Almost 70 miles west of Key West lies a cluster of seven islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, called the Dry Tortugas. Along with the surrounding shoals and waters, they make up Dry Tortugas National Park. The area is known for its famous bird and marine life, and its legends of pirates and sunken gold. Fort Jefferson, one of the largest coastal forts ever built, is a central feature. Discovered by Ponce de Leon, the islands provide a unique experience and a variety of remarkable experiences await those who arrive. Whether you find yourself camping, snorkeling, birdwatching, fishing, or just enjoying a view from the top of massive Fort Jefferson, you quickly realize how magical this place can be.
Fort Jefferson, on Garden Key, and Loggerhead are open year-round during daylight hours; closed at dark. Bush Key, Hospital Key, and Long Key are closed-year round and visitors should remain 100 feet offshore of all closed islands. Middle and East Keys are closed April 1 through October 15 for turtle nesting. Pets are not allowed and there is no cell phone tower at the park.
Upon arrival, see the orientation program at the visitor center in Fort Jefferson and take the self-guiding tour of the fort. A boat is necessary to visit areas of the park other than Garden Key/Fort Jefferson.