Group
Tent Sites
Fires Unknown
Pets Unknown
Water Unknown
About Dry Tortugas National Park

The best way to truly experience the islands of the Dry Tortugas is by actually spending a night out in that island wilderness. Like most national parks, visitors to the Dry Tortugas have the option of spending a few nights out on their own. The islands feel like they are truly in the "middle of nowhere," as you are about 70 miles from civilization.

Dry Tortugas Camping is highly limited. There is not enough space out on the islands to hold an unlimited amount of campers. Because of this, the ferry that travels to the Dry Tortugas only transports ten campers per day. It is a good idea to plan well in advance due to the low number of available spaces. Furthermore, each camper can only transport a total of 60-70 pounds. This does not include the containers of water campers will need to bring.

Operator
National Park Service
Access
Hike In
Boat In
Features
Picnic Table
Reservable
Trash Available
Location
Dry Tortugas National Park is located in Florida
Latitude
24.6285 N
Longitude
-82.8732 W
Get Directions
Directions
The actual Tortugas islands are only accessible by boat or plane. The most common way to get out here is via the Yankee Freedom or sea plane. The flights aboard the seaplanes are slightly more expensive and have very limited availability. The ferry departs daily at 8AM from Key West and returns at 5PM.
9 Reviews of Dry Tortugas National Park
Island Camping - do not miss this!

**somehow my review ended up on here twice

We camped for 2 nights this June at Dry Tortugas National Park. It’s a little out of the way, yes. But don’t miss it. You visit the island by boat or seaplane. You have to bring everything with you including drinking water. No gas, so only charcoal cooking. If you take the seaplane or the Yankee Freedom, you can use their snorkel equipment. A couple things to consider when planning your trip. Summer time is the off season. Summer is hot. Don’t plan on sleeping. But that is ok, because this is a once in a lifetime camping trip. Also, you won’t eat as much as you think you will. Again, it’s so hot. But bring plenty of water. There is a “group” campground which is out in the open, and then there are individual sites in the trees. In the group campground, there is a breeze. In the trees there is amazing shade. So you have to decide. We went group and made our own shade. Again, it was June so we needed the breeze. We were there during a full moon, so we missed the big star show, but the moon was incredible, beyond description!! And to see the fort and the moon and the reflection of both off the water, wow!! The sun sets and sun rises are unforgettable. And since it’s so hot you’re not sleeping, the sun rise is easy to catch! As for things to do there is Ft Jefferson and it’s amazing history. So you can explore the fort or spend time snorkeling around the sea wall. The coral and the color under the water is so vibrant! If you have a kayak, bring it. If you can get out to the lighthouse on Loggerhead Key, there is even more snorkeling. A kayak will do the trick. We only had an inflatable one and the park ranger warned us against it because of the currents. So make sure it’s a legit kayak. You can rent them in Key West and transport it on the Yankee Freedom. It’s also probably the only place you’ll camp where the park rangers tell you to alert them in case a boat load of Cubans show up!

Island camping - do not miss this place!

We camped for 2 nights this June at Dry Tortugas National Park. It’s a little out of the way, yes. But don’t miss it. You visit the island by boat or seaplane. You have to bring everything with you including drinking water. No gas, so only charcoal cooking. If you take the seaplane or the Yankee Freedom, you can use their snorkel equipment. A couple things to consider when planning your trip. Summer time is the off season. Summer is hot. Don’t plan on sleeping. But that is ok, because this is a once in a lifetime camping trip. Also, you won’t eat as much as you think you will. Again, it’s so hot. But bring plenty of water. There is a “group” campground which is out in the open, and then there are individual sites in the trees. In the group campground, there is a breeze. In the trees there is amazing shade. So you have to decide. We went group and made our own shade. Again, it was June so we needed the breeze. We were there during a full moon, so we missed the big star show, but the moon was incredible, beyond description!! And to see the fort and the moon and the reflection of both off the water, wow!! The sun sets and sun rises are unforgettable. And since it’s so hot you’re not sleeping, the sun rise is easy to catch! As for things to do there is Ft Jefferson and it’s amazing history. So you can explore the fort or spend time snorkeling around the sea wall. The coral and the color under the water is so vibrant! If you have a kayak, bring it. If you can get out to the lighthouse on Garden Key, there is even more snorkeling. A kayak will do the trick. We only had an inflatable one and the park ranger warned us against it because of the currents. So make sure it’s a legit kayak. You can rent them in Key West and transport it on the Yankee Freedom. It’s also probably the only place you’ll camp where the park rangers tell you to alert them in case a boat load of Cubans show up!

REMOTE LOCATION!

This is a once-in-a-lifetime spot for sure. We rode a catamaran over there and were able to bring our supplies. It is a fantastic spot for snorkeling & scuba diving. The boat was able to drop you off and pick you up the next day. Make sure you’re able to bring whatever you may need because you are on your own once you’re there

like none other

A wonderfully unique experience. Accessible by boat or seaplane only - 8 sites nestled in a little grove outside the Fort. When you reserve your ferry ride you also reserve a space in the campground although not a specific site. The ferry company also has perks for campers that are "included" in the ferry ride: a box lunch, water, can restock on ice for a small cooler if you bring one when the ferry comes in the next day, snorkeling equipment. There are carts at the dock to transport gear to the camping area only about 1/4 mile away. No fires allowed - we used a sterno stove to heat water for coffee in the morning.

Our site was very private - most are. Bathrooms nearby are pit toilets for campers only when the ferry is not in dock. There is NO water on the island - can refill when the ferry is in dock. The snorkeling is really wonderful and very special once the ferries and seaplanes leave for the day and you have the island pretty much to yourself - magical. During the day you can take Ranger led tours of the Fort and just hang out, bird watch relax, etc. There are a LOT of hermit crabs and one can hear scurrying of rats at night - although they are not an issue especially as there are food poles provided at each site.

It's an experience I'm SO glad we did - 2 nights was enough for us - it's a small island but 2 nights gave us a good exposure. We're in our 60's and active if that is any framework for anybody.

The only real way to experience Dry Tortugas National Park

In our year of visiting all 59 national parks, we probably never encountered any campsite quite as unique as at Dry Tortugas National Park.

Camping at Garden Key Campground, located on the tiny island off of the Florida Keys, requires a little more preparation than other sites. Transportation on the Yankee Freedom ferry from Key West is limited to 10 campers per day, so book your stay well in advance. Then, you will have to bring all the supplies, including water, that you will need for your stay. It’s a very primitive camping setup, but the backdrop of the perfectly-blue water set against the red brick Fort Jefferson is just magical.

Our planning process for camping at Garden Key went smoothly, and we stayed here two nights of our year-long road trip. We set up our tent in the sandy campsite, partially shaded by the heavily-protected trees (no hammocks allowed!), and hit the beach, which was only about 20 steps away. There were many hermit crabs around the site, but no other pesky critters.

During our three days at Dry Tortugas, we took a ranger tour of the Fort, walked all around the small island several times, took our kayak out to explore a little further, snorkeled around the sunken docks, laid on the small beach, and watched two gorgeous sunsets.

Experiencing Dry Tortugas as a camper rather than a day-boater offers a much less hectic, peaceful stay. Once the day ferry leaves in the afternoon, the island is yours.

You can read much more about our three days in the park on our blog: Switchback Kids (Dry Tortugas)

Remote Paradise

Spent 3 nights/4 days here and loved it! Even our 2 1/2 yr old son loved it as well. It's a pack-in/pack-out situation so pack wisely. Also, make sure you take plenty of water.

Beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Look for the hundreds of hermit crabs that come out at dusk. Keep an eye out for Carlos the Crocodile that got blown out to Fort Jefferson during a hurricane.

Would definitely go back to this AMAZING national park.

Tropical paradise

Snorkeling heaven with a fort for the history buffs. The water is an amazing blue, feels like the Caribbean. So much wildlife in and out of the water. Lots of tour options, kayak rentals, etc. You need to take an NPS boat to get here. Campsites are sandy (and therefore more comfy than lots of other places I've camped!). Most sites have shade and are quite private, some have palm trees, some a view of the ocean…every site is a little different and all are beautiful. Bring a travel hammock to relax. My gear got pretty sandy (not surprising), I don't remember the bugs being too bad. Make sure to watch the sun set!! Plan to spend at least two nights if you can.

Must visit! Can be expensive to get to.

Amazing park teaming with underwater wildlife. Make sure you plan your trip well because this park can be expensive to get to. It's a must see park and very secluded. Bring your snorkeling/diving gear and an underwater camera. Amazing sunsets. Can't say enough good things about this park. Make sure you don't go during hurricane season! Small camping area, maybe 10 sites and all walkup, but because the park is so remote you are guaranteed a place to camp if you show up.

First to Review
Best campimg at the most remote park within the continental united states.

Amazing… going out with the Yankee freedom boat for the max stay of three days is a must. The boat arrives on the island around 1030 and brings day trippers or as we like to call them while camping "muggles". They leave at 245 pm and that island becomes,your playground the remainder of the day. Rent a tandem kayak through Marty (info provided by the yankee) and you can take the three mile trip across open waters to see logger head key. This is only accessible via private boat or kayak and really makes the whole trip amazing of added. Its a day trip out as there is much swimming and snorkeling in little Africa which is on the western side of logger head. The fort located on the main island has much to explore. Filled with history and great pictures during the rising and setting of the sun. There is snorkling all around the main island but the best by far is in logger head. All provisions must be brought and although there is a weight limit it's more about just having your items contained. Aka large husky bin with wheels it will be your best friend. All coolers and water jugs are not included in your gear weight. The national park website offers all the rules and really needs to be looked over and followed by anyone going as it is exstensive. Bring a shower bag as it will be luxurious at the end of a hot salty day. All campsites have a picnic table and charcoal grill. Propane is not allowed in the boat but a jet boil can pass unseen if hot coffee is a must. A bucket list trip that you will remember forever. Btw dogs can come to but they can't be in the fort, unless it's a service dog. I love this place and recommend any serious camper that loves isolated beauty mixed with a little bit of old civil war charm. Respect the rangers and they will tell you the best spots to go.