We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.


Dry Tortugas National Park
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Dry Tortugas National Park Day Trip by Catamaran
Ranked #2 of 168 things to do in Key West
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Falls Church, Virginia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 May 2014

We took a seaplane and although it is more expensive than the ferry, I'd rather pay for the amazing view and the quick trip. Bring food as there is none for sale.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Beth H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

3,755 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
143 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Would rank average due to poor snorkeling, but seaplane was cool”
Reviewed 13 May 2014

My ranking for this is primarily based on the fact that we took the seaplane out, if we took the ferry I think i might have a completely different take and maybe rank this site as average.
The seaplane is an amazing experience, you get there quick(so no dealing with seasickness and its 30/45 min instead of 2 hours), they point out things when you fly(you can look for turtles, sharks, wrecks), when you arrive you are the only people there(except if there are campers). We went to the north beach and had the place to ourselves for almost 2 hours. The boat shows up at 10:30 and we got there around 8:45.
The flight isn't cheap and it's even more expensive if you do the full day, which we thought was really good, i think a half day would have been too short.
As for "stuff" - you can leave your stuff and no one will touch it, everyone is wandering around in their bathing suits and they just dump their gear where ever and go swimming or walking. Everyone is trapped there so there seems to be an unwritten rule that you behave. Plus its not cheap to get there so I'm guessing no one would bother paying for it just to steal someones change of clothes.
Bathrooms - there are pit toilets there that are used until the ferry shows up then once the ferry is there you have to use the ferry - which has normal bathrooms(if a little small)
There is no food on the island, the seaplane gave us coolers and ice to bring our own stuff I think the ferry provides lunch.
Snorkeling was only ok - maybe if it was less windy it would have been better, the north beach had very poor visibility and it is a very small beach. Most people seemed to be on the other beach - its bigger and when we were there the visibility was better.
The best is to go around the pylons but it was a bit rough so you couldn't really snorkel through them and again the visibility was pretty poor. There is a lot of coral on the wall but if its clear you can actually see a lot of the same stuff(coral, needle fish, the yellow and black stripy fish, the parrot fish) from the wall without going into the water. The water is quite shallow so unless you get our past the pilings you won't see anything big. One person saw a tarpon and another saw a nurse shark past the pylons by the boats but you really need to get into the deep water to see anything like that.
The fort looks neat, they seem to be patching it here and there but it is in really good shape considering. We didn't spend much time in the fort, just went in and took some pictures and climbed to the top to see the cannons and the view.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank rockohorse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
133 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“A "Must Do" in Key West”
Reviewed 12 May 2014

If you are looking for history, scenery, snorkeling, or birdwatching; you can find all of these by heading out to Dry Tortugas NP. We took the boat out there and had a very good time. The boat is a great deal which includes breakfast and lunch, snorkeling gear, and comfortable seating.

Visited May 2014
Thank greekmermaid13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tallahassee, FL
Level Contributor
19 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“One of the most amazing trips”
Reviewed 12 May 2014 via mobile

I would go back to the Dry Tortugas every day if I could. I think we got lucky with the weather because the boat ride was smooth, the waters were crystal clear and the snorkeling was great. I was sad to not see a turtle, but maybe next time.

A lot of people have said the snorkeling is not as good as other places, but I found it to be pretty amazing. I snorkeled the Belize barrier reef a couple of years ago and the reefs in the Dry Tortugas were way better.. I would not recommend snorkeling the pylons near the land bridge because the water is rougher and it's very shallow. You have to be a pretty good swimmer to deal with the currents and navigating through the shallow coral is a little tricky. The pylons near the kayak rental are much, much better and I saw more fish. I would recommend snorkeling the deeper water pylons, the perimeter of the fort and further out (I regret sticking close to the fort).

One piece of advice - wear a t-shirt to snorkel. It will save you days of pain.

1 Thank TallyTripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
85 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Great day trip!”
Reviewed 12 May 2014

Our group of six active seniors loved our trip to Dry Tortugas. We took the ferry and the staff was great. Watch the weather though - our return trip was VERY rough.

The snorkeling was best when we swam away from the fort to the NW. We saw a large barracuda, a large anchor with encrusting corals, coral heads, parrot fish, angel fish, and small schools of snappers.

Visited May 2014
Thank MEMDallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Dry Tortugas National Park also viewed

Key West, Florida Keys
Key West, Florida Keys

Been to Dry Tortugas National Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing