The 9 Best Day Trips from Memphis, Tennessee

Kaylee Giacomini

It’s easy to spend a while in the Southern city of Memphis, Tennessee. If you are, however, looking to spend a day or two outside the city, Memphis’ location right on the border of three states makes it an interesting place to explore. The exciting cities of Nashville, Tennessee and Jackson, Mississippi are around 3 hours away, or you could explore stunning state parks less than an hour outside of Memphis. Check out some of the best day trips to take from Memphis, Tennessee below.

Nashville, Holly Springs National Forest, Little Rock, Oxford, Jackson, Clarksdale, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, Tuscumbia, Jonesboro

  • Nashville, United States

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      The other most famous city in Tennessee: Nashville! Nashville is almost exactly three hours from Memphis by car, so leave early and squeeze a lot into the day before returning home. Like Memphis, Nashville is famous for music. Check out the Country Music Hall of Fame and stroll Broadway to enjoy one (or many) Honkytonks. Most of these bars have live music from local performers all day. One of the most unique Nashville experiences is the Bar on a Bike tour. BYOB and ride up and down the streets of Nashville by way of a small open air van powered by bike. Make sure to have some Nashville hot chicken before leaving, and if you make it an overnight check out some of the city’s vibrant nightlife (and ride a mechanical bull!).

  • Holly Springs National Forest, United States

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      If you’re looking to get out of the city, Holly Springs is a great place to visit and only an hour away! It is the closest national forest to Memphis and a great place to decompress among nature. The National Forest is home to an incredibly diverse ecosystem that represents the beautiful region of America it calls home. Explore the varied topography of the park, hike some of the trails, and even take a dip in one of the park’s many natural springs and lakes if you visit in the summer. Want to make it an overnight? The park has numerous campground spots to rent out.

  • Little Rock, United States

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      Want to scratch another state off the map while vacationing in Memphis? The capital city of Arkansas, Little Rock, is a mere two hour drive away. Little Rock is located in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains and is a bustling metro area. The city is home to plenty of museums and parks to explore, as well as historic sites and a unique city-scape beside the Arkansas River.

  • Oxford, United States

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      Oxford, Mississippi, much like its namesake in the UK, is an academic town with stunning old English architecture from the original 19th century settlers. The town is home to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and is a lively place to explore bustling with students and locals alike. If you’re a William Faulkner fan, Oxford is a pilgrimage of sorts as much of his writing was inspired by the town he called home and the surrounding countryside. Oxford is also home to some incredible art galleries to explore; they even do an Art Crawl if you’re trying to see them all!

  • Jackson, United States

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      Another state capital in reach of Memphis is Jackson, Mississippi. This city is home to many cultural touches and unique places to check out such as the expansive museum of natural history. You can also explore the Civil Rights museum of Jackson, the art museum, or one of the city’s gardens. The city is also a great culinary destination for the foodies out there and is home to lively nightlife. The Mississippi Petrified Forest is also located right outside of Jackson if you would like to spend some time checking out a unique natural attraction.

  • Clarksdale, United States

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      Clarksdale is the perfect destination for music lovers - it’s the birthplace of Blues! Like many southern cities, there is local live music to check out across the city. Clarksdale has plenty of interesting museums to visit, including three dedicated to Blues. The city is also the perfect gateway for outdoor recreation. Clarksdale is one of the best places to take a canoe trip down the Mississippi.

  • Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, United States

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      Meeman-Shelby is one of the quickest drives from Memphis at under 30 minutes away. The Park houses over 12,000 acres of land with plenty of areas and trails to explore. On top of fascinating nature and wildlife to check out, the park also includes a 36-hole golf course. Hike around the park and then play a classic game of golf surrounded by nature and foliage.

  • Tuscumbia, United States

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      Tuscumbia is another gorgeous town steeped in old English touches. It is also the home of the Music Hall of Fame which pays homage to multiple types of American music ranging from Rock and Roll to Blues. The Hall of Fame constantly has live performances, so plan your visit around their schedule to learn some history about your favorite musicians and then enjoy a live band. Tuscumbia was also made famous by Helen Keller - town visitors can check out historic attractions dedicated to the activist.

  • Jonesboro, United States

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      Jonesboro is a great place to visit located just an hour outside of Memphis. The town is known for its arts, culture, and natural attractions. The Arkansas State Museum is a great place to visit in Jonesboro. It gives an extensive overview of the state from culture to the nature of Arkansas. There are plenty of parks located across and near the city.