Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular sports in the Florida Keys, and with good reason. Some of the best diving areas in the world are here. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, created in 1963, was the first undersea park in the United States. Adjacent to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the park encompasses almost 180 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove swamps. The coral reefs are located between three and eight miles off-shore; tour them in a glass-bottom boat, or take a snorkeling or scuba tour.
Divers and snorkelers exploring the coral reefs may encounter hundreds of species of tropical fish and about 80 species of cora. Parrotfish, damselfish, star coral, brain coral, sea cucumbers and lobster all inhabit this colorful undersea world. Divers may explore the 510 foot USS Spiegel Grove, the African Queen, and the Christ of the Abyss underwater statue. It’s easy to spend weeks under water here, and avid divers and snorkelers return to these waters again and again. Key Largo bed and breakfasts always welcome them.
Divers with a fondness for Halloween will want to stay at bed and breakfasts Key Largo during the weekend of October 23 – 24 2010. The annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest takes place at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, October 24. Any certified scuba diver may enter the contest, in teams of two. Ask your innkeepers about it. And you thought carving pumpkins on land was challenging!