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John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is commonly referred to as the first underwater park in the United States. It offers a unique experience for those who wish to catch a glimpse of exotic marine, plant, and animal life, whether from the shore or in the water. The park’s living reefs are one of the main attractions that draw thousands of visitors each year. Visitors to the park may enjoy activities such as camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming, bicycling and guided nature walks on the Mangrove and Wild Tamarind trails.

What to Expect
The activities available to park visitors are numerous and include snorkeling tours, scuba tours, and glass bottom boat tours. Reservations are recommended, and equipment can be rented at the park for a nominal fee. Tours generally last about 2.5 hours. Sea kayaks, canoes and paddle boats are available for rental by the hour as well. The park’s visitor center offers concessions and is home to a large saltwater aquarium.

Hours of Operation
The park is open daily from 8:00am until sunset. The visitor center opens at 8:00am and closes at 5:00pm. Snorkeling tours are available at 9:00am, 12:00am and 3:00pm. Scuba tours are scheduled at 9:30am and 1:30pm. Glass bottom boat tours depart at 9:15am, 12:15pm, and 3:00pm. Rental boats are available from 8:00am until 3:45pm.

Admission Cost
The park entrance fee is $3.50 for one person, $6.00 for two people, and $.50 for each additional person. Pedestrians and bicyclists pay a fee of $1.50. Snorkeling tour rates are $29.95 for adults and $24.95 for children under 18 years of age. Scuba tours cost $60.00 per person. Glass bottom boat tours fees are $24.00 for adults and $17.00 for children under 12 years of age. Canoes are rented at $12.00 per hour, paddle boats at $17.00 per hour, and kayaks at $12.00 per hour for singles and $17.00 per hour for doubles. Campsite fees are $31.49.

How to Get There
Take the Florida Turnpike to US 1 to Key Largo. At mile marker 102.5, the park entrance will be on the left.

While in Key Largo, check out the Caribbean Club.