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“A Must Visit When Visiting Key West”

Dry Tortugas National Park
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Dry Tortugas National Park Day Trip by Catamaran
Ranked #8 of 187 things to do in Key West
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed May 9, 2014

On day one of our weeklong visit to Key West, we ventured onboard the Yankee American catamaran and sailed over to Fort Jefferson/Dry Tortugas National Park...and it was well worth visiting. Yes it takes 2-1/2 hours to get there (and back), but the ride is scenic and the visit to the island and the fort make it all worthwhile. We were caught up in the history of the fort, why it was out there all by its lonesome on a small sand dune of an island, and the folks who ran the trip were excellent sources of local knowledge.

Thank TomHueyHenry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,221 - 3,225 of 4,266 reviews

Reviewed May 9, 2014

There are few places left on earth to experience darkness of night, clear and beautiful.
Take camp gear and food drink, and insect repellant. Dry Tortugas is DRY with little chance of rain to spoil your overnight stay. The small national park fee will save you price of an expensive bed in Key West. Ferry will take whatever you need. Get your ticket to go and return later.

Thank Nokesville28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2014

...Going to the Dry Tortugas has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. My wife and I decided to splurge and take the trip while we were visiting Key West. We could walk to the embarkation location and did so early in the morning. We had reserved places on the boat and boarding was well handled by the crew. We found comfortable seating inside the boat and relaxed and ate breakfast which is included on the trip. The catamaran was spotless and well maintained. (You should be aware the Dry Tortugas is a group of islands but the Garden Key with Fort Jefferson is the main attraction.) There is an entry fee for this National Park but it is included in the fee for the trip.
...The crew did a fine job of preparing us for the trip including warning us that sometime the water between Key West and the Tortugas gets a bit rough. There was some rough water and a number of people, including my wife, needed to use bags provided for such an event. Except for the brief rough water, the trip was rather uneventful and relaxing.
...When we arrived, we were able to have lunch which we took on shore and ate at a picnic table. The weather was a bit cool and windy but quite tolerable. We then choose to tour the fort on our own. Guided tours were available at no additional charge but we decided to use our printed material to explore the fort. At one end of the island is a rookery where birds -mainly Terns- were mating. A birder could spend (and some did) the whole time on the island watching these birds. They were spectacular.
...The fort is amazing. I have been in other forts but this one is huge and made of bricks. You can imagine the difficulty of getting a large number of bricks to this isolated island. It has been well maintained and was fun to walk through. If you go, make sure you wear good walking shoes as you have to do a bit of climbing and a lot of walking. Over the years, at the peaks of many arches, minerals have leeched from the mortar forming small stalactites with solidified mineral pools directly below on the floor. During our explorations, the sun came out and the day warmed up and turned reasonably pleasant.
...There is good snorkeling around the island but we never experienced it. We put on our snorkeling equipment (provided as part of the trip) but never saw any fish or coral. Unfortunately, there had been a storm a few days earlier and the water, while warm, was quite cloudy. We did experience the rather unusual coral sand which sticks to every part of your body and equipment. Fortunately, there were fresh water showers to wash off most of this sand. We still found sand on our bodies 2 days later.
...Someone reading this might ask if the trip was worth taking. For families, this could be an expensive trip. For nearly half price, you could go on a snorkeling trip within the keys. The weather was marginal, the snorkeling was non-existent but the fort and the birds were outstanding and the history of this place can not be ignored. In spite of some disappointments, we were glad we took the trip.

3  Thank oldanalyst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2014 via mobile

A must do when visiting Key West! If you love history this is something you have to do. We jumped on there boat that will take about 2 1/2 hrs out to sea. They served us breakfast on the boat which was not bad at all. Upon arrival a tour of the fort was offered. When Snorkeling you will see many cool fish. My favorite moment was the beach on the right side of the fort. Never seen water so clear. Lunch was provided. Alcoholic beverages were able to be purchased on our return trip. Although not included free with the trip like Fury Tours, the prices were decent. Staff was very vary nice. Will do again in the future.

Thank Dejesus2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 8, 2014

A once in a lifetime visit that seems too often to be forgotten or passed over.

An island around 70 miles off the coast with excellent snorkling, intersting history, bird spotting and sun bathing.

You can't appreciate it by reading a trip advisor review. Look at some pictures of it, ariel pictures and you'll see what I mean about how incredible the place is.
I'd put a picture up myself but my memory card corrupted whilst on vacation and all the images of Dry Tortugas are lost forever. I'm in the UK so it really was "once in a lifetime" for me.

The one question I had before I went was "toilets". There are some composting toilets on the island (like an airplane toilet) that are usable until the ferry docks, then the ferry toilets are used, they are back in use when the ferry departs. There is no food or water on the island - anything you want, you need to bring or have on the ferry.

Ask the park rangers questions; they're very knowledgable.

Thank atc_brian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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