Fort Jefferson – Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

If you’re in the Key West area, you need to take a daytrip to Fort Jefferson, part of the Dry Tortugas National Park. If want to just get away from it all–this is the place!

Fort Jefferson, built in the mid-1800s and used during the Civil War, is surrounded by the most beautiful blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico that you will ever see.

There are two main ways to get there:

  • by seaplane (quick, but pricy), or
  • ferry service provided by Yankee Freedom (slower, but more affordable).

We opted for the Yankee Freedom ferry. It departs from Key West’s historic seaport at around 8:00am for the 70 mile journey to Fort Jefferson/Dry Tortugas, arriving at around 10:15am.

A continental breakfast and lunch is provided. While on Fort Jefferson you can tour the fort, walk the moat wall, relax on a couple of nice, quiet beaches, swim, go birding, and snorkel (equipment is provided!).

The worst thing about the trip? You’ll want more time–it’s paradise! The ferry departs Fort Jefferson at 3:00pm and arrives back in Key West at 5:15pm. Do note: heartier souls can camp overnight at Fort Jefferson and catch the ferry the next day–be forewarned: there are no freshwater drinking sources for campers, nor standard toilet/showering facilities.

Want to see more? Check out my Key West Flickr album.

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