Bella Vida by Letty

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

This post is part of the series exploring the Florida Keys, focusing on Key Largo in particular.  A wonderful place to visit.  Encompassing 70 nautical square miles, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the United States first undersea park.  The park is named after Miami newspaper editor, John Pennekamp whose activism helped establish the Everglades Nation Park and preserve this body of water.

The most amazing and famous feature at this park are the coral reefs and the marine life.  There are several ways for you to experience the coral reefs; a glass bottom boat tour, scuba diving, snorkeling, canoeing and kayaking.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

There are many tours to chose from.  Since I love boat rides because I find them peaceful and relaxing I took the glass bottom boat tour.  I visited in March during spring break and there were no crowds.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Helpful Travel Tip

Check the marine forecast before getting on the boat.  Water conditions are posted at the ticket counter.  The day I visited it was windy and the waters were moderately choppy which is still pretty rough.  You won’t feel it on the drive out but once the boat stops you will really feel the sway of the ocean.

If you are prone to seasickness there are over the counter medicines you can take before getting on the boat to keep you comfortable.  Thankfully I don’t suffer from seasickness but friends who do have had better results with over the counter solutions and not with the bracelets.

The waters are crystal clear and we saw a variety of marine life, crabs, lobsters, fishes and sea turtles.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Helpful Travel Tip

The shores of the Florida Keys are rocky not soft white sand.  Bring water shoes.  What you see at the shore is not the same you will see deeper off shore.  You will have to take a boat ride out to see the coral reefs which begin three miles out into the ocean.

Things to do:  Camping, Fishing, Boating, Picnic, Swim, Canoe, Kayak, Boat Rental, Boat tours, Snorkel tours, Scuba Tours, Trail hike.  The visitors center has a beautiful 30,000 saltwater aquarium

Helpful Travel Tip

There are many tours and trips to chose from and you can usually find coupons on their website.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Things to do in the Florida Keys

Have you been to John Pennekamp State Park?  What did you do there?

 

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