Friends of DeSoto National Memorial, Inc.
Bradenton, FL

About Us

Friends of DeSoto National Memorial, Inc., was created on January 15, 2008, for the purpose of supporting a very special place - the National Park Service's DeSoto National Memorial.    

The Memorial is located in Manatee County, FL, northwest of the City of Bradenton at the mouth of the Manatee River.  

We are a private non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Florida.  Our purpose and mission statement:


Several large Gumbo Limbo trees grace the entrance to the Memorial's Visitor Center

News Flash - Our Small Park Has A Huge Local Economic Impact

Florida’s 11 national parks drew almost 10.7 million visitors in 2014, adding more than 9,750 jobs and $909 million to the Sunshine State’s economy, a National Park Service (NPS) report shows. Click HERE to view the Report home page.

The 2014 detailed report shows that 342,039 people visited De Soto National Memorial in 2014, a whopping 22% increase over 2013. Our visitors spent almost over $19.2 Million in communities near the park, supporting 304 local jobs. 

The complete economic impact report can be downloaded HERE.

With federal funding cuts, the best way to maintain these programs is to join Friends of DeSoto National Memorial.  Our Friends group raises money to support important programs such as concerts, educational programs, and maintenance of our Park's facilities.  Join today!
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Donate to Friends of DeSoto National Memorial using PayPal. Go to our Membership page and click the Donate button. No PayPal account is needed. Instead, use your credit card by clicking "Continue" on the PayPal donation page.  
Campaign to Help the Gumbo Limbo Trees Ends:
 All Treatment is Completed

As reported in the Bradenton Herald and on Fox 13 News, our magnificent and historic Gumbo Limbo trees (see photo above) are afflicted with an expensive to treat fungal disease. These trees are representative of the cultural significance our park to the local community and the hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who enjoy our Park.

Thanks to your efforts and support, all treatments by expert arborists were completed. Your donations were the key to providing this treatment. Thank you to the entire community for pitching in. 

We received a kick-off donation of $5,000 from the Johnston Family Foundation. Also received were grants from local organizations such as the Longboat Key Garden Club and the Anna Maria Garden Club. Many local businesses and residents contributed, as did visitors from all over the nation. This was truly a community effort. Thanks again!

 Ranger Led Kayak Tours
at De Soto National Memorial

This summer, the weekend Ranger Led Kayak Tours have expanded to include Fridays as well as Saturdays and Sundays. The tours continue through November. 

The free tour begins at 9:30 a.m. All equipment is provided and all skill levels are accommodates. The tour usually lasts an hour to an hour and a half. All children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Advanced tours are offered monthly. Please check for qualifications and availability by calling 941-792-0458.

Join the Friends and Camp Out With Us!

Friends of De Soto National Memorial is sponsoring a Camp Out for Members on Saturday, October 10th. $25 per site (max 6 people) with a max of 15 sites. Set-up is 4 pm Saturday October 10, 2015, with check out by 10 am Sunday. Reserve your site here.

For more information contact Margo at 941-704-6825.

Note: You must be a dues paying member of Friends of De Soto National Memorial to reserve a site. You can join by purchasing a membership online. Add it to your basket before you check out.
Sunset Cruise on Sarasota Bay - October 17

Join us for a Sunset Cruise of Sarasota Bay on Paradise Boat Tours. The boat leaves from the Historical Bridge Street Pier at 5:30 p.m. for a leisurely, informative 90-minute cruise. Tickets are $35 for non member and $30 for members per person. All proceeds benefit the De Soto National Memorial through the Friends of De Soto, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Buy Your Tickets at Our Online Store HERE.