Things to know about Dry Tortugas National Park visit

One of our RV bucket list stops was Dry Tortugas National Park. This National Park has been on our bucket list since we started traveling 3 years ago.

This National Park is about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. The park is only accessible by boat or seaplane and is a 100 square mile park. The park is home to Fort Jefferson, one of the nations largest 19th-century forts, stunning coral reefs and marine life, picturesque blue water and numerous species of birds.

Plan ahead

We booked our trip for New Year’s day approximately 5 months in advance. We took the seaplane in with Key West Seaplane Adventures for the 2pm half-day trip. 

Only accessible via air or ferry

The seaplane to the national park was about 40 minutes from loading to unloading. The flight was incredible, our pilot Marcus was amazing, giving history as we flew and pointing out wildlife. We saw 30+ sea turtles, sharks and sting rays in the clear blue waters as the plane flew about 500 feet above the water. 

Time of day

The 2pm trip was perfect, the ferry was leaving as we arrived, leaving our 10 passenger plane, another 10 from the other plane and a few over night campers on the entire island.  We felt like we had the island to ourselves. 

We did a self guided tour around the fort for about 45 minutes. It was so nice to be able to roam around and take photos without anyone else around. After exploring the fort we went snorkeling. Key West Seaplane Adventures supplies you with with snorkel gear for kiddos and adults along with a cooler of refreshments. We spent the last part of our day in the water and walking on the beach. 

The National Park has changing rooms and outhouses on the island, we wore out swim suits on the plane and brought a change of clothes to change into so we didn’t ride back in the plane wet. I also packed a few snacks and there were picnic tables to have a snack at.  

Our pilot gave us a time to meet him back at the plane which 5:15pm. It was perfect because we were able to watch the sunset in the air as we arrived in Key West. 

One way or the other, whether by Ferry or Seaplane, don’t miss a chance if you are in Key West to visit this majestically beautiful National Park.  Definitely an experience we will never forget.