Florida Keys - Dry Tortugas

Has anyone been to the Dry Tortugas off of the Florida Keys? I’ve got a reservation for 3 days camping there next week. It looks mind bogglingly fantastic and I’m stoked to the gills! I’m lugging my 12’ Old Town kayak all the way down there from Indiana.

Any info/input would be great!

Been there done that
And would absolutly do it again. We talked the cat captain into allowing us to bring our 18 foot kayaks. We spend 4 days 3 nights and had a great time. Visited a couple of other keys, snorkled, relaxed and read. Since we were not allowed to bring anything but charcoal we made a great hobo stove and had some great meals. Nevada Barr has a good Anna Pigeon novel about the place that is fun to read while camping there. If you have any other questions let me know.

was there a couple of years ago
Beautiful place, the ferry folks are real helpful. Be sure to bring plenty of water, there’s none availale out there. Tourists can be a nuisance but they’re only on island for a couple of hours. BEWARE the float planes. When I was there a croc was hanging out at Bush Key… enjoy

Dry Tortugas
Take snorkeling stuff, binoculars, bird book?, fish book?

Say hi to the frigate birds for me. Tell them I’ll be back.


I 2nd the snorkeling gear. I researched that place for snorkeling once and I do believe it’s a good place for that.


Cayo Costa
When I lived in Sarasota FL we used to vacation on a desert island off the Ft Myers coast. There is a strong of barrier islands there, and one of them is a State Park with primitive camping called Cayo Costa, only accessible by boat.

My wife and I had talked about returning there with canoes or kayaks. It would be nice to circumnavigate the island and gain access to places only accessible to canoe/kayak.

There are several other keys near Jefferson Key, the one the fort and ranger station are on. If you are a competnet open water paddler, they are a neat day trip. Tidal currents are moderately strong and the wind can pick up quickly, so know your limits and wathc the weathr. The closest one is off limits much of the year due to bird roosting.

The snorkeling is incrdible. You WILL see barracudas but I have never heard of anyone being threatend by them. Bring wet suit booties o wading shoes for wading.

Cayo Costa is nice too and one of my favorite paddling trips, but it is as differnt from the Dry Tortugas as you can get in FL. The Tortugas have crystal clear water, reef fish, offshore tropical birds, an enormous fort with an interesting history and is in the middle of a very large marine sanctuary.