Best Time to Visit - 10 min read

The Best Time To Visit Dry Tortugas (Clear Waters & Seclusion!)

Tara Ivey

Tara Ivey, Updated October 2, 2022

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The Dry Tortugas are a little cluster of islands at the end of the Florida Keys. They were named “Las Tortugas” after the abundance of giant sea turtles that Spanish conquistadors encountered when exploring in the early 1500s.

Today, Dry Tortugas National Park is a beautiful place to visit, and plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy.

Between April and June is the best time to visit Dry Tortugas. This is due to the consistently mild weather and temperatures averaging 80°F (27°C). Fall boasts fewer crowds and up to 45% lower cost for accommodations. It’s the ideal time for outdoor activities like snorkeling or kayaking. For warmer weather, visit in July for 89-degree days.

The weather in the Dry Tortugas is very similar to much of the Caribbean. The climate in the region is subtropical, with hot, humid summers and occasional thunderstorms.

Winters are cooler, with drier days and nights. Let’s explore the best time to visit Dry Tortugas.

Worst Time to Visit Dry Tortugas

The worst time to visit Dry Tortuga National Park is October through January. The weather is cold and wet, and the seas to get there are unpredictable. 

Late fall and early winter in Dry Tortugas see shorter days. As a result, there are also fewer activities and attractions open during this time of year.

If you’re planning a trip to Dry Tortuga National Park, winter is not the best time to visit.

The weather is incredibly unpredictable and can range from hot and humid to cold and wet, making it difficult to enjoy all the park offers.

In addition, many of the park’s amenities are closed during the winter months, so you’ll miss out on many of what makes Dry Tortuga unique.

Cheapest Month To Visit Dry Tortugas

The cheapest months to visit Dry Tortugas is October through January. The price to enter the national park stays the same year-round, but travel accommodations to the Florida Keys are much cheaper during the low season.

Lower crowds in the Keys tend to give a more affordable travel experience. Dry Tortugas itself does not have hotels or restaurants. Visitors generally camp or only stay for the day.

What Time of the Year is the Best Weather in Dry Tortugas?

January – Best Time To Visit In Winter

Escape the cold and make your way to the Florida Keys in January. Temperatures at Dry Tortugas in January range from 65°F (18°C) to 75°F (24°C). 

The best time to visit for the winter is January because it’s relatively mild weather and offers visitors a chance to see the winter migratory birds passing through. For example, in January, American kestrels and belted kingfishers make their way through the region.

  • Midwinter Bird Migrations

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February – Best Time To Visit For Camping

February tends to bring warmer weather in Dry Tortugas. Temperatures remain around 65°F (18°C) for the average low to 75°F (24°C) for the average high. Therefore, February is the best time to visit for camping. There are many campgrounds in the area.

Dry Tortugas National Park is a beautiful place to visit. The weather is cooler, and the water is clearer, making it a great time to explore the reefs and shipwrecks. There are also fewer crowds so you can enjoy this remarkable place’s peace and quiet.

  • Camping
  • Outdoor Exploring

March – Best Time For Pleasant Weather And Fewer Crowds

March provides pleasant weather and fewer crowds. The weather is perfect for spending time outdoors, and the flowers are in bloom. The park is also less crowded during this time of year.

March weather is warm but not yet hot. Daily temperatures stay around 80°F (27°C) to 85°F (29°C). Northbound migratory birds begin passing through and making stops in Dry Tortugas, with the largest number of birds arriving in March.

  • Spring Bird Migrations
  • No Crowds

Related Read: 30 BEST Things To Do With Kids Key West, FL 

April – Best Time To Visit In Spring

April temperatures are similar to those in March, continuing to warm but rarely exceeding 86°F (30°C). Tourism begins picking up in April, and more travelers make their way to Dry Tortugas during this time.

It’s a great time to experience spring on Dry Tortugas. Winds make the seas unpredictable, but there is virtually no rain. When traveling to Dry Tortugas in April, you might want to check the wave conditions and swell sizes if you’re prone to getting sea sick.

  • Warm Spring Weather
  • No Rain

May – Best Time To Go Fishing

May temperatures vary from 86°F (30°C) to 73.9°F (23.3°C), and the weather remains pleasant. In addition, the waters tend to calm down in May, making this an excellent time for fishing.

Grouper begin moving into the waters around Dry Tortugas, so if you’re into off-shore fishing, you have to make your way to Dry Tortugas.

  • Fishing
  • Boating

June – Best Time For Families

If you’re looking for the best time to visit Dry Tortugas National Park with your family, you’ll want to plan your trip for June. Temperatures in June stay in the high 80s so the weather is the least of your worries.

Summer is the busiest time of year at Dry Tortugas National Park. The weather is sunny, making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and exploring the islands. Take the kids to see Fort Jefferson!

June is the beginning of hurricane season, but the island rarely sees a hurricane.

  • Visit Fort Jefferson
  • Explore with Family

Related Read: The 17 Best All-Inclusive Florida Keys Resorts for Families

July – Best Time For Snorkeling

July temperatures at Dry Tortugas are about the same as in June and remain in the high 80s. It gets pretty hot, but temperatures rarely exceed 91°F (33°C).

With calmer waters, July is a great time for snorkeling and other underwater activities. The water is clear, and visibility is good for viewing the beautiful reefs and sea turtles the island is named for. You can rent equipment or bring your own!

  • Calm, clear waters
  • Snorkeling and diving activities

August – Best Time For Water Activities

The hottest day of the year at Dry Tortugas happens in August, but average temperatures are similar to July. Additionally, the chances of rainfall increase in August.

With fewer crowds, August is a great time for water activities like kayaking or paddleboarding. The water is usually warm and calm. You can see straight through the clear water to all the sea life below. Sea turtles were very active in August.

  • Kayaking and Paddleboarding
  • See the Coral Reefs and Sea Turtles

Related Read: Ultimate Orlando to Key West Road Trip

September – Best Time For Affordable Travel

September is warm and sees average highs of 85°F (29°C) and lows of 83°F (29°C). As a result, travel to the Florida Keys is more affordable in September.

The water is always warm and perfect for swimming and snorkeling but not so hot that you’ll be uncomfortable. The crowds have also thinned out by this time of year, so you’ll be able to enjoy the park’s solitude.

  • Reasonably-priced Travel
  • Affordable Accommodations

October – Best Time For Birding

October experiences moderate temperatures of around 84°F (29°C) and similar weather to September. However, there is usually more tropical storm activity during this time.

Large flights of raptors, like peregrine falcons, broad-winged hawks, and American kestrel make their way through the Dry Tortugas in the fall, making October the best time to visit the park for birding. Birdwatchers from all over the world visit Dry Tortugas for a unique birding experience.

  • Bird Migrations

November – Best Time To Experience Nature

The fall bird migrations are a more protracted process with fewer weather factors than spring, so November continues to be a good time for birding and nature-lovers. In addition, November marks the end of hurricane season, and temperatures remain warm.

Bush Key is part of Dry Tortugas National Park, and it closes every year from February through September for nesting season. November offers perfect hiking weather to hike the trails at Bush Key.

  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Nature

December – Best Time To Visit By Boat

December weather is excellent, and the water is clear. This is the best time to visit Dry Tortugas by boat. The seas are relatively calm, and there is little wind.

Manatees make their way south into the Florida Keys for winter, so this is a perfect time to get out to visit the manatee that calls Dry Tortugas home in the winter. Therefore, the best time to visit Dry Tortugas National Park would be during the winter, from December to February.

  • Boating trip
  • Calm waters

Best Time to Visit Dry Tortugas With Family

Dry Tortugas National Park is a beautiful place to visit with kids, and there are plenty of activities to keep the family busy. The best time to visit Dry Tortugas with family is May and June because the weather is perfect for outdoor activities.

Snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, and bird watching are just a few of the many activities available at the park.

You can also charter a boat or take a ferry to one of the remote islands for a day trip and camp in Dry Tortugas for an extended stay. May sees very little rain, so it’s an ideal time for camping with the family.

Best Time to Visit Dry Tortugas For Birding

Over 300 species of birds visit Dry Tortugas or live there permanently. With falcons, hummingbirds, and all kinds of coastal birds, birdwatchers are sure to enjoy their time birding at Dry Tortugas.

Spring is the best time to visit Dry Tortugas for birding because migratory are passing through, and the weather is excellent!

Dry Tortugas is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, a 2000-mile-long collection of bird and wildlife trails with more than 500 locations in Florida.

Bush Key is the only natural Sooty Tern colony in the United States. It is closed most of the year to visitors for nesting season but is a beautiful stop for birding enthusiasts when open.

Visitors can learn all about Dry Tortugas’ natural ecosystems by visiting the natural nest areas and birding platforms available on the island.

Best Time To Visit Dry Tortugas To Avoid Crowds

The best time to visit Dry Tortugas to avoid crowds is in the winter. Unfortunately, choppy seas make getting to the island rough, and the weather is a bit unpredictable.

If you can avoid getting seasick and want to avoid crowds of tourists, December through February are good times to go camping or just take a day trip to Dry Tortugas.

Best Time To Visit Dry Tortugas For Snorkeling

Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most beautiful places to snorkel. The park is located in the Florida Keys and is known for its clear blue waters and stunning coral reefs.

The best time to visit Dry Tortugas for snorkeling is in July. The water is usually clear and warm, and the island’s reefs are active with sea life.

The waters are the perfect temperature for snorkeling year-round. No wetsuit is needed. Summer is an excellent time for spotting the sea turtles for which the islands are named. Their nesting season occurs in the summertime.

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