Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the very first undersea park in the United States and a true playground for water enthusiasts. Encompassing over 70 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove swamps, there are fun options for every level of adventurer from glass bottom boat tours to kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving. The park is adjacent to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary which encompasses another 100+ nautical square miles and was established to protect and preserve a portion of the only living coral reef in the continental US.
The glass bottom boat tour offers a great view of the coral reefs from the comforts of the 65′ ship. The 2 1/2 hour tour to various destinations of the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary gives passengers the opportunity to view the shallow reefs teeming with marine wildlife. The Spirit of Pennekamp will hold 130 passengers but reservations are recommended by calling 305.451.6300 or by booking online at pennekamppark.com. The pricing is currently Adults $24, Ages 4-11 $17 and 3 and under Free.
If you are feeling a little more adventurous, there are snorkeling and scuba diving tours available which give you the chance to explore the living coral reefs. The park also offers all equipment rental and even a 4-day class to obtain your PADI openwater certifications. More information on their snorkeling tours can be found at pennekamppark.com/snorkeling-tours and scuba tours at pennekamppark.com/scuba-tours.
There is a $5 off coupon for any of the tours available by clicking here. Make sure to print a coupon for each attendee and bring with you the day of your tour.
In addition to the tours, the park offers powerboat rentals for guests to enjoy a day of fishing or diving in the open waters. If you are bringing your own boat, there is a boat ramp and slips for overnight rental. The slips include water and electric. Moorings are also available in Largo Sound with dinghy dockage at the marine. Both include full use of the parks facilities including bathroom, shower, trash disposal and pumping out. If you are planning on fishing, make sure that you have a Saltwater Fishing License. Spearfishing and tropical fish collection is prohibited in the park.
If you are interested in exploring the park’s 50 miles of natural mangrove trails, kayak, canoe and paddle board rentals are available. Fishing is permitted in designated areas within the park. The park also offers short walks on nature trails, picnicking and swimming at the beach. Cannon Beach features the remnants of an early Spanish shipwreck about 100′ offshore; it is found in only about 5′-10′ underwater so it can easily be seen when snorkeling. A 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium graces the visitor center along with nature videos of the area.
There are 39 RV or Tent campsites at Coral Reef State Park and an additional 3 sites which are RV/Trailer only. All of the sites are back-in and range in length up to 58′; full hook-ups and electric are available at all of the sites. Campsite reservations can be made at floridastateparks.com.
Pets are permitted in the campsites but must be kept on a leash at all times. Pets are not allowed on the beaches, tours, rental boats or buildings. Guide dogs for the deaf and blind are welcome in all areas of the park