Camping at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Florida

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Florida is a beautiful place for water enthusiasts. There is snorkeling, fishing, and nature trails that you can explore. You can book a glass bottom boat tour as well as kayaking excursions through the mangroves. This place is great for snorkeling and kayaking because of the beautiful natural reefs that are easily accessible. The reefs are awesome and have many species of fish to view. John Pennekamp has a beach for swimming and a dock where you can fish.

The Visitor Center has a great display of historical maritime exhibits of old artifacts from shipwrecks that were found in the waters near the park.

Our site was very nice. We had site 22. The interesting part of camping in this park is that you can see some interesting critters. Iguanas are all over the Keys. One morning when I was outside having my coffee, I saw this large lizard wandering around the campsite. I didn’t know at the time that iguanas are an invasive species that are not native to Florida. They are a common site. They are not afraid of people. I found them fascinating to watch.  

Iguanas at John PennekampIguanas at campsite next to us at John Pennekamp
roosterRooster hanging around a K-Mart parking lot

As we traveled around the area, we saw roosters and chickens running wild in the parking lots of some of the big box stores.  This particular one was in a K Mart parking lot!

That was pretty funny! I thought they may have gotten loose from a farm, but I was told that they run wild in the Keys!

Because of the park’s location near Key Largo, we were able to see some of the iconic sites that Bogey and Bacall fans experienced in the movie Key Largo.

We also visited the African Queen boat that was in the movie of the same name that starred Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. Another iconic treasure! The boat is located in Key Largo at a dock.

African QueenAfrican Queen exhibit
African Queen exhibitAfrican Queen exhibit
African QueenAfrican Queen boat from movie

There is a lot to see and do in this area. One day we decided to take a drive to Key West, a place I had never been to before. We visited the area and got a picture of the Southern-most point in the US, Mile marker 0. The drive was a couple of hours, but it was worth it so I can see this famous area. The traffic at that time was not too bad. It can be brutal on some days. On the way down, we saw some cute key deer in a neighborhood. We stopped the car so I could take a picture. The deer decided they wanted to check us out, so they came right up to me. I guess they thought I had food!

southernmost point in USMe at Mile Marker 0 in Key West
Key DeerKey Deer

Another day we decided to travel to Islamorada where you can feed tarpon from a dock at a place called Robbie’s of Islamorada. That was fun! They sell a bucket of fish that tourists can use to feed the tarpon. These fish are huge, and they will come up out of the water with their mouths wide open waiting for their meal!!

After I fed the tarpon, we drove around the island and went into the Bass Pro Shop of Islamorada. They have Ernest Hemingway’s boat in the store! We were able to see the boat and get on it to explore it from the deck. That was really interesting! It was the original boat that Ernest Hemingway owned. It was well preserved and very interesting that this piece of history was located in the middle of a Bass Pro Shop!!

Ernest Hemmingway's boatErnest Hemmingway's boat in Bass Pro Shop
TarponTarpon at Robbie's of Islamorada

Key Largo is located near some of the most beautiful places in “old Florida”. This area is considered a historic landmark. I highly recommend visiting this beautiful area and camping at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.