De Soto National Memorial
P.O. Box 15390
Bradenton, FL 34280
(941) 792-0458 ext. 105
A Bloody Four Year Battle in the
On a swelteringly hot day in May 1539, Spaniard
Hernando de Soto splashed ashore at Tampa Bay intent on capturing the
riches of La Florida by any means necessary. His army was alternately
welcomed and opposed by Native American tribes throughout what is now
the Southeastern United States in a four year, four thousand mile
odyssey of intrigue, warfare, disease, and discovery.
Things to Do
The Nature Trail winds along the shoreline and
through several Florida ecosystems, including a mangrove forest like
the one that De Soto's men would have encountered when they landed.
Trails include interpretive signage and waysides that tell the story
of the De Soto Expedition and the natural history of the area.
Bicycling is allowed in the parking lot, but not on the sidewalks or
Forty-five minute guided Trail Walks are offered
by Park Rangers daily at 11 a.m., staff availability and weather
permitting. Inquire at the Visitor Center. For tour availability, call
(941)792-0458, ext. 105.
Our Living History Camp Opens December 13, 2008
and will run through April 25, 2009. Rangers and volunteers dressed in
period clothing will present talks on a variety of historical topics
related to the De Soto Expedition and Florida's Native Americans.
There will also be weapons and Spanish and native craft demonstrations
throughout the day.
Our living History Camp Season will close on
April 25, 2008 with our popular De Soto landing event. Living History
Rangers and volunteers will re-enact the historic landing of Hernando
de Soto on the beaches of Tampa Bay. The day will include talks and
demonstrations on Life in the 16th Century, Florida's Native American
heritage, and the Legacy of De Soto's expedition.
A ten table picnic area is located adjacent to
the parking lot and is available for visitors on a first come basis.
Large groups and schools should call ahead to reserve seating. Grills
and alcohol are not allowed within the park.
The seasonal migration of birds brings many bird
watchers to the park in the fall and early spring. The exact timing of
migration is dependent upon weather. Come to our visitor center and
inquire what new and rare birds have been sighted recently at De Soto
De Soto National Memorial has no facilities for
camping. The park grounds are closed from sunset to sunrise.
Several small beaches are located within the
park. The De Soto Point Beach is located west of De Soto Point and
northwest of the Visitor Center. This beach is exposed to the current
of the Manatee River and the waves of Tampa Bay. The Cove Beach
located on the south side of De Soto Point and is more popular because
it is sheltered from most current and waves. No life guards are on
duty. Swimmers use park beaches at their own risk.
Fishing with rod and reel is allowed within the
park with a valid Florida drivers license. Fishermen are not allowed
to stand on rip rap or to clear brush from any area in order to gain
access to the water.
The Cove is a popular temporary anchorage for
small pleasure boats. Canoes and kayaks may be launched that may
easily carried to the water by hand may be launched from the park
beaches provided that vegetation, terrain, and wildlife is not
disturbed. Loud motors and the creation of excessive wave action is
Dogs are permitted within the park only when on
a hand held leash.
De Soto National Memorial is comprised of
approximately 26 acres in Manatee County on the west coast of central
Florida. Situated on a spit of land at the mouth of the Manatee River
at its confluence with Tampa Bay, the park has over 3000 feet of
Roughly 80% of the park is mangrove swamp with
the remainder consisting of pine flatlands and mixed hardwoods,
remnant shell ridges, and deposited dredge material from the adjacent
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