When we think about places to enjoy the outdoors in Memphis, I feel like sometimes we forget Shelby Forest. I'm not sure if that's because it's a bit out of the way (as a state park should be, right?) or if we just don't know what all the place has to offer. The other day, my boss Bob and I went to Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park (commonly known as "Shelby Forest") and had the grand tour, including a mini canoe trip.
Meeman-Shelby Forest is barely half an hour away from downtown, 35 minutes from midtown, and maximum 40 minutes from East Memphis. It's not far when you consider that's all you have to drive to get completely out of the city.
At the park, you can bike or hike on several different trails, take a guided canoe/kayak/pontoon boat tour, camp in a tent or a cabin, ride your horse (if you have a horse), play on two different disc golf courses, picnic by a lake, or visit a nature center. Then, you can finish off your day at the Shelby Forest General Store for the one of the best cheeseburgers in the world.
For more information on availabilty for boat tours, campsites, and park access, visit the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park website.
Here are some of the things we found on our visit, plus a video about Shelby Forest from the Memphis CVB made with Google Glass. Special thanks to the staff at Meeman-Shelby State Park for spending the day with us.
You can take guided canoe or kayak trips in the Bald Cypress Swamp.
Have a picnic or pick a cabin to stay in on the shores of Poplar Tree Lake.
There are a few birds of prey, including a hawk and an owl, that the rangers take care of.
One of the friendly faces at the Nature Center.
There's a man in the area who will sell you honey on the side of the road. His professional name is "Mr. B".
One of several seating options for a meal at the Shelby Forest General Store. This is before the lunch crowd arrived.
One of the regulars.
The sign says "Best Cheeseburger in the World". I'd have to agree. Read more about the general store here.
For more information, visit the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park website.
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
910 Riddick Road Millington, Tenn. 38053