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How to Get to Dry Tortugas National Park in 2022

Post Summary: How to Get to Dry Tortugas National Park

Are you looking to check the Dry Tortugas National Park off of your bucket list? Dry Tortugas National Park can be one of those parks that few check-off due to the limited transportation to the park. From boat or seaplane visitors venture from all over to see the clear blue waters of Dry Tortugas National Park. Here is my guide on How to Get to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Best of Dry Tortugas National Park in a Nutshell

GETTING THERE: How to Get to Dry Tortugas National Park

CAMPING: Camping in Dry Tortugas National Park

NEARBY PARKS: Biscayne, Everglades, and Virgin Islands

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Planning a visit to Dry Tortugas National Park but confused on how to get there? Check out our to how to get to Dry Tortugas National Park guide.

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Quick Guide for Getting to Dry Tortugas National Park

Visitors looking to check Dry Tortugas National Park off of their list look to boats and seaplanes to reach this remote island chain. Dry Tortugas National Park offers magnificent snorkeling/diving opportunities on the reefs surrounding Fort Jefferson, numerous opportunities to observe marine life and migratory birds crossing the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, and the Caribbean. Here is my guide on how to get to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Planning a visit to the Florida Keys? Here is an amazing Florida Keys Itinerary Ebook from my good friend and Florida travel expert Vicitoria Yore.

Where is Dry Tortugas National Park?

Dry Tortugas National Park lies 70 miles (~113km) off the coast of Key West, Florida. Dry Tortugas can only be reached by boat or seaplane and is known for the civil war era Fort Jefferson is located on the largest island.

Dry Tortugas National Park Gateway Cities

Key West, Florida

Key West is the southernmost point in Florida and the continental United States. A favorite city of writer Ernest Hemingway, Key West is a vibrant city with pastel-hued houses and amazing beaches. There are plenty of things to do in Key West such as visit Hemingway’s Key West home and see his six toe-ed cats, explore Fort Zachary Taylor or enjoy the sunset festival at Mallory Square.

Best Ways to Get to Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas by Seaplane

Key West Seaplane Adventures is the most efficient and quickest method to reach Dry Tortugas National Park. They are the ONLY authorized seaplane company flying to the park. The flight is about 45 minutes each way and they offer half-day (2.5hrs on Fort Jefferson) and full-day trips (6.5 hrs on Fort Jefferson).

Key West Seaplane uses DHC-3 DeHavilland Turbine Otter Amphibians. The plane seats 10 passengers and everyone gets a window seat. Along the way, the pilot gives a narrated tour. A cooler with water and soft drinks are provided along with snorkeling gear.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Seaplane reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance. It is recommended that you make your reservation as soon as you have travel dates. The Dry Tortuga Seaplane typically books out 6 – 9 weeks in advance.

A seaplane on a white sand beach
Photo Credit: Victoria Yore

Half Day Dry Tortugas Seaplane Trip

Cost: $361 per adult, $288.88 for children under 12

National Park Fee: $15 per person over 16 or free with an America the Beautiful Pass.

Total Fee: $376 per adult, $288.88 for children under 12

Length of Time: 4 hours total: 45-minute flight each way and 2.5 hours in Dry Tortugas National Park

This trip will give you enough time to explore the fort or do a little bit of snorkeling.

Half day trips depart 4 times a day at 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm. If you are looking to avoid the ferry crowds, 8:00 am and 2:00 pm flights are the best. The ferry doesn’t arrive until mid-morning and departs early afternoon.

Full Day Dry Tortugas Seaplane Trip

Cost: $634 per adult, $507.20 for children under 12

National Park Fee: $15 per person over 16 or free with an America the Beautiful Pass.

Total Fee: $649 per adult, $507.20 for children under 12

Length of Time: 8 hours total: 45-minute flight each way and 6.5 hours in Dry Tortugas National Park

The full day trip provides 6.5 hours in Dry Tortugas so you will have plenty of time to do just about everything in Dry Tortugas. You’ll have time to snorkel as well take a tour of the fort and explore on your own. This tour will give you some time on the islands without the ferry crowd at both the beginning and the end of your day at Dry Tortugas.

This flight departs at 8:00 am. It does cost extra for this option since Key West Seaplane Adventures has to hold space for you on their first and last flights of the day.

A fort on an island surrounded by blue water
Photo Credit: Victoria Yore

Dry Tortugas by Ferry

Yankee Freedom is the official ferry operated by the National Park Service that travels to the Dry Tortugas daily. It is highly recommended that you take motion sickness medication before you get on the ferry. The seas between Key West and Dry Tortugas can be rough and 6-10 ft. seas are not uncommon and even the best casual sailor can have issues.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Reservations can typically be made up to 12 months in advance. It is recommended that you make your reservation as soon as you have travel dates. The ferry tends to book out 3-6 months for day trips and 9-12 months for camping.

Dry Tortugas Ferry Day Trip

Cost: $190 per adult, $180 for students, active military and seniors, $135 for children (4-16)

Length of Time: 4 hours total: 2.25-hour boat ride each way and 4-5 hours in Dry Tortugas National Park

The ferry is the most economical way to visit Dry Tortugas National Park. Depending on the weather, the trip will take 2-3 hours. Along the way, you will get a breakfast snack. When you arrive on the island, you’ll be free to explore the island. A narrated tour of Fort Jefferson is offered shortly after arrival. If the guided tour isn’t for you, snorkeling gear is provided.

The ferry departs Key West at 8:00 am and usually arrives in Dry Tortugas around 10:15 am. Your ferry ticket includes a boxed lunch which is served from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. The ferry departs the island at 3:00 pm and you should be back in Key West somewhere between 5 and 6 pm.

Dry Tortugas Ferry Camping Trip

Cost: $210 per adult, $155 for children (4-16)

National Park Fee: $15 per person over 16 or free with an America the Beautiful Pass.

Total Fee: $376 per adult, $288.88 for children under 12

Length of Time: 4 hours total: 45-minute flight each way and 2.5 hours in Dry Tortugas National Park

The ferry can transport 10 campers a day to the park. Once there, you can spend 3 nights camping on the island. The camping is dry primitive camping which means you need to bring everything you will need with you including water.

Related: Everything you need to know about Dry Tortugas Camping.

A boat docked at a dock
Photo Credit: Victoria Yore

Dry Tortugas by Private Charter

The ferry and seaplane are the only public options for getting to Dry Tortugas National Park. Outside of those two options, there are several charter services that offer trips to Dry Tortugas National Parks. These are usually focused on activities like fishing or SCUBA diving. These charters are PRIVATE charters and will make the ferry look cheap.

Dry Tortugas by Your Own Boat

If you have your own ocean-going boat, you can visit Dry Tortugas National Park. You will need a Dry Tortuga Boat Permit from Garden Key (Fort Jefferson). There are NO services in Dry Tortugas so you need to be fully prepared once you depart Key West.

It might be possible to rent a boat in Key West to go to Dry Tortugas, but you will have to call around and see if anyone in the Key West area will rent a boat for this purpose.

What is the Cheapest Way to Get to Dry Tortugas National Park?

Currently at the time of writing the most cost-effective method to reach Dry Tortugas National Park is via the Yankee Freedom. While it takes the longest to arrive via the ferry visitors are rewarded with a longer stay while on the island, along with snorkel gear and box lunch (There is no food otherwise available within the park).

Flying to Key West, Florida

Map of Airports Near Key West

>>> Click here for an interactive map of Key West Airports

Airports Near Key West, Florida

Key West International Airport

Key West International Airport (EYW) is the closest airport to Dry Tortugas National Park. The airport has a short runway so the flights are often subject to weight restrictions. Key West has year-round service from major hubs such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, and Miami. There is service from most major airlines along with Allegiant.

Distance from Key West – 2.5 miles (4 km)

Key West Skyline from the air.

Major Airports within a one day drive of Key West

Miami International Airport

Miami International Airport (MIA) is the closest major airport to Dry Tortugas National Park. The airport has over 1,000 daily flights from 167 domestic and international destinations.

Distance from Key West – 160 miles (740km)

Miami Beach from the air

Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the largest airport in southern Florida. Major airlines like Delta, American, Air Canada, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and Frontier all fly to and from Atlanta daily. Being classified as a major international airport, direct flights are offered to almost all other major domestic and international airports.

Distance from Key West – 386 miles (621km)

Orlando Skyline

Jacksonville International Airport

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is one of the larger airports within Florida. Major airlines like Delta, American, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, and United all fly to and from Orlando daily. Being one of the larger airports in the area there are over 100 domestic direct flights and 46 International direct flights.

Distance from Key West – 518 miles (833km)

Jacksonville Skyline

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the largest airport within the southern states. Major airlines like Delta, American, Air Canada, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and Frontier all fly to and from Atlanta daily. Being classified as a major international airport, direct flights are offered to almost all other major domestic and international airports.

Distance from Key West – 818 miles (1,316km)

Atlanta Skyline

Driving to Key West

A popular alternative to flying into Key West, Florida is to drive down the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys. Driving also offers to opportunity to pick up other National Parks that are located in southern Florida, like the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks.

Drive time from Florida Cities

CityMileageKilometersDrive Time
Daytona Beach419 mi674 km7 hours
Fort Lauderdale190 mi305 km4 hours
Jacksonville504 mi811 km8 hours
Miami164 mi263 km3 hours
Naples270 mi434 km5 hours
Orlando393 mi632 km7 hours
Panama City Beach738 mi1187 km11 hours
St. Augustine466 mi749 km8 hours
Tallahasee638 mi1026 km10 hours
Tampa424 mi682 km7 hours

Drive time from Major US Cities

CityMileageKilometersDrive Time
Seattle, WA 3487 mi5611 km51 hours
Portland, OR 3414 mi5494 km50 hours
Bozeman, MT 2777 mi4469 km41 hours
Jackson, WY2683 mi4317 km41 hours
Boise, ID 2986 mi4805 km44 hours
Salt Lake City, UT2689 mi4327 km40 hours
Minneapolis, MN 1946 mi3131 km29 hours
Denver, CO2221 mi3574 km33 hours
Omaha, NE 1803 mi2901 km26 hours
Las Vegas, NV 2690 mi4329 km40 hours
Los Angeles, CA2888 mi4647 km42 hours
Chicago, IL1540 mi2478 km22 hours
Houston, TX1344 mi2162 km19 hours
Atlanta, GA819 mi1318 km12 hours
Washington, D.C.1211 mi1948 km18 hours
New York City, NY1437 mi2312 km21 hours
Orlando, FL393 mi632 km7 hours
Fort Jefferson's clumping outer wall and a sea wall.

Frequently Asked Questions about getting to Dry Tortugas National Park

What airport do you fly into for Dry Tortugas National Park?

Key West International Airport is the most popular for the closest direct flight. However, many visitors opt to fly into Miami International Airport for the opportunity to drive down the chain of Florida Keys.

What is the best way to get to Dry Tortugas?

The best way to reach Dry Tortugas is to fly into Key West and take the Yankee Freedom Official NPS Ferry.

How much does it cost to get to the Dry Tortugas?

As of writing, it cost about $190 per adult via the Ferry service.

Do I need a passport to go to Dry Tortugas?

No, the Dry Tortugas are within the United States.

How far in advance should I book Dry Tortugas?

Ferry tickets can only be booked online 6 months in advance and should be booked around that time. Further in advance tickets can be purchased by contacting the NPS Ferry service directly.

Is fuel or other goods available on the Dry Tortugas?

No fuel, water, or food is available within the park.

Final Thoughts on Getting to Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the more remote national parks requiring the aid of boats and seaplanes to reach this remote island chain. Dry Tortugas National Park offers magnificent snorkeling/diving opportunities on the reefs surrounding Fort Jefferson, numerous opportunities to observe marine life and migratory birds crossing the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, and the Caribbean.

Do you have any questions about Dry Tortugas National Park or need help planning your National Park trips. Let me know in the comments or join me in my National Park Trip Planning Community!

More Infomation For Your Trip For Florida

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How to Get to Dry Tortugas National Park in 2022

Planning a visit to Dry Tortugas National Park but confused on how to get there? Check out our to how to get to Dry Tortugas National Park guide.

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