John Pennekamp

National State Park

An underwater state park! That's not something you hear about every day!

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first underwater state park and was founded in 1963.

What to do at

John Pennekamp


Most people come to the Keys primarily for the reef. Pennekamp offers a variety of snorkelling tours, including the standard 2.5 hour tour. You can pay for an extended 4.5 hour private tour or even hire a private guide.

Image by Channey

Scuba Dive

If you want to see more sea life a bit deeper than if you were snorkelling you can always do a scuba diving tour. Pennekamp has a fully equipped dive shop, and dive boats leave on scuba tours twice a day. The scuba tours visit a variety of different dive sites, including the Christ Statue, Carysfort and Molasses Reef. They also offer certification and refresher courses.

Image by Michal Mrozek

Take the glass-bottom boat tour

If you want to see the reef but stay dry, well why not go out on the Spirit of the Pennekamp, a 65-foot long catamaran with a glass bottom, allowing visitors to view stunning reef life from comfort of an enclosed boat. The glass bottom boat tour is for 2.5 hours and visits several shallow reef sites around the park.

Image by Fahrul Azmi

Relax on the Beach

You can find a small beach when you enter the park, where you can snorkel and swim. This is not to be confused with the true coral reef of the Florida Keys. The actual barrier reef is located several miles offshore, and definitely deserves a visit. Get on a boat and go check it out. This beach is best for relaxing and soaking’ up some sun on your holidays.

Image by Maarten van den Heuvel

Rent a boat

If you want to take the full reins of your trip and experience then this is for you. There are several places where you can rent power boats including from Pennekamp, and it can be pretty reasonable when you split the price with friends. The park offers half and full day rentals of 21’ Release power boats. You can then rent scuba and snorkelling gear from the dive shop to bring along with you too!

Image by Thomas Ashlock

Go Kayaking, Canoeing or Paddle boarding

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is located on Key Largo, which is an island surrounded by thick mangroves. The park rents kayaks, canoes and paddleboards, which all provide a unique method of exploring the surrounding mangrove habitat.

Image by Nico Carrera
Image by Krzysztof Kowalik

For more information:
(305) 451-6300
The park is located at MM 102.5 in Key Largo.