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“Coral reef trip..”

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
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and up
2-Day Miami South Beach Adventure from Orlando
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and up
Independent 3-Day Harley-Davidson Tour from Miami
Ranked #4 of 72 things to do in Key Largo
Certificate of Excellence
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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
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Coral reef trip..”
Reviewed February 20, 2012

We took the family trip to see coral reef and it was quite disappointing. Save your time and money and enjoy the park and local dolphin places.

Visited December 2011
Thank wtravelerAtlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Level 6 Contributor
488 reviews
109 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 193 helpful votes
“A great undertaking, but lacking in presentation”
Reviewed February 20, 2012

Pennekamp State Park is a mostly underwater park, preserving part of Florida's coral reef on the south coast of Key Largo ... a very worthwhile project!! However, if you're not into scuba or snorkeling, the on-dry-land nature walks are not so interesting, and probably not worth the time (in my opinion). There is a visitor center with a museum and aquarium which are somewhat interesting. There's also a (concession) glass bottom boat which will take a large group of people out on the reef to see the coral and various the many reef inhabitants ... however do consider taking the Dramamine (that they offer for $1), the rocking motion while stopped over the reef is unlike anything I've experienced on similar sightseeing cruises!!

Visited February 2012
Thank MassCouple2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oceanside, California
Level 6 Contributor
28 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Snorkel a coral reef while it's still alive”
Reviewed February 19, 2012

We went to Pennekamp early--got there shortly after 9 a.m. and signed up immediately for the noon snorkel departure. Both my husband and I had our own mask and snorkel, so we only rented fins. (No deposit required.) We were the first 2 to sign up for the trip, so we asked if it might be cancelled. The boat's contract allows it to determine when it'll sail for the 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. tours. But as long as 2 people sign up for the noon trip, it has to sail. Excellent!

With some time to kill, we walked across the bridge to the footpath there, as noted on the flyer we got at the entrance. (Perhaps it was called the Mangrove trail?) It was a nice boardwalk, but it appears to have been destroyed after a short walk in both directions. Alas.

We decided to spend the rest of the time getting ready for the snorkeling. Lots of room in the changing rooms--very clean and spacious. We headed to the little beach. The sand was rather rough on bare feet--more like walking on small pebbles than sand. But I used the time to remind myself about how to snorkel. It had been a couple of years since I had snorkeled last--and it took me far too long to get used to breathing through the snorkel then. However, the shallow waters off the beach let me remember the skills quickly and I felt much more confident heading to the tour. The snorkeling itself off the beach was less than interesting--the water was rather turbid. But it served my purposes well.

We took a bag on board that carried our towels, gear, snacks, water bottles, car keys etc. (You could also check your keys with the equipment rental folks.) Our tour went to Grecian Rocks, which I think is the typical destination. Two boats went out (perhaps 30 people or so?), so we had to be a bit aware of fellow snorkelers, to avoid bumping into fins and arms. The water temp was 75 degrees when we were there. I had a wet suit jacket, which I was grateful for. My husband, who had snorkeled in the Galapagos Islands in 68-degree waters 2 years ago, found himself a bit chilled at the reef and wished he had some more protection. Folks were in the water for more than an hour before the captain sounded the "all in" horn. But we headed in after about 45 minutes, since my husband was cold.

We saw a good number of fish species and all sorts of sea fans and anemones and lobsters. The day was overcast, so the colors of the fish and the coral were rather subdued. But it was still a fun time.

Visited February 2012
Thank ztsipapu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
128 reviews
72 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Nice campground !”
Reviewed February 19, 2012

We went over to check out the state park. It has a full hookups for camping. Also wanted to check out the beach-rocky, but ok. Kayaking was fun, but the directions given were awful. We tried 3 times to make the circle in the guide and never got it. We weren't alone. The worker said we shouldn't have followed the signs. It was quite enjoyable though. Would love to stay in the park, but 11 month wait is ridiculous. The campground is on the oceanside and doesn't have the sunsets we have on the bayside.

Visited February 2012
Thank Caribbeanjunkies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Fun in Key Largo”
Reviewed February 18, 2012

We took the glass bottom boat ride.The crew was great! Lots of fun. If you're prone to motion sickness just take the Dramamine offered and you'll be fine! The whole park was interesting. We enjoyed the visitor center and nature trails.

Visited February 2012
3 Thank ChanceUpon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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