Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is one of a kind, offering an amazing glimpse into the underwater world.
Renowned for being the country’s first undersea park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park encompasses an impressive 70 nautical square miles. While many visitors view the park’s colorful coral reefs and teeming marine life on a glass-bottom boat tour, one can get a closer look by scuba diving or snorkeling. Canoeing and kayaking through the park's waters are popular activities; fishing is permitted in designated areas.
Visitors can also enjoy walking on short trails through tropical hammocks, picnicking or swimming at the beach. The visitor center features several large saltwater aquariums filled with sea creatures, and nature videos are shown in its theater. Full-facility and youth/group campsites are available.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has four different types of boat tours to ensure that all park visitors have the best opportunity possible to experience the park's coral reef system. The glass-bottom trips depart from the park's docks three times per day, 365 days a year, weather permitting. The snorkel boat trips depart four times per day. Both these tours last 2.5 hours and allow for approximately 1.5 hours of reef time to view the park's living coral and its associated marine life up close and personal. The Encounter, a wheelchair-friendly snorkeling vessel, features wheelchair tie-downs, as well as an over-sized marine restroom for guests. Rental equipment is available. There is also a 9 a.m. extended snorkel tour which lasts 4.5 hours and goes to at least two locations. The park has a PADI Five-Star Gold Palm dive shop, offering a full range of scuba courses from Open Water through Instructor. The Resort Course offered introduces the fledgling diver to diving and the coral reef in one day. The four-hour scuba diving tours offer divers two-location, two-tank dives.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is committed to providing a variety of accessible amenities to all of its visitors. Those amenities include:
A wheelchair-friendly glass bottom boat, The Spirit of Pennekamp
A wheelchair-friendly snorkeling vessel, The Encounter
A wheelchair-friendly dock for rental kayaks and canoes
A wheelchair-friendly playground area
Far Beach access by Mobi-mat
Beach wheelchair available upon request at Visitor Center and Aquarium building
Accessible picnic pavilions, tables, and benches
Large Print formats for Florida Park Service publications and some other literature available upon request
Assisted listening devices in the Visitor Center and Aquarium Auditorium
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has two man-made beaches, each with its own distinct personality. Cannon Beach is the park's primary snorkeling beach, where visitors will find the remnants of an early Spanish shipwreck approximately 100-feet offshore. Far Beach, with its palm trees, is a relaxing place to swim or just sit and enjoy the sun. Wheelchair accessibility to the water is enhanced by a Mobi-Mat installed across the sandy beach. Any swimming or snorkeling done outside the designated swimming areas is prohibited unless a 'Diver-Down' flag is properly displayed.
The park has a very good deep-water boat ramp, located at the marina. The ramp can handle most boats up to 36 feet in length. Pay the $10 launch fee, good only for the day, at the Ranger Station when entering the park.
Friday, Dec 3, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time
Saturday, Dec 4, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time
Sunday, Dec 5, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time
JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR