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 trails.
Forty-five minute guided Trail Walks are offered by Park Rangers all day, staff availability and weather permitting. Inquire at the Visitor Center. For tour availability, call (941)792-0458, ext. 105.
Our Living History Camp is opened December through April . 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.
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 National Memorial.
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 and valid State of Florida fishing liscense. Fishermen are not allowed to stand on rip rap or to clear brush from any area in order to gain access to the water. For questions of licensure and eligability please visit http://myfwc.com/license/
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 prohibited.
Dogs are permitted within the park only when on a hand held leash. For all of our dog walkers and four legged friends make sure to come to our Dog Days at De Soto event held annually in March.