Memphis, TN

Where to get on the water in Memphis

Uncharted Traveling

School may be back in session, but that doesn't mean our summer fun has to end! Let's be honest, the Memphis heat is here to remind us that summer is definitely not over. Now is a great time to look for ways to have fun close to home, so what can you do on the weekends to make a splash and feel like you're still on vacation?

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Shelby Farms

Not only does Shelby Farms have over 40 miles of walking trails, but there are multiple playgrounds, a spray park, dog park, picnic areas, and over 20 small lakes! Whether you're into fishing, kayaking, or paddling boarding, you can find the perfect place at Shelby Farms. You can even pack your hammocks and take an afternoon break in the shade along the shore when you're finished paddling.

There are two locations where you can rent boats at Shelby Farms, as well as several locations where you can bring your own boat. For detailed information on where to launch your personal boat, see here.

Hyde Lake Boat Rentals:

You can rent canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards at the Hyde Lake Boat House, located on the north side of Hyde Lake near the main entrance to the Shelby Farms. For reservations, book here.

  • Reservations are available every 30 minutes.
  • Monday - Friday rentals are from 10:00am until 6:00pm.
  • Saturday - Sunday rentals are from 8:00am until 6:00pm.

Rental Rates:

  • Kayak - Single: $19.95
  • Kayak - Double: $24.95
  • Canoe: $24.95
  • Stand Up Paddle board: $19.95

Pine Lake Boat Rentals:

If a more relaxing paddle boat ride is more your speed, head to the Pine Lake Boat House. Located next to the Woodland Discovery Playground, you can rent two or four-seater paddle boats. You can also grab snacks and cold drinks to enjoy on your ride. See here to reserve your weekend paddle boat.

  • Reservations are available every 30 minutes.
  • Saturday and Sunday rentals are from 9:00am until 6:30pm.
  • Pine Lake boat rental rates are currently not available online. Check back here for more information.

Canoes + Cocktails

Get out on the lake every Friday night this summer with Canoes + Cocktails. Sponsored by Old Dominick Distillery, Canoes + Cocktails is a fundraiser for the daily operations of Shelby Farms Park and the Shelby Farms Greenline. Do something different this weekend and watch the sunset from a kayak, canoe or paddle board on Hyde Lake! Enjoy a guided evening sunset paddle on the lake followed by socially-distant cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, yard games and music at Hyde Lake Pavilion. Rent a canoe or kayak or bring your own boat. Keep in mind this is an adults only event and you need to make reservations in advance, so check for availability here.

  • Check-in at 7:15 pm at the Hyde Lake Boat House.
  • Boats launch at 7:45.
  • Tickets range from $35 - $75, food and drinks included.
  • Purchase tickets here

Mississippi River

Did you know you can get out and paddle on the big muddy river itself? If you're looking for an exciting watery adventure downtown, why not explore the harbor between Mud Island and the riverbank with a kayak? Kayak Memphis offers guided trips and kayak rentals in the harbor downtown.

Kayak Rentals:

Explore the three mile stretch of water between Mud Island and the Memphis Riverfront with a single or tandem kayak. Kayak rentals require a reservation and are only offered to those who have kayaked before. Here are the prices for rentals:

  • Single Kayak rentals are $20 for one hour.
  • Tandem kayak rentals are $30 for one hour.
  • Each additional hour is $10.

Guided Tours

If you are new to paddlesports, a guided tour or kayak tutorial may be a better fit for you. Guided tours include a tutorial for first-timers and beginners upon request and require a reservation. Each of these tours usually last around 2 hours and are $60 per person. The trip allows paddlers to access areas of the harbor off limits to those only renting a kayak. Group rates are also available.

Mississippi River Tours

In addition to guided tours of the harbor, experienced paddlers that are feeling extra adventurous can take guided trips on the Mississippi River as well! As with the other rentals and guided tours, reservations are required and shuttle service is included. Contact Kayak Memphis for full details.

E-mail kayakmemphis@outlook.com or call 901-482-2942 to check availability and make reservations.

Shelby Forest

One of two state parks right here in Shelby County, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is just 13 miles north of Memphis. Tucked away on the bluffs above the Mississippi River, a trip to Shelby Forest will make you forget all about the city life. Not only does Shelby Forest offer activities like hiking, biking, and bird watching, opportunities abound to have some fun on the water.

Head out to Poplar Tree Lake to do some paddling, boating, fishing, or just enjoying the peace and quiet. Don't have your own boat? Not to worry! The park rents canoes, kayaks, tandem kayaks, paddle boards, and pedal boats. You can even turn your visit into a weekend retreat by renting a vacation cabin or pitching a tent at one of the 49 campsites at the park.

Boat Rental Information:

  • Boats can be rented using cash or credit card.
  • Life Jackets cost $5.00
  • An accessible kayak ramp is available.
  • If you bring your own canoe or kayak, a launch fee is charged.
  • For ranger-led canoe and pontoon boat tours, check the park's event calendar for more information.

Rental Rates:

  • Canoe: $8/hour or $27 - $29/day
  • Kayak - Single: $10/hour
  • Kayak - Tandem: $15/hour
  • Paddle board: $12/hour
  • Pedal Boat: $10/hour for 2 seats or $15/hour for 4 seats

Follow me to keep up to date with all things Memphis. I write about travel, community events, live music and festivals, and all the best food and drink!

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Local city guide for Memphis Tennessee, reporting on current events, entertainment, and all the best places to eat and drink. And a few cocktail recipes here and there!

Memphis, TN
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