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John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was rated 8 out of 10 based on 44 user reviews. Phone: (305) 451-1202
CGID702

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Camp Information
Sites
47
Date of Stay
March 2014
Latest Rate
$43



Hookups
Electric
yes
50amp
yes
Water
yes
Sewer
yes
Wireless Internet
yes
Cable TV
no
Accommodations
Pull-Thru Sites
no
Big Rig Access
yes
Waterfront Access
no
Shade Trees
yes
Pool Access
no
Pets Allowed
yes
Tents Allowed
yes
Family Friendly
yes
Latest Review Information
Ratings (Last 10 Newest/Oldest)
8   9   8   9   9   10   5   9   1   9   
Clean Restrooms (Last 5 Newest/Oldest)
yes  question  yes  yes  yes  
Clean Showers (Last 5 Newest/Oldest)
yes  question  yes  yes  yes  
Review Rating
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[ 8 / 10 ]
March 2014
$43
Super nice state park. Seems to have a nice beach and walking areas. Dive shop, gift store, aquarium, concession, and WiFi available at both dive and concession shops. Only stayed one night but would definitely return. Nice bathrooms and laundry, too! We camped here in a Motorhome.

Adertisement:
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[ 9 / 10 ]
December 2013
$23
Paid Florida Senior rate which makes for a great value. Sites here vary and are on the tight side but all are fairly level. Electric and sewer hookups were both close, but the water was a shared hookup and on the curb side. We used one hose, but it just reached. TV via batwing was fair, we picked up two networks and a couple of others. But the signal would fade during daylight hours. Verizon cell and broadband both very good. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
July 2013
$38
This is a very nice campground although the sites are very narrow. Avoid site 32. We stayed there during 4th of July weekend 2013 and because it stormed every night we were there, our site had 4 inches of water to walk through at night. It seemed every other site had plenty of gravel and were up higher than site 32. All the rain water ran down directly onto that site. The beaches were beautiful but its the Keys, so expect rocky beaches, not soft sand beaches. Lots of sea grass with very little fish to see unless you snorkel away from the beach. Good for young kids. The kayaking was fun but pricey. Still, overall, its a big campground and the facilities are very clean. The laundry is 1.50 per load which is good compared to other campgrounds I've been too that charge $ 3+ per load. Overall I would recommend this campground to families with young kids or couples. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
June 2013
$38
I really liked this park and would definitely come again. The sites were gravel but roomy. They did slope downward to help with run off but it was harder to level. The bathrooms were very nice. The showers were large and clean. There was a ton of things to do at the park including a a glass bottom boat ride. If you have bad cat allergies, be careful. There are feral cats everywhere and people have fed them so they come up to the sites. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
October 2012
$43
Our second stay at this camp ground. We came only 2 days after they re-opened the camp ground after a serious overhaul. Now the roads are paved, the sites have full hook-ups, and bathrooms have been re-done. It was again a real pleasure the stay here, only now even better. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 10 / 10 ]
October 2012
$43
This is an excellent campground. There is a wonderful free aquarium here. The bathroom/showers are super clean and the campsites are very nice. We did not find them too narrow as some others have. We'd definitely stay here again. The rangers were nice too. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 5 / 10 ]
April 2012
$43
Pretty basic, no frills State Park that has been well used and not well maintained, after all the wonderful State Parks we have stayed in this was a big disappointment. Everywhere looked dirty and uncared for, the staff and hosts did a minimal job with little enthusiasm. Full hook ups, 50amp, paved road, access okay, gravel pad, back in, big rig access, some space around the RV but no privacy, a few shade tress, no view, picnic table, grill, no WiFi, Publix/Winn Dixie close by, lots of restaurants, security gate both day and night, noisy, bathrooms okay. We were here for the glass bottom boat tour and thought it would be convenient to stay close by in the Park, we were sorry we did, and would never stay here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
March 2012
$35
This is a real nice FL State park. I would have rated it a 10 but the sites are just a little narrow. We are on site 4, and have a well placed fig tree that provides some great afternoon shade. Power and water are great, and sewer connections a real bonus. Dump station just outside campground gate. The park itself closes to the public at sunset and opens again at about 830 am...so you have the evening and early mornings to yourself at the beaches. Front gate locks overnight and campground has additional code operated gate. Good security. Price quoted was a guess from memory. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 1 / 10 ]
February 2012
$45
Never ever will we return to this campground. An extremely loud music plays all day long and barely stops at night. If you're planning a vacation to get a rest, that's definitely not the place. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
February 2012
$43
Probably the quietest campground in the Keys - far back from US1 and wooded. Sites 47-24 have shade in the PM, another rarity for the Keys. Only issue is not much screening between sites, otherwise a sublime experience! We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
January 2012
$38
Great park if you can get in. I made my reservations 11 months in advance and it took me a week to get in. Lots to do in the park-snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, boating, biking and hiking. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
January 2012
$43
They have redone the campground so there is now full hook-up; wide, level sites; and a double wide access road which made it easy to back-in. Our site had some trees around it for privacy. Good laundry facilities. Close to the marina and glass bottom boat tours. Like all of the state parks on the Keys, the reservations for this campground fill-up a year ahead of time. We kept checking the Reserve America site until there were cancellations. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 4 / 10 ]
December 2011
$43
All sites have E/W/S, a BBQ grill and picnic table. Sites are extremely narrow (average width = 16 feet) and not very deep. Laundry (wash and dry = $1.50 each), free Wi-Fi at the rear of concession store. There is a small beach, canoe and kayak rentals are available and there is an on-site dive shop and snorkeling tours are available. This is a small park so the biking and walking opportunities are limited. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
December 2011
$43
We stayed here for a nice boat tour. The site we got was tight as announced, but level. The access was ok. This park is quiet. The value for money is just ok. The price should include cable TV or Wi-Fi. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
December 2011
$23
Rate is FL senior rate, the 9 is value, $23 with taxes included on Key Largo in December, that is a bargain. It is a great State Park. I can't add much to prior reviews other than to agree with most of them. Beware D'Hookers Seafood across and just down US-1. It is way over priced, fish and chips was potato chips right out of a bag. $13 bucks for 4 little pieces of fish and potato chips!!! Real fries could be ordered as an extra!!! Take a ride to Alabama Jacks for good seafood. It was worth the ride. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 5 / 10 ]
November 2011
$38
We were really excited about camping here and it was a bit of a let down. First, we were disappointed by the staff for the most part. Some were blatantly rude but for the most part, they just seemed indifferent. This includes those at the ranger station, the dive shop and the snorkel check in. We were on site 25 which offered zero privacy. There were no trees between our site and our neighbors. The bathrooms were well kept by the hosts who we got a chance to chat with. They were very nice people. Although there are activities available such as snorkeling, it's somewhat pricey. The beach leaves much to be desired. We had a hard time justifying the $38 a night considering the lack of privacy and lack of anything to do that didn't cost more money. The no see ems were horrible which we expected from seeing other reviews. The positive was it's very quiet. Overall, not horrible but nothing that will bring us back. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
October 2011
$23
There is lots to see and do at this park. Swimming, bike riding, walking the trails and board walks. Snorkeling, diving from the beach or off boats. You can rent Kayaks to 20 something foot out boards. They also run dive and snorkeling boats and also have a glass bottom boat that goes out to the reef three times a day weather permitting. It is a good way to see the reef if not into diving or snorkeling. It is twenty five dollars and well worth the price for a two hour and fifteen minute trip. There is free Wi-Fi at the gift shop that also has snacks and sells the tickets for the boats. The dive shop has free Wi-Fi. There is also and aquarium that is free. The rangers here are the best and make you feel like they are glad you came to there park. They do keep a good eye on the campground and you will see the often riding through the campground. There is a code to drive in to campground day and night and that is good as there are a lot of day visitors to this park. The not so good is the Camp sites are smaller than most state parks but full hook ups and level. You may or may not have your water hook up on the wrong side of your RV as they are shared between camp sites. There is nothing that will block the view between your sight and the one next to you. We will go back. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 7 / 10 ]
October 2011
$43
Nice surprise was the free internet service at the marina. And we heard was also available at the convenience store area. Laundry available at the main rest room area for $1.50 a washer load. We had to pay 4 bucks a load at the only laundromat in Marathon while at Curry Hammock. Wish they had washer and dryers and Wi-Fi here. Yes, sites are tight and some you will have trouble with a choice of use of awning or slides. Weekends are full of loud tent campers, but during the week it is quiet. Rained the whole time we were here for the 3 nights, but had a nice time on the snorkel boat the first day. Make sure you let the desk clerk know you are campers, and will get a $3.00 a person discount. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 6 / 10 ]
October 2011
$36
The overall park is pretty nice. There is plenty to do if you are a sun lover and a water lover. The park has some marsh areas and there were a lot of mosquitoes, especially during the evening and early morning hours. The campsites are made of crushed rock and the sites are pretty tight. There are large limestone boulders guarding the entrance to each campsite. You will need to exercise much caution when backing into your site. The water spigot pedestals are shared. In some sites it will be on the normal (drivers side) and on others it will be on the passenger side. Make sure you have 50' of water hose. Electric service and sewer connections are on the normal (drivers side) of the sites. Satellite service is not possible for some sites. We stayed here 5 days. Verizon aircard service was very good, and we had no problems with cell phones. There is a picnic table and BBQ grill on each site. No campfires are permitted. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
September 2011
$43
Our first camping trip in our new camper. We found this a very nice state park. We arrived mid-week so not very busy, but full by Saturday morning. The beach was not that great. It is okay for sunning, but not swimming. The glass bottom boat trip is amazing and worth the $25 per person fee. All in all, very nice place to camp other than no WiFi at campsites, which we were under the impression there was. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
July 2011
$38
Wonderful diving and snorkeling, and a great park for the money. Ours did have 50A, but some were complaining about only 30A electricity. The sites were clean and well taken care of. The water access is the best and that is what we came for. Great State Park. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 6 / 10 ]
June 2011
$23
This campground has just been significantly improved. A wide drive in, new showers, sewer hookups. It does however lack key elements for RVer's. Sites are narrow and sewer connection at the site is practically in the next site's front door. Avoid sites 32 and 33 which are only one car wide at the front. Sites are marked with large pieces of coral, some 3 ft high and four ft wide, which restrict maneuvering. Big rigs should look carefully at sites 34 and up, which are wider. The park itself offers so much in recreation and education about the reefs. Fishing snorkeling, glass bottom boats are within easy walking distance. Outside the park there are lots of restaurants and services. Inside the park we were unable to get any TV stations on the antenna, although phone and computer were satisfactory. We will try another park next time. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
June 2011
$58
Beautiful park, lots of trees and trails to explore. We were here during the week. Sites turn over fast. Site 39 had a concrete pad and walkway: very nice. The rangers were very friendly. We rode bikes about a mile down route 1 to Kmart/Publix plaza. Several restaurants close by. NO local TV channels at all. Internet access at the dive shop or concession stand only. Fishing from shore only in designated areas: not too great. You can camp here without a car and enjoy. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 10 / 10 ]
May 2011
$43
This is an excellent destination campground with plenty to do and see. Snorkeling, kayaking, boating, (boat rentals), swimming, bike riding to name a few. Some very good restaurants nearby within walking or biking distance. The sites have full hook-ups, although the State Park Web Site only mentions water and electric. Sites are level, gravel, some shaded, and I felt spacious for a four slide fifth wheel, plenty of maneuvering room getting in and out. New picnic tables are a nice touch. One thing of note, the sites have a dual water outlet positioned to serve two sites, so if you are on a site where the water hook up is on your curb side, you'll need more than a 25 foot hose. Sewer and electric are close together about mid way down the site like most places. We'll be back. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.

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[ 7 / 10 ]
April 2011
$50
Convenient on the way home from Key West. Small park, but lots to do. Gravel pads that would be called tight anywhere else. That said, it's quiet and easy in. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
April 2011
$43
Wonderful State Park, with decent RV facilities fairly close to the water (but no waterviews). Lovely kayaking trails through the mangroves, and a terrific experience snorkeling off the only natural coral reef in the continental US. There's also beach snorkeling, where you can see a sunken Spanish ship and its cannons less than 50 feet offshore. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 10 / 10 ]
March 2011
$39
Great park, reserve early! Beaches, boating, snorkeling, boat trips. Clean restrooms/showers. Would have liked to stay longer, but full. Convenient to stores and restaurants, 100 mile drive to Key West where you really don't want to be pulling a trailer. Would stay here again for more than 3 days. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
February 2011
$43
Park was kept very clean. Camp sites are rather tight, If you have your slide outs out, you could not open your awning. Great place to go snorkeling. We were lucky to get in as they opened early after doing all the renovations. We would camp here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
February 2011
$38
This campground has been upgraded to full hookup, new roads and nice roomy sites. The Aquarium just recently reopened, nice marina, boat ramp and rentals, glass bottom boat and snorkeling trips, hiking trails. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 10 / 10 ]
February 2011
$38
We lucked out! They just renovated the park and opened early so we got a site! They now have full hook up. The park is wonderful! The only challenge is getting a reservation. We are going back if we can get a site. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.

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[ 7 / 10 ]
May 2010
$43
Park very well kept. Park personnel very friendly. Spaces are rather tight for 40' RV with slide outs. Recommend glass bottom boat tour as well as snorkeling tour. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 6 / 10 ]
January 2010
$26
This is a decent state park in the Keys but does need some serious updating. Many of the sites are narrow due to plant overgrowth. The right side of the campground as you pull in has a marsh area that borders the sites. A perfect breeding ground for no-see-ums and mosquito's. The boating in the area is great. Many small channels in the "Mangrove" trees for kayaks. One disgusting element was the boat launch. The recent freezing weather caused several fish to die. Not the fault of the campground, but no effort was made to remove any of the dead rotting fish from the launch area. I nearly slipped and fell while pulling the boat out on half a dead rotting fish. There are 2 washers and dryers available. Another camper in the park told us that this location will not be available next year as it is scheduled to be updated, including sewer hook ups. I hope so, it needs it. I would stay here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 7 / 10 ]
January 2009
$31
We stayed here for a night on the way south in the Keys. The campground is average, and the sites can be on the tight side, especially if you have slides on both sides of your rig. The sites are gravel and dirt. It is not as manicured as some of the state parks that we have stayed in the area. The visitor center is fantastic with several large aquariums displaying several kinds of local sea life. A boat launch and a rental dive boat is also available. Given the price for staying at most places in the Keys, this park was a steal. I would stay here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
January 2009
$27
With all the accolades bestowed upon this park we were set up for a disappointment, but as it turns out this was a fantastic place to stay, even on a crowded New Years holiday week. The campground itself is good, but not great. It lacks a sewer connection (there is a dump station – but they have strict blue boy rules), as well as Wi-Fi, laundry, and privacy between sites. On the positive side, it is small at under 50 sites (and getting a spot here via reservations is difficult), being a state park it is a fraction of the cost of the private camps on the Keys, it does have shower facilities, and many sites have 50 amps as well as water. Sites are along one row, each site backing into dense tropical forest (though satellite worked fine for us). One of the rows has a small murky pond beyond the trees, which I don’t consider ‘waterfront’ as one of the campground guides described. After three days here, I am still not sure if pets are allowed. I’ve seen it written as both ways, and have not seen any pets. I don’t see why they wouldn’t be allowed, however, since there is a paucity of wildlife in this park. There were plenty of Ibis birds, who come begging for food, and are beautiful to watch, but that’s about it. This park is the main attraction on Key Largo, so staying here gives one an advantage because the park is so overrun with day use visitors from Miami that there are typically long lines to get in via the single entrance kiosk, and after lots fill, they close it off. If you are camping here you have to wait in the same long lines, so we only returned to the park in the late afternoons to avoid the lines. The coral reef that is the park’s main purpose is located about 7 miles offshore in open ocean, and without your own boat (there is a boat launch, $10) you must take either a snorkeling tour or a glass bottom boat tour to get there, each lasting about 2.5 hours and costing around $25. Private tour boats leave from other areas of Key Largo. We took the park’s glass bottom boat option, and thoroughly enjoyed the fully narrated tour. The boat meanders slowly through the shallow mangrove channels adjacent to the main park area, then zips across the open ocean to the same reef site where snorkelers and divers head to. The docent describes the abundant sea life display seen through the glass bottom for a good half hour, which is long enough that those with sensitive constitutions should take Dramamine before leaving. It is sold on board. Our boat was full and we had to squeeze in to see anything, although we were impressed with the show that included barracuda. Advance reservations are recommended. There are also canoe trails through the mangroves next to the main part of the park, and you can rent a kayak or canoe for $12/hour (plenty of time to do the whole trail). It was fun to canoe the winding trails, avoiding being entangled by mangroves in some areas, but we did not see any wildlife except for a few fish. The mangroves are not even preferred by alligators since there is no muddy bank; the highly protected mangroves have a unique above ground root system in the salt water environment. The only place to snorkel in the park without taking a boat is a small sandy beach near the visitors center, where there are smaller fish darting through the sea grass and a re-created shipwreck to gawk at 100 feet out. The beach (good for children/novice snorkelers) was completely packed when we were there, although the swimming area was more sparsely used, perhaps indicating chilly water. The small food concession had surprisingly good and reasonably priced breakfast and lunch items. There is a bike trail adjacent to Hwy 1, so you can ride to shopping centers and some restaurants within 1-2 miles. I would stay here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 7 / 10 ]
July 2008
$39
Camped in the middle of July and it was extremely hot with no breezes because of all the trees. The mosquitoes were really really bad even with bug spray. The park was nice for a state park. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
May 2008
$27
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, Florida $26 plus taxes The last time we camped here was close to 18 years ago and it was raining, cold and windy. We stopped for an overnighter in May this time and there was a nice breeze, sun and clear skies. The camp sites are ok not as nice as some of the other ones in the keys and none on the ocean but the rest of the park is great. Mangrove trails, boating, scuba tours and snorkeling tours. A visitor center with all types of fish, information and movie. Three beaches and at Cannon Beach a Spanish ship was sunk for a coral reef. You can see tons of fish and old cannons there – we had a great day snorkeling. The last time we were there my oldest daughter about 10 at the time and I went out on the snorkeling tour and there was a storm – it was tough snorkeling and the boat swung around and almost hit us on the head so this time my husband and I stayed closer to shore and it was great. Beautiful weather and a great place to camp. What was interesting though we just spent a week in the Keys camping – Bahia Honda, Curry Hammock, Long Key and John Pennicamp is the only one that had a campground full sign out and it was full yet if you make reservations it is easier to get into this campground than the other three. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
April 2008
$31
Location and price combine to make this an excellent choice for the Florida Keys. The sites we chose had enough room for 2 35ft motorhomes with slides on both sides to open and put out the awnings. We chose the campground because it is at the base of the Keys, and to enjoy the coral reef. It was incredibly convenient to walk to the snorkel tour and glass bottom boat tour. The coral reef tour is a must see. Since this is one of the few places to visit a Coral Reef in the continental US, please take advantage of it. The showers were clean and washers and dryers were located at the bath house. There were two young men using their computers while doing laundry. Besides the snorkel tours, you can boat,kayak, dive or swim at the park. So if you like watersports this is a great spot. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
November 2007
$30
Pennekamp is a fantastic park if you enjoy water sports are aren't looking for a RV resort type place. This is a State Park not an resort. With that being said..what a great place with so many activities to keep you busy. We camped here for 4 days and are looking forward to returning. Sites are deep and not all that wide but still plenty of room. The park is close to all your needs. Pubs,places to eat and shopping/supplies. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 2 / 10 ]
March 2007
$23
Beautiful park and facilities except for the camping area. The campsites are on dirty dusty roads, everytime a vehicle goes by your in a cloud of dust. I was on the main road in the camping area. For such a nice park they should have planned the camping area better. I was booked for 5 nights and left after 1. Went next door to Key Largo Kampground and Marina which is my usual place to stay in Key Largo. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
March 2007
$27
We like to camp at state parks and at up-scale RV resorts. And this state park is now one of our favorites. We have already made reservations for April of 08. The sites are not wide but some are very deep, and we had no problem backing our 30-foot Class A in and leaving my motorcycle trailer attached. For the price, this is the one of the best deals in a camp site the Florida Keys’ has to offer. Amenities include: Very clean bathrooms and shows, 50 amp hookups, good water pressure, space to leave a boat in the water, two nice beaches, bike paths, tour boats leaving the park for the reef. The only set back is there is no sewage hookup. And bring a couple DVD with ya… Not much TV reception. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 3 / 10 ]
March 2007
$26
We were very disappointed in this park. The sites were very close together and very short; there was no room for the table beside our trailer and barely room in the rear. It is a good location for visiting the Everglades, and if you are into boating and scuba diving you would probably be happy here. We would not come back. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
December 2006
$26
Stayed here 3 times, 1 week each, over the past several years. Clean, quite, secure (there's a gate that is closed after hours, they give you the combo to get in). Nice visitor center with large aquarium containing various fish and sharks. Pet's were allowed in the park this year, which must be a new policy. Snorkeling and scuba diving tours are available right from the park, at a slightly lower rate than the private operators on Key Largo. However, I'm sure the boats are packed during peak periods. I dove 3 days with the on site scuba shop this past trip. Nice sized catamaran with head. Each trip was about half full, which was nice, would have been a nightmare if full. I recommend Quiesence if you want small boat diving with personal attention. Cons: bugs bugs bugs. Mosquito's and noseeums are so bad, you can't be outside, especially at dusk. I had ant infestations in the RV each time I've been there. Good luck getting in without a reservation during the busy seasons. Some sites can be pretty tight for big rigs. All that said, it's a great value in the keys. I'll be back for 3 weeks next year. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 3 / 10 ]
August 2006
$35
While this park is widely known for the coral reef, it could (with a bit of work) also be known for being a nice place to stay. At the present time, however, this is not the case. The sites are VERY small, the shore power is volatile (it dropped to almost 107v and we had to fire up the generator), the water pressure is low (gauged it at 37) and the "famous coral reef" was a disappointment (at $30 per person, a snorkeling excursion to the "famous reef" yielded little more than a view of brown rocks amid grass and sand). All in all, it's not a very good place to camp. Try Bahia Honda State Park or Curry Hammock State Park instead - both are nearby and a LOT less crowded (and you'll also save $30 on a lame snorkeling tour). We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
2003
$19
The park has a lot to offer with nature trails, snorkeling, visitor center to name a few. Our site was located next to a stream and we enjoyed watching the snowy eggrets. We camped here in a Tent.
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