This national park is somewhat different and unique in comparison to the rest in the United States. It is very remote, pretty small in size and very beautiful. It is a very popular snorkeling and camping destination. We did the one day trip and absolutely loved it!
The Dry Tortugas are a small group of islands, located in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the Florida Keys, United States, about 67 miles (108 km) west of Key West, and 37 miles (60 km) west of the Marquesas Keys, the closest islands. Still further west is the Tortugas Bank, which is submerged.
The first Europeans to discover the islands were the Spanish in 1513, led by explorer Juan Ponce de León. They are an unincorporated area of Monroe County, Florida, and belong to the Lower Keys Census County Division. With their surrounding waters, they constitute the Dry Tortugas National Park.
The ferry trip takes some time and if you are going for one day you end up really spending more time on the boat than on the island. Food on it is nothing special so pack from home if you are a picky eater. This should not discourage you, however… the island is beautiful and worth visiting. It has awesome views from the fort and a very relaxed feeling on the beach. You could also fly there which cuts about two hours from the three on the boat and gives you more time to enjoy the island. It is however significantly more expensive.
The Island / Fort
Once you arrive there are a bunch of tables and places to rest right in front of the park entrance. There is a small beach where the majority of the people are enjoying the crystal clear water and exploring the underwater world. There also is a camping ground for those brave souls who want to spend more than one day on the island.
Fort Jefferson itself is quite interesting and puzzling from a construction standpoint. The history is very interesting and the fact that is has survived in the middle of the ocean for so long is fascinating. You should take some time to explore and walk through the corridors. Make sure you get to the top and enjoy the views from there. When we were inside 1/3 was closed due to construction work so we did not explore the entire fort but we did get the idea.
Overall if you have a day to spare and you are staying in Key West the Dry Tortugas is an absolute must-see. You would not regret it.