Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park

Avg Speed
5 kts
10 kts
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30 kts
Time Estimate
12 hr 36 min
6 hr 18 min
3 hr 9 min
2 hr 6 min

Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park by boat

Traveling from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park requires crossing open waters and can be a longer journey. Here's a route description by boat from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park:

Depart from Key West: Start your journey from Key West, situated at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys. Key West offers multiple marinas and boat ramps for launching your boat.

Head west into the Gulf of Mexico: Leave Key West and head westward into the Gulf of Mexico. This leg of the journey will involve crossing open waters, so it's crucial to check weather conditions and ensure your boat is properly equipped for offshore travel.

Navigate using nautical charts and GPS: Utilize nautical charts, GPS navigation, and other navigational aids to guide your way to Dry Tortugas National Park. This remote area has limited navigation aids, so relying on accurate navigation tools is essential.

Watch for hazards and changing conditions: Remain vigilant for potential hazards, such as shallow areas, coral reefs, or obstructions, as you approach Dry Tortugas National Park. The area is known for its coral reefs and diverse marine life, so exercise caution when navigating through these waters.

Arrive at Dry Tortugas National Park: Once you reach Dry Tortugas National Park, you'll be greeted by a stunning collection of islands and pristine waters. The park is home to Fort Jefferson, a historic 19th-century fort, as well as excellent snorkeling and diving spots. Anchor or moor your boat in designated areas and follow any regulations or restrictions within the park.

Please note that Dry Tortugas National Park is a protected area, and there may be specific regulations in place to preserve the ecosystem. Be sure to respect any guidelines, obtain necessary permits, and practice responsible boating and environmental stewardship.

When returning from Dry Tortugas National Park to Key West, follow the reverse route, being mindful of changing conditions and navigational hazards.

Dry Tortugas National Park Weather Information

Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park route information

Key West Harbor: Departing from Key West, take a moment to enjoy the sights of Key West Harbor. The harbor is bustling with boats, yachts, and charming waterfront establishments. Take in the vibrant atmosphere before setting sail.

Boca Chica Channel: As you sail westward, you'll pass through the Boca Chica Channel, which separates Key West from the mainland. Enjoy the scenic views and the calm waters of the channel.

Marquesas Keys: The Marquesas Keys are a group of uninhabited islands located about 20 miles west of Key West. These remote and protected islands offer pristine sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. Consider anchoring near the Marquesas Keys and exploring the underwater world through snorkeling or diving.

Loggerhead Key: Loggerhead Key is the largest island in Dry Tortugas National Park. It is home to the historic Loggerhead Key Lighthouse, which dates back to the 1800s. Although the lighthouse itself is not open to the public, you can admire it from the water as you approach the island.

Fort Jefferson: The main attraction of Dry Tortugas National Park is Fort Jefferson, a massive coastal fortress located on Garden Key. The fort is a historic landmark and offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. You can anchor near Garden Key and take a guided tour of the fort, explore the snorkeling opportunities around the island, or simply relax on the pristine beaches.

Snorkeling and Diving: Dry Tortugas National Park is renowned for its exceptional snorkeling and diving opportunities. The clear waters surrounding the islands are home to vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and even shipwrecks. Take the time to explore the underwater world and witness the beauty of this protected marine ecosystem.

Birdwatching: Dry Tortugas National Park is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. The park serves as a crucial stopover point for migratory birds and is home to various seabirds, including sooty terns, brown noddies, and frigatebirds. Keep your binoculars handy to spot these feathered inhabitants during your visit.

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