John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo: Hours, Address, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Reviews: 4.5/5

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
4.5
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
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About
A beautiful state park that features land and undersea adventures.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Top ways to experience John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
6,960 reviews
Excellent
4,012
Very good
1,835
Average
736
Poor
249
Terrible
128

gcgray92
Sparta, KY39 contributions
Couples
Entry to the park for 2 people was $9. My husband and I paid for a full day kayak rentals (4+ hours) which was $86 for 2 singles. The Staff provided a laminated map and reviewed it with us. We headed out towards the marina and spent almost 3 hours touring the mangroves. There were minimal signs to help guide you back, but it was pretty easy to see where you should and shouldn’t go. We then went to Cannon Beach with our cooler and chairs for some swimming and snorkeling. The water throughout the park was clean and clear. You could see the shipwreck very well and it was cool that it was so close to the beach. You are able to snorkel the entire area around the beach to see plants and wildlife. We even saw larger fish coming out of the water and playing right where everyone was standing.
Written June 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Meredith L
Madison, WI12 contributions
We did a snorkel trip to the Grecian Rocks in mid-April. For the cost, I think it's an excellent value - they take you out a few miles, turn you loose for a solid 90 minutes, and then take you back. It had been windy weather and they had to cancel trips the day before due to the swells, so be aware that your plans may change as the weather dictates. Our group was not able to go to the area with the Christ of the Abyss, which some folks on our tour were disappointed by, but with recent wind it was not safe to snorkel there. So approach this tour with an open mind! This was my first reef snorkel, and although visibility wasn't the best we still saw a ton of cool fish and wildlife. The crew was friendly and helpful. We had a fantastic time. We were there as a couple but there were several families with kids as well. Once you spread out a bit it was easier not to bump into each other.

Be prepared to pay a fee at the park entrance (they take credit cards), which is good for the day. There seemed to be a lot of folks kayaking and using SUPs as well as beach goers, so there is enough to do here to make a day of it!
Written April 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Frank S
Melissa, TX19 contributions
This was a good experience. We specifically used the Scuba Diving shop right there inside the State Park. From the check in, gathering the equipment, and the dives themselves, everything was exactly as expected! However, there are a couple of things you need to know.......signing up and paying to scuba dive through the Park's scuba shop doesn't automatically get you into the park. You need to pay per person just to enter the park itself. Although not much, it's an extra fee you are not aware of. On our scuba dives, a dive master did NOT go with us on the dive but made sure we all had timers so that we would come back and surface in a hour (we were only doing 20-30 ft. dives) or surface if you run low on air. It wasn't complicated but "counting reefs so that you know how many to come back" is a bit of a distraction. All in all, the Park and the dives were good.
Written July 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

bcdonthego2016
Newark, DE102 contributions
The operation was friendly, professional, unhurried, and we went to some beautiful spots where there were no other boats. If there are fewer than 6 divers then the dive master can go in the water and guide. More than that and you guide yourself. Novices should know this. I'd go back either way.
Written July 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TheHen2717
Ashburn, VA85 contributions
Friends
A beautiful day to go
Snorkeling on the reef. The captain and first mate of our tour, Mike and Tyler, were fantastic. Our ship was the Encounter. They were very careful with their instructions and cleaning due to COVID, plus they were courteous, respectful and really funny. When we were returning from our snorkeling, the captain paused the boat to pick up a log that was floating In the water. When he started the engines back up, we had 8 Dolphins swimming and jumping in our wake Highly recommend.
Written February 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Laura
Wapello, IA1 contribution
Family
Our family of 7 (my husband and I, and 5 kids ages 8-18) had a great first-time snorkeling experience at John Pennekamp on January 6th! The weather was 70 and sunny; water was calm and temp of 75. I was concerned we’d be cold, but it wasn’t a problem at all! Several of us rented half wetsuits which was well worth it, although my husband and 15yo did not and said they got used to the water fine. I hate to be cold in the water and didn’t want to risk it though. Initially we weren’t sure what kind of snorkels to get, but the cheapo ones worked fine. Everyone but me got fins, and were glad they did. The staff at John Pennekamp were all so helpful with answering all of our questions, us being newbies.

The boat is a giant pontoon boat. My daughter and I are prone to motion sickness, but as I said, water was pretty calm, and we had no trouble on the half hour boat ride each way.

Robert and Brian did a great job teaching snorkeling basics on the boat to anyone interested, and helping us have a good experience. We went to Grecian Rocks, and were amazed at the vast amount and variety of fish we saw. It is like a whole different world; so quiet and beautiful. The coral itself was a little “boring” in color and brilliance from what I was imagining in my mind, but the fish exceeded all of our expectations! We felt like we were swimming in the middle of an aquarium! All in all, a great experience that we will not forget!
Written January 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

c7edw
Malapascua Island, Philippines46 contributions
This was the first time I scuba dive in the US. I was surprised that a guide did not accompany the group of scuba divers I was part of. None of us knew how skilled everyone else really was.
In my 6-year experience diving about 80 times in 18 locations in the Caribbean Sea, the Andaman Sea, the Red Sea, the South China Sea, the Central Pacific Ocean, and the South Atlantic Ocean, I have had mostly great guides and a few unprofessional, unsafe guides. But there was always someone familiar with the diving location showing the way around. I thought it was unsafe to be underwater on our own.
Otherwise, the two immersions were beautiful and the boat people were friendly.
Written June 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SEH1958
11 contributions
Snorkeling tour was restricted to strong swimmers only for 2 days so we missed out. Last minute reservations can be made by calling the park instead of using the online system. Even when the online booking says there is no availability the staff can book you if there is room. The glass bottom boat is ok, the ride out to the reef was the most fun. Appreciated the staff enforcing the mask rule in the cabin! The kayak trail is hard to follow once you pass the buoys - even with a map- we were lost and turned around. The short 30 minute route took us 2 hours with a strong headwind. All in all a memorable visit over 2 days. P.S. the concession store has a great selection of water sports essentials.
Written June 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lucas
Czech Republic1 contribution
Family
The experience was superb. Beautiful views of the see and the coast around. We were accompanied by two young girls that were our guides. One was Lindsay and the second one was Maria. I loved Lindsay’s energetic enthusiasm and her humorous jokes and I admired Maria, who very well explained what are we watching through the glass bottom of the boat and also shared with us some great facts and knowledge about the sea life. I enjoyed it very much. I can only recommend!!!!
Written July 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BalletMom
Spokane, WA1 contribution
Family
Don’t bring bananas on the boat! It’s bad luck per sailor’s superstition, per our captain! Luckily for us, we had a fantastic day on the water—bring drinks, towels, and swimsuits…they rent snorkeling gear and our awesome Captain Allison even had swim noodles! Everyone gets snorkeling vests as part of the booking fee, so the non-snorkelers in your party can inflate those and just float around while the snorkelers head over to the reef to explore. Book early. We did the glass bottomed boat in the morning (Half an hour out to the reef, an hour at the reef, then a half an hour back) to scope out Molasses Reef, returned to shore and ate our picnic lunch, then headed out in the afternoon for a snorkel tour. Both trips were great, would do snorkeling more than once! You could actually buy everything there in the gift shop, if you need to. They Hand out free Dramamine on the glass bottom boat tour, but you probably won’t need it.
Written July 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is open:
  • Sun - Sat 8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
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We recommend booking John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 11 John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park tours on Tripadvisor