5 Star Stories: Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park offers a dose of the great outdoors

Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 9:46 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - If the pandemic has you feeling cooped up in your home lately, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park could be the remedy to your cabin fever.

The park is the perfect getaway located just 13 miles north of Memphis for those on the hunt for somewhere to go just to get out of the house that is close to home.

The grounds are 12,539 acres along the western border of the Mississippi River.

Park Manager James Wilkinson says they have several amenities.

“Kayaks and pedal boats and jon boats. We also do interpretive tours with our pontoon,” he said.

They also have 20-plus miles of hiking trails, mountain bike trails, a 49-site campground with water and electric, and two lakes with geese. You’re allowed to fish in the smaller lake.

Eight-year-old Cadie Hutchins said she had a great time tossing her first line into the water.

“I really like the park. I didn’t really catch any fish,” she smiled.

Wilkinson says 800,000 people per year visit the park, and it's even busier this year with people seeking a getaway from the pandemic to find tranquility, escape and adventure.

Disc golf is a huge draw and there are horse trails, but the park does not rent horses, so you just have to bring your own.

You can hunt deer, turkey and squirrels seasonally in designated Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency areas.

The park has playgrounds and rents out six cabins with newly renovated kitchens. The cabins also have laundry rooms and decks on the lakeside.

The Nature Center lets you get up close and personal with wildlife, from Eastern Screech Owls to hawks, turtles and snakes.

The birds have injuries that won't allow them to survive in the wild, so the staff cares for them while educating the rest of us.

From the educational programs to seasonal and annual events, Wilkinson says there’s something for everyone at Meeman-Shelby Forest Park.

“Whether it’s a weekend stay in our campground or our cabins, or a picnic by the side of the lake,” he said.

The cabins cost $105 per night on weekdays and $125 on weekends. It costs more during the holidays. Tell the folks in the Visitor Center that you’re from Tennessee, show your ID, and you just might get a deal.

Click on the park’s website for other prices and check out their “Meeman Minute” educational videos on their Facebook page.

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