Our next stop on our Florida Keys Adventure was to do some Snorkeling in Key Largo at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
After visiting the lower half of the Florida Keys and Key West we headed north from Marathon, where we found a great waterfront site at the Point of View RV Resort in Key Largo.
Wow, were we surprised! We didn’t think it could get much better than where we had just left at Grassy Key RV Resort in Marathon, FL. Our new site was waterfront and what a view it had. It was a really nice huge site. It was much larger than our site at Grassy Key – we even had room to put our trailer right on our site.
Here is the view we had from inside our rv.
We had very nice beach right in front of our RV.
After relaxing for the day, we broke out the old porta bote and checked out the area from the water in the bay, which was right in front of our RV site. Here is a shot looking back at our RV from the boat. We saw all kinds of things on the water that day!
Tomorrow we head to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo to hopefully do some snorkeling! The park was established in 1963 and was the first undersea park in the United States.
Snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was right up there in our top 10 ‘scratch off the old bucket list’ and was one of our main reasons for visiting Key Largo, FL.
We were always intrigued with the Christ of the Abyss Statue, which sets about 25’ below water. We didn’t think we could go that deep snorkeling, but were hopeful we could go deep enough to get a glimpse of the statue and take some pictures.
You have to take a boat tour to get there. The statue is about six miles east of Key Largo –offshore, near the coral reef called Dry Rocks.
Key Largo Snorkeling Map
If you decide you want to go snorkeling around Key Largo or going out to the coral reefs you’re going to need to take a private snorkeling charter boat out there. Before you book anything, I would definitely check out Groupon Click here for some Discounts on the tours there. All you need to do is type in ‘Key Largo, Florida’under location on the right side and then in the main search bar for things to do – or ‘Boat Tours.’ You’ll get all kinds of discounted tickets.
Unfortunately for us, the water conditions there were too rough on this trip to do any snorkeling or see the Christ of the Abyss statue.
Since we could not go snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, we decided to grab a bite to eat at the Pilot House and drown our sorrows in some cold milk and fish tacos. The food was great!
We decided, instead of going snorkeling out at the coral reefs, we would see if we could book an underwater boat charter out to the reefs and at least check the reefs out – and, we got lucky. They have a boat charter right out of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park; however, they were pretty expensive. We ended up checking out Groupon for some Discounts Click Here we were able to book two tickets for that weekend – and, we saved over 30 bucks. We have saved a lot by checking Groupon first for any kind of tours or things to do in a particular area. Plus, they have some good reviews too.
The charter boat was the ‘Princess of Key Largo’ that departs right out of the park. We had so much fun and we didn’t even get seasick. The boat captain has been doing the charters out to the coral reefs for almost 20 years and was very informative. We were able to go right over reef in about six feet of water and got to see some great coral and all kinds of different fish species. We highly recommended it – especially if you end up like us and you’re not able to go snorkeling due to water conditions. Oh well, we will just have to come back next year.
If you are able to catch some nice weather and are able to go snorkeling, please don’t forget your snorkeling gear. The charter boats can provide the needed gear, but it will probably be pretty bad. You’re always better off bringing your own snorkeling gear, if possible.
Here are some things you don’t want to forget for your snorkeling trip.
When we were packing for the trip I was thinking, “What am I going to need to go snorkeling?” The last time I we went snorkeling was in Hawaii over 15 years ago. Hum, I had a wetsuit, but I had put a few pounds on since then. And I thought ‘even if I could still get it on – what if the darn thing splits open on me?’ Oh, I can’t go there – I’d probably scare all the fish out of the water. Yikes!
I did find my old wetsuit. It was actually pretty expensive one – O’Neill was the brand. And so I thought I would try it on for size – not going to happen! It had a zipper that only went down about half way in the front and I would need to be contortionist to get into the darn thing. Plus, I’d need to drop a few 1,000 lbs. Sooooooooo, on to Amazon where a friend of mine recommended this one made by Henderson Gear. To Check it out, click here.
It fit great. I got the 3x and the full length zipper made it so easy to slip on and off. Plus, the material was really stretchy, unlike my old one which felt like it was made out of sandpaper. I would highly recommend it. You’re going to need one – especially if you’re in the Keys during the wintertime.
I did use my old mask and snorkel (not in Key Largo due to the weather), but on our next stop in Crystal River, Florida where we went snorkeling with the manatees. My mask was a big mistake. I spent more time fussing with it than enjoying the manatees. I think for our next trip I am going to spend the money and get the new full face type with 180 degree view that does not fog up like my old one. It has great reviews and it is a best seller. Check it out here.
Well, my old flippers worked okay. However, I’m really hoping Santa brings me some new ones this year made by Cressi. If don’t have any, or you’re ready to upgrade, these fins will make you fly through the water. I don’t’ personally have them, but I have friends that use them and swear by them. Check them out here.
What would a snorkeling or diving trip to Key Largo be without an underwater camera? We bought a really nice one a couple of years ago – it’s an Olympus TG 1 tough underwater camera. It takes great underwater pictures and movies. Check out some of our shots taken when we went swimming with the Manatees. A new post on Crystal River is coming out after I get this one done.
The only problem we had with the camera at first was the format of the videos. It was in .mov file format and, at the time, the computer I had would not display .mov file thumbnails. So it made it really hard to figure out which movie was which. Since then, I have upgraded my laptop and it is compatible now, so just a reminder to check out the formats of the camera you decide to get.
I can vouch for the toughness of the camera. We have dropped, kicked, and banged ours all around and nothing seems to hurt it and it’s completely waterproof. We have had zero leaks. And again – it takes some really amazing videos.
The new version of our camera that’s out now is the Olympus Tough TG 4.Click here to check it out and read some reviews.
Next stop – heading back north to Marco Island, Florida.
Link to RV Camping Marco Island