Visiting the state of Florida awards you with many exciting opportunities, some that you may never have even imagined. In spite of that, one of the most common activities happens to be snorkeling and diving, which is definitely something that you will want to look into when you get a chance.
That being said, you might want to not only rent a boat in Key West, but also check out John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park – it offers endless possibilities and the ability to enjoy a beautiful underwater world. Today we’re going to take an in depth look at this amazing place which may potentially become your next vacation destination.
A Look at Pennekamp – Your Best Reason to Rent a Boat in Key West
John Pennekamp State Park was first established in 1963, and as a point of interest, it was actually the first undersea park in the United States. It sits next to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and encompasses an area of 178 nautical square miles. Some of the primary attractions in this area include:
- * Coral Reefs
- * Seagrass Beds
- * Mangrove Swamps
An interesting and fun fact about this area is that it actually extends three miles into the Atlantic ocean, and houses the only living coral reef in the continental United States. With that being the case, you can actually find the park on the National Register of Historic places, having been added in April of 1972.
Exploring the park
When you use boat rentals in Key West to explore this amazing place there are actually several very cool things for you to find. There is plenty of tropical vegetation, shore birds, and of course the extensive marine life that you’ll find just below the surface. As always, however, you’re probably coming here to see the coral formations, which the park is more than happy to show off. It’s one of the most diverse underwater marine life communities in the United States and one thing that you’re going to want to scratch off of your bucket list.
If you want to see the coral reef via your own snorkeling expedition, you can actually arrange for an in-water guide, which costs a bit of money but in our opinion is entirely worth it. If you are an experienced snorkeler, you can simply take to the water and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
A Diving Expedition
If you want to take your underwater exploration to the next level, then it would do you some good to consider diving. John Pennekamp State Park is a popular destination for divers all around the world, and there are plenty of reefs and underwater formations for you to explore. If you don’t have the equipment, you can participate in one of the park facilitated diving opportunities. Check the park for times and locations, it might be the best decision that you ever make.
Pitch a Tent and Cast a Line
There are lots of things for you to do in the area if you so desire, one of which is camping. The state park features 47 camping sites for tents or RV’s, along with full amenities that ensure you’ll not only be happy, but also comfortable. If you want to try your hand at fishing, know that there are several designated areas, but you will need to make sure you obtain a saltwater fishing license for every member of your party. Make sure you check with park officials for rules and regulations regarding fishing as certain types are prohibited.
When you rent a boat in Key West shore excursions are most definitely an option and there are tons of things to see. You can Take a walk on the Mangrove and Wild Tamarind trails, and you can even seek a tour guide if you want. You don’t want to miss a single opportunity in this park and it won’t be too long before you’re enjoying what could be the best vacation you’ve ever experienced.
Above and Below the Surface
As a point of interest we’d like to mention that the park features a 30,000 gallon saltwater aquarium along with natural history exhibits detailing the park both above and below water, making it an outstanding educational opportunity if you want to bring the kids.
If you want to drop below the surface, make sure you take a look at the ‘Christ of the Abyss’ exhibit, which is an 8 foot tall statue of Jesus Christ sitting in 25 feet of water. It is the third casting of Cristo Degli Abissi, donated to the Underwater Society of America in 1961.
As you can see, there are lots of things to do, lots of things to see, and a great reason to rent a boat in Key West.