Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park by Mia2you via Shutterstock.

Dry Tortugas National Park, off the coast of Florida, consists of seven small islands and the magnificent Fort Jefferson. Surrounded by clear waters, it’s an excellent site for snorkeling, diving, and exploring marine life.

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Fast Facts

State(s): Florida
Area: 64,701 acres (261.84 sq km) – 47th largest national park of 63
Highest Elevation: Loggerhead Key – 10 ft (3.05 m)
Lowest Elevation: Sea level
Date Established: January 4, 1935
Annual Visitors: 78,488 visitors in 2022
Nearest Town: Key West, Florida

Recommended Day Hikes

Park Tracker considers a “day hike” to be a hike under 10 miles. Below we provide our top five recommendations inside the park, along with AllTrails links to the hikes.

  1. Fort Jefferson Tour (0.5 mi, Easy) – Explore the historic fort and its surroundings.
  2. Garden Key Loop (1 mi, Easy) – A scenic walk around Garden Key, offering beach views and snorkeling spots.
  3. Bush Key Trail (Seasonal, 2 mi, Easy) – Available when Bush Key is open, offering bird watching.
  4. Loggerhead Lighthouse View (By boat, Easy) – View the lighthouse from the water, a key feature of the park.
  5. Snorkeling Trails (Variable, Easy) – Underwater trails around the coral reefs and shipwrecks.

🧗🏻‍♂️ Popular Activities in Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas is about more than just hiking. See below for some of the best non-hiking activities to do in Dry Tortugas National Park.

  1. Snorkeling in vibrant coral reefs
  2. Exploring Fort Jefferson
  3. Birdwatching, especially during migrations
  4. Scuba diving to explore shipwrecks
  5. Attending ranger-led tours and programs

🛎️ Where to Stay Near Dry Tortugas National Park

While there are ample camping and vacation rental options near most US national parks, I personally highly prefer staying at Hilton-branded properties when traveling to national parks. As such, below are the five closest Hilton properties to Dry Tortugas National Park.

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🍔 What to Eat Near Dry Tortugas National Park

After hiking and exploring Dry Tortugas National Park, odds are high you’re going to be hungry. Here are five of the best restaurant options within and near the park.

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