Scuba Diving at John Pennekamp Park

Brilliant coral reefs, abundant marine life, fantastic wrecks...

Pennekamp Park and the Wonderful Reefs Welcome You Back!!!

As marinas, parks and green spaces reopen in our city, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a fantastic place to come and enjoy the outdoors with the many facilities reopening in stages: the beaches and the boardwalks are open, the kayak rentals and the snorkeling tours have resumed on a limited capacity with more availability being added as it becomes safe to do so.

Monroe County will be closing beaches over the 4th of July weekend. At this time, State Parks have not been asked to close or limit beach access for the upcoming holiday weekend but this may change. Do check out the latest status before you head out. Here's what's happening at the park:

  • Park hours are from 8:00 am until sunset
  • The main concession building is open for retail sales as well as pre-packaged snacks
  • Kayak and Paddleboard rentals have resumed
  • Marina Services have resumed
  • Dive Shop is open for retail sales only. Scuba tours have NOT resumed
  • Snorkeling Tours have resumed on a very limited capacity. Bookings are offered between 3 - 7 days in advance of trips.
  • Glass-bottom boat tours have NOT resumed
  • The restaurant is closed
  • Restroom availability may be limited.
  • Visitors are expected to maintain distances of at least six feet apart and limit group size to 50 or fewer people.

Just a few miles offshore from John Pennekamp lies a fantastic coral reef, the world's third largest, teeming with marine life and vibrant corals, so it is no wonder that diving and snorkeling are two of the park's main activities.

Tropical Fish at Molasses Reef - John Pennekamp Diving

There is a fully equipped PADI 5-star facility at the park which provides boat tours to the reef, gear rental, and scuba instruction.

They frequent some of Key Largo's most popular sites like

These are all relatively shallow sites and ideal for beginners and recently certified divers but also enjoyable for the more experienced divers with lots to see, tons of marine life, schools of fish, endless gardens full of seafans, plumes and sponges...

Diving at John Pennekamp: Beautiful seafans

They also offer trips to some of the deeper wrecks upon request for the more experienced divers and Advanced Open Water certification or higher is necessary.

There is one morning and one afternoon dive trip, both are two-tank, two-location dives. Cost is $75, add $29 for gear if you don't have your own. In addition, you have to pay the park entry fee.

The Dive Shop is conveniently located, after you enter the park, the Visitor Center will be on your left, make a right towards the marina and campground. See the map here.

There is plenty of parking in front of the dive shop and the boats leave from the dock right in front, so no shuttling back and forth to another jetti.

John Pennekamp Dive boat

All sites are in a protected area within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, so be mindful of some basic rules which the staff will point out like not touching or taking anything from the water, live or otherwise.

The John Pennekamp diving tours go to the same sites as the many Key Largo dive shops that operate outside the park, and there are pros and cons when deciding whether to dive with one or the other.

One of the advantages of diving from Pennekamp is the park facilities. You can chill, shower and change, have a bar-b-que or picnic after you are done diving and make it a full day.

The Park is also a good choice if there are non-divers in your group since there is much to do from relaxing at the little beaches, taking a canoe or kayak trip, check out the boardwalks or do the snorkel or glass-bottom boat tour.

If you are choosing a Key Largo dive shop there are many options, some take smaller groups, 6-8 divers for example, and if you prefer, some dive shops offer a dive guide that will go in the water with you.

There is certainly a great variety of services you can choose from. Pennekamp now also offers the option of a Personal or Group in-water guide upon 24-hour request for $40 plus tax. Each additional Diver (guided) is $20 plus tax. Max group size is 6 Divers per guide.

Here's more on Pennekamp vs. Key Largo Shop on our Snorkeling page.

What to Bring?

  • Sun protection
  • Bathing suit
  • Towel
  • Dry change of clothes
  • Drinking water
  • Underwater camera
  • Dive Gear
  • C-Card / Dive Log Book

Diving John Pennekamp: French Reef

John Pennekamp Diving Tours at a Glance

Hours: 9:00am, 1:30pm
Cost: $75 for two-tank dive
Gear Rental if not bringing your own is additional $29
Tanks and Weights are included

More info, reservations and $5 off coupon: www.pennekamppark.com/scuba-tours or call (305) 451-6322.

The Florida Keys Have Reopened! Get In The Water!

John Penekamp Coral Reef State Park

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