If you like to visit remote places, if you like historical sites, if you like tropical fish or snorkeling, the ferry trip to the Dry Tortugas is for you. This is a full day experience and at approx $160 pp, it ain't cheap, but it was the highlight of our Key West visit and I have wanted to visit for years!! This trip did not disappoint.
During our last visit, the ferry was sold out for the entire week, so I would urge you to explore the website (yankeefreedom.com) before you leave home. Pick a day with warm, calm weather so that the sea is not churned up. The Yankee Freedom III is a beautiful new ship only a few months old.
We checked in at 7:15 am at the Key West Bight (parking garage nearby for $13 per day) and boarded the vessel at about 7:45 am. Continental Breakfast was waiting (ham, bagels, hard boiled eggs, cereal, coffee, juice, milk, etc) and if you need dramamine, it is sold onboard. The trip takes about 3 hours. Bring a deck of cards. You can wander about outside and maybe even see sea turtles swimming by. The people watching is also fairly entertaining. We got some laughs making fun of some creepy old guys openly ogling and even photographing attractive young ladies who were traveling alone. That was until we realized that one creepy old guy was sitting with his wife and adult kids directly behind us and his family heard every word. Oops.
Upon arrival at the fort, you will disembark, leaving your possessions on the picnic tables and go on a guided tour of the fort immediately. There are no bathrooms on the island, so use the facilities on the ship!!!. The tour is very informative and the photo opps are awesome. If you are a photographer, you will love it!!! I also recommend spending a little time looking at the exhibits in the fort office and exploring the fort on your own.
Next up is lunch on the ship, then don your swimsuit in the changing facilities at the dock. The ship's crew provides a snorkeling map and snorkeling gear. The water is fairly calm and a beautiful shade of turquoise. No collecting shells or sea glass as it is strictly forbidden. Or you can stay dry and just walk around the moat because you can see many beautiful fish from the moat wall. Shower off on the ship and then change back into your clothes in the changing facility. If you have time, walk out on the beach peninsula next to the fort,
the ship departs around 2:45pm. Adult frozen beverages and snacks are available for an extra charge. You will be asked to rate the ship, crew and overall experience. The crew (with their tip jar) will be waiting to say goodbye as you disembark around 5:30 pm at Key West Bight, tired and happy at having spent the day on a remote tropical island!!! Next time, I want to camp as it looks like a fantastic experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.