De Soto National Memorial on map

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De Soto National Memorial

 

On Tampa Bay south shore, in Bradenton

 

The memorial pays tribute to the remarkable expedition led by Hernando de Soto, who reached Florida's Gulf Coast in May 1539. This was the first large-scale European expedition into what is now the interior southern United States. De Soto traveled 4,000 mi during his four-year mission and had a significant impact on the course of North American history. The memorial was authorized on March 11, 1948.

 

WHAT TO SEE & DO

 

Participating in living-history presentations, viewing movie, walking. Facilities: Visitor center, 20-minute orientation film, self-guided trail through mangrove swamp, outdoor exhibit. Bookstore. Programs & Events: Hernando de Soto in America (hourly, 9-4). Costumed ranger-led living-history programs (late Dec.-mid-Apr., daily), crossbow and musket firing (late Dec.-mid-Apr.). Other special programs and scheduled events. Tips & Hints: Busiest Mar. and Apr., least crowded Aug.-Sept.

 

FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS

 

Free. Leashed pets only. No bikes on trail. Park grounds open daily sunrise-sunset. Parking lots close at 5 pm. Visitor center open daily 9-5.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

 

2/2 mi north of Manatee Ave. (Rte. 64) on 75th St. NW in Bradenton. Closest airports: Sarasota-Bradenton International (12 mi), Tampa International (55 mi).

De Soto National Memorial on the map