Just off the southern coast of Florida is a beautiful, 112 mile long string of tropical islands known as “America’s Caribbean” — the Florida Keys. A popular tourist destination, the Keys are renowned for their spectacular beaches and offer water activities and amenities similar to other island locales: fishing, boating, diving, kayaking and more. The main ports of call along the Keys are Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and Key West.
One of the main attractions on Key Largo is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first underwater park in the United States. This amazing marine sanctuary encompasses approximately 70 nautical square miles of coral reefs and sea-grass beds, and is a nature lover’s paradise. It’s one of the most popular snorkeling destinations in the world due to its nearly 600 varieties of tropical fish and other unique features like the famous underwater statue, “Christ of the Abyss”. This 8 1/2 foot bronze sculpture of Jesus Christ, with his hands and head raised upwards towards the heavens, is a truly inspiring and unique work of art.
Visitors also go swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking along the area’s many nature trails. And, for those who want to explore the exotic, underwater world without getting wet, the park offers glass-bottom boat rides. The Visitors’ Center features a 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, as well as natural history exhibits and a theater showing nature videos.
Of course, Key Largo is much more than just John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park; there is so much to see and do here, from visiting interesting museums, swimming with dolphins, visiting the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, and seeing the original boat from the movie “The African Queen”, to name just a few.
For an action-packed vacation or just a great place to relax and enjoy nature, Key Largo is the perfect destination.