Garden Key

An island with a brick structure surrounded by blue ocean waters and a blue sky

Visiting Garden Key

Garden Key is home to park headquarters, visitor center, campgrounds and great swimming and snorkeling areas.

Garden Key is the second largest island in the Dry Tortugas, about 14 acres in size, and has had the most human impact. Located on Garden Key is historic Fort Jefferson, one of the nation’s largest 19th century forts and a central cultural feature of Dry Tortugas National Park. To learn more about the history of Fort Jefferson click here.

Arriving at Garden Key

The only way to visit Garden Key and all other areas of Dry Tortugas National Park is by boat or seaplane. Ferry and seaplane passengers travel directly from Key West to Garden Key. Entrance fees are included in ticket price. Those passengers traveling here by personal vessel must stop by Garden Key to pay the entrance fee. To find more information about bringing your own boat, click here Boating.

Map of Garden Key showing area closures
Due to damage from Hurricane Ian, space for personal vessels is extremely limited. The finger piers and slips and the dinghy beach between the finger piers and the South Coaling Dock on Garden Key are closed, as well as the South Coaling Dock ruins proper. There is limited space for personal vessels east of the Yankee Freedom III pier to the seaplane beach.

Things to Do at Garden Key

A brick structure surrounded by water, a walkway, and vegetation.
Explore Fort Jefferson

Located on Garden Key is historic Fort Jefferson, one of the nation’s largest 19th century forts in the United States.

2 people swim in the ocean beside a brick and cement walkway
Snorkeling and Swimming

Enjoy Garden Key's many coral reefs and wildlife by taking a swim around the island

A white boat floating on blue ocean waters with a blue sky in the background
Bring Your Own Boat

Bring your boat to Dry Tortugas National Park.

People sitting on chairs beside tents on a beach

Plan your camping trip to Garden Key

A man standing on a dock by the ocean, holding a fishing pole with a fish on the line.

Enjoy fishing for sport or food and be sure to bring your saltwater fishing license and follow Gulf of Mexico fishing regulations.

A long orange and yellow kayak vessel resting on a wooden dock beside a blue ocean and blue sky

Explore Dry Tortugas with a Kayak / Paddleboard

A baby sea turtle swims in the ocean
Wildlife Viewing

From birds, to sea turtles and coral reefs, the park is paradise for wildlife viewing.

A dark sky full of white dotted stars
Night Sky Viewing

Camping on Garden Key is an excellent way to take advantage of all that the night skies in the Dry Tortugas have to offer.

Last updated: June 13, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

40001 SR-9336
Homestead, FL 33034


305 242-7700

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