The Dry Tortugas, home to Fort Jefferson National Park and Loggerhead Key Lighthouse
By far the most diversified grouping of the outer islands, is the Dry Tortugas. Unfortunately, it is also the most challenging to visit. The Dry Tortugas offers much to the beholder. Fort Jefferson is the most visited island of the Dry Tortugas and offer a historical look into the Civil War era and is a marvel of a brick structure - so big, it can easily be seen from space. This island, named Garden Key is the only place that the contracted ferry and seaplane are allowed to transport guest to and fro. All other islands and interesting areas are only accessible with either a private charter like ours or through your yachting friends and family. Everyone must check in with the NPS at Garden Key when they arrive and private vessels are required to park park fees for themselves and any guests aboard. Private charters (any vessel transporting paying guests) must hold a special permit to enter the National Park and we suggest verifying the legitimacy of any charters offering such a trip. Every private vessel with non-paying guests are allowed but must check in at Garden Key with the park rangers and pay the entrance fee. There are really only 3 ways to travel there, by private yacht, contracted ferry and seaplane.
Yankee Freedom Ferry is the high speed ferry under contract with the NPS. It offers an all day experience from check-in at the docks in Key West at 6:30 am with a return back to Key West after 5:00pm. Cost per adult is $185 and includes your park entrance fee.
Key West Seaplane is the contractually allowed flight and offers two options. A 4-hour excursion, 40 minute flight each way, 2.5 hours at Ft. Jefferson with an adult cost of $339.00 or a 8-hour excursion, 40 minute flight time, 6.5 hours at Ft. Jefferson with a cost of $588 per adult. Both rates include your park entrance fee.