Construction of Fort Jefferson was begun in 1846 but never completed. President Franklin Roosevelt declared it and the waters surrounding it a National Monument in 1935.
Flora and fauna
The Dry Tortugas exist in a subtropical climate. Temperatures range from the mid-50s to mid-80s. April and May are often idyllic. There are essentially two seasons: The winter season (December-March), which can be windy with rough seas, and the tropical storm season (June-November) during which Dry Tortugas experiences both hot, humid weather and calm seas or severe weather events. Due to the ever-changing weather patterns, an accurate weather forecast is recommended before your visit.
The park is open year round during daylight hours, and is only accessible by boat or seaplane.
A seven day pass is $5 for adults.
There are several passes that allow free entry for groups traveling together in a private vehicle or individuals on foot or on bike. These passes are valid at all national parks including Dry Tortugas National Park:
- The $80 interagency pass (valid for twelve months from date of issue) provides free entry at national parks and national wildlife refuges. This pass also covers standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. Military personnel can obtain a free annual pass in person at a federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID.
- U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over can obtain a senior pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site for $10, or through the mail for $20; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and age. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities.
- U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities can obtain an access pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site at no charge, or through the mail for $10; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and permanent disability. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities.
In 2016 the National Park Service will offer several days on which entry is free for all national parks: January 18 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), April 16-24 (National Park Week), August 25-28 (National Park Service's 100th birthday weekend), September 24 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day).
This is a cluster of 7 small islands. As such the only way to reach them (and travel between them) is by boat or seaplane.
The largest of the islands, Garden Key, hosts Fort Jefferson. Walking tours are provided and snorkeling is a must. All traffic is on foot.
- Fort Jefferson.
- Guided fishing trips.
- Guided wildlife viewing trips.
- Sailing charters.
and you can go diving there
- Gift Shop. A small National Park Service Gift Shop is available inside Fort Jefferson on Garden Key. It offers a very limited selection of items.
Limited camping is available. It is $3/person per night.