John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park showing marine life

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

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Dive, figuratively or literally, into America’s first underwater park, located amid colorful marine life in the blue waters surrounding Key Largo, Florida.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is unique for its location under the sea, the first subaquatic park in the United States. The park has ample space on land for beach activities. The real attraction is the massive 70 nautical square miles (240 square kilometers) area in the water. Explore the park in both your sneakers and your swimsuit.

Find the state park on Key Largo, northeast of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Start your visit on solid ground walking along the park’s several trails. Take a leisurely stroll under the shade of mangrove and tamarind trees while colorful birds chirp around you. Enjoy a picnic outdoors or go swimming at the sandy beach.

Stop at the Visitor Center and learn about the fascinating ecosystems of the Florida Keys. Watch a nature video in the theater or check out the marine life inside a large saltwater aquarium.

Take a glass-bottom boat tour to discover the world below the ocean surface. Spend a couple hours floating through the water while creatures including sea turtles, sharks and barracudas pass you by.

Rent a canoe or kayak and explore the water at your own pace. Paddle around surreal-looking mangrove trees and watch for dolphins playing in the water.

Explore new depths on a snorkeling or scuba diving excursion. Swim surrounded by nearly 600 varieties of fish and 40 species of coral. Check out the famous Christ of the Deep, a massive 8.5-foot (2.6-meter) bronze sculpture of Jesus that sits on the ocean floor about 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 7.5 meters) below the surface.

Set aside several hours if you take a scuba diving or snorkeling tour. Come prepared with your swimsuit; tour packages include equipment rental and an instruction session. Note that there is a minimum age requirement for these activities.

Visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park daily until sunset. Reserve a campsite to stay overnight. The park entrance fee doesn’t cover special activities such as the glass-bottom boat, snorkeling or scuba tours. Because it is such a popular destination, book your tickets in advance to ensure availability.

Top Hotels Close to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Amoray Dive Resort
Amoray Dive Resort
2 out of 5
104250 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL, 33037
The price is $229 per night from May 22 to May 23
Stay at this beach hotel in Key Largo. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and private pools. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff in our reviews. Popular ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (973 reviews)
"Nice quite place"

Reviewed on May 12, 2022

Amoray Dive Resort
Reefhouse Resort & Marina
Reefhouse Resort & Marina
3.5 out of 5
103800 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL, 33037
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $297 per night from Jun 1 to Jun 2
Stay at this 3.5-star beach hotel in Key Largo. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 3 restaurants. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (945 reviews)
"Relaxing and not over crowded!"

Reviewed on May 16, 2022

Reefhouse Resort & Marina
Gilbert's Resort
Gilbert's Resort
2 out of 5
107900 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL, 33037
The price is $259 per night from May 22 to May 23
Stay at this beach motel in Key Largo. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a private beach. Our guests praise the pool and the restaurant in our reviews. Popular ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (980 reviews)
"Nice beach and pool area. No mirror in room."

Reviewed on May 5, 2022

Gilbert's Resort
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Amoray Dive Resort
Amoray Dive Resort
2 out of 5
104250 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL, 33037
The price is $229 per night from May 22 to May 23
Amoray Dive Resort
Reefhouse Resort & Marina
Reefhouse Resort & Marina
3.5 out of 5
103800 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL, 33037
The price is $297 per night from Jun 1 to Jun 2
Reefhouse Resort & Marina
Gilbert's Resort
Gilbert's Resort
2 out of 5
107900 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL, 33037
The price is $259 per night from May 22 to May 23
Gilbert's Resort
Waterfront pool home with dockage ocean/bay access
Waterfront pool home with dockage ocean/bay access
Key Largo, FL
Waterfront pool home with dockage ocean/bay access
Beautiful 3 bed/3 bath Canal Home with Ocean Access in Key largo - 60 foot Dock
Beautiful 3 bed/3 bath Canal Home with Ocean Access in Key largo - 60 foot Dock
Key Largo, FL
Beautiful 3 bed/3 bath Canal Home with Ocean Access in Key largo - 60 foot Dock
Sunny home w/ firepit, private pool, private gas grill, & tiki bar!
Sunny home w/ firepit, private pool, private gas grill, & tiki bar!
Key Largo, FL
Sunny home w/ firepit, private pool, private gas grill, & tiki bar!
Azul del Mar
Azul del Mar
3.5 out of 5
104300 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL, 33037
The price is $259 per night from May 22 to May 23
Azul del Mar
Key Largo Getaway
Key Largo Getaway
Key Largo, FL
Key Largo Getaway
Key Largo House with Pool
Key Largo House with Pool
Key Largo, FL
Key Largo House with Pool
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.