful—National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass: $80
Annual pass covering entrance and standard amenity fees for national parks and other federal fee areas. This replaces the National Parks Pass and Golden Eagle Pass.
Annual 4th Grade Pass: Free
Annual pass covering entrance fees for 4th-grade students
Annual Pass for US Military: Free
Annual pass covering entrance and standard amenity fees for all active military personnel and their dependents. (For active-duty military personnel and dependents with proper identification (CAC Card or DD Form 1173).)
Access Pass: Free
Lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
Senior Pass: $10
Lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents who are age 62 or older.
Free Entrance Days in 2019
The National Park Service offers the following Entrance Fee Free Days this year:
- January 21: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- April 20: First day of National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 28: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Other fees such as reservation, camping, lodging, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.
How do I get to Dry Tortugas National Park?
Dry Tortugas National Park is accessible only by ferry, seaplane, private boat, or charter boat.
We took the Yankee Freedom to Dry Tortugas National Park and it was great! Super clean, efficient, and an easy ride out to the park. I would suggest bringing a book, notepad, or some form of entertainment. We saw a lot of families playing cards and having a great time. I wish I would have brought my laptop and spent the time getting some work done. Tammilee took a nap and soaked up not having to do a thing.
We do suggest booking your tickets on the Yankee Freedom in advance! We tried to get tickets this past spring for a trip and they were completely sold out. I would book your tickets as soon as you know what day you want to visit the park. You can find the Yankee Freedom reservations here.
Here are the current rates as of December 2019 for the Yankee Freedom
Adults – $180
Kids (4-16) – $125
Students 17+ with ID – $170
Active Military with ID – $170
Seniors 62+ – $170
Adults – $200
Kids – $145
These rates do not include the camping free from the National Park service.
Where are the Dry Tortugas National Park Visitor Centers?
The Dry Tortugas Visitor Center is located within the fort. When you come off the dock walk straight and you run right into it. They have a small interpretive center talking about the history of the park, a great store with items showcasing Dry Tortugas and of course, you can get your National Park Stamp!
Where can I find out about staying/camping in Dry Tortugas National Park?
The nightly fee of $15 per camping site is collected through a self-service fee area that is located in the campground. Under 16 are free.
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
Check out our full post on Dry Tortugas Camping for more info!
Is there a Junior Ranger Program at Dry Tortugas National Park?
There are 6 programs offered at Dry Tortugas National Park. To see all of the amazing programs visit the Junior Ranger page on the Dry Tortugas NPS website.
Can I bring my Dog/Pet with me to Dry Tortugas National Park?
- are permitted on Garden Key but not inside Fort Jefferson.
- 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.
Dry Tortugas National Park Facts
Historic Fort Jefferson – one of the largest coastal forts ever built
Juan Ponce de Leon discovered the Dry Tortugas in the summer of 1513
Construction of Fort Jefferson began in 1846
Dry Tortugas was established as a National Park in 1992
80,000+ people a year visit Dry Tortugas
1822 the United States acquired the Dry Tortugas from Spain
Dry in Dry Tortugas is used to refer to the Island’s lack of surface freshwater.
Seven major islands of Dry Tortugas National Park include Loggerhead Key, Garden Key, Bush Key, Long Key, Hospital Key, East Key, and Middle Key.
99% of Dry Tortugas National Park is water!
Fort Jefferson is America’s largest masonry structure in existence
More than 299 bird species that can be found in Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park Additional Resources Information
You can find more information on the National Park Website here
Are you spending time in Florida exploring the National Parks? Check out these other posts on Florida National Parks!
Books/gifts for Dry Tortugas