Here is a trip worthy of your bucket list! Have you ever heard of Dry Tortugas National Park? I hadn't until I started researching things to do while we visited Key West in November 2017 (Check out my separate blog post about our time in Key West). The photos I found online blew me away and I told my husband we needed to go!
There are two options for getting to the park. You can take a ferry ride or fly by seaplane. I easily get motion sick and the idea of spending 2+ hours on the open ocean to get there and then another 2+ hours getting back didn't sound like a great option for me. It is more affordable though so if you would like more information about the ferry here is a link to their website: https://www.drytortugas.com/
To avoid the long boat ride we booked a flight with Key West Seaplane. The flight is about 45 minutes long but it was so enjoyable it felt like only 10 minutes! We booked their last charter of the day which was the best decision and I highly recommend it. Once we landed the last ferry trip was loading up to head back into town so it felt like we had the whole park to ourselves. The seaplane company will provide you with snorkel gear and a cooler along with drinks of your choice to enjoy while in the park. Don't worry about the idea of dragging everything around because there are so few people on the island that no one messes with your stuff if you want to leave it while you explore (but just in case, don't leave your wallet haha).
When we first arrived at the airport I was nervous. My nervous continued to build as I watched our plane pull up. I just took calm breaths and reminded myself that this was an adventure! And what's life without a little risk? This helped calm my nerves. I whispered to my husband something about if we die at least it was while living life to the fullest!
While flying everyone was provided headsets for the ability to listen while the pilot explained what it was we were flying over. I found it very interesting. Also, the engines are loud, so the noise canceling headsets were much appreciated.
As the plane took off and I looked down below to see Key West I had tears rolling down my face. I couldn't help it! The experience was amazing and so different than anything I had ever done. The take-off was smooth and while in the air we didn't experience any turbulence. I was very thankful for that!
The flight time went by quickly and before I knew it the landing information and de-boarding instructions was being played through our headsets! We were almost there! The view of the island was breathtaking!
The landing was smooth and exciting! I was so glad we made it safely! We stuck around just a bit after everyone got off so we could have our picture taken with the plane before we started exploring. The pilot didn't stay long. He had to load up the previous charter guests and fly them back to Key West. We watched him take off, which was pretty cool.
Fort Jefferson has an amazing history. There are a few park rangers who live on the island and give tours. There is also a small gift shop, but with limited open hours. The only bathrooms on the island are a group of composting porta potty's, which are about as pleasant as it sounds, so make sure to keep that in mind and eat light haha.
Because we chose the last charter of the day we had the island almost to ourselves! A few people were there camping, but not very many. The last ferry of the day was boarding up and leaving just as we arrived.
Words can't express how magical this moment on the beach was. We were the only people in sight. If there was ever a day I could relive over and over, it would be this day. I told my husband to take deep breaths and breathe it in because I knew this memory would be special. My soul felt renewed!
We couldn't believe how quickly time was flying by and before we knew it we noticed our plane was coming back to pick us up. We didn't even have time to snorkel. That was our fault though because we were having too much fun exploring.
Here is a short video I took of our take off!
Once we were getting close to Key West the pilot came over our headsets to warn us of rain ahead. He said there might even be turbulence because of it. I started to get nervous, but I was thankful we were so close to landing.
The rain thankfully didn't cause any turbulence and the flight turned out to be just as smooth as it was before. This was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had and it has inspired me to be more adventurous on future vacations. If you are planning a trip to the Dry Tortugas, I hope this post has helped! Let me know how your trip goes!
With love always,