Key West and Dry Tortugas National Park: Camping Guide

Camping on the beach, historic forts, and ghost hunting.

  • 9
  • 00:31
  • 11 mi
  • $1

Created by Coach-Net - May 11th 2016

Key West is your gateway to Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the most incredible parks in all of America. Journey through time, from the 18th century to the 20th, explore maritime history, meet a few ghosts, and eat some delicious Key Lime Pie. A walled-in island oasis located in the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas National Park features a plethora of diverse marine life and a variety of water sports for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy. On your way to the park, only accessible by boat or plane, you can enjoy many of the attractions that Key West has to offer.

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Key West, FL

A wonderful beach with clean water and a sprawling pier, Higgs Beach is a great place to stop and relax on your trip across Key West. Beachgoers can rent chairs and umbrellas for reasonable prices, and even swim and snorkel in the sea. An area often frequented by locals, Higgs Beach is considered to be one of the best beaches in Key West. It's like a real-life Kokomo!

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Boyd's Key West Campground

Boyd's Key West Campground has everything you need for a perfect FL camping trip. There's a tiki bar, a pool, shady sites, even a boat launch and kayak rentals so you can get out on the water! Plus, it's pretty close to everything Key West has to offer-- most attractions are a short taxi ride away!

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Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe

Key lime pie is considered to be one of the ultimate vacation treats, and Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe is a great place to get your sweet fix on your trip. Not only is this shop known for its key lime pie, but it also offers a variety of other goodies, such as key lime cookies, salsa, taffy, tea, olive oil, and more.

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Key West, FL

Over the years, Captain Tony’s Saloon has been frequented by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Ernest Hemingway, and even our favorite childhood author, Shel Silverstein. What many guests don’t know, however, is that the saloon started out as an icehouse and morgue! Now, Captain Tony’s is a must-see spot for Key West visitors. Make sure to put a quarter in the mouth of the giant Jewfish hanging outside (if you can reach it)—it’s considered to be a good-luck charm!

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Ghosts & Gravestones

A “frightseeing tour on the Island of Bones,” the Ghosts & Gravestones tour of Key West is not for the faint of heart—but it is worth every penny. You’ll go on a spine-tingling night ride across the city, passing by famous landmarks of murder and misfortune from Key West’s past. The tour even takes you to the East Martello Fort, where you can catch a glimpse of the haunted Robert the Doll.

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Shipwreck Historeum

Formerly known as the Shipwreck Historeum, the Shipwreck Treasure Museum offers a look at old shipwreck artifacts, which call to mind a decadent past when the rich dealt in gold and jewels. From 1820 to the 1850s, Key West was the richest city per capita in the USA, all due to treasure found from shipwrecks around the island. You’ll even get an opportunity to try to lift a bar of silver recovered from a Spanish shipwreck. Are you strong enough?

Key West, FL

Mallory Square is a waterfront plaza best known for its nightly Key West Sunset Celebrations. Vendors, local musicians, magicians, clowns, and more gather for the event—but nothing can compete with the spectacular colors of a Key West sunset.

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Key West, FL

Fort Jefferson is one of the most iconic sights in Dry Tortugas National Park. The largest masonry structure in the Americas, the unfinished fortress is made up of more than 16 million bricks! It’s construction began all the way back in 1847, and even though the six-sided, four-tiered, 1,000-heavy-gun fort was never completed, it remained in active use from the Civil War until the 1930s.

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Key West, FL

Dry Tortugas National Park itself has plenty of activities to offer. You can reach the park via a daily ferry or by seaplane. Seaplanes allow you to get a beautiful view of the island and surrounding sea, so consider chartering one from Key West Sea Plane Charters. After you’re inside the park, you can swim, snorkel, explore the fort, stargaze, and even dive down to explore shipwrecks.

According to the National Park Service:

"Almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West lies the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. The 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequent the area."

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With beaches, celebrity saloons, famously tasty pie, shipwreck treasures, a magnificent park only accessible by boat or plane, and much more, Key West is a great place for your next camper trip.