The Sunshine State is a treasure trove of tropical oases, sandy shorelines, and hidden gems waiting to be explored. Some spots stand out above the rest, deserving a slot on your at least once-in-a-lifetime bucket list. Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida just so happens to be one of those places — but you'll have to take alternate means of transportation to even get there.
Dry Tortugas' series of seven small islands lie about 70-miles off the coast of Key West, encompassing approximately 100-square miles of mostly open water and sandy shorelines, though you'll also find some military fort ruins here too.
There are only two ways to get there: a 40-minute flight by seaplane where you can soak in ocean views with a bird's eye perspective, or by ferry as you feel the salty breeze blow your locks as you sail across the sea.
If you want to save time on travel on a more exciting excursion, the seaplane is going to be your best bet.
A half-day trip with Key West Sea Plane Adventures will run you about $361. It's about four hours long including at least two and a half hours of exploration time, while the $634 full-day escape clocks in at about eight hours, with at least six and a half hours time on the island.
Once you get there, you can spend all your time snorkeling the reefs and hunting for hidden underwater treasures in the crystal clear Caribbean blue waters, strolling the sands while you admire the views, or exploring the ruins of Fort Jefferson's crumbling red brick and history as you unearth your inner Indiana Jones.
If you want even more time to admire all the Dry Tortugas have to offer, you can even camp here overnight for some of the most amazing views of the Milky Way.
Seaplane to Dry Tortugas National Park
Price: $361 for a half-day trip, $641 for a full day trip
Address: 3471 South Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, FL
Why You Need To Go: Departing out of Key West, you'll get all the stunning ocean views on this 40-minute flight to Dry Tortugas, where you can snorkel reefs and hidden treasures, stroll the sandy shores, or explore an old military fort whose red brick pops against the vibrant blue of the ocean — making for an amazing spot to take photos. A place you absolutely have to explore at least once in your life!
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.
This article has been updated since it was originally published on September 22, 2020.