Monday, July 22, 2013

Dry Tortugas Camping Trip Preparation

I few years ago while we were visiting the Florida Keys we made a day trip to see Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas.  We had a blast, Fort Jefferson is an amazing place full of history and beauty.  Chase was to young at the time so he missed out on the trip.  (That’s one of Trey’s best friend in the picture with the boys, Cole White. The White's happen to be in the Florida Keys when we were, small world!)  We decided to make a trip back but next time camp out on the island!


I am sure many you are wondering what/where is Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas?!  The Dry Tortugas are in Gulf of Mexico, 70 miles West from Key West, Florida.  The fort contains over 16 million bricks which makes it the largest all-masonry fort in the United States.  It was built between 1846 and 1875 to protect the nation's gateway to the Gulf of Mexico.  Fort Jefferson was also used as a prison for criminals and deserters during and after the Civil War. The most famous of these prisoners was Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned for his involvement in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. During its peak over 1,700 men were stationed at the Fort but it was plagued with construction problems and Yellow Fever epidemics. It crumbled under its own weight, cracking the rain-water cisterns and allowing salt water to penetrate into the precious drinking supply.

Ok, now that you have had a small history lesson, let tell you what that meant for us!  There are no services on Garden Key where Fort Jefferson is located so we had to plan to bring everything we need for the trip with us. That means: no water, ice, power, store, shelter, internet, showers, BATHROOMS (they did have composting toilets), etc. 

Yikes, did I mention I have NEVER been camping in a tent, a camper yes but not a tent!  So are wondering how I prepared?  Well, the internet and EXCEL of course! Here is our supply checklist:

camping list

I also put together a semi clean menu for the trip.  Can we say OCD!

camping menu

We packed everything in big plastic bins, the National Park website said they had a problem with rats getting into your things, ah gross!  FYI: We never saw a rat, thank goodness!

Check out how the trip went!

Day 1 – Setting up camp

Day 2 – Touring Fort Jefferson

Day 2 – Snorkeling and night time fun on the island

Day 3 – Packing up and more snorkeling


  1. Love this list! We did the Tortugas before we had kids and I can't wait to take them there.

    1. Thanks! The boys had a blast and actually survived without electronics for 3 days straight.