Best Day Trip Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2014 - John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
It's easy to forget that Fort Lauderdale is only a 90-minute drive to a different ecosystem. At John Pennekamp, the first undersea state park in America, you'll see fish of every size, shape, and color. For $29.95 (plus an $8 park entry fee per vehicle and equipment rental if you need it), take a relaxing boat ride to one of the most pristine snorkeling spots imaginable, then hop in the clear blue waters. The variety of fish and coral at a depth of only a few feet is incredible. Of particular note is the rainbow parrotfish, whose name is a misnomer, because the spectrum of colors on its scales puts to shame both rainbows and parrots. Snorkeling isn't the only way to enjoy the park: Glass-bottom boat tours, scuba dives, kayak trips, and powerboat rentals are options as well. Reservations are advisable for one of the four daily tours (especially on weekends), and it's always smart to call ahead about weather and to see if those pesky jellyfish are out.