What To Do On Your Day Trip To Dry Tortugas From Key West

Visiting Key West opens you up to amazing adventures when touring Florida. You can plan day trips to Dry Tortugas if you want more adventure.

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Can you take a day trip to Dry Tortugas from Key West?

There’s a lot to explore at the Dry Tortugas National Park. Visitors get a chance to enjoy swimming and other water activities. There are beaches in the area and a chance to view wildlife. Also, you can spend the day exploring Fort Jefferson and riding the Yankee Freedom Ferry.

We’ve consulted with professional guides and park experts in the area. The information we got helped us compile the best activities for day trips to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Which Are the Best Day Trips to Dry Tortugas National Park?

Go Swimming at Garden Key

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Key West is a fascinating island city where you can spend a wonderful vacation. Once there, you can take multiple day trips alone, with family or friends.

One of the best places to visit on a day trip is the Dry Tortugas National Park. This is the place to be if you want to have an awesome time in the water. A good example is to head to Garden Key, which permits swimming.

So, bring your swimming costumes, and spend a day relaxing in the lovely waters. At Garden Key, it’s important to be alert always and keep an eye on the children. 

There are moments when the current can get too strong, so it’s advisable to swim as part of a group.

Garden Key is easy to access from multiple areas, including the north, south, and east. The beaches are gentle and make great places for beginners to have fun.

Enjoy Wildlife Viewing at the National Park

After swimming at Garden Key, plan another day trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park. This time, you and your loved ones will enjoy wildlife viewing. This is a national park that’s home to numerous species that you can spot.

Visitors learn about the area’s marine life at the Dry Tortugas National Park. Since most of this park features water, there’s so much to explore.

This park is home to numerous marine species from the past and present. Adventure seekers, researchers, and tourists enjoy exploring the park each day. There are amazing coral, nurse sharks, different bird species, sea turtles, and reef fishes.

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Tour Fort Jefferson

Are you seeking something different to do or see on your day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park? Plan a day trip to explore the majestic Fort Jefferson.

Long ago, there was a need for a fort to protect an important deep-water anchorage in this part of the US. This led to the construction of Fort Jefferson, which still stands proud today. Fort Jefferson has been an important part of US history.

There was heavy ship traffic in the area, and they needed a safe sport to resupply and find protection from storms. At Fort Jefferson, there was ample protection and a chance to see ships move through the area safely.

The entire family will love walking through the imposing structure. It’s perfect for a day trip to the Dry Tortugas. It gives you a chance to get one with the area’s history.

Visit Loggerhead Key (Largest Island)

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One of the greatest of the Florida Keys is the Loggerhead Key. This place is worth a day trip as a solo traveler or with amazing company.

Loggerhead Key is the largest island in Dry Tortugas National Park. The island remains uninhabited and covers about 49 acres. Visitors will love exploring this majestically tropical paradise in the Gulf of Mexico.

If you want to spend a day swimming and exploring underwater life, head to Loggerhead Key. This island has amazing beaches and lots of coral. You can spend the day snorkeling as you explore the Little Africa coral located here.

There’s also loads of flora and fauna to see. This is home to mangroves, cacti, sea lavender, and coconut palms. The fauna you will encounter include sea turtles and loads of fish. Loggerhead Key is an important nesting area for sea turtles.

Ride the Yankee Freedom Ferry

At Dry Tortugas National Park, the water is always beckoning. If you want to stay dry on your day trip, you can ride the Yankee Freedom Ferry.

The Yankee Freedom Ferry offers visitors day trips from Key West, where it docks after each trip. This is a state-of-the-art luxury catamaran with a large, fully air-conditioned main cabin.

Visitors are guaranteed a comfortable ride exploring this amazing part of Florida. It’s important to make early reservations because the ferry is popular with locals and tourists. There are guides on board who narrate the entire trip and have a chance to spend time at Garden Key or Loggerhead Key.

Explore the Windjammer Ship Wreck

In 1971, an archeological survey crew discovered the now-famous Windjammer shipwreck. This is located on the Loggerhead Key reef and is a sight of where the Norwegian Avanti sunk.

It took the crew up to 1990 to know the exact name of the ship. It sank in 1907, having come from Pensacola and heading to Montevideo in Uruguay.

Get your diving gear, and spend a day exploring this amazing sight where the ship went down. Though it’s been decades, there’s still much to explore. Marine life has taken over the shipwreck, and it’s a sight to behold.

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Tour the Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse

On another day trip, you can explore the Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse at Garden Key. This lighthouse was constructed in 1824 by the US Congress. It stood at 65 feet tall, and issues with the lighthouse design were soon discovered.

Vessels that approached the area experienced a visibility gap due to the lighthouse design. The main issue was the iron door leading to the lantern. Instead of tearing it down, there was a petition to Congress to build 2 new lighthouses on each end of Garden Key.

These lighthouses are still present at Garden Key, and there are others at Loggerhead Key. Spend a day with the kids touring the different sites.

Key Takeaways

  • Swimming is permitted at Dry Tortugas National Park.
  • The area consists of lots of flora and marine life.
  • Tourists can explore Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas.
  • A ferry from Key West is perfect for touring Dry Tortugas.