Overseas Highway (MM 102.5)
Key Largo, Florida 33037
By Water 25.124189, -80.406731
The first underwater park in the U.S., John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park encompasses approximately 70 nautical square miles. While the mangrove swamps and tropical hammocks in the park’s upland areas offer visitors a unique experience, it is the coral reefs and their associated marine life that bring most visitors to the park. Many enjoy the view of the reef from a glass-bottom boat tour, but visitors 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 enjoy walking on short trails, picnicking, or swimming at the beach. The Visitor Center has a 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium and nature videos are shown in its theater. Full-facility and Youth/Group campsites are available. Beach wheelchairs are available without cost.
The park has a very good deepwater boat ramp, located at the marina. The ramp can handle most boats up to 36 feet in length.
Boaters should always use caution in shallow reef areas and when approaching any area where there are Diver-Down flags displayed, swimmers, or moored boats. Always obtain a navigation chart (NOAA #14F for Pennekamp waters) before departing for open water. Combustible engines are not permitted in or near shore areas of the park where the water is less than four feet deep. For those boaters that do not have a boat, the park concession maintains a boat rental where boats may be rented for four-hour and eight-hour intervals. Boat slips and moorings are available at the marina for overnight rental. Slips are located in the marina and include water and electric hookups with bathroom and shower facilities nearby. Mooring buoys are located in Largo Sound with dinghy dockage at the marina. Both slip and buoy rentals include full use of the park facilities, including trash disposal and pump-out. Reservations are recommended. For more information, please contact the Pennekamp Dock Master at (305) 451-6325 or on VHF channel 16.
The park campground offers 47 campsites for both tent and RV campers with water and electricity: 30 amp, 50 amp and 110 volt. Each site also has a picnic table and grill. A dump station is available. The main restroom has toilets and hot showers that meet ADA requirements. The Pond Restroom, next to the group campsite, has an ADA-accessible private family bathroom. There are three paved sites with paths paved to the ramp to the main restroom located in the center of the campground. Coin-operated washers and dryers are also located at the main restroom. Maximum RV length = 45 feet.