(Last Updated On: January 3, 2023)
Cannons from shipwreck at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

Cannons from shipwreck at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park. Photo: Park Facebook Page.

San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park is the site of one of the oldest shipwrecks in the Florida Keys. This beautiful Florida state park is located 1.25 nautical miles south of Indian Key, 36 miles south of Key Largo.

Guests enjoy swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving to get a closer look at the submerged San Pedro, a 287-ton Dutch-built ship that was part of a Spanish flotilla that sank during a storm here in 1733. Even though all that exists today of this massive ship is a large pile of ballast stones, the site has been enhanced for visitors with the addition of replica cannons and an anchor.

Activities

Spend an adventurous day swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving along the Florida Keys. San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park is home to one of the oldest shipwrecks in Florida. This state park is only one mile from Indian Key Historic State Park where guests may kayak, hike, fish, and picnic.

Here are some activities that you can do during your visit to San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park:

History of the San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

The submerged San Pedro ship was part of the New Spain Fleet that left Havana on July 13, 1733 on route to Spain. Twenty-one ships made up this fleet that was carrying silver, gold, jewels, rare spices and tanned hides.

As the fleet sailed into an oncoming hurricane they turned around and tried to make their way back to Havana, but were unable to make it. The storm grounded 19 of the ships along the Keys and the survivors sought refuge on the nearby islands. Rescue ships eventually arrived and salvaged what treasures they could while burning the ships so that they would remain hidden from looters.

When the Sand Pedro was discovered in the 1960s, local divers found silver coins dating from the 1730s.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

Swim, snorkel and scuba dive to see the treasures under the water inside San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park. Guests who plan to scuba dive or snorkel must be able to swim a distance of 2 miles out to the site, be able to follow instructions, and be able to withstand exposure to the sun for long periods of time.

Swimming at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

Swim in the beautiful and refreshing water surrounding San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park.

Guests will enjoy swimming, floating, snorkeling and scuba diving as they discover and explore the historic shipwreck located within the park. Swimming is allowed within designated areas only.

Birding at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park may feature underwater treasures and colorful coral and fish but it is also a great spot to birdwatch.

During your visit to this part of the state you can be sure to see many species of native and migrating birds. Here are some species that you may see: White Ibis, Brown Pelican, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Purple Gallinule, osprey, frigate, cormorants, flamingoes, anhingas, albatrosses, storks, loons, plovers, ruddy turnstones and willets.

Nature and Wildlife at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

Guests are encouraged to swim with the fish during their visit to San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park. That’s because more than 65 species of fish and 10 species of coral have been documented inside here and along the Spanish Galleon Trail. Some of these include white and blue striped grunts, gray and lane snappers, small gobies, lobster, eels, grunts, spadefish, hogfish, parrotfish and groupers.

Pets at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

Pets are not allowed at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park.

Camping Near San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

Spend an adventurous day swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park; and then head over to Bahia Honda State Park and spend the night. This nearby state park, located at 36850 Overseas Highway in Big Pine Key, features a campground, cabins and marina with overnight boat slips.

The park’s three campgrounds consist of 80 campsites that range from primitive tent-only ones to those with water and electric hookups. Each campsite has a picnic table, grill and access to bathhouses.

The Marina’s 19 boat slips include electricity, water and sewage pump-out and are located near bathhouses. Cabins have 2 bedrooms, full baths, a living room, full kitchen, dining area and a porch that offers guests a beautiful view of the bay.

Park Location

San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park
77200 Overseas Hwy
Islamorada, FL 33036
Phone: 305.664.2540

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