Exploring the Outdoors in Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee, is a vibrant city where the charm of the urban landscape seamlessly blends with the allure of outdoor adventures. From the iconic Mississippi Riverfront to the expansive greenery of Shelby Farms Park, Memphis offers a diverse array of activities for nature enthusiasts, fitness lovers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat in the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking to hike scenic trails, participate in lively festivals, or simply relax by the river, Memphis has something to inspire everyone to step outside and explore.

Key Takeaways

  • Memphis combines urban exploration with a wealth of outdoor activities, encouraging visitors to experience both city life and natural beauty.
  • Tom Lee Park and the Mississippi Riverfront provide scenic pathways, festivals, and serene spots for river watching and relaxation.
  • Tennessee State Parks near Memphis offer opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, family picnicking, and camping under the stars.
  • Shelby Farms Park stands out as one of the largest urban parks in the USA, offering a range of outdoor activities and family-friendly attractions.
  • Memphis’ outdoor scene is vibrant throughout the year, with activities suitable for daytime exploration or nighttime adventures under the moonlight.

Experience the Mississippi Riverfront at Tom Lee Park

Experience the Mississippi Riverfront at Tom Lee Park

Strolling the Scenic Pathways

Tom Lee Park offers a serene escape with its scenic pathways that are perfect for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating jog. As you meander along the riverfront, you’re treated to the stunning backdrop of the Mississippi River and the Memphis skyline. Feel the breeze and soak in the panoramic views as you navigate the well-maintained trails.

Festivals and Events

The park is not just a haven for relaxation but also a hub for vibrant festivals and events. From the sizzling World Championship Barbecue Cooking Festival to the rhythmic Beale Street Music Festival, there’s always something exciting happening. Tom Lee Park becomes a melting pot of culture, music, and community spirit during these events, offering a taste of Memphis’ rich heritage.

River Watching and Relaxation

For those seeking a tranquil retreat, the park’s benches and open spaces invite you to sit back and watch the river’s gentle flow. Engage in river watching and let the sight of barges and boats provide a meditative experience. Whether you’re enjoying a picnic or simply basking in the sun, Tom Lee Park is the ideal spot for relaxation and contemplation.

Tom Lee Park is a testament to the beauty of nature and the community spirit of Memphis. It’s a place where memories are made, whether you’re enjoying a family outing or seeking a moment of solitude by the river.

Exploring Tennessee State Parks in the Memphis Area

Exploring Tennessee State Parks in the Memphis Area

Memphis is a city where the charm of the urban landscape seamlessly blends with the allure of nature. The Tennessee State Parks around Memphis offer a refreshing escape for those looking to immerse themselves in the outdoors.

Hiking and Wildlife Spotting

Discover the natural beauty of the Memphis area by hiking through the diverse trails of Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. With over 20 miles of trails, you’re sure to encounter a variety of wildlife and breathtaking scenery. Here’s a quick guide to the trails:

  • Woodland Trail: 3.5 miles, moderate difficulty
  • Chickasaw Bluff Trail: 8 miles, challenging terrain
  • Pioneer Springs Trail: 2 miles, family-friendly

Picnicking and Family Fun

Enjoy a leisurely day with family and friends at T.O. Fuller State Park, where picnicking spots abound amidst the backdrop of lush greenery. Don’t forget to visit the park’s interpretive center to learn about the local ecosystem.

Pack a picnic basket, bring a frisbee, and soak up the sun while the kids play in the open fields or on the playground.

Camping Under the Stars

For a truly memorable experience, set up camp under the stars at one of the designated camping areas. Whether you prefer a rustic tent site or a full-service RV hookup, there’s a spot for every type of outdoor enthusiast.

Remember to respect the parks and leave no trace, ensuring these natural treasures can be enjoyed by future generations.

The Top Places to Hike in Memphis

Memphis offers a variety of scenic trails that cater to both the casual walker and the avid hiker. Discover the natural beauty of the region through its diverse hiking spots.

Trail Diversity for All Skill Levels

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, Memphis has a trail for you. Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, just 30 minutes from the city, is a hiker’s haven with its hardwood forests and unique swamplands. Here’s a quick guide to the trails:

  • Easy: Overton Park – Perfect for families and beginners.
  • Moderate: Shelby Farms Park – Offers more challenging terrain and beautiful vistas.
  • Difficult: Chickasaw Bluffs – For those seeking a rigorous hike with rewarding views.

Guided Nature Walks

Joining a guided nature walk can enhance your hiking experience. Local experts can point out the flora and fauna, making your hike both educational and enjoyable. Check out the Memphis Botanic Garden for scheduled walks and events.

Photography Hotspots

Capture the essence of Memphis’ outdoors with your camera. The Mississippi Riverfront and the lush landscapes of Shelby Farms Park provide stunning backdrops for photographers. Remember to respect the natural environment while you snap away.

Embrace the great outdoors and create lasting memories on the trails of Memphis. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, the city’s hiking trails are a testament to the beauty of the natural world waiting to be explored.

RV Travel & Camping in Memphis

RV Travel & Camping in Memphis

Memphis offers a unique blend of urban and natural landscapes, making it a perfect destination for RV enthusiasts and campers alike. Whether you’re looking for a place to park your RV for a night or a week, Memphis has a variety of options to suit your needs.

Best RV Parks and Campgrounds

Memphis is home to several RV parks and campgrounds that cater to all preferences. Here’s a quick list of some top spots:

  • Graceland RV Park & Campground: Just steps away from Elvis Presley’s famous estate, this park offers full hookups and modern amenities.
  • Agricenter International RV Park: Ideal for those who appreciate proximity to nature and agricultural events.
  • T.O. Fuller State Park: A great choice for those seeking a more rustic camping experience.

Road Trip Destinations Nearby

The beauty of RV travel is the freedom to explore. Consider these nearby destinations for your next road trip:

  • Travelers Rest near Augusta offers outdoor adventures with hiking, biking, and watersports.
  • The Great Smoky Mountains: A few hours’ drive will take you to this breathtaking national park.
  • Nashville, TN: Known for its vibrant music scene, it’s a must-visit for culture enthusiasts.

Tips for First-Time RV Campers

If you’re new to RV camping, here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Familiarize yourself with your RV’s systems and operations before hitting the road.
  2. Always have a checklist for both setting up and breaking down your campsite.
  3. Respect campground rules and be a good neighbor to fellow campers.

Embrace the spirit of adventure and the comfort of home on wheels as you explore the rich culture and natural beauty of Memphis.

Discover Shelby Farms Park: A Green Oasis

Discover Shelby Farms Park: A Green Oasis

Outdoor Activities and Adventures

Shelby Farms Park offers an abundance of outdoor activities for all ages. Explore over 40 miles of trails on foot, by bike, or even on horseback. For those seeking thrills, the Go Ape zip line and treetop adventure course soar above the park’s scenic landscapes. Water enthusiasts can kayak, paddleboard, or canoe on the park’s numerous lakes.

Family-Friendly Attractions

This park is not just vast in size but also in the variety of family-friendly attractions it provides. From watching the park’s herd of buffalo to letting your furry friends run free in The Outback off-leash dog park, there’s something for everyone. The park’s playgrounds and picnic areas make for perfect family gatherings.

Conservation and Wildlife

Shelby Farms Park is a testament to Memphis’ commitment to conservation and wildlife. The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, offering visitors a chance to connect with nature in the heart of the city. Educational programs aim to foster a love for the environment and inspire the next generation of conservationists.

Shelby Farms Park is a green oasis in the midst of Memphis, inviting residents and visitors alike to enjoy its natural beauty and recreational offerings.

  • Annual Park Events: Races, Earth Day Celebrations
  • Explore: In the heart of Memphis
  • Directions: Visit the Shelby Farms website for more details.

Take to the Trails: Biking and Skating in Memphis

Take to the Trails: Biking and Skating in Memphis

Memphis offers a unique blend of urban and natural landscapes, making it a perfect place for biking and skating enthusiasts. With over 60+ miles of bike trails and lanes, including the scenic Shelby Farms Greenline and the Big River Crossing, there’s no shortage of paths to explore.

Popular Bike Trails

Memphis boasts a variety of bike trails suitable for all levels of cyclists. The Shelby Farms Greenline is a highlight, offering a 10.65-mile paved trail that connects the city to Shelby Farms Park. For those seeking a longer ride, the Big River Crossing extends into Arkansas, providing stunning views of the Mississippi River.

  • Shelby Farms Greenline: 10.65 miles
  • Big River Crossing: Longest pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi

Skate Parks and Facilities

Skaters can find their groove at several skate parks and facilities around Memphis. These spots cater to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced skaters, ensuring a fun and safe environment for everyone to enjoy.

  • Riverfront Skate Park: A popular spot with a view
  • Tobey Skate Park: Offers diverse terrain

Rentals and Gear Shops

Don’t have your own equipment? No problem! Memphis has several rentals and gear shops where you can get everything you need for a day on the trails. Explore Bike Share stations are conveniently located throughout the city, making it easy to pick up a bike and go.

  • Explore Bike Share: Citywide stations
  • Local Gear Shops: Full-service shops for rentals and purchases

Memphis’ outdoor culture is vibrant and inviting. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, taking to the trails for biking and skating is a fantastic way to experience the city’s spirit and scenery. So, lace up those sneakers or strap on those skates, and enjoy the ride!

Play in the Park: Memphis’ Urban Green Spaces

Play in the Park: Memphis' Urban Green Spaces

Memphis is a city that celebrates the great outdoors, and there’s no better way to experience this than by visiting its vibrant urban green spaces. Community events and gatherings are a staple in Memphis parks, where locals and visitors alike come together to enjoy concerts, farmers’ markets, and cultural celebrations. Sports and recreation activities abound, with numerous fields and courts for soccer, baseball, basketball, and more, providing a perfect setting for both competitive and casual play. For those seeking a quieter experience, relaxing in nature is made easy with the serene settings of the city’s parks, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle.

Memphis’ parks are not just for daytime enjoyment; they also serve as hubs for community life and wellness. Here’s a quick look at some of the best parks and nature spots in downtown Memphis:

  • Tom Lee Park
  • Mud Island River Park
  • Confederate Park
  • Court Square

These spaces provide a green oasis in the heart of the city, where people of all ages can connect with nature and each other.

Join the Movement: Active Living in Memphis

Join the Movement: Active Living in Memphis

Memphis is a city that thrives on energy and movement, and there’s no better way to experience this than by joining the active living community. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just looking for ways to incorporate more activity into your day, Memphis offers a variety of options to get you moving.

Fitness Groups and Clubs

Joining a fitness group or club is a fantastic way to stay motivated and meet like-minded individuals. Memphis boasts a range of fitness communities, from running clubs to cycling groups, that cater to all levels of experience. Find your tribe and stay fit while exploring the city’s scenic routes and parks.

  • Running clubs
  • Cycling groups
  • Outdoor fitness classes

Outdoor Yoga and Wellness

Embrace the tranquility of nature while practicing yoga in one of Memphis’ beautiful parks or by the riverfront. Outdoor yoga sessions offer a unique opportunity to connect with the environment and improve your wellness. Look for local schedules and enjoy the added benefit of fresh air during your practice.

  • Sunrise and sunset yoga
  • Wellness retreats
  • Mindfulness and meditation events

Eco-Friendly Transportation

Memphis is making strides in promoting eco-friendly transportation. Opting for sustainable travel options like biking or public transit not only benefits the environment but also adds a dose of daily exercise to your routine. Explore Rock Hill with eco-friendly bike trails, sustainable public transport, and a vibrant sports community. Enjoy scenic stops and contribute to reforestation along the way.

  • Bike-sharing programs
  • Greenline trails
  • Public transit routes

Embracing an active lifestyle in Memphis is not just about personal health; it’s about community, sustainability, and enjoying the vibrant life the city has to offer.

Local Gardens: Memphis’ Floral Treasures

Local Gardens: Memphis' Floral Treasures

Memphis Botanic Garden

Discover the enchanting Memphis Botanic Garden, a verdant retreat in East Memphis that spans 96 acres. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in a diverse array of 31 specialty gardens. Stroll through the Asian Garden for tranquility, or experience the vibrant colors of Daffodil Hill. Children are especially delighted by the interactive My Big Backyard garden, where they’re free to explore and connect with nature.

Seasonal Flower Shows

The beauty of Memphis’ gardens is not static; it evolves with the seasons. The Dixon Gallery & Gardens is renowned for its annual tulip bloom in April, transforming the 17-acre grounds into a painter’s palette of color. Seasonal flower shows at both the Dixon and the Memphis Botanic Garden offer a fresh spectacle with each visit, ensuring there’s always something new to admire.

Educational Programs and Tours

Expand your horticultural knowledge with the educational programs and tours available at local gardens. The Memphis Botanic Garden not only showcases stunning flora but also provides opportunities to learn about plant species and landscape design. Check the garden’s website to plan your visit around what’s blooming, from roses to irises, and make the most of your garden exploration.

Embrace the natural beauty and educational richness of Memphis’ local gardens. Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful escape, these floral treasures are a must-visit destination.

Water Sports and Activities on the Mississippi River

Water Sports and Activities on the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River is not just a historical landmark, but a hub for water enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities that allow you to intimately explore the river’s beauty. With guided tours available, even beginners can safely navigate the waters and enjoy the scenic views of the Memphis skyline.

Kayaking and Canoeing

Memphis offers a variety of kayaking and canoeing experiences for all levels of paddlers. Whether you’re looking for a serene paddle in the inlet by Mud Island River Park or an adventurous journey on the Mississippi River, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:

  • Safety First: Always wear a life vest and follow local guidelines.
  • Choose Your Adventure: Opt for a guided tour or rent equipment if you’re experienced.
  • Launch Points: Mud Island River Garden and other outfitters provide access to the river.

Fishing Spots and Tips

Fishing on the Mississippi River can be a rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your fishing trip:

  • Best Times to Fish: Early morning or late evening for optimal activity.
  • Local Species: Catfish, bass, and panfish are common catches.
  • Bait and Tackle: Use live bait or lures suited to the river’s conditions.

Riverboat Cruises

For a more relaxed way to enjoy the Mississippi, consider a riverboat cruise. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn about the river’s history while taking in the sights. Cruises often include:

  • Guided Narration: Discover stories and facts about Memphis.
  • Refreshments: Enjoy a drink as you cruise along the river.
  • Scenic Views: Capture the beauty of the riverfront from a unique perspective.

Embrace the spirit of Memphis by experiencing the Mississippi River through these engaging water activities. Whether you’re paddling, fishing, or cruising, the river offers a connection to nature and a fresh view of the city.

Outdoor Festivities: Celebrating Memphis Culture

Memphis shines not only during the day but also when the sun sets, offering a vibrant array of outdoor festivities that celebrate the rich culture of the city. From the soulful strums of guitars to the savory scents of Southern cuisine, the outdoor events in Memphis are a true reflection of its heart and soul.

Music and Food Festivals

Memphis is synonymous with music, and the city’s outdoor festivals are a testament to this legacy. Imagine tapping your feet to live blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll at events like the Beale Street Music Festival, where the air is electric with melodies. Foodies can rejoice at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, indulging in some of the best BBQ the South has to offer.

Art in the Park

Art enthusiasts and casual observers alike will find joy in Art in the Park events. These gatherings showcase local artists and their creations, turning parks into open-air galleries. It’s a chance to interact with the art community and perhaps find a unique piece to take home.

Seasonal Events

No matter the season, Memphis has something special to offer. From the festive lights of Zoo Lights in winter to the colorful blooms at the Spring Flower Show, each event is designed to bring people together and celebrate the changing seasons.

Embrace the spirit of Memphis by joining in these outdoor festivities. They’re not just events; they’re a way of life that brings the community together in celebration.

Memphis offers a diverse range of must-visit museums showcasing music history, civil rights, art, and family fun. Highlights include Pink Palace, National Civil Rights Museum, Sun Studio, and more.

Memphis by Moonlight: Nighttime Outdoor Experiences

Memphis by Moonlight: Nighttime Outdoor Experiences

Memphis transforms as the sun sets, offering a unique array of nighttime outdoor experiences that are both enchanting and adventurous. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the city’s evening charm is not to be missed.

Stargazing Locations

The night sky in Memphis can be a dazzling display, especially away from the city lights. For the best stargazing experiences, head to areas like Shelby Farms Park or the outskirts of the city where light pollution is minimal. Here’s a quick guide to some local spots:

  • Shelby Farms Park
  • T.O. Fuller State Park
  • Fort Pillow State Historic Park

Evening Nature Walks

Take a leisurely stroll through one of Memphis’ scenic parks under the moonlight. Evening nature walks are a peaceful way to end the day, and you might even spot some nocturnal wildlife. Remember to stay safe and bring a flashlight!

Nightlife and Entertainment

Beale Street comes alive at night with vibrant music and entertainment. Wander the street to enjoy live performances, or visit Handy Park for free outdoor concerts. Don’t forget to experience the Mighty Lights on the bridges, which illuminate the night with a spectacular light show.

Memphis’ moonlit activities offer a serene escape or a lively night out, depending on what you’re looking for. There’s something truly magical about experiencing the city after dark.


As we’ve journeyed through the vibrant outdoor spaces of Memphis, it’s clear that this city is a treasure trove for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. From the majestic Mississippi Riverfront to the expansive Shelby Farms Park, Memphis offers a unique blend of urban charm and natural beauty. Whether you’re hiking the trails, enjoying a picnic in the park, or exploring local gardens, there’s no shortage of ways to soak up the sun and create lasting memories. So grab your gear, gather your friends, and make the most of the great outdoors in Memphis. The city’s welcoming spirit and array of activities are sure to inspire your next adventure under the Tennessee sky.

Frequently Asked Questions

What outdoor activities can I enjoy at Tom Lee Park in Memphis?

At Tom Lee Park, you can enjoy strolling along the scenic pathways, attending various festivals and events, or simply relaxing and watching the Mississippi River.

Are there state parks near Memphis for outdoor exploration?

Yes, there are several Tennessee State Parks in the Memphis area where you can go hiking, spot wildlife, enjoy picnics with family, or camp under the stars.

Where are the best places to hike in Memphis?

Memphis offers diverse trails suitable for all skill levels, guided nature walks, and scenic spots perfect for photography enthusiasts.

Can I go RV camping in Memphis?

Absolutely! Memphis has a variety of RV parks and campgrounds, and there are plenty of road trip destinations nearby. First-time RV campers can find helpful tips for their adventures.

What makes Shelby Farms Park a must-visit green space in Memphis?

Shelby Farms Park is one of the largest urban parks in the USA, offering a range of outdoor activities, family-friendly attractions, and opportunities to learn about conservation and wildlife.

Is Memphis suitable for biking and skating?

Memphis is great for biking and skating, with popular trails, skate parks, and facilities, as well as shops where you can rent equipment or buy gear.

What can I do in Memphis’ urban green spaces?

In Memphis’ urban green spaces, you can participate in community events, engage in sports and recreation, or simply relax and enjoy nature.

What water sports can I do on the Mississippi River in Memphis?

The Mississippi River in Memphis is ideal for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. You can also experience riverboat cruises for a unique perspective of the city.

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