This Ultra-Dark Florida Fort Has Magical Milky Way Views

Camp below the stars.
Dry Tortugas National Park In Florida Keys Lets You Camp Under The Galaxy

Outer space doesn't seem so far away when you're in Florida. The Sunshine State's remote beaches and parks offer dazzling views of the night sky and astronomical events. Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys are some of the best places to go camping — where you can drink in the wonder of countless stars, meteor showers, and even the Milky Way Galaxy.

Dry Tortugas National Park, home to the ruins of Fort Jefferson, is on Garden Key; located about 70 miles west of Key West. The seclusion of this spot is what makes it perfect for seeing the stars.

Garden Key is only accessible by ferry or seaplane leaving from Key West. The Yankee Freedom Ferry and Seaplane Adventures offer rides to the breathtaking remote location.

When the park is open, you can camp out nearby for just $15 and enjoy the bright stars and ocean sounds that make this a popular destination for campers. 

It's possible to see the core of the Milky Way with the naked eye, and the best time to view it is late summer in a dark place like Dry Tortugas. 

Cameras can capture more light than you're able to see using long exposure settings, so keep in mind that photos will be more vivid than your naked-eye view. 

Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the few naturally dark areas in the country according to the National Parks Service, offering a rare camping experience free of artificial light.

The NPS works to reduce light pollution in its parks in order to preserve natural darkness. You can do your part by turning off excessive lights as days fade into night.

Prepare to see some show-stopping night sky scenery. Dry Tortugas has a primitive campsite, so you'll need to bring your own gear plus food and water for your overnight stay. 

This park is a must-see for amateur astronomers and camping enthusiasts. Sleeping beneath the galaxy is sure to be a unique and unforgettable experience — and it totally deserves a spot on your bucket list.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Price: $15 entrance fee, $15 camping fee

Address: ~70 miles west of Key West, FL

Why You Need To Go: You'll have the ultimate starry night while you camp out at Dry Tortugas.

We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

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