Dry Tortugas

Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas

Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas

For locals in Key West, August and September are the quiet months, when fewer tourists are around, and even some year-rounders pack up and leave the island.  It’s deep hurricane season, and some restaurants close up for a month.  This is when local businesses are offering deep discounts on everything from Key West bracelets to Key West tour tickets.  One of the best deals is the day trip to Dry Tortugas on Yankee Freedom.  In summertime, it’s half price for locals.  An amazing deal!  I know someone who goes several times a year, during summer, and camps.

Dry Tortugas is actually seven remote islands, 68 nautical miles west of Key West.  The National Park covers about 100 square miles and protects not only the island habitats but also the marine world that surrounds them.  The largest island, Garden Key, hold historic Fort Jefferson, which you can tour and explore during your four and a half hours on the island before your ferry takes you back to Key West.

The ferry ticket buys you breakfast, lunch, water all day long, snorkel gear, a 40-minute guided tour of Fort Jefferson, and an excellent naturalist who rides along, giving talks on the way out, setting up a telescope on the beach to view birds on the other Dry Tortugas islands, and answering any questions that come her way.