The Dry Tortugas... A trip we had planned back in December 2019 for March 2020. It was scrubbed due to COVID. Luckily it didn’t disappoint.
There are a couple ways you can reach Fort Jefferson. We took the Yankee Freedom ferry. It was probably the ‘cheapest’ way to get there considering we don’t own a boat and can’t afford a seaplane(added to a bucket list adventure FYI). We did, however, find out the hard way that our son gets sea sick. Just like his momma. He was an absolute trooper though and bounced right back to enjoy the day. Yankee Freedom does offer Dramamine to buy before you board and while on the island.
Being from Florida, I already knew what time of year was considered to be the best to visit Key West, but that plan went out the window once our first option was canceled(March). December wasn’t bad at all though. It was still a bit stormy, which we experienced the day we visited the Dry Tortugas, but over all the temperature was perfect. Plus Key West itself was absolutely beautiful all Christmas’d out which our son really enjoyed.
Though you are only there a few hours, we had a jammed packed day. Of course we played at the beach so our son could enjoy the water. I walked the wall for pictures, but the snorkeling was by far my favorite. I brought my own equipment even though the ferry provides it. While most people snorkeled the open ocean, I swam along the wall. The tide was rough of course with a storm rolling in which meant visibility was clouded, but the sea life was still out and about. Coral and tropical fish were swaying and swimming about. I captured some of it using a GoPro Hero 7 Black, but I was most excited about trying out my Snorkel Filter by PolarPro. It preformed beautifully, but I guess the hypersmooth feature on the GoPro did not register underwater...so videos are a bit crazy, but perfectly color corrected. Haha. Even more respect to underwater photographers/videographers. By the time I lined up a shot, I was having to swim backwards to avoid touching or hitting something.
Towards the end of our stay we explored Fort Jefferson. We walked through the halls that once housed prisoners and soldiers. I did manage to pack my Sony Alpha. I kid you not, I guarded it like a maniac. The uneven brick walkways had my anxiety sky high since I can be a klutz at times. I made sure to capture the iconic photos that are most commonly found on social media while also grabbing a couple more my style photos. You just never know.
Our son will tell you the beach was his favorite part, but the fort held his attention better than we expected. It is technically 2 stories, but you can climb spiral staircases all the way to the roof. Now as a klutzy parent of a klutzy kid, the roof was worrisome. Justice made Odin hold his hand the entire time. The views were totally worth the risk.
You are able to camp on Dry Tortugas. It’s by reservation only and very limited. They suggest booking 8 to 12 months in advance. We are actually thinking about attempting it since it seems like a pretty cool experience. Apparently they have scorpions that glow under black light... You know just something different to see and do. Haha. Also be prepared to have NO SIGNAL. We brought our Garmin InReach to be on the safe side.
So what did we pack?
We brought the suggested items by the ferry like a warm change of clothes, sunscreen, hats, towels, sunglasses, snacks, and water. We also included the following:
Yeti cups filled with ice
Pack of waters
Ultima electrolyte packets
Toys for kids to play with
UV protection clothing
*All links are just for convenience, not cool enough for affiliate links yet. Haha
Overall, we highly recommend Dry Tortugas. It was absolutely amazing to disconnect, relax, and explore. We haven’t visited a ton of National Parks, but this one is now one of our favorites. The added adventure to get there makes it just that much more alluring. If you have any questions feel free to ask below or check us out on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube.
I have also included a quick montage video of our day below.