Dry Tortugas National Park EV Travel Guide

Last Updated 4/30/24

Dry Torgugas is an island at the very end of the Florida Keys. The closest you can get to it by car is about 70 miles away at Key West, and you need to go the rest of the way by boat or by seaplane. The need to finish the trip this way has made the park one of the least visited, but for those who make the trip, there are some cool things to see.

The star of the show is Fort Jefferson, one of the largest forts ever built. It was incredibly difficult to build, especially in the 19th century. It took nearly 30 years to put together, brick by brick. The end result was transportation security for a great deepwater anchorage that in turn helped secure the whole region and its vitally important transportation lanes. Its mere presence was enough to achieve strategic goals, with no need to ever fire on a ship from the fort.

But, as technology changed, forts like this became obsolete, and that happened not very long after the big fort was completed. So, it was reused as a coaling station, briefly manned during the first and second world wars, and eventually became a museum and park.

If history isn’t your thing and you’re looking for a beach, snorkeling, and other tropical fun, there’s plenty of that, too. The island has two beaches you can swim from, or soak in the sun at. There are plenty of tropical fish and other sea animals to share the water with at the park, too. Among them is an abundance of sea turtles the island is named for (“tortugas” is Spanish for “turtles”).

There’s also camping opportunities, but obviously not for RVs. With a reservation, you can camp in a tent or anchor nearby in your own boat (or a rental). But, most people day trip in on a ferry and stay in the keys.

Pets are welcome on Garden Key, but not welcome in the fort or on any other keys you might sail to. But, the ferries do not allow you to bring pets, so that’s only an option if you charter or own your own boat.

Getting There In An EV

  • Getting to Key West is pretty easy for all EVs with average range (older “compliance cars” with sub-100 mile range, not so much). There are DC fast charging stations on several of the keys, but there’s a big gap of about 70 miles between Key Largo and Big Pine Key. But, Big Pine only has a Supercharger, so if you aren’t able to use those, you’ll need to be able to get from Key Largo to Key West (about 100 miles).
  • There are a number of hotels on Key West with Level 2 charging, but you’ll want to use Plugshare to check reliability reports. There are other hotels and RV parks where you can charge on other keys closer to the mainland.
  • If you want to go electric the rest of the way to the park, you’d need to come up with your own electric boat. Or, another eco-friendly option is to sail using wind power directly! But, most people probably won’t bother with that, so an electric ferry boat would be ideal in the future.

Links For More Park and Nearby Information

Here’s a great video showing some things you can do at the park:

Featured image by D. Diaz, NPS Photo (Public Domain).