De Soto National Memorial – Bradenton

Bradenton – The De Soto National Memorial was created in 1948 to commemorate the 1539 expedition of Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto. This memorial also reminds us of the impact he made on southeast American Indian societies. Open all year long, the Park offers many different outdoor activities. You’ll also find educational opportunities to learn about the controversial history of the area.

Map of De Soto Memorial
De Soto National Memorial Map

Canoe and Boat

The park is located in Bradenton on a 26 acre plot of land. This is where the Manatee River meets Tampa Bay. De Soto National Memorial offers fabulous kayak and canoeing along the 3000 feet of shoreline. Launch your kayak, canoe or paddle board from the northwest shore of the park. You could also leave from Riverview Point Preserve located just south of De Soto Memorial. Paddle north across the river to explore Emerson Point Nature preserve, or head west through shallow grass flats to Anna Maria Island. De Soto Memorial does not offer a boat launch, however, does offer a temporary anchorage area in the small cove east of De Soto Point.

De Soto National Memorial trails and beaches

The nature trails at De Soto Memorial offer different Florida ecosystems including Mangrove wetlands. Walking trails have signage explaining both the natural history of the area along with information about the 1539 expedition. Pets are welcome on the trails, however bicycles are not.

There are several areas for enjoying the beach at the Memorial with areas located west and south of De Soto Point. Beach goers are urged to swim with caution as there are no lifeguard stations. The beaches south of De Soto Point are more popular as they don’t experience the strong currents sometimes found on the western beaches.

A picnic shelter can be found near the parking lot on a first come first serve basis. Grills and alcohol are not permitted in the park or picnic area.

Seasonal Events

The Memorial offers seasonal events great for the entire family.

December through April the parks living history area “Camp Uzita” is open. The Camp is an example of a 16th century Native village. It’s complete with living history reenactments and educational information.

In the winter the park offers several special events including a Halloween themed event called “Desoween”. This is for adults and kids 7 years and older. In December luminaries light the trials for one night. Also, information is available describing how people from the 16th century celebrated the winter. February brings a music festival to the park. March offers a five centuries of history event. Additionally, April brings a live reenactment of the Landing of the De Soto expedition.

May through October the park offers Ranger led kayak tours. learn how early settlers utilized the bay and estuary along with an explanation of Florida’s unique ecological systems.

In June and July a kids Junior Ranger program is also available. This teaches kids 6-10 about the history, ecology and conservation of the park.

De Soto National Memorial
De Soto National Memorial. Photo Credit: De Soto National Memorial Facebook Page.

Park Information

The visitor center is open daily 9am-5pm, and the parking lot also closes at 5pm. However, the park is open dawn to dusk. Any cars left in the parking lot after 5pm will remain locked in the lot until the next morning. Cars are subject to ticketing. New Years day, Thanksgiving and Christmas the park closes. Entrance into the park is always free, but donations are welcome. Groups may visit the park registering ahead of time. For additional information about the park call 941-792-0458 or visit online.

De Soto National Memorial:
8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy
Bradenton, Florida 34209

Bradenton vacation rentals.

If you are looking for the perfect vacation rental while visiting the area Island Real Estate has almost 300 homes to choose from!

vacation rental
Click on the image to view Bradenton vacation rental Perico Bay Club 1279 Edgewater Circle.

 

Nature Parks Near Anna Maria Island – Manatee County

There are many nature parks near Anna Maria Island. Most visitors to Anna Maria Island know about Robinson’s Preserve located just a few minutes to the East of Holmes Beach. It has fabulous nature trails, a sky high tower that overlooks the park as well as the Tampa Bay.  But, all are not aware there are lots of other Parks and Nature Preserves in Manatee county. Additionally, there is even Leffis Key right on south island! Sure some other parks are a few more than minutes to the East of Robinson Preserve but everyone likes choices, right?

Below is a list of Manatee County nature parks that the Manatee County Natural Resource department overseas.  A big plus is the County is renovating to new parks just off Anna Maria Island that we can all Walk or Bicycle to!  Opening in late 2012/2013 stay tuned for more information.  Happy Hiking, Roller Blading, Bicycling, or nature viewing!

If you visit one of these parks please provide your comments on what you love about the park! View the map below to get an idea of where Manatee Parks and Preserves are located.

Nature Parks Near Anna Maria Island

Robinson Preserve
1704 99th Street, NW
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

De Soto National Memorial – near Robinson Preserve and north of Riverview Pointe Preserve.
8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy
Bradenton, Florida 34209
941-792-0458
Open daily from dawn to dusk. Parking lot closes at 5pm.

Riverview Pointe Preserve – Only 5 minutes beyond Robinson Preserve
8250 DeSoto Memorial Highway
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Jiggs Landing
6106 63rd Street East
Bradenton, FL 34203
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Emerson Point Preserve
5801 17th Street West
Palmetto, Fl 34221
(941) 721-6885
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Rye Preserve
905 Rye Wilderness Trail
Parrish, FL 34219
(941) 776-0900
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Duette Preserve and Headwaters at Duette
2649 Rawls Road
Duette, FL 34251
(941) 776-2295
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Leffis Key at Coquina Bay Walk – located at the south end of Anna Maria Island in Bradenton Beach.
2351 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Anna Maria Island, FL 34217

 

New to Open Parks in 2012/2013

Neal Preserve
12301 Manatee Avenue, West
Bradenton, Fl 34209
Currently being renovated.  You could bicycle here from Anna Maria Island!

Perico Preserve
11700 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34209
This is just off Anna Maria Island!  You could bicycle here when it opens!

Find great wildlife viewing at parks close to Anna Maria Island
There are many great places for nature viewing off Anna Maria Island in Manatee County.

Robinson Preserve Information

Bradenton – If your family is looking for something adventurous and would enjoy a bike-ride on newly-paved trails, a walk along the nature paths, kayaking through the paddle trails, a climb up an Observation Tower or would just prefer to enjoy the wildlife, then Robinson Preserve is the perfect way to entertain the whole family!

Robinson Preserve Butterfly

The Robinson Preserve is located in Northwest Bradenton, about a 10-15 min drive off Anna Maria Island. Open year-round, Hours: Sunrise to Sunset.  Free Admission and parking.  Tours only by request and usually last about 2 hours.  Make an appointment by calling ahead of time.

Robinson Tower

Bring your bathing suit if you would like to go for a swim.  The Preserve also has plenty of picnic tables across from the Visitor Center to have a meal or a little snack. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as it can be very hot, especially during summer!!

Are you bringing your dog on vacation? Bring them to Robinson Preserve! Just make sure that you bring a leash and plenty of water!

Robinson Preserve Eagle

Robinson Preserve Kayak

1690 99th St NW

Bradenton,FL 34209
(941)748-4501