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10 of the best state parks in America

By: Josh Lew on Feb. 11, 2014, 9:32 a.m.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park shipwreck

Photo: Off Axis Production/Shutterstock

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John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

It is far from the largest, but John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Florida is certainly among the most unique state parks in the country. Located on and around Key Largo, this is largely an underwater park that encompasses about 70 nautical square miles. A few on-land trails give visitors a taste of the park's mangrove swamps and shoreline landscapes. But for the most part, Pennekamp's attractiveness is found in the water.

Glass-bottom boat tours provide a close-up view of reef life, while kayaks and canoes are for rent for people who want to explore on their own. Visitors who want to venture below the waves can try scuba diving tours and snorkeling excursions. In addition to the reefs, popular diving attractions include the park's very own shipwreck and a replica of Italy's famous underwater Christ of the Abyss statue.