Florida – Coral Reef State Park

by Terri | January 12th, 2011

At mile marker 102.5 lies the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in the Florida Keys. Fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, snorkeling, scuba tours are just a few of the variety of stuff to do here. I have to tell you that this place is full of rich history. It was the first undersea park created in the whole USA. It encompasses 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps along with the National Marine Sanctuary. The reason this park was established was to protect the only living coral reef in the United States.

check out this video done by akatex1964 on you tube. It’s from a dive where the famous Christ of the Abyss lies.

Most visitors probably aren’t too concerned with the “why” of having a coral reef, but more in how they are going to see it! That’s why the Spirit of Pennekamp, the glass bottom boat is so popular. For about $25.00 in 2010, you can take a 2 and a half ride on the glass bottom boat to some of the most shallow reefs in the marine sanctuary. Here’s a link for a coupon for a few dollars off so before you go, print out the coupon, it doesn’t have an expiration date.

You can rent a power boat at a price and then there is the more serene way to get around on a canoe or kayak. These are all available there at a cost. They have scuba tours with very famous people coming to test the waters of this state park in Florida. I didn’t realize it was so famous!

There is also three beaches to go swimming and the one place is called Canon Beach. This is so cool that you can see the remnants of an early Spanish Shipwreck that lies about 100 feet offshore.

If you want to fish you can only do that in designated places and you do need a saltwater fishing license.

If you are a camper they do have about 47 full camping sites with restrooms and hot showers.  I couldn’t get the prices for you as you may have to call Reserve America. Try this number, 1-800-326-3521 to ask  for more information.

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