John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Miami Everglades RV Park is one of the nicest RV parks we have visited. It’s located about an hours drive north of Key Largo.  Years ago, it was a mango and avocado orchard.   The owners converted it to a KOA campground, now owned my Encore.  The sites are rather small, but the trees are huge, providing deep shade.  There is a one mile paved trail bordering the grounds. The round pool is rather unique with a three foot depth edge and a six foot middle.  I’m beginning to understand why RV campgrounds may question the age of your unit when booking a reservation.  Sometimes people stay a very long time, with little regard to appearance.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a Florida State Park located on Key Largo. It includes approximately 70 nautical square miles of adjacent Atlantic Ocean waters. The park is 25 miles in length and extends 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean.  Our dive boat took us to Grecian Rocks Reef.  It had been several years since we snorkeled in very clear water, this was an excellent outing.  Except for the hundreds of bites.

Deb’s Facebook page reads:

Today was a perfect calm sunny day and our last one near the Everglades. The water was too high to take an air boat ride so we opted to head out to Key Largo to John Pennekamp State Park. The snorkeling tour had two cancellations so we signed up and headed out to the reef. I asked our dive master how he liked his job as it seemed glamorous to me and he said that he usually discovers people’s health problems when they jump overboard into the ocean. I declared this would not be an issue this outing in Jesus name and he smiled. The water was very clear and we saw live conch, trunk fish, blue tang, parrotfish, barracuda, and missed the eight-foot bull shark that swam nearby. I was Ok not seeing that. Everyone got safely back on the boat. Thank You Lord!


My experience was:

For us, snorkeling in super clear water has always been a gas.  Salt water is very buoyant and floating is easy.  With fins, a mask, a snorkel, and not much imagination it simulates flying.  You can stay in one spot and check out the ocean floor, and then fan your arms, move ten feet, and the entire view changes.  So simple, so amazing.  We were heading back to the boat, the water was fairly calm, and I was slowly fanning my arms.  Scanning the ocean floor when suddenly my forehead felt like hundreds of ants were biting.  Temple to temple, just above my eyebrows to the top of my head, biting, biting, biting.  I mentioned this to the dive master and he assured me it was because my mask was on too tight. Using my very personal inside voice, “Dahhhh I don’t think so, but OK.”  With thirty some snorkelers on board, I now suspect he did not want to mention jelly fish. The next day, a one-eighth-inch-wide welt crossed my forehead from temple to temple.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park encompasses coral reefs, islands and shoreline mangrove forest in the northern Florida Keys. The reefs and islands are accessible only by boat. This outing was kind of a bust for us.  We did not see Dolphins nor turtles that live in Biscayne Bay Lagoon. We did walk some trails and signed up for a kayak tour.  We were expecting a guided tour through the mangrove’s and get back safely.  Not great expectations, yet cautious.  The tour was to a dam where the guide talked about the mangroves, very little time was actually spent in rented kayaks and paddling back water mangroves.



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