(11.2 miles from The Cove)
8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy
Bradenton, FL 34209
Open 9AM – 5PM daily
Short nature trails, guided tours, visitor center, educational programs, children’s summer activities, beach, fishing, & more.
DeSoto National Memorial is a fantastic venue to spend a few hours learning about the rich controversial history surrounding conquistador Hernando DeSoto. In 1539, along with 9 ships, 600 soldiers, clergy, craftsman and supplies, DeSoto arrived in Florida. The remains of this impressive bounty, over 450 years later, provide archeologists much informations as to their lives and customs.
During the summer, activities are geared towards children and include fishing clinics and immersive escape room experiences. Adults and children can also participate in ranger led kayaks tours. A schedule of activities is released at the end of the school year. Reservations are required for children’s fishing clinics, all kayak tours and fill up rapidly. Call 941-792-0458 ext. 105 for more information
During the months of December through April, visitors can observe a living history camp. Each year. at the end of the season, a live reenactment is performed which carefully depicts DeSoto’s controversial landing on the beaches of Tampa Bay.
Fort DeSoto is a part of the Tierra Verde island community which covers 5 islands with over 1000 acres on the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. The beach is consistently rated as one of the best beaches for families.
There is no charge for park entry.
Summary of popular activities:
Summer: children’s fishing clinic, immersive escape program, ranger-led kayak tours.
All year: fishing, educationally focused park tours, national history, easy walking trails for all ages, bird watching, white sandy beach, magnificent views, public restrooms
In the summer, you can enjoy ranger-led kayak tours for groups of up to 10. These tours typically begin around 9AM, last about 1 1/2 hours and other than a $1.00 cancellation deposit, are FREE. Children must be at least 50 1bs and 7 years old. There are other restrictions as to physical activity.
After the tour, walk the grounds, learn the history, and take in the magnificent views of the Manatee River as it flows into the Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico.