DeSoto and the National Park System

by Andrew on March 5, 2011

De Soto National Memorial - Bradenton, Florida

This week I was in Bradenton, Florida and did an interview at De Soto National Memorial.  It tells the story of the Spanish explorer and his expedition that landed near this spot in May of 1539.  The story will be a feature on one of our upcoming American Countryside radio programs.

There are over 360 sites in the National Park Service.  My goal is to eventually visit every one of them.  I’m about halfway to that goal.  The next time you are driving or flying somewhere in the U.S. go to the National Park Service website.  You may be surprised at some of the parks, historic sites and memorials that are nearby. 

Places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and the memorials in D.C. get a lot of attention and deservedly so.  However, I’ve yet to find a NPS site that I didn’t truly enjoy.  I had time this week to hear a ranger in period dress discuss the lives of the Native Americans living in the area at the time of De Soto.  It was fascinating.  It was just a twenty-minute program and it was free.

Many of our NPS sites are open free of charge.  They host plenty of interesting programs and allow us to truly experience all our country has to offer.  By the way, there are some weekends during the year that all NPS sites are open free of charge.  That means you can save $20 or more per park to visit places like Yellowstone on those weekends.

At some point in the future I’ll list some of my favorite “out-of-the-way” NPS sites that you should visit.

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