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Hotels near De Soto National Memorial

About De Soto National Memorial

De Soto National Memorial commemorates the site where Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto set foot on U.S. soil in 1539. It marked the first major organised European exploration of the American South and saw more than 600 soldiers disembark.

The open-air memorial occupies more than 10 hectares of the area where the Manatee River flows into Tampa Bay. Today the Riverview Point Trail offers a chance to retrace the footsteps of Hernando de Soto. Along the way, you'll discover the lush wetland habitats and see a handful of memorials dedicated to individual soldiers.

A second interpretive trail meanders through a sun-dappled mangrove forest and features wooden boardwalk sections. As you explore the trails, watch for local wildlife, such as snakes, tortoises, geckos, iguanas and tree frogs. De Soto National Memorial also features sandy beaches. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trails and beaches. Stop by the Visitor Centre to check out exhibits featuring 16th-century armour and weapons.

Getting there

De Soto National Memorial is located in Manatee County, a 15-minute drive from Bradenton and one hour from Florida. Parking is available at the Visitor Centre and at trailheads and beaches. Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is a 30-minute drive away.

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