Snorkeling at John Pennekamp

Published: 08/26/14 3:36 PM in North America, State, Travel.
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In order to escape the heat of the summer and the city of Miami for the day, Kevin and I made the hour drive south to the Keys for a morning of snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Living in Miami can become a little too saturated in the urban vibes of a cultural city center. So it becomes important to escape the highways and traffic that make up daily life in a big, sprawling city and explore the outskirts where the landscape is less tame and the way of life is significantly more relaxed.

Kevin and I feel this urge to escape almost daily since city life weighs down on us more heavily than the typical Miami inhabitants. This is why finding simple day trips out of the city is extremely important to our overall happiness and peace of mind. Usually we escape west for the day to the Everglades National Park or Big Cypress National Preserve. This time we decided to head down south to the Keys and get into the water to re-familiarize ourselves with the best part of South Florida, the endless world under the sea.


Check out the video below for a brief look at our time snorkeling in the Grecian Rocks Reef!


Early Morning Snorkeling in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

To take part in this snorkeling adventure, we had to arrive at John Pennekamp right when they opened at 8:00am. We planned ahead enough to make reservations for the morning boat so we were able to board the earliest boat out to the reef. Even though the park had just opened, there were a lot of people already there to claim their spot on a boat or on the beach.

We did the shorter trip out so our entire time out on the water was 2 1/2 hours with one stop at a reef. Typically this tour out takes you to the location of the Christ of the Abyss so that you can snorkel and free dive around the picturesque statue. However the water was much too choppy for snorkeling in this area so we were taken to the Grecian Rocks.

Baby fish seen under water while snorkeling in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

The swallow Grecian Rocks reef at low tide in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.


Although the Grecian Rocks were shallow, it certainly didn’t effect the amount of wildlife there was to see around the coral. Various different species of fish were out in abundance! And, although we were not lucky enough to see it, a young sea turtle was even hanging about the lush underwater landscape.


Kevin Banogon snorkels above the shallow reef at the Grecian Rocks off the coast of John Pennekamp.

The Grecian Rocks are teeming with life as larger fish brave the more open water.

A large chunk of coral stands alone in the shallow water of the Grecian Rocks.


Snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is pretty much a guarantee of a good time. The coral reef is beautiful and it is an excellent way to escape the heat while adventuring outside. This made for an excellent day trip out of the hustle and bustle of the City of Miami that Kevin and I are keen to do again!


Kevin Banogon gets ready to snorkel off the coast of John Pennekamp at the Grecian Rocks Reef.

Tourist get ready to dive into the water off the coast of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Meredith Lambert and Kevin Banogon enjoyed their time snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

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