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“Glass Bottom Boat Tour” 5 of 5 stars
Review of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds

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John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds
102601 Rte 1, Key Largo, FL   |  
Hotel amenities
Saint Pete Beach, Florida, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Glass Bottom Boat Tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

My boyfriend and I planned a day trip to Key Largo, and after reading the reviews, decided to do the glass bottom boat tour at the state park. I am so glad we did! At first it seemed a little pricey, but it was well worth it after the experience. The two girls that narrate the trip were very knowledgeable and the Captain was amazing at steering the boat so everyone got a chance to see everything. We were able to see just a ton of amazing fish, a 4'-5' stingray, a shark, 1000 yr old coral, parts of a shipwreck, and more things than I can describe in 200 characters. The water was too cold for a snorkeling trip, but this was a great alternative. Not too crowded either as there were two viewing areas in the boat with upper and lower seating. We were between the windows and the odd numbered viewing side. The girl describing everything could say where a fish was and the captain upstairs could maneuver the boat so we could see it. Just truly a wonderful experience! Next time we come down, we're going to go canoeing and hopefully take advantage of the snorkeling trip!

Room Tip: Get a spot between the windows and the viewing area. That way no one walks behind you and there is...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
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English first
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013 via mobile

We found this glass bottomed boat tour on the Internet, it was on our way home, the times were right so we gave it a try, it is really necessary to call for reservations and get there early, like at least an hour early. The boat was nice, the crew was fabulous but they put way too many people on the boat, like 135. It was so crowded that it was hard to find a seat any where and when we got onto the reef unless you were in the theater seats we had trouble seeing the glass windows. We would gladly paid $5 more per person to be able to see. If you do get the lower theater seats, please be considerate of those above you and keep your head behind the rope.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

Well run RV campground, with a helpful/friendly staff, clean rest rooms/showers, modern hook-ups, inexpensive rates and considerate fellow-campers.

On the other hand, be aware of the following points:
(1) this ain't Kansas, so bring/use the DEET or else make a significant blood donation to the local indigenous population;
(2) this ain't Miami, so don't expect sandy beaches and soft soil in the camp grounds. All of Florida does not have the same environment...
(3) this is a fantastic location for taking advantage of the Park's attractions, dive trips, glass-bottom boat excursions; and,
(4) if you think you're arriving late with a reservation, call ahead for the front gate 'combination'.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

Clean, convenient and very much like camping in a parking lot unless you get the group site. Tucked away, green, picnic tables, fire pit, beach and short trails nearby. Near the highway so you'll hear some road noise. The group site offers one of the better tent camping choices in the keys. Not as good as Long Key, Bahia Honda, or Dry Tortugas National Park, but OK.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2012

The campsites are TINY, there is very little foliage between the campsites, and the gravel is vicious. If they were going to rock all the campsites, they could have at least used smaller pea gravel instead of the sharp, rocky crap that POKED A HOLE IN OUR AIR MATTRESS THROUGH THE TENT FLOOR. We had to wear flip flops inside the tent and/or use our sleeping bags as padding to walk on. It's THAT bad. We have bruises on our legs from sitting on the rocks. Ridiculous. There are two group tent areas that were not used the entire time we were there, and they refused to let us move there where the ground was grass/dirt/more humane gravel. If you're in an RV, fine. You'll love it. Now I know why we were one of only 2-3 tent campsites out of 47. It looks more like tailgating than camping. Since the water was rough there were no snorkel or glass bottom boat excursions being booked. Not the parks fault, better to err on the side of caution. The staff was friendly, even when they're being uncooperative. The restrooms, showers, and grounds are all extremely clean. Very dog friendly. The raccoons are abundant and refuse to take "no" for an answer. In the span of time that it took to hike down to the restroom, one of those little masked flea bags managed to steal a bag of cornmeal. They stole my daughter's flip flop and dragged it 15 feet into the woods. The camp has nice equipment for sale and rent, and is located near lots of other stores and restaurants - including an XXX adult store just across the street. Be prepared to explain to your little ones that just because it says "Toys on Sale!" on a banner out front doesn't mean we will be shopping THERE.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

We made a reservation and then showed up 2 hours before our scheduled trip on the Encounter. The crew was really friendly and professional - they went through the safety talk quickly but thoroughly. Our trip saw barracudas, sting rays, and puffer fish. 2.5 hours felt like just the right amount of time - we came back when we felt ready to stop and they rang the bell 5-10 minutes later. The boat is really nice, clean with cold drinking water provided and upper deck to take in the view.

Corrective mask rentals are available for those who wear glasses for $5 - the same price as regular mask rentals. They also have snorkels (I recommend at least a semi-dry since the water was choppy on our trip) for purchase and fins for rental.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

I booked a plot for one nights camping. Due to a delayed flight i arrived after dark. Fortunately i had phoned ahead for the security code to get into the park outside of business hours.

From that point on, nothing went well.

The code i was given was wrong. It was only that i managed to flag down the final employee leaving that i was able to get in. I wish i hadn't been able to.

I booked the plot to camp in a tent, but that simply wasn't possible. The plot was a completely hard, with nowhere suitable to pitch a tent. I spent half an hour trying to come up with something, but i couldn't get any pegs into the ground. By that stage it was ridiculously late, so i thought i would cut my losses and sleep in my car. I quickly established it was far too humid to do that. My only option left was to sleep on the floor in the shower block. It was as horrific as it sounds.

Even if i had managed to pitch a tent, things wouldn't have been much better. My pitch (13) was next to some sort of small swamp. It meant that there were mosquitos and flies everywhere. The pitch itself was ridiculously close to that of my neighbours and if able to pitch a tent i would have ended up sleeping right next to the sewage pipe from their RV.

I'm sure if you are in an RV, this place is fine. IT IS SIMPLY NOT SUITABLE FOR TENTS. It's an outrage that they advertise it as such.

I left before the office had opened in the morning, and after no response when i tried to phone i sent a series of e-mails and filled out forms online to voice my complaints... I'm still waiting for a response and a refund.

Do yourself a favour. Don't stay here.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds

Also Known As:
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds Hotel Key Largo
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds Hotel
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Address: 102601 Rte 1, Key Largo, FL
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key Largo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 17 Specialty lodging in Key Largo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $

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