Back FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park - Key Largo, Florida Keys

Glass Bottom and Snorkel Information: (305) 451-6300
Dive Boat Tour Information: (305) 451-6322 or 877-PARK DIVE (877-727-5348)
General Information: (305) 676-3777 (Front Gate)
Camping Information: (800) 326-3521
Group Tour Reservations (20+ people): (305) 451-6316
Boat Slips & Mooring Rates: (305) 451-6325

Does the park accommodate individuals with disabilities?

Pennekamp's park programs are at various states of accessibility to disabled visitors.

  • "Encounter", our wheelchair-friendly snorkeling vessel, features wheelchair tie-downs as well as an oversized marine head (restroom).
  • Our Glassbottom tours are accessible to those in wheelchairs, however the vessel does not have oversized marine heads (restrooms).
  • We are working to make our snorkeling and scuba tours even more wheelchair-friendly, bur currently our disabled-persons policy is as follows: The disabled individual must be able to get in and out of the water on their own, or with the assistance of their accompanied helpers. The Captain of the vessel has the authority to prohibit any passenger from getting into the water, if he feels the sea conditions are not conducive to safe swimming.
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is in constant effort to improve accessibility to programs and facilities for persons with disabilities of all types. For requests of special accommodations, please contact the park as far ahead of your scheduled visit as possible so that we may see to your particular needs.

What are the park hours?

The park is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until sunset. All park buildings including the Concession Building and Visitor Center are open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Do I have to pay a park entrance fee?

All visitors are required to pay an entrance fee:
$8.00* per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
$2.00* Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
$4.00* Single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle.
*Plus $.50 per person Monroe County Surcharge.

Do we need reservations?

Reservations are recommended, especially during holidays. All reservations need to be made online, click here to book now! For the most up-to-date info call (305) 451-6300.

How do we get there?

From Miami, Florida, take Florida's Turnpike south to US 1. Take US 1 to Key Largo. Look for the State Park entrance on your left at Mile Marker 102.5.
Click here to see a map!

What's the weather going to be like?

Click here and find out!

Will I get seasick on the boat tours?

Every effort is made to make your boat trip as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. However, no one can control Mother Nature, and at times sea conditions may be less than ideal. Only you know what your tolerance and that of your children is to motion sickness. You may want to come prepared (wristbands, etc.) or Dramamine may be purchased from our gift shop.

How deep are the reefs? How far offshore are they?

The reefs are located between 3 and 8 miles offshore off the coast of the Florida Keys. Snorkeling tours will typically go to one of the inner reefs. These areas are protected and are shallow; average depth ranges from 5 to 15 feet. The glass bottom boat tour takes you to Molasses Reef which is further offshore, about 6.5 miles; average depth is about 10 to 30 feet. Scuba Tour Depths range from 30 to 45 feet.

Is there an age limit for snorkeling?

Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. We do require that everyone, regardless of age, be able to swim if they are going snorkeling on our tours.

What do I need to bring on the snorkeling tour?

The most important thing to bring is an ability to swim. The crew conducts a "how to snorkel" class on the boat for those who have never snorkeled, but you do need to be able to swim. We provide you with a safety vest (Our Insurance companies require them to be worn at all times in the water) and you can rent mask, snorkel, and fins or use your own. If you do rent our equipment, you will be asked to leave a nominal security deposit. Wetsuits are recommended when the water temperature dips below 78 degrees F (25 degrees C) -- you can rent these, too. You will want to bring: bathing suit, towel, sunscreen, and maybe a dry change of clothes.

Does anyone get in the water with you on snorkeling tours?

Each boat is crewed by a captain and first mate who is a certified Divemaster. Crew members do not act as guides in the water but do conduct "how to snorkel" lessons on the boat.

Are we going to see a shark?

Chances are pretty slim that you'll see a shark while snorkeling at the reef. They are nocturnal, active mostly at night.

Can we walk or swim out to the reef?

The reef lies between 3 and 8 miles off the Florida Keys. Unless you're an exceptional swimmer, you'll have to take a boat to see the reefs.

Does the boat stay at the reef?

During the 1 - 1½ hours at the reef, the boat remains moored there so you can get on or off the boat at will.

Will we see the statue?

The “Christ of the Deep’ statue is located at Key Largo Dry Rocks Reef, one of several locations we visit. The Captain will chose the location based on the following criteria: weather permitting, sea conditions and available parking. No glass bottom boat tours go to see the statue; the area is too shallow..

Is there a place to shower once I've come back from snorkeling?

Located adjacent to the dock is a complete bath house facility with restroom, changing area, and outdoor showers. Other showers are located on the dock and next to the dive shop.

How long does it take to get to Key West?

Key West is approximately 100 miles from Key Largo and takes roughly 2 1/2 hours to travel.

Where can we stay?

Click a link below to find out more about local accommodations around John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park:

Can we take animals in the park? On the boats?

Pets are not allowed on beaches, on tour or rental boats, or in any buildings and may be restricted in other designated areas. Where pets are allowed, they must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and be well-behaved at all times. Guide dogs for the deaf and blind are welcome in all areas of the park.

Is private boat dockage or mooring available?

Dock space with electric and water hook-up is available for private boats. Moorings are also available.

For more information and rates call (305) 451-6325. General Email / Inquiries