Best Outdoor Activities and Destinations in the Memphis Area

Shelby Farms Park Dog Park
••• Dog Park at Shelby Farms. Photo courtesy of Shelby Farms Park

Memphis is a city that enjoys warm springs and falls, sunny summers, and fairly mild winters. This means that the weather is often perfect for heading outdoors. If you're looking for something to do outside in Memphis, here is a list of some of the best outdoor activities and destinations in the area.

Updated by Holly Whitfield, December 2017.

  • 01 of 08

    Memphis sits on the banks of the mighty Mississippi. In fact, Memphis is known as the Bluff City due to the high bluffs along the riverside. With such a magnificent river in our midst, it's no wonder so many Memphians enjoy recreation along or in the river. Take a picnic to one of the parks bordering the river or enjoy a stroll along the cobblestones at the river's edge. If you are feeling adventurous, head over to Big River Crossing where you can walk across the river from downtown Memphis to West Memphis, Arkansas. 

  • 02 of 08

    Shelby Farms Greenline

    ••• © Allen Elliote, used under Creative Commons License

    The Shelby Farms Greenline (often referred to as the Memphis Greenline) is a 6.7 mile trail that runs from Shelby Farms to Midtown. The trail was developed over a portion of abandoned railway that had become an eyesore of weeds and broken tracks. Now, though, it is a beautiful trail on which to walk, run, or bike. The Greenline offers nine access points throughout the city, making it easy to get on and off the trail as needed.

  • 03 of 08
    ••• Photo by flickr.com user mulmatsherm, licensed under Creative Commons

    This unique park is located on an "island on the river". Admission to the park is free and includes a scale model of the Mississippi River to wade in--perfect for those hot summer days. To get to the park, you must cross a 1/3 mile pedestrian bridge or pay to ride on the bridge's monorail, adding an extra bit of fun to the trip.

  • 04 of 08
    ••• Ya Ya, one of the Giant Pandas at the Memphis Zoo. Photo Courtesy of Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau
    The Memphis Zoo has been one of the city's most popular attractions since its beginnings in 1906. With over 3,500 animals housed on its 70 acres, the Zoo offers hours of entertainment and education for kids and adults alike. As an added bonus, the Zoo is located in Overton Park, a nice place for the kids to run off some energy or to enjoy a picnic lunch.
    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Botanic Gardens

    ••• Photo courtesy of the Memphis Botanic Garden
    The Memphis Botanic Garden features 23 specialty gardens on 96 acres in east Memphis. From roses to irises, cacti to herbs, there are botanicals to stimulate all of your senses. Got kids? One of the Memphis Botanic Gardens' newest gardens, My Big Backyard, is an engaging place for children to explore and play.
  • 06 of 08

    Herb Parsons Lake

    ••• Photo by Teresa R. Simpson, Licensed to About.com

    Herb Parsons Lake is the destination for local fisherman as it offers a plentiful supply of crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and catfish. It is also a great place to go boating or to enjoy a picnic. Every weekend, families, couples, and individuals can all be found enjoying the lake and its surrounding area.

  • 07 of 08
    Levitt Shell Overton Park Memphis
    ••• Levitt Shell at Overton Park In Memphis. Holly Whitfield

    Thanks to Memphis' reasonably pleasant climate, there is a nice variety of outdoor concerts that take place throughout the year. Concerts can be found in nearly every genre and in varied locations across the Memphis area. To make it even sweeter, some of the concerts are absolutely free. Some of the major concert series are at the Levitt Shell (in the spring and fall), the River Series at Harbor Town Amphitheater, Live at the Garden, and Railgarten's outdoor venue. 

  • 08 of 08

    Charity Walks/Runs

    ••• Photo by stock.xchng

    Participating in a charity walk or run is a great way to help an organization raise money. Participants usually pay a registration fee and/or collect pledges or donations for the cause. Taking part in a walk or run can be a great activity for family or friends to do together. Many people use the opportunity to achieve a personal goal, such as completing a 5K run.