One of the world’s most unique eco-attractions, Dry Tortugas National Park lies 70 miles (113 kilometers) to the west of Key West in the US state of Florida. This park offers you the magnificent experience of visiting Fort Jefferson (once used as a prison during the civil war). It is surrounded by open water with seven small islands, accessible only by boat or seaplane. You’ll surely be amazed by its picturesque blue waters, magnificent coral reefs, marine life and the vast assortment of birds.
Read through this guide to make sure you are prepared to travel to Dry Tortugas National Park. This guide contains important information, from planning adventurous activities to staying safe during your visit. Before you leave for Dry Tortugas National Park, purchase
travel medical insurance or
to protect yourself from emergency expenses.
Dry Tortugas National Park’s Most Popular Things to Do
Explore Fort Jefferson
For history buffs, a visit to Fort Jefferson is a must. One of the largest 19th century forts in the US, Fort Jefferson was an important Civil War outpost. It is located on Garden Key, and is accessible by daily ferry for self-guided tours. Visitors are also welcome to camp right on the beach. As you explore this historic fort, you’ll feel the history of the soldiers and prisoners of the 1860s in its impressive brick walls and archways.
Dry Tortugas National Park offers one of the best snorkeling experiences in North America. The shallow waters of five to 15 feet make snorkeling fun for beginners and experts alike. You can get complimentary fins, a mask and snorkel at the beaches. You will enjoy watching an abundance of colorful tropical fish, majestic coral, starfish, queen conchs and much more in this protected marine sanctuary.
Explore Secluded Beaches
Dry Tortugas National Park has several secluded beaches, namely Fort Jefferson Dry Tortugas Beach, Fort Zachary Taylor, South Beach, Dog Beach, Higgs Beach, Rest Beach and Smathers Beach. You can spend your time swimming, sunbathing or just exploring. You will enjoy the turquoise waters, swaying palm trees and soft, powdery sand under your feet. These pristine beaches are some of the most attractive spots in Key West.
The seven tiny islands of Dry Tortugas are a vital stopover for migrating birds traveling between South America and the United States. Ruby-throated hummingbirds, peregrine falcons, yellow-billed cuckoos and white-eyed vireos can be easily spotted. Almost 300 species of birds migrate through here. Though Spring is the optimal time to view birds, this exquisite Florida Keys Birding spot has something exclusive to offer you in all seasons.
Camp Under the Stars
Camping in Dry Tortugas National Park is the experience of a lifetime, where you can relax under the stars on an island just 70 miles from civilization. You can hear warm tropical breezes blowing through palm trees and the rhythmic sound of the ocean waves playing in the background. Reservations sell out nearly a year in advance, so plan ahead and read up on camping rules before making a reservation.
Key Guidelines for Travelers to Dry Tortugas National Park
When to Go
The Key West seas are generally rough and the wind is stronger from October through January. Hence, the best time to visit the Dry Tortugas is from February through April. Naturally, these are also the busiest months in Key West. So, be sure to book your accommodations and activities well in advance.
Watch the Weather
Beware of storms when embarking on an open sea journey. Sudden tropical storms can appear in the Gulf of Mexico on any day of the year. Generally, the weather is calm, but rainy during summer and rough and windy in the winters. If you feel a storm approaching, take refuge in a sturdy structure and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Dry Tortugas is a remote place with few restrooms, public phones and shops. Make sure that you carry enough food, water, clothing, sunscreen and medication.
Beware of Wildlife
Be cautious of wildlife while exploring the park. Do not approach sharks or jellyfish. Avoid snorkeling alone. Some marine creatures seem friendly, but close contact may cause danger.
Get Visitors Insurance
Before you travel to Dry Tortugas National Park, buy a visitors medical insurance plan. It can protect you from massive medical bills in the event of an emergency.
Visitor Medical Insurance for Travelers in Dry Tortugas National Park - FAQs
While traveling, your health and safety should be your first priority. In the US, healthcare is excellent. However, the price of healthcare services is extremely high. Even a minor health concern can result in thousands of dollars in medical bills. Purchase a visitors medical insurance plan so that you do not have to worry about hospital bills.
Why Buy Visitors Insurance Before Traveling to Dry Tortugas National Park?
Traveling to a national park means taking part in adventurous activities. These exciting plans often involve traveling through untamed environments with harsh weather conditions. If you become sick or have an accident while exploring, you may need medical treatment. To make sure that your medical expenses can be paid for, get visitors medical insurance.
What should I look for in my Dry Tortugas National Park visitors medical insurance?
Coverage for injuries due to water-based athletic activities.
Coverage for emergency airlift expenses.
For exchange visitors on a J visa, at least $100,000 per incident coverage, $50,000 in emergency medical evacuation and $25,000 in repatriation of remains coverage, as required by the US Department of State.
Be a prepared traveler. Make sure that you buy visitors medical insurance so that you do not lose a fortune at a private healthcare facility.
Trip Cancellation Insurance for Travelers in Dry Tortugas National Park - FAQs
Nobody wants their vacation to get canceled after months of planning, researching and dreaming. However, emergencies can occur when we least expect them. To make sure you can be protected from losing money due to nonrefundable prepaid expenses, purchase trip cancellation insurance.
Why should I get trip cancellation insurance for my Dry Tortugas National Park travel?
Dry Tortugas National Park experiences tropical storms and strong tidal waves all year round. These natural conditions affect the accessibility of the park. If weather conditions require, it may be necessary to cancel your trip. To ensure cancellation doesn’t take a big bite out of your budget, trip cancellation insurance is essential.
What should I look for in my Dry Tortugas National Park trip cancellation insurance?
Coverage for trip cancellation or trip interruption.
- Travel delay coverage.
Coverage for stolen or misplaced baggage.
- Baggage delay coverage.
To make sure a plan is suitable for you, check the terms and conditions on your plan's certificate wording. And remember, even the best-planned trip can have cancellations and delays. Buy the right travel insurance and plan your escape to the Dry Tortugas with confidence.
Before You Travel to Dry Tortugas National Park - Do This
Are you ready to set off for your tropical adventure? Before you go, consider these tips:
You will be spending a lot of your time on beaches. Always carry sunscreen and dry clothes.
Check the weather forecast from a valid source before you travel.
travel medical insurance or
so that you and your companions can enjoy traveling without the worry of unexpected expenses.