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“Family Recharge”

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John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds
Certificate of Excellence
Mauldin, South Carolina
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Family Recharge”
Reviewed 19 March 2013

We chose John Pennekamp for the water activities and were not disapppointed. The weather was a little colder than normal, but we had a great time regardless. The dive shop staff was great as we explained it was our first ocean dive. They told us to wait because of the weather, (the surf was a bit choppy) and it payed off, we had 2 fantastic dives at Molasses Reef. The crew was very knowledgable and enthusicastic, and very paitent with me as I was nervous. I was also able to snorkle and highly recommend it. We also took the glass bottom boat tour in the morning to avoid a crowed boat and the staff there was equally as knowledgeable and very enthusiastic. Well worth the trip. Not to mention the kayaking, which we also did.
We stayed at the campground and enjoyed it very much. Someone else pointed out the road noise, yes you do hear it, but we were so tired from enjoying the fresh air and sun, we slept like rocks. Another camper pointed out the bike path outside the campground and it was a great ride. If you're going to just hang out on the beach remember its the Keys, I don't think beaches is what they're known for. We did spend the afternoon hanging out on Cannon Beach and saw a Manatee. My family and I had a great expierence and recommend it.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Tina-was-here
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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159 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
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English first
NY
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2013

The boat tour was amazing loved seeing the coral reef staff was friendly. Aquarium was very interesting as well. The beach was gross it had slimey leaves and things washed up onto it, smelled of rotting dead fish, no sand just dead coral, the sea grass made it impossible to swim, no lifeguards and beach patrons were just as bad. Young children screaming obscenities and couples practically having sex on beach and in water. Definitely not family orientated,avoid the beach and the rest of the things the park has to offer are worth the pricey entrance fees.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
4 Thank loveydove1113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saint Pete Beach, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 February 2013

My boyfriend and I planned a day trip to Key Largo, and after reading the reviews, decided to do the glass bottom boat tour at the state park. I am so glad we did! At first it seemed a little pricey, but it was well worth it after the experience. The two girls that narrate the trip were very knowledgeable and the Captain was amazing at steering the boat so everyone got a chance to see everything. We were able to see just a ton of amazing fish, a 4'-5' stingray, a shark, 1000 yr old coral, parts of a shipwreck, and more things than I can describe in 200 characters. The water was too cold for a snorkeling trip, but this was a great alternative. Not too crowded either as there were two viewing areas in the boat with upper and lower seating. We were between the windows and the odd numbered viewing side. The girl describing everything could say where a fish was and the captain upstairs could maneuver the boat so we could see it. Just truly a wonderful experience! Next time we come down, we're going to go canoeing and hopefully take advantage of the snorkeling trip!

Room Tip: Get a spot between the windows and the viewing area. That way no one walks behind you and there is...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Star M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 January 2013 via mobile

We found this glass bottomed boat tour on the Internet, it was on our way home, the times were right so we gave it a try, it is really necessary to call for reservations and get there early, like at least an hour early. The boat was nice, the crew was fabulous but they put way too many people on the boat, like 135. It was so crowded that it was hard to find a seat any where and when we got onto the reef unless you were in the theater seats we had trouble seeing the glass windows. We would gladly paid $5 more per person to be able to see. If you do get the lower theater seats, please be considerate of those above you and keep your head behind the rope.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
6 Thank Janet C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 December 2012

Well run RV campground, with a helpful/friendly staff, clean rest rooms/showers, modern hook-ups, inexpensive rates and considerate fellow-campers.

On the other hand, be aware of the following points:
(1) this ain't Kansas, so bring/use the DEET or else make a significant blood donation to the local indigenous population;
(2) this ain't Miami, so don't expect sandy beaches and soft soil in the camp grounds. All of Florida does not have the same environment...
(3) this is a fantastic location for taking advantage of the Park's attractions, dive trips, glass-bottom boat excursions; and,
(4) if you think you're arriving late with a reservation, call ahead for the front gate 'combination'.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank hessrick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bolingbrook, Illinois
Level Contributor
267 reviews
91 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 564 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 December 2012

Clean, convenient and very much like camping in a parking lot unless you get the group site. Tucked away, green, picnic tables, fire pit, beach and short trails nearby. Near the highway so you'll hear some road noise. The group site offers one of the better tent camping choices in the keys. Not as good as Long Key, Bahia Honda, or Dry Tortugas National Park, but OK.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank HemisphereRambler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
86 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2012 via mobile

The campsites are TINY, there is very little foliage between the campsites, and the gravel is vicious. If they were going to rock all the campsites, they could have at least used smaller pea gravel instead of the sharp, rocky crap that POKED A HOLE IN OUR AIR MATTRESS THROUGH THE TENT FLOOR. We had to wear flip flops inside the tent and/or use our sleeping bags as padding to walk on. It's THAT bad. We have bruises on our legs from sitting on the rocks. Ridiculous. There are two group tent areas that were not used the entire time we were there, and they refused to let us move there where the ground was grass/dirt/more humane gravel. If you're in an RV, fine. You'll love it. Now I know why we were one of only 2-3 tent campsites out of 47. It looks more like tailgating than camping. Since the water was rough there were no snorkel or glass bottom boat excursions being booked. Not the parks fault, better to err on the side of caution. The staff was friendly, even when they're being uncooperative. The restrooms, showers, and grounds are all extremely clean. Very dog friendly. The raccoons are abundant and refuse to take "no" for an answer. In the span of time that it took to hike down to the restroom, one of those little masked flea bags managed to steal a bag of cornmeal. They stole my daughter's flip flop and dragged it 15 feet into the woods. The camp has nice equipment for sale and rent, and is located near lots of other stores and restaurants - including an XXX adult store just across the street. Be prepared to explain to your little ones that just because it says "Toys on Sale!" on a banner out front doesn't mean we will be shopping THERE.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank ohdanigirl75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds

Property: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds
Address: 102601 Rte 1, Key Largo, FL
Region: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key Largo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 19 Speciality Lodging in Key Largo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 47
Also Known As:
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds Hotel Key Largo
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Campgrounds Key Largo, Florida

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