Florida, John Pennekamp State Park

Snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo

On the road again!

Part 2 of our vacation was the Florida Keys. We had a few nights at different Keys, and nights 1 and 2 were in Key Largo. First order of business- snorkeling. Where better to do that than top rated John Pennekamp State Park.


They offer many snorkeling and diving options here. We opted for the 4-hour extended tour. This gave us the opportunity to dive 3 reefs. Morgan and Wade were our guides and they were beyond fantastic. They gave a great brief, offered a snorkel lesson if you needed it and any other help you could imagine. We went to 3 different reefs that day, Dry Rocks, Horseshoe Reef and Banana Reef. The park strictly enforces reef safe sunscreen.  My favorite is Stream2Sea and can be purchased here.

Dry Rocks

Dry Rocks was perfect. Minimal current and we got to see the Christ Statue. The only downfall of this site was that it was so crowded.  The animals were minimal here, the big ticket item was diving down to give the statue a high five.  All the kids did it except the youngest.  She was still a tad nervous

Horseshoe Reef and Banana Reef

The second 2 had some decent current to them that day, but also some decent animals. Horseshoe Reef had a lot of marine life. We saw a very very large grouper, a few reef sharks, rays, barracuda, and tarpon to name a few.

Banana Reef had a really strong current that day. Out of all of us, I am definitely the strongest swimmer and I was struggling. We got pushed pretty far from the boat, as did everyone else. Since this was the last reef, we were all tired. We spent most of our time fighting the current back to the boat. My son was able to keep up pretty well, I had my daughter’s hand and Jim had his daughter’s hand. We swam hard for a good 20 minutes. We were exhausted by the time we got back to the boat. On the bright side, we saw a few Black Tip Reef sharks and barracuda. When we made it to the boat, the captain was calling everyone else back.

Overall, we had a great time and would definitely do it again! The crew was helpful, professional and personable.


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