Summer break is a time to rest and relax after 180 days of grading, reading, preparing, and learning. So why not take a few day trips and enjoy some of Memphis’ neighboring towns?
Here are 10 day trips from Memphis that will give you a chance to relax, learn, explore, and cool off:
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
- Distance: 13 miles or 24 minutes
- Keep things close to home and explore Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park! While it’s right outside of Memphis, many people have never seen all that the 12,536 acre park has to offer. With over 20 miles of hiking trails, 49 campsites, and a 36-hole disk-golf course, it’s the perfect little getaway.
“Exhibits include live snakes, turtles, salamanders, fish aquariums, stuffed animal exhibit, indoor live butterfly garden (open seasonally), bone table, insect table and a Native American exhibit.” – Tennessee State Parks Website
Paddle the Ghost River
- Distance to Input: 44 miles or 1 hour and 3 minutes
- Distance to Output: 38 miles or 56 minutes
- Ghost River isn’t just an amazing craft brewery, but an awesome 8.5 mile water experience that you can enjoy. Grab some friends and paddle you way through both the Ghost Section and Spirit Lake. Don’t have a canoe, kayak, or paddle board? Ghost River Rentals has you covered!
- Distance: 61 miles or 1 hour and 25 minutes
- When you arrive in town, walk around the Historic Downtown Square where you’ll find a galore of shops as well as delicious restaurants. Before you head out, stop by the London style phone booth for a picture, take a stroll around the University of Mississippi campus, or consider stopping by William Faulkner’s house, Rowan Oak.
- Distance: 66 miles or 1 hour and 23 minutes
- What could be better than a drive through zoo? Instead of going to the animals, the animals come to you! A visit to the safari park allows for animals to venture up to your car while you take in a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For hours and entrance fees, visit their website.
- Distance: 73 miles or 1 hour and 27 minutes
- While Clarksdale might be a small town of only 20,000 people, the Mississippi destination is rich in music history. Hear blues-y tunes fill the air while wining and dining at Red’s Lounge, and if that doesn’t satisfy your musical craving, head over to the Delta Blues Museum.
Heber Springs, AR
- Distance: 116 miles or 2 hours and 40 minutes
- Looking to do a little day-partying on a lake? Heber Springs is the place to be. Instead of driving to the coast, consider visiting Sandy Beach where families can swim, play in the sand, and enjoy a picnic under a pavilion. Boats and other water accessories can be purchased at the Dam Site Marina. If the lake doesn’t suite your fancy, head to the Ozark Country Market where you’ll find beautiful plants, Amish products, produce, candies, and much more!
Little Rock, AR
- Distance: 133 Miles or 2 hours and 9 minutes
- When in Little Rock, visit Little Rock Central High School where the Little Rock Nine broke racial barriers and enrolled in a school only for Caucasians. Don’t forget to take pictures because what you’ve experienced can be taken back to the classroom and shared with your students. Looking for a way to incorporate Bill Clinton into your lesson plans? Consider visiting his Presidential Library and share what you learned with your class. When it comes time to eat, consider grabbing a bite at the River Market.
Pinnacle Mountain, AR
- Distance: 141 miles or 2 hours and 25 minutes
- Located in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, Pinnacle Mountain is perfect for great hikes, picnics, boating, and camping! There are easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes, so don’t be worried if you’re not a pro. Whether you’re hiking or biking the trails, there’s nothing like taking in some fresh air and breathtaking scenery. For more information on trails and possible hikes, please click here.
“The state park’s dominant natural feature is Pinnacle Mountain, which rises more than a thousand feet above the Arkansas River Valley. The mountain’s cone-shaped peak has long been a central Arkansas landmark and attraction for outdoor enthusiasts.” – Arkansas State Parks Website
Hot Springs, AR
- Distance: 178 miles or 3 hours and 1 minute
- For nature lovers, the first stop of your list should be Garvan Woodland Gardens where you’ll find beautiful flora, a stunning waterfall, and Anthony Chapel. Looking to cool off in the summer heat? Grab your swimsuits and make way to Magic Springs Theme and Water Park.
- Distance: 194 miles or 3 hours and 7 minutes
- If you’re visiting on a Saturday, stopping at the Franklin Farmers Market is a must. If you are going any other day, consider starting with the Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium. Next, venture down to Broadway where you can take in all the music venues, restaurants, and bars. For a nice view of downtown, consider walking the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge. For history buffs, the Parthenon, a full scale replica of the original Parthenon in Greece, is a sight worth visiting that is within walking distance to Vanderbilt University. To conclude the evening, consider a night out on Broadway or a dinner in the 5 Points.