9 Things to Do for Active Travelers in Memphis

Running in Downtown Memphis

Running in Downtown Memphis

It can be difficult to stay healthy and active when traveling. Your schedule is disrupted and your weights are replaced with a rolling suitcase. 

Now, Memphis might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an active getaway, but did you know that Memphis has thousands of acres of public parks, running and biking trails, dense forests and fish-filled lakes? Heck, we’ve got everything (and more) that an active traveler would need to stay fit while on the road. 

Press the right arrow (>) above to explore more. 

Biking Shelby Farms Greenline. Photo Credit: Justin Fox Burks

Shelby Farms Greenline (and future developments)

Go ahead, indulge in Memphis barbecue – you can easily work it off on the Shelby Farms Greenline. This former 7-mile railroad line connects the heart of Midtown to Shelby Farms Park. The Greenline is flat, smooth and mostly shaded and is perfect for walkers, runners, bikers and skaters. There are access points at Tillman Street, Highland Street, High Point Terrace, Graham Street, Waring Road, Podesta Street, Sycamore View Road, and Farm Road at Shelby Farms Park.

When the Greenline ends at Tillman, you’ll soon be able to continue your ride along the Hampline (“The Hamp”). As one of the country’s first crowdfunded bike lanes, the Hampline bicycle and walking track will feature two miles of public art murals and sculptures, an amphitheater and art galleries. The Hampline will link the Greenline with the bike-friendly Broad Avenue Arts District and the trails of Overton Park. 

Order a free Memphis Bike Map here. 

Overton Park Bike Gate

Parks and Parks and Parks and Parks

Memphis is full of public parks big and small with countless amenities and covering thousands of acres. Here are just a few of the major parks that will help you stay active and fit during your vacation. As a general rule, Memphis parks are open during daylight hours, but please check or call ahead before you go. 

Shelby Farms Park – One of the largest urban parks in the U.S., this one’s got trails for dogs, horses and bikes (rentals available), plus disc golf, lakes for fishing and paddle-boating, and an epic playground.

Lichterman Nature Center – Need a nature break in East Memphis? Walk the easy loops in this arboretum, then check out the live animal displays inside its Backyard Wildlife Center.

- Tom Lee Park and Beale Street Landing – On a sunny day, shake off the cobwebs with a run or walk along the banks of the Mississippi River. Tom Lee Park is a 30-acre stretch situated downtown on the bluff and is the primary park used for major events like the Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Take a stroll on the River Walk which runs through Tom Lee Park and connects Harbor Town on Mud Island to Martyrs Park. 

The green space of the park is neighbored by the newest of the riverfront amenities – Beale Street Landing. This multi-level structure is the central docking location for the Great American Steamboat Company’s American Queen as she cruises up and down the Mississippi River. Memphis Riverboats also offer local tours on the river.

Overton Park – Smack in the middle of Midtown Memphis, trek through a pocket- sized old-growth forest (or circuit its paved trails), hit two playgrounds and play fetch in the dog park.

Mirimichi Golf Course

Go Golfing

Feed your golf addiction along the lush links of public and semi-private golf courses in Memphis. Memphis makes the perfect golf trip destination or weekend getaway. Load up the sticks and take advantage of our low cost greens fees, great climates and easy access. Put these three courses at the top of your list. 

Mirimichi Golf Course stretches 7,400 yards from the tips and offers five different tee boxes to appeal to all ability levels. You’ll be treated to velvet fairways, scenic vistas, four waterfalls, lakes and two creeks that meander through the holes. Mirimichi was established by Justin Timberlake and features a Callaway Performance Center and is the only GEO Certified green course in the Americas.

Tunica National in nearby Mississippi is a plump 7,210 yard, 18-hole public golf course with rolling fairways and fast Champion Bermuda greens. Stay in the fairway at Tunica National and your day will go smooth, but if you’ve got a wild swing be prepared to add new balls to your weekend expenses. 

-Designed by George Cobb, who is known for the "Amen Corner" at Augusta National, Stonebridge Golf Club is a beautiful tree-lined course that presents a challenge for golfers of all playing levels. With strategically placed bunkers and challenging water hazards, this par 71 course offers pristine conditions for a memorable day of golf.

World Famous Beale Street

Walking Tours

Backbeat Tours has a fascinating walking tour covering historic Downtown Memphis. Your guide will unfold the story of this rowdy river town and its people – tough frontiersmen, dashing Confederate soldiers and Civil War spies, gamblers, gangsters, speculators, and fancy ladies. Along the walking tour, you’ll see The Peabody Ducks, Beale Street, Civil War sites and panoramic rooftop views of the city. This tour is appropriate for all ages and can be booked online. 

As a free alternative, join local historian (and walking encyclopedia) Jimmy Ogle every Tuesday and Saturday through the summer for free walking tours of various locations in Downtown Memphis. Generally lasting about 45 minutes (four city blocks long), Jimmy takes history seekers through areas such as Court Square, Beale Street, Cotton Row, Pinch District, and South Main Street

Jimmy’s tours meet at different locations and are all handicap accessible. See a full list of tours and times on his website.

St. Jude Memphis Marathon

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend takes place annually in December and is one of a few major marathons to support a single charity – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Racers start and finish in Downtown Memphis near Beale Street and run alongside the Mississippi River, past Sun Studio and Overton Park, through the St. Jude campus and finish at AutoZone Park. In the past years, participants have raised more than $30 million in support of the hospital. The event features a marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 5K, kids marathon and family fun run.

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend is more than just a race. It's an action-packed weekend of fun, food and entertainment!

To learn more, visit stjudemarathon.org. 

shelby forest canoe

Meeman-Shelby Forrest State Park

Located in Millington, about 13 miles north of Downtown Memphis, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is more than just 13,000 acres of hardwood forests. This state park boasts outdoor amenities like two fishing lakes, one of the largest disc golf courses in the Southeast, a nature center, miles of biking, hiking and horse trails and ranger-led canoe programs. 

After a long day you’ll want to refuel at Shelby Forest General Store with a soda pop and a famous cheeseburger. Looking to stay overnight? Consider their park cabins or use the new online camping reservation system. 

My Big Backyard memphis

Keep the Kids Busy at My Big Backyard

My Big Backyard at Memphis Botanic Garden is part playground, part children's museum and part outdoor art gallery. With outdoor areas named Playhouse Lane, Critter Creek, Wormvill and Treetop Adventure, My Big Backyard is great for running, digging, splashing and discovering the great outdoors. 

Adults can get in on the act at the Memphis Botanic Garden as well. You’ll love the 96 acres of meticulously landscaped environments, the 23 specialty gardens, seasonal farmer's market and outdoor concert series.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

Jump, jump, jump around! Kids (and especially adults) love catching some air and bouncing off the walls at Sky Zone Trampoline Park. You'll flip for the foam pit and LOL in a game of trampoline dodge ball. Sky Zone is ideal for church groups, school groups, day cares, and sports teams. Most jumpers will go for 1-2 hours. Check their website for pricing and times.

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