John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
4.5
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 8:30 PM
About
Check out the living coral reefs around Molasses Reef at the country’s first undersea park. If you're a strong swimmer, join a snorkeling or scuba diving tour to get close to the corals and marine life. Otherwise, enjoy the underwater scenery from a glass-bottom boat. The park also has designated spots for camping, fishing, swimming and barbecuing—fun activities to round out a great vacation. The adventurous traveler might also enjoy exploring the mangrove swamps on a guided tour and hiking the Wild Tamarind Trail. For thinner crowds, visit on weekday mornings. Reservations are recommended, especially during the holidays. – Tripadvisor
Duration: More than 3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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  • h0ldhusen
    Metro Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota14 contributions
    Nice beach at the park but, reef is miles from shore
    A beautiful reef for snorkeling, but unfortunately we went on a day when the water was a bit rough. There is one tour from the park itself, and several more from other vendors in the area. My understanding is the boat must be licensed to visit the reef so just sign up for the tour.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 10 March 2023
  • big granny
    Houghton, Michigan25 contributions
    Good facilities and not crowded
    Visitor center was nice with continuous explanation video in a nice cool room if you need a break. Easy and comfortable benches. Some small aquarium tanks were nice to see fish up close. I did the glass bottom boat tour and bought lunch at the food truck. Some shade for eating. Nice looking little beach right by visitor center. I use a walker and all I did was easy. The glass boat was comfortable and no need to fight over the view, well designed. They were handing it dramamine for the large swells at the reef and I was glad I took some. Fun!
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 23 March 2023
  • Kevin
    2 contributions
    Snorkeling Tour
    Snorkeling Tour was great! Sarah and Ed were fantastic!! We went on a day when it was windy and a little rough but still a great experience. Our youngest daughter struggled at first and both Sarah and Ed took time with her and helped her out. They were wonderful snd snorkeling was spectacular.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 25 March 2023
  • Greg G
    3 contributions
    Molasses reef diving
    Went out with Captain Dan and Divemaster Amanda on a morning trip with a pretty heavy swell. Really appreciated the captain setting expectations for the conditions before we left. I also really appreciate this dive operator’s liberal cancellation policy given the unpredictability of the conditions. Dan and Amanda were both very skilled and patient; they managed to get everyone in and out for both dives without incident in less than ideal seas, and with a group of relatively inexperienced divers. The Aquarium portion of the reef was particularly appealing, with larger groups of fish. I’d happily dive with them again.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 7 April 2023
  • penelopekat
    Millbury, Ohio32 contributions
    Spend the day at John Pennekamp!
    We spent the day at John Pennekamp. First a two hour kayak trip through the mangroves. The map was easy to follow and the kayak crew are helpful when entering and exiting the boats. The concession stand/rental center/gift shop has a few pre-packaged sandwiches, crackers and cheese, and a standard range of drinks. There's also a food truck style bus with hot dogs, pulled pork, fries, chips, etc. You can always pack a picnic. Cannon beach is busy but there's room to spread out. Don't forget to swim or float our to the replica ship wreck and stand on the cannons. They are in about six feet of water and marked by a buoy. We opted for a late afternoon snorkel trip with Captain Dan and Divemaster Sarah. (Reservations are made online and snorkel equipment can be rented.) We traveled about 35 minutes out to a great reef with a variety of marine life and coral. The crew helped those new to snorkeling learn the basics while more seasoned snorkelers were free to jump in right away. We spent 9 hours at the park and loved every minute.
    Visited April 2023
    Written 15 April 2023
  • Wendy K
    Seattle, Washington482 contributions
    Fun Adventure
    We booked a snorkeling trip through the State Park website, with Sarah and Chris as our captains. Equipment we rented from the Park was excellent. Sarah and Chris were friendly, professional and did a great job explaining the rules to everyone on board. The boat ride out through the Mangroves and out to open sea to the snorkel site was fun. We saw lots of marine life in the reef area. I am not an expert snorkeler and I was a bit nervous. But the competence of our captains helped. And the experience was fantastic!
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 April 2023
  • Amos C
    Mount Pleasant, South Carolina710 contributions
    Good place to visit but not overly exciting
    My wife and I visited the park on Sunday. The weather was a bit overcast so that was a contributing factor. We entered the park for $9. The parking lot was not paved or lined off. It was full so it didn’t present us a problem but might be if full. The beach is ok. Some people were snorkeling. The docks are nice. The walking paths aren’t much. Overall, it was a nice visit but it wasn’t very exciting.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 5 May 2023
  • FLtravelFOREVER
    Spring Hill, Florida33 contributions
    One of my favorite State Parks
    This is one of the nicest State Parks I have been to in the USA. We were able to snorkel right off of Cannon Beach as well as go on an excursion boat right from the park to snorkel at a reef. (The beaches at the State Parks in the Keys were not really what I would call beaches…little sand and very small). They had an aquarium and education center at the park with a really good movie about the fish, reef, etc. I don’t scuba dive, but that was another option at the park. They have a food truck, but based on the hot dog we had, I would recommend packing your lunch.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 11 June 2023
  • Pankaj S
    New Delhi, India2 contributions
    Shout out to captain Tom and Zach!
    Captain Tom And Zach were amazing. I had some problem with my gear and breathing.Zach helped me out and made sure I went into the water and enjoyed myself. Good stuff guys! The reef was amazing and there was a lot of sea life to check out.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 July 2023
  • MikaJules N
    2 contributions
    Awesome dive experience
    THANK YOU to Amanda, Dan, and the entire Pennekamp Dive Shop crew. What an awesome staff. We had so much fun diving French Reef and Benwood. Their equipment is new and they had high standards for safety. FIVE STARS!!!! Thank you for an awesome dive experience!
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 22 July 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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Paul O
County Monaghan, Ireland4,728 contributions
Feb 2024 • Couples
We came here for the glass bottom tour that we pre booked for 12.15. However, we arrived early (around 10.00) so got to spend time enjoying the park. The park has ample parking so easy to get a space.

We visited the small visitor centre to learn more about the park. We visited the small beach and walked the short nature trail. We had a soft drink and ice cream before we boarded our glass bottom boat.

Overall the trip was very good and informative. The tour guide (Lindsay) certainly knew her stuff. Our boat was a small boat and not the big one that is normally used I believe. However there was plenty of space for viewing. The tour lasted just over two hours.

A half day well spent!
Written 26 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ksez1
New England53 contributions
Feb 2024 • Family
We went in February, so there the water was too cold for us. This was a nice area to walk around. But for people looking for a beach, this is a very tiny beach and there are no beach chairs to be found anywhere ...even to buy or rent. So lesson learned. Beaches aren't really a think in the Keys. But our skewed expectations weren't the fault of the park. For $8 it's a bargain and a nice place to just relax.
Written 23 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Donald T
6 contributions
Feb 2024 • Family
Great park! We enjoyed the walking the trails and the aquarium as we waited for a tour. Really great stop! Clean. Nice beach areas as well.
Written 18 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GoPlaces47776901270
2 contributions
Feb 2024 • Solo
It was an amazing trip snorkeling at the corals, water was clear and corals were only a few feet away, saw plenty of tropical fishes, thanks Art and Joe for being great guides
Written 15 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MTPGoHoos
Alexandria, VA34 contributions
Aug 2023 • Family
The glass bottom boat tour was wonderful. If you're concerned about seasickness, check the info inside the concession about the current water conditions. Our day was considered slightly choppy, and it didn't impede the experience. The viewing windows allow a lot of visibility and cover a lot of territory around the reef, providing great views of sharks, turtles, and innumerable beautiful fish.
Written 12 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FrequentFlier592119
3 contributions
Jan 2024 • Family
We went on an overcast windy day, but enjoyed the visitor center aquarium and especially the hour long movie about the reef . The boats didn’t go out for snorkeling or the glass bottom boat but for over 70 year olds we learned and enjoyed so much As well that we went back later in the week to repeat the experience! We also enjoyed the trails and beach.
Written 28 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lisaV3191GG
Montreal, Canada62 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
Well-organized, fun, and lots to do. We went kayaking in the mangrove (beautiful !) and then snorkel from the beach. They have a mock Spanish shipwreck that the fish go to and that was a lot of fun. We had a little of fun :)
Written 27 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ellbi
23 contributions
Jan 2024 • Family
We really enjoyed our time here , went on glass bottom boat tour which was nice, saw a lot of fish and sea turtles .also did the kayaking through mangroves which was fun and snorkeling off cannon beach which was a lot of fun , there were plenty of fish and a cool shipwreck to see as well as tarpons coming out of the water . There is a lot to do in this park for everyone .
Written 19 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

john d
houston8 contributions
Dec 2023 • Family
There is not much to see around canon beach. I booked snorkeling tool but it was canceled because of bad weather. I had to call 3 times and wait for a month to get my refund.
Written 17 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pat l
Gainesville, GA1,127 contributions
Dec 2023 • Family
We visited here for a few hours on New Year's Eve. We rented kayaks and took a little paddle around the mangroves - so beautiful. We also got a quick lunch at the food truck (yum!). This is a great park and I'd love to have been able to do more!
Written 15 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (Key Largo) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

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