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Over on Florida’s west central coast, pay a visit to the De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton. The memorial’s mission is to commemorate Conquistador Hernando De Soto's epic 1539 expedition through the Southeastern part of the United States and to tell the history of the Native American tribal societies that they encountered. The De Soto National Memorial features an array of fun things to do for the whole family, just minutes from St. Petersburg and Tampa.
Begin your journey at the De Soto Visitor Center where you can tour the memorial and museum exhibits paying homage to De Soto. With a prime location on the beach, De Soto park offers fishing, boating, hiking, bird watching and picnicking, while taking in unparalleled views of the Manatee River and Tampa Bay. Park-goers can set sail in a canoe or kayak from Cove Beach and explore the Manatee River. Take a ranger-led kayaking tour, or hike the nature trails that wind along the shores through several ecosystems, including a mangrove forest. Bring your furry friends to De Soto, as they are dog-friendly while leashed.