You simply can’t plan a trip to the Florida Keys without including John Pennekamp in your itinerary. If you are a new snorkeler or did not bring your gear with you, fear not. Everything from masks, fins and wetsuits are available for rental right at the State Park. As with every snorkeling spot in the Keys, you will not be able to see any coral reef without taking a boat out from shore, but the beaches here provide a nice environment to get adjusted to the water temperature and your gear, while still being able to see several types of marine life.
John Pennekamp snorkeling is best
Done via snorkel boats to the reefs just a short ride off shore. Weather permitting, there are three snorkel boats that leave from shore each day at 9:00 am, 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Depending on the conditions, you can expect to be in the water for a minimum of 1.5 hours while snorkeling via the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park official snorkel boat tours, which are inspected and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The snorkel boat fee ($29.95 for adults, $24.95 for children under 18) is a class teaching the basics of snorkeling when the boats first arrive to the reef. While it is not required, it is a great intro into snorkeling and a great brush-up for anyone who hasn’t been out in a while. One thing that will be made known, weather you take the class or not, is that all reefs are “no touch” because they are categorized as Sanctuary Preservation Areas.
The reefs, located between 4 to 5 miles offshore, can range down from a few feet to 20 feet deep. While you may be able to and tempted to stand at some portions of the reef, it is important to note that it is illegal to stand anywhere while at the reefs and participating in John Pennekamp snorkeling. While on the snorkel boats, the captains have a variety of locations to take you to depending on the day’s conditions. Some of those spots include Grecian Rocks, Banana Reef, White Banks Dry Rocks, Key Largo Dry Rocks and Cannon Patch.
John Pennekamp snorkeling is some of the best in the United States and can’t be missed by anyone who considers themselves an avid snorkeler. Make sure to add this to your bucket list of snorkeling, no matter your skill level!