DeSoto National Memorial is one of my favorite parks so far. The trail was pretty short, but gorgeous. It was a nice day out, which helped, but most of the trail was near the river so you could see the beautiful water, feel the breeze, and look at the surrounding scenery- we spent about an hour touring the grounds.
There is no admission fee. For a few months, the Memorial offers ranger-led kayak tours, and a living history camp. They also offer guided walking tours but were not doing it the day that we came. We were disappointed, but honestly, after walking the trail, we didn't need it. It's always nice to get historical information but the trail was short and sweet, and had plaques along the way for us to read about it instead.
In 1539, Hernando de Soto and his men landed at this spot in Bradenton, FL, where the indigenous people had been living, and they guarded their land fervently. De Soto and his men then explored some more of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, then Louisiana, where he died.
After I stamped my passport book, Chris and I ended up speaking with one of the park rangers who told us some stories about amazing wildlife he's seen here- like alligators, and eagles with prey in their mouths, circling overhead.
Overall, I visited 3 national parks in December before the centennial anniversary of the park system ended. The national parks did so many awesome things with this anniversary that I wish I knew about all of them before the last month of the year...
I still haven't been able to venture out to see others yet, but I WILL reach my goal of visiting all 413 of them!
Have you been to this national memorial before? It's dog friendly, and they even do an annual event for dogs in March!