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The Keys, the Keys, the KEYS! Part 1-Key Largo and John Pennekamp State Park

Updated: Apr 23, 2022

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The drive in the Keys is just amazing. Please be sure to do it at some point in your life if you have not done it yet! This was my first time camping there and it is the best way to enjoy the Keys! It is a long drive from the top of the Keys to the bottom and we started our 2 week stay at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This is the state park that you book your snorkel trips from. We didn’t do one this trip though.

We did check out the spot they would allow snorkeling. It is called Canon Beach Because there are a couple of 17th Century cannons there.



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The campground was pretty nice. Sites were close together but there were some trees and shrubbery to give a bit of privacy. Of course, it would depend on which site you were in.




This state park is near a ton of things. It was easy to bike to restaurants and shops. We ate at the Fish House and had GIGANTIC stone crab claws! We also ate some tasty Cuban food at a food truck along the highway. There is a dedicated path alongside and separated from the main highway along lots of the stretch of road from Key Largo (the top) to Key West (the bottom).


We took a short video when we were driving over Long Key.




We stayed at this park two different times, on the way down to Key West and the rest of the southern keys and then again on our way back up and before we left the Keys. There are over 100 miles between the top of the Keys and the bottom. Driving that with traffic takes a very long time!

Here are some pictures from when we did a little snorkeling at Cannon Beach.


Snorkeling!

The water is spectacular at every angle.

After this we headed down to Key West for the day and hung out in a Publix parking lot while working.



That is when I saw this guy carrying a big flag walking along the road. Here he is!


I googled him and found this!

That article is 22 years old. So in my video Douglas Miller is 78 years old! A cool guy from Kansas that ended up in the Keys because his grandmother lived there. The people in the Keys are a very tight knit community. If you live there and are from there you are a “conch”, if you are new or are visiting you are a “stranger”. During the pandemic the conches wanted no strangers at all.


Our next stop is Sugarloaf Key and the KOA for a night. You would not believe how much an interior, which is not oceanview or Oceanside, night cost! $210/night! That is a lot different from the $60 it cost for the more expensive state park in the Keys. We stayed at the KOA for 2 different nights during our stay in the Keys because I was not able to snag a cancellation in either Curry Hammock (our favorite!) or Bahia Honda (2nd favorite!). It will be interesting to see if I am able to get anything down in the Keys for next year! Because I have not had nearly enough of camping in the Keys and am going to try like Hell to get back there next winter!



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