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Desoto National Memorial

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info

Andrew Thoreson
Feb 2018
 Typical view [?]
Photo Galleries
Typical View (10)

Snapshots! (6)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
Revisit? D
Birding D
Wildlife D
Summer Heat B *
Terrain B *
Fun Hike D *
Maintained A
Mosquitos B
Biting Files A
Ticks A
NOTE: Fiarly shaded - odd for mangroves.
NOTE: Shells - almost paved.
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 8250 Desoto Memorial Hwy, Bradenton, FL, Manatee, USA, 34209

1) What It's Like

Not much to it though it is a national park. A short walk through mostly mangroves and a little bit of very protected (ie zero wave) beach. If you're especially sensitive to the history of native americans it might piss you off.

2) Kinds of Birds

Not much. Mangrove swamps aren't great for birds. You could copy and paste this for all these kinds of places: Gulls, pelicans, anhinga/cormorants in the water and on signs. Not really room for shore birds here. Herons/egrets etc around mangrove areas. I would not come here for birds - 100s of other places are the same or better.

3) Wildlife

You might see crabs on the beach or a racoon. So nothing basically.

4) Amenities

Bathrooms and gift shop. Gas stations etc are like 10 minute drive.

5) Directions

Use phone. You have to drive through a good bit of residential neigborhoods.

6) Dear Ranger

Thanks for the lovely conversation. National parks are always well run =)

7) Time Requirements

20 minutes to visit gift shop and see beach. I doubt you can go slow enough to spend an hour here on the trail.


First full disclosure. I had bad childhood experineces here so I have an extra bad attitude I'm trying to keep down.

It's pretty underwhelming for a national park. Not run badly it's just very small and not much to it. It's where the Spanish Conquistador Hernando Desoto landed around 1540. There's a short mangrove swamp trail, a gift shop, and a mock village.
It's a bit of a controversial spot. The Desoto parade was a big deal here since forever but the national view on history in recent decades has gone from cowboys over indians to "hey - that was genocide!". So the parks service has the impossible task of "balancing" that. And they try. It is kind of cool how they have cutouts of natives and conquistadors hidden on the mangrove hiking trail. Easy to imagine the meetings. There's a huge cross and I believe there was a statue at one point that people protested and/or vandalized because the whole genocide thing. I can't imagine being interested enough but if you want to see that statue I believe they moved it to the Bishop Planetarium / museum. That is a very very nice museum although they did just kill the county mascot there by drowning him with a badly designed door. (sigh) That said there used to be a recreation of an old spanish chapel related to the statue.

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