It's a place of shimmering water, of tropical breezes, of underwater fantasies. It's living rock, and animals that look like plants. It's a statute with its arms raised to they sky, yet still beneath the sea.
Welcome to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in the Florida Keys.
Kingdoms of the Sea
Pennekamp State Park is mostly under the waves, so the big draw is definitely on the watery side. Being the only living coral reef in the United States, Pennekamp is a mecca for divers from all over the world. And what a reef it is! It's a watery kingdom, with thrones of coral and guardian fish patrolling about.
Snorkel and Dive Tours
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park offers both snorkel and dive tours from its dive center. The main reef is about four miles offshore, so you are spirited away in a catamaran for your trip (the Spirit of Pennekamp).
Tours run around two hours of actual water time, and by all accounts they are very much worth it.
Glass Bottom Boats
If you aren't into getting wet but still want to see the reef, how about a glass-bottomed boat tour? You can relax in air-conditioned comfort and discover your own Atlantis.
How about camping, fishing, swimming and canoeing? All this and more can be found at Pennekamp State Park. Come on and visit another world, just beneath the waves.
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Gail Nettles is a Florida native who enjoys showing the Sunshine State to visitors. She also publishes www.great-florida-vacations.com