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.
We stay a night here and there to break up the drive before heading south. The campground has tight spots hardly any privacy but has full hook up. Some sites back up to an area when the tide comes in it has a marsh behind the campers which can attract mosquitos and has a marsh smell so we camp on the other side of the street.
You can drive to the beach in the park and snorkel out to a canon (a replica) there’s a big anchor and reef fish. Take the snorkel trip out to the reefs they are nice and one has a statue Christ of the deep.
Plenty to do around the park , kayak, swim, glass bottom boat tour and more.
Not the campgrounds fault - we took what we could get last minute. Only reason it was less than ideal is we heard the RVs humming all night, smelled of sewage, and the trash pandas were digging in the neighbor RV's trash all night.
Fun wildlife and good spot to stay if you are making your way down the keys.
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.