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You’d never know you were in Memphis. So close to all the marvelous Memphis attractions and yet so far. Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is located less than a half-hour drive from the city. Bordering the Mississippi River, the 13,467-acre park offers miles of hardwood forests, two lakes (Poplar Tree Lake and Lake Piersol), wonderful hiking trails, camping and wildlife galore. For fishing, jonboats can be rented from the park boat dock but you also can fish from the pier or bank. Electric motor boats are allowed but no gasoline motors. Big largemouth bass have been caught in the lake as well as catfish and bream. The park also has a nice ...

You’d never know you were in Memphis. So close to all the marvelous Memphis attractions and yet so far. Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is located less than a half-hour drive from the city. Bordering the Mississippi River, the 13,467-acre park offers miles of hardwood forests, two lakes (Poplar Tree Lake and Lake Piersol), wonderful hiking trails, camping and wildlife galore. For fishing, jonboats can be rented from the park boat dock but you also can fish from the pier or bank. Electric motor boats are allowed but no gasoline motors. Big largemouth bass have been caught in the lake as well as catfish and bream. The park also has a nice Nature Center featuring birds, live snakes, fish aquarium, touch table, Native American display and interesting educational exhibits. Named for conservationist Edward J. Meeman, the park offers great hiking trails that go deep in the forest, past ravines and over a couple of creeks. Trails are all connected from one central trailhead for easier access. Cyclists appreciate the miles of tree-shaded, low-traffic paved roads. A General Store makes a handy rest stop to enjoy a snack. For those who don’t feel like toting a tent, the park has six two-bedroom cabins along Poplar Tree Lake. Equipped with linens, kitchen items, a television, fireplace and firewood, the cabins offer comfy accommodations. So head on in to Graceland or Beale Street or Sun Studio or any of the many Memphis marvels, then drive out to Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park for a quiet retreat. The best of both worlds.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring when the trees and flowers are blooming or fall when the leaves change color.