U.S. National Parks Series (2) – Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is the tiniest national park that I have been to. It is also one of the remote national parks that I have been to. (The other one that I have been to and would consider remote is the Katmai national park in Alaska.)

Located about 70 miles west of Key West, this national park is composed of some small island. People usually go to the biggest one - Gardden Key - which has only 100-square miles and is accessible only by boat or seaplane. The park is the home of Fort Jefferson, which is a unfinished coastal fort. I went there in 2008 when I was still in my graduate school in Florida.  

When To Visit

You can visit all around the year. Summer might be a bit hot and winter time the water might be a bit cool. Either season, you can enjoy snorkeling.

How to Get There
Since the park is remote, you will need some planning before going there. Most likely, you will go with a company that offers transportation to the island. You can find such companies at Key West. They usually offer one-day trip to Dry Tortugas, leaving around 7:30 am in the morning and come back in the afternoon. Such companies take you to the island, serve you lunch, and provide snorkeling equipments. Since there are no services on Dry Tortugas, you will need to bring everything with you and take it all back when leaving the island.

Of course, if you have some extra money you can take a seaplane to go there. It should be a very fun experience but will definitely cost you more. 

What to Do 
Although the island is small, you can still spend some time walking around the fort. That may take you one to two hours. 

 You should definitely try snorkeling there, too. Water there is so beautiful there. Even you do nothing and just sit there. It’s a really nice relaxing experience.

A lot of people visit Florida every year and most of them choose Orlando, Miami, and Key West. To be honest, water at Dry Tortugas is way bluer than Key West or any keys. If snorkeling is part of your plan, then I would definitely recommend snorkeling at Dry Tortugas. Don’t miss this hidden treasure!