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Where to Have a Water Adventure in Memphis

couple in canoe

Memphis is known for its perch overlooking the Mighty Mississippi, but any local will tell you that taking a dip in Ol’ Man River isn’t the best idea. The Mississippi is far too big and fast for a swim, but don’t let that keep you from having a water adventure in Memphis this summer.

With plenty of splash parks, aquatic centers, rivers and an exact scale model of the Mississippi River, there are many things to do in Memphis that will keep you cool during those sweltering summer days.

Play in a Splash Park

Memphis boasts a surprising number of amazing splash parks, making it a very kid-friendly location when the warmer weather hits. Perfect for letting the kids run around and cool off, splash parks are usually made from softer surfaces. This material is safer and more comfortable than concrete or pool decking, so sit back and relax while the kids have their fun.

Here are some of our favorite splash parks for the whole family:

Children’s Museum of Memphis
2525 Central Ave., Memphis, TN 38104

Kroc Center
800 E. Parkway S., Memphis, TN 38104

Beale Street Landing Island Play
251 Riverside Drive, Memphis, TN 38103

Shelby Farms
6903 Great View Drive N., Memphis, TN 38120

Head Out in A Canoe or Kayak

While you shouldn’t swan dive into the Mississippi River, you can explore the river on canoe or kayak. Start your trek at the Harbor Town Docks, and you can paddle for miles.

Shelby Farms Park offers canoes and kayaks, too. Head to this Memphis gem to glide canoes or kayaks across the beautiful Pine Lake. Go to the boathouse at Pine Lake, next to Woodland Discovery Playground, to rent canoes or kayaks, or bring your own.

If you’re up for a short drive, head to the enchanting Wolf River for a day of canoeing or kayaking in nature. This 8.5-mile canoe and kayak trail includes the mystic Ghost River, and there is plenty of natural wildlife to watch. No Memphian should miss this adventure!

Aquatic Centers

Ready to tackle laps in an Olympic-sized pool? Or maybe a leisurely float during adult only swim is more your speed? No matter your preference, the aquatic centers in Memphis offer something for everyone.

Many have splash parks, indoor pools or even lazy rivers. There are swim lessons for you or the kids, swim team, exercise classes and lifeguard-monitored fun.

Head to one of these recreation centers for relief from the heat this summer:

Bartlett Recreation Center
7700 Flaherty Place, Bartlett, TN 38133
Features a splash pad, swim lessons, swim team, aquatic exercise classes and a discount for residents.

Nuber YMCA
5885 Quince Road, Memphis, TN 38119
Features childcare, an indoor and an outdoor pool, swim lessons, aquatic exercise classes and income-based membership fees.

Memphis Jewish Community Center
6560 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38138
Features childcare, an indoor and an outdoor pool, swim lessons, swim team, triathlete swim, a lazy river, splash park, baby pool and more!

Take a Stroll on Mud Island

One of the most interesting things to do in Memphis, the Mud Island River Walk is a scale replica of the Mississippi. Take a walk along the eight-block replica of one of our world’s longest rivers, and then take a dip in the swimming area.

Complete with pedal boats for rent, this Mud Island experience is a perfect day downtown for the family.

There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Memphis on or in the water. Check out a water adventure in Memphis this summer and enjoy the outdoors!

Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Always check the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.

Cheryl Malik

Cheryl Malik is a food writer, photographer, and recipe developer. Her food blog, 40 Aprons, is known for her quirky voice and balanced recipes. She lives in Memphis with her husband, son, and dog, Magnolia.

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