We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Snorkeling in Key Largo” 5 of 5 stars
Review of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
1025601 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 102.5, Key Largo, FL 33037
305-451-6300
Website
Improve this listing
Ranked #9 of 22 attractions in Key Largo
Type: State Parks, National Parks, Beaches, Reefs, Parks, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Tours
Activities: Snorkeling, Scuba diving, Sunbathing, Hiking
More attraction details
Attraction Details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: A beautiful state park that features land and undersea adventures.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Quakertown, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Snorkeling in Key Largo”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

Spent an afternoon at John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo, FL snorkeling with my niece. jWhat fun! There were about 25 of us on the boat with a great captain and mate. They took us an half an hour ride out to the coral reef where we spent an hour an a half snorkeling. After a 5 minute refresher course on board, we plunged into the 75 degree waters (wearing wetsuits since they were recommended for anything under 78 degrees.Yes, we wimped out, but not cold, or even cool in the waters.) Lots of colorful and shiny fishies and lovely plant life, too! The Park also hosts a campsite, rents kayaks for paddling through the mangroves, and also you can ride on a glass bottom boat if you're not that adventurous. For $22 plus $6 for the wet suit, I think that's a good deal!

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,668 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    856
    524
    200
    56
    32
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Worth a visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

Don't count on snorkling off the ship... lots of days they call it off due to waves...even if it's a nice day ashore. snorkling from the beach is nothing special, but the park is very pretty and the nature center is great

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Did the Glass Bottom Boat tour and kayaked on own”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

Spent pretty much the whole day here (except for lunch) and found it nice, but not awesome. The glass bottom boat tour in the morning was nice and one probably sees as much as you would if you went snorkeling on your own, but the life in the coral reef doesn't begin to compare with what we experienced in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia). Kayaking in the mangroves was fun, but didn't come close to the experience we had in the Everglades a few days later.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Coral Sands, Serious Warning and Good Service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

In early February 2013 we were in Key Largo and decided to visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. I was hesitant since we were not going to be diving, but we decided to go explore and also take the glass bottom boat ride. The naturalists on the boat were fantastic. They really were able to convey their excitement and knowledge of the underwater world at a level I could understand, kids could understand, and none of us were made to feel as if we should have already known the information. When we bought the boat tickets the seller warned us of higher waves than normal, then warned us again and suggested that perhaps we might want to go on a different day or at least take the medications they had available. We opted to go since it was our only chance.

I turned green. Not really, but for the second time in my life, I was seasick. Staff on the boat gave advice and the many of us afflicted were much better. It was worth it. My husband--he of the strong stomach-- saw more, but I saw plenty and was really glad of the experience. I would not take a baby. The two with us were not happy campers. Just don't. It takes about 45 minutes to get out to the coral reef where all the "good stuff" is. I was VERY excited to ride through the mangroves on the way there.

I was intrigued by the sand at the little beach near the main shop. It was coral, ground by wear and ground by ---I think this is right--parrotfish. Really. Fish which chew on corals for nutrients end up ingesting coral too and when they digest it, voila! Sand! Lots of sand. Thousands of years of sand.

There are nature trails with good interpretive sign except the Tamarind trail did not have enough information to satisfy me. The visit was time well spent. Mamy people were going diving and the dive shop seemed very well equipped to serve a lot of people. Be sure to take fresh sunscreen. At the beginning of the year, the temptation is to grab what you have. Sunscreen turns out not to last forever - get new stuff and reduce the chance of a burn as your souvenir. The voice of experience.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

Nice area to walk around. Beach area not so good, but as we found the Florida Keys don't have good beaches because of the coral reefs. Snorkeling trips, glass bottom boat tours are available for additional fees.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CRPCconcession, Manager at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, responded to this review, February 26, 2013
Good Afternoon,

We thank you for your input and patronage.

Please remember, the Florida Keys are known for the offshore Coral Reef communities as well as the Mangrove communities, not for the Beaches.

The major attractions for this location are the Commercial Glass Bottom, Snorkel and Dive Boat Tours as well as the Kayak and Canoe Rentals.

Coral Reef Park Company, Inc. is the authorized Concessionaire within John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. We provide services such as Glass bottom Boat Tours, Snorkel Boat Tours, Dive Boat Tours, Kayak and Canoe Rentals, Merchandise Sales, Food Service, other Beach Equipment rentals, as well as PADI SCUBA Instruction.

Statewide there are currently more than 80 Concession Operations within the Florida State Parks, which generate revenue for the State of Florida and create jobs for the private sector.

Please call ahead to place an advance reservation at (305) 451-6300 and get ready for your next adventure.

We hope to see you soon.

Capt. Daryl D. Obenour
Vice President
Coral Reef Park Company, Inc.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park also viewed

Key Largo, Florida Keys
 
Key Largo, Florida Keys
Key Largo, Florida Keys
 

Been to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Bookmark for later
Save Saved
You added John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to your Saves list