Renowned for being the country’s first undersea park, John Pennekamp camping encompasses an impressive 70 nautical square miles. While many visitors view the park’s colorful coral reefs and teeming marine life on a glass-bottom boat tour, one can get a closer look by scuba diving or snorkeling. Canoeing and kayaking through the park's waters are popular activities; fishing is permitted in designated areas.
Visitors can also enjoy walking on short trails through tropical hammocks, picnicking or swimming at the beach. The visitor center features several large saltwater aquariums filled with sea creatures, and nature videos are shown in its theater. Full-facility and youth/group campsites are available.
Stars are amazing. Too bad I didn’t get much time at the park. I was running in the Islamorada 10k.
The campground is great! The bath houses are clean and close by. Paved roads are great for bicycle rides. We had iguana visitors each morning. We enjoyed the birds and wildlife.
The beach is less than desired. It’s VERY rocky (bring water shoes) and the beach is covered in a seaweed muck. You have to walk through it to get to the water. If you’re interested in sunbathing, the beach is perfect!
We hope we can find availability again so we can re-visit!
This little park is off of Route 1 ( Overseas Highway ) on the North bound side. The park is decently maintained. There is a boat launch and docks. You can rent boats and scuba equipment. You can also take one of the parks many boat tours.
Great campsite. We were camping in the tent, but still felt a little crowded since Irma took a lot of trees. Don’t let It dIscourage you! reasonable prices, neat and clean facilities, and a couple of nice snorkling spots worth it.
First, I’m reviewing our second trip to John Pennekamp mainly because it was after Hurricane Irma. They lost a lot in the storm, so many trees, the iguanas are gone and the restaurant is still closed do to high water ruining there kitchen. Most of the park amenities are available.
the sites are very close together and it was a bit difficult to get a 40’ fifth wheel in. Fortunately the site across from us was empty so we could utilize that space. To pull forward to get in straight. We found the sites lacking vegetation in between. But, again this was after Irma and they have replanted but it will take years.
Would we go back? Absolutely!
Would not recommend this campground if you are tent camping. It was packed with RVs and the spaces are very close together. Dogs are allowed but there were so many when we went it was difficult to walk our dogs. Great place to snorkel, small beaches, fishing, boat rentals.
Went there and loved it! Our site backed up to a swamp where the ibis were wading all the time. The iguanas were an issue and we had to make sure and put away all our food but they were neat. The tent site didn't offer a lot of privacy but on the island theres really not much room so I wasn't shocked by this. Great bathrooms and laundry facilities. Very neat places to swim and we even tubbed around the offshoots. Beautiful sunrise.
I spent an entire summer here doing dive medicine research and enjoyed all aspects of the area. The camping is awesome although really hot in the summer (think tropical!). There are plenty of amenities, eateries, stores, and nightlife nearby. Plenty of outdoorsy adventure as well.
You can explore the ocean, gulf, and mangroves within only a mile of each other.
You don't have to be a diver to experience the water excitement either. Many of the sites can be seen and enjoyed via snorkeling as well.
I highly recommend Key Largo as a necessary stop for your bucket list and also a kicking off point for further adventures deeper into the Keys.
These sites are an ok size for tents, but they’re separated out and leveled with the broken cocina shell ground cover which makes having a ground tarp essential if you don’t want to end up damaging your tent. There is power and picnic tables, but you might initially be confused as to who’s table is who’s depending on how people before you have arranged things to fit their RVs….or at least we were for a few moments. These sites are right on each other with tiny strips in between to separate them, but that’s about it. The restroom facilities were nicely maintained like most Florida State parks
Stayed at the park a while ago with a friend as we were road tripping down to Key West. Wish we had taken a tour out to the main reef and done some scuba or snorkeling, but we had an amazing time renting a kayak and exploring the coves through the mangroves and doing some snorkeling there. We could swim around with some huge Tarpin which could have cared less about us being in their home.
New paved road in the gated cg. All the sites were narrow for a state park and no plantings for privacy. We were on site 43 with water/electric (50A). The sites are all gravel and ours, along with some others, were not quite level. We used our rubber stall mats and were fine. We had to drive through the day use area (pretty busy) to get to the cg. Very nice Visitor Center with aquarium, marina, couple of swim beaches, and canoe trails amongst the mangroves. Boat tours go out daily to the nearby coral reef for snorkeling. There is also a glass bottom boat that operates from the marina (maybe next time). Cannon Beach, one of the swim areas, is a nice place to practice snorkeling with a planted sunken shipwreck. We could see a few cannons and anchor along with a few fish swimming around.