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April 3, 2024

Visiting the Dry Tortugas

Finz Dive Center

The Dry Tortugas National Park is a bucket list destination for many, attracting over 50,000 visitors a year. One of the most remote national parks in the United States, this unique place offers something for everyone. 

How to Get There

At Finz, we offer private and public charters to the Dry Tortugas National Park. Our excursions allow for a custom experience to allow you to fully enjoy everything that this unique place has to offer. Most people arrive on the ferry, and some arrive via seaplane, both of which allow you to enjoy the small island of Garden Key but without the ability to explore the rest of the park. Only 1 percent of the park is accessible via the Ferry or Seaplane at Garden Key. The other 99 percent of the park is underwater and only accessible via boat. 

When to Visit

The Dry Tortugas National Park is open year round. The Summer (June through August) is calm and warm and offers the most days per month of low winds and excellent conditions. Crystal clear water and calm seas make the Summer the most popular time for our trips. 

The Fall (September through November) still offers warm waters and calm winds although hurricane season is a possibility. Since the Dry Tortugas are located in the Caribbean, hurricanes do cross its path. This is a great time of the year to visit if you have a flexible schedule. The weather is typically calm and warm and hurricanes can be forecasted out far in advance. Hurricanes move throught the area and we can get right back out to the National Park. 

Winter (December through February) brings the cleanest waters to the park. The combination of cooling water temperature and changing currents brings crystal clean water from the Gulf of Mexico into the shallows that surround the park. The bird watching season really takes off and thousands of birds will be nesting on the beaches. 

Spring (March through May) is typically the windiest month to visit. A steady breeze and warming waters brings the most animal life into the waters. The Tortugas are protected by an enormous barrier reef that provides shelter and protection for the islands. This allows year round visitation and enjoyment of the park. 

What to do at the park

The most interesting thing about the Dry Tortugas National Park is that everyone can have a different experience. If you enjoy the history then our personalized guided tour is amazing. Finz holds the specialised permit to be able to give a guided tour of Fort Jefferson. Our one hour or longer tour includes the inside of Fort Jefferson, how it was built, and important features of the buildings. 

If you are more about the flora and fauna then the snorkeling or Scuba Diving might be the best part. Finz visits up to three sites at various wrecks or reefs around the park. Since 99 percent of the park is underwater, we give you the opportunity to see what most people can not. 

The only way to visit Loggerhead Key is to drive there by boat. Situated 3 miles from Garden Key the lighthouse is located at the farthest island to the West until you reach Mexico. This beacon lit the way for thousands of mariners and showed safe passage for over 100 years. 

Snorkeling inside the park can be done almost anywhere there is water. The beaches of Garden Key allow visitors to see coral and fish close to shore. Because Finz has our own boat and knowledgable captains we visit and explore the hundreds of reefs and wrecks that are inside the 100 square miles of the National Park. The Windjammer wreck is one of the most beautiful and photogenic wrecks in the world and is only accessible to a small number of people a year. 

Where to stay

Since the Dry Tortugas are so remote there are not accommodations on the island. Primitive camp sites are located on the island and are on a first come first serve basis. Finz offers a day trip to the Fort from Key West, FL. This allows you to have an amazing day in the park and a comfortable hotel in Key West. 

The Dry Tortugas are an amazing place that should be on everyones bucket list to visit. When planning your next vacation give us a call to set up an amazing experience like no other.

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