Great River Road Trail
This scenic trail is full of history. Make your way through high bluffs and natural areas brimming with wildlife, stopping through small towns whose stories of Civil War tension and dramatic natural events helped shape the western border of Tennessee today.
Riverside Drive Welcome Center
Pose for great photo memories here with bronze statues of Elvis Presley and B.B. King on the shores of the mighty Mississippi, as you prepare to head out on the Great River Road. Pick up info about area attractions, discount coupons for restaurants and hotels, and get the inside scoop on local events.
119 N. Riverside Dr.
Beale Street Landing
Beale Street Landing is a modern docking facility to safely embark on a riverboat journey, a restaurant for casual dining and an open civic space that closely connects people to the Mississippi River. Managed by the Riverfront Development Corporation.
251 Riverside Drive
Mud Island River Park
This small peninsula between the Mississippi and Wolf Rivers offers a lot to do on its 52 acres, including the Mississippi River Museum, River Park and Mud Island Amphitheater. Take a ride on the monorail and don't miss the River Walk, a five block-long, exact scale model of the Lower Mississippi River. Learn about history and geography as you walk along--and even in--the flowing water of the "river." It's one of the best and most unique ways to learn about the mighty Mississippi. Open May-Oct.
Climb aboard a restored vintage trolley car for an unforgettable trip along the mighty Mississippi River and downtown Memphis. The Main Street Line follows the original mule-drawn trolley; the Riverfront Loop travels a breathtaking stretch of the river.
Take a 90-minute sightseeing cruise on the Mississippi led by a "Riverlorian," providing live historical commentary. As entertaining as it is educational, you'll see the river through the eyes of Native Americans, settlers, soldiers, and boatmen. Dinner & music cruises also available.
45 S. Riverside Dr.
The Cotton Museum
Visit this museum in the historic Memphis Cotton Exchange, once the very center of the global cotton trade. Learn about how this simple crop shaped America's economy, culture, and history, and take the self-guided tour of Cotton Row, the historic block surrounding the museum.
65 Union Ave
Memphis, TN 38103
T.O. Fuller State Park
This 1,100-acre state park, located within the Memphis city limits, offers camping, hiking and picnicking. Birdwatchers and wildlife lovers will be right at home here. This was the first state park east of the Mississippi to be open to African-Americans, and only the second in the U.S.; it is named for Thomas O. Fuller, who made educating African-Americans his life's work.
Chucalissa Archaeological Museum
Visit the remains of a prehistoric village found during a 1940 swimming pool excavation inside T.O. Fuller State Park. Tour the museum and preserved archaeological dig to learn more about the Chucalissa people--the original Memphis residents--through their pottery, dwellings, weapons, jewelry, and tools. This National Historic Landmark gives you a glimpse into the Mississippian villages Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto and his party encountered when they arrived near Memphis in the mid-1500s.
This museum gives you a rare opportunity to not only view works of art in metal, but allows you to see them being made as well. Learn more about the art of metalwork, sculpture to jewelry, contemporary to antique,— at the only U.S. institution of its kind.
The Fire Museum of Memphis
Visit the legendary Fire Engine House No.1 and learn about all things flame. From exploring turn-of-the-century, horse-drawn fire wagons to fighting the simulated flames from a burning skyscraper, you'll find interactive exhibits and much more at this "hot" attraction.
118 Adams Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
Slave Haven Museum
This 1849 clapboard house served as a way station on the Underground Railroad, a secret series of hiding places for runaway slaves seeking freedom in the North and Canada. Take the tour and visit the hidden tunnels, trap doors, and cellars where slaves waited for their chance to escape to the Mississippi River on their way to the next secret stop. The house is furnished with period pieces and slavery artifacts. Hours vary; call ahead for information.
826 N. 2nd St.
Jones Orchard Market & Kitchen
This is the spot where the Jones Orchard jams, jellies, and relishes are made in small batches from fruit grown on the nearby farm. Stop in for a home-cooked meal and a jar of jelly to take home.
7170 Hwy 51N
Old Millington Vineyard & Winery
Just 14 miles north of Memphis, this country winery produces award-winning wines. Stop in to taste reds, whites, ports and fruit wines, and spend time in the peaceful countryside. From April through October, catch live outdoor concerts most Sunday afternoons.
6748 Old Millington Road
Millington, TN 38053
This small town, known as "Flag City, Tennessee", was founded in 1878 and named after Mr. and Mrs. George Millington, who donated the land for a new town and a railroad station on the new Chesapeake Ohio Railroad line, which crossed through their plantation. It was officially incorporated in 1903 and had the first accredited school in Shelby County, even before Memphis.
The seat of Tipton County, this town was established in 1824 and chosen by the state legislature because of its location on a large hill with a bountiful spring of water. During the Civil War, the young men of Covington and the surrounding towns formed the "Tipton Rifles," the first Confederate outfit from the county. Today, it's a small West Tennessee town with lots of history and charm.
Tipton County Museum, Veterans Memorial & Nature Center
Explore military history, environmental education and West Tennessee heritage at this museum and 20-acre wildlife sanctuary. Take a stroll on the .5-mile nature trail through the forest and wetlands, or enjoy a picnic on the grounds of the largest urban park in the county.
South Main Historic District
Take a look back into the turn of the 20th century in this historic district around S. Main Street. At the time, this was Covington's most affluent neighborhood; today, it's a collection of 75 lovingly restored Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Foursquare and Greek Revival-style buildings.
200 W. Washington Ave.
Covington Historic Court Square
You'll find unique shops and quaint restaurants on this charming square surrounding the historic 1889 Tipton County Courthouse. Great care has been taken to restore the courthouse and storefronts here, creating an inviting and charming spot for tourists and locals.
101 Court Square West
This restored 1930s Art Deco-style theater is marked by a great old sign, and continues to entertain the area as host to events, community theater, productions and concerts. The King of Rock ‘'n' Roll, Elvis Presley, performed on the Ruffin stage in 1955. Open for performances.
113 W Pleasant Ave
Covington, TN 38019
St. Matthews Episcopal Church
This 1858 Gothic structure was one of the first churches in Covington, built by slaves. Three of the stained glass windows were discarded from Canterbury Cathedral in England during renovations, shipped to New Orleans, up the Mississippi and overland to Covington. Services are still held here every Sunday, as they have been for over 160 years.
303 S. Munford Street
Canaan Baptist Church
This 1917 church was originally organized in 1868, just after the end of the Civil War. It is the oldest African-American Missionary Baptist Church in Covington, and is still considered a cornerstone of the African-American community here. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in shaping Tipton County's African-American heritage.
211 N Main St
This was the first railroad town in Lauderdale County, with a depot first appearing in the early 1870s. The town has a strong history of industrial innovation and a rich African-American heritage, from slavery to freedmen business owners to author Alex Haley.
Alex Haley Museum & Interpretive Center
Visit the spot where Alex Haley spent much of his childhood: the home of his grandparents, Will and Cynthia Palmer. It was here on this porch that Haley likely heard the stories that inspired the now world-famous Roots: The Saga of An American Family, which earned him the 1976 Pulitzer Prize. The author is buried on the front lawn of the home, which has been restored and furnished with some of the original 1919 furniture, memorabilia and family artifacts. A state-of-the-art museum and genealogy center sits behind the home.
200 S. Church St.
Visit the Haley family burial plot, final resting place of the real "Chicken George", one of Alex Haley's slave ancestors portrayed by actor Ben Vereen in the television adaptation of Roots.
878 Henning-Bethlehem Rd
This small town, founded in 1836, is the seat of Lauderdale County and an anchor for this agricultural community. It's known far and wide for its tomatoes, and holds a popular tomato festival every summer.
Visit this newly renovated town square and downtown district with new storefronts and sidewalks that make strolling this quaint spot a true pleasure. The 1930s Art Deco Lauderdale County Courthouse is a unique find for West Tennessee. It has recently undergone extensive eco-friendly renovations as a part of the town's $8 million revitalization project, including gorgeous lighting,— a treat for after-dark visitors.
Lauderdale Co. Courthouse Court Sq.
Lauderdale County Chamber of Commerce and Museum
Pts. 27 & 28 are at same location.
123 S. Jefferson St.
Ripley, TN 38063
Charlene's Colony of Shoppes
This unique shopping experience includes an antique store, located in a former World War II U.S. Army base hospital building, and a tearoom, housed in a 1950s church structure. Both buildings have been moved to this location from their original sites in the county. Stop in for shopping, afternoon tea, or more — Just Divine Tea Room also serves lunch and dinner.
Halls, TN 38040
Immerse yourself in military history and the legacy of the World War II Army Air Corp. at this museum, located in a former B-17 Flying Fortress bomber training facility. The site, now home to Arnold Field, was one of several training bases in Tennessee, chosen for its similarity to the European countryside.
100 Veteran's Dr.
Murray Hudson Antiquarian Shop
For over 30 years, proprietor Murray Hudson has collected and curated an incredible inventory of over 25,000 antique maps, globes, and historical books and prints, like the first U.S. atlas, dating back to 1795.
Unlike its railroad town neighbors, Dyersburg predates the Civil War, established by some of West Tennessee's first white settlers. Dating back to the 1820s, this was a steamboat town with economic growth coming down the North Forked Deer River from the Mississippi River. Today, the town's history is well preserved in homes, historic buildings along Troy Avenue and commercial structures lining the square.
Dyersburg Court Square
Stroll this town square and admire its well-preserved late Victorian and early 20th-century buildings. Stop in the local shops and restaurants; admire the historic 1911 Dyer County Courthouse.
Dyer Co. Courthouse
1 Veterans Sq.
Dyer County Museum
Learn about local history through the artifacts of the area at this museum, featuring an audio history of life in the bottomland of the Mississippi River Delta. For a special treat, check out the unique Timmerman dollhouse collection.
305 College Street
Dr. Walter E. David Wildlife Museum
A museum focused on the wildlife of Dyer County, this museum features an impressive trophy collection of birds, one of each species of duck found on the Mississippi Flyway, as well as many types of wild animals.
1510 Lake Road
Newbern Depot & Railroad Museum
This restored 1920s train depot is still a stop for Amtrak's passenger line; drop in and visit the museum housed inside.
108 Jefferson Street
Newbern, TN 38059
Emerson E. Parks Covered Bridge
This 1902 bridge is one of three remaining historic covered bridges in Tennessee, and the only one in the western portion. It was originally built to cross a drainage ditch between two fields on a farm owned by Emerson Parks. On display in Trimble Park Plaza, it was moved in 1997 from its original location on private property.
107 Parks St
This town dates back to 1855, when the railroads entered West Tennessee and created a new transportation artery that shifted the economic dependence from the river. As Hwy 51 became the more active commercial route in the 1920s, businesses facing the tracks repurposed their back doors as a second storefront to face the highway. The town is home to several well-preserved Art Deco-style buildings, erected during Union City's heyday as a major highway junction.
Dixie Gun Works / Old Car Museum
The largest supplier of black powder shooting equipment, parts and antique guns in the world, this shop displays first production replicas of historic rifles, pistols and cannons as well as dozens of antique cars and mechanical devices. Don't miss the replica 1850s log cabin gun shop with more than 1,000 authentic tools, and a Calhoun Boat exhibit.
1410 W. Reelfoot Ave.
Downtown Union City
This town dates back to 1855, when the railroads entered West Tennessee and created a new transportation artery that shifted the economic dependence from the river. As Hwy 51 became the more active commercial route in the 1920s, businesses facing the tracks repurposed their back doors as a second storefront to face the highway. The town is home to several well-preserved Art Deco-style buildings, erected during Union City's heyday as a major highway junction
204 S 1st St
Confederate Cemetery & Monument
This is the first memorial to honor unknown Confederate soldiers in the South, erected by local citizens just a few years after the end of the Civil War. These particular soldiers were led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest and were killed in a raid on the occupying Federal troops in Union City. The Confederates attacked the town's railroad junction after destroying railroad tracks in several counties, attempting to disrupt Union supply lines.
Summer St. & Edwards St.
Union City, TN 38261
Grassy Island Auto Tour
Just a short drive from the Reelfoot Lake State Park museum and welcome center, take this 3-mile trip on Walnut Log Road along the Upper Blue Basin of Reelfoot Lake. The tour ends with a gorgeous overlook of the lake seen from an observation tower. From Walnut Log Road, you can access a short loop boardwalk and trail into the surrounding alluvial bottomland forest. Two boat ramps offer an excellent opportunity to paddle the Bayou du Chien and Reelfoot Lake. Don't forget your camera for this one.
This former grocery store from the 1920s has served fishermen and hunters for nearly 100 years. Today, it has expanded into a full restaurant, feeding hungry lake visitors who come from miles around for the fish dinner.
Reelfoot Lake State Park
Reelfoot lake itself is 14 miles long and 5 miles wide, and is home to almost every kind of shore and wading bird, golden and American bald eagles, and abundant wildlife. The park offers several programs designed to show you its unique sites and landscape, including wildlife tours, eagle tours, boat tours, and more. Stay for a day or stick around for the night; the park offers camping and cabins, boating, hiking and gorgeous scenery. Don't miss the nature center and the chance to see bald eagles, owls, and other majestic birds in person. Eagle tours: 731-253-9652 Reservations: 731-253-9652 Visitor Center: 731-253-9652
R.C. Donaldson Memorial Museum
This museum and nature center, located at Reelfoot Lake State Park, is a great place to learn about the lake. Its boardwalk is the only shoreline trail on the lake, a meandering walk through the cypress grove with impressive views.
2595 Hwy 21E
Island No. 10 Battlefield Sites
Follow the signs in downtown Tiptonville to find this Civil War site, about a mile outside of town. Island No. 10, now underwater, was once located on the New Madrid Bend of the river and provided a strong Confederate defensive position. In 1862, Union gunboats attacked the island and started a weeks-long struggle, eventually gaining access to the South. Over 6,000 Confederate prisoners were taken at surrender, and the Union swiftly moved south to take Fort Pillow and Memphis. Federal troops retained control of this valuable Southern gateway for the rest of the war. Markers at the site tell the story of the island and the fallen Confederate soldiers once buried there.
Tucked between the Mississippi River and Reelfoot Lake, Tiptonville is the seat of Lake County. It's a community surrounded by water; because of its elevation, it was used as a relief camp during major floods in the 1920s and 1930s.
Explore the local shops and businesses around the historic Lake County Courthouse.
Lake Co. Courthouse
130 S. Court St.
Tiptonville Main Street Association
Pts. 49 & 50 are in city hall, inside courthouse.
130 S Court St
Tiptonville, TN 38079
Emmett Lewis Memorial Heritage Center & Museum
Learn about the area in this museum, inside Tiptonville's city hall. Explore Civil War history and Reelfoot Lake's formation, get to know famous residents like Carl Perkins and more. Closed weekends.
130 S Court St
Marijac Memorial River Park
Just outside of Tiptonville, this park and former Delta Queen steamboat stop is a great place for a picnic. Its unique name comes from the land's owners "Mary" and "Jack". Enjoy the scenic overlook and quiet shade at the base of the New Madrid Bend in the river.
Tiptonville Ferry Rd
Carl Perkins Visitors Center
Visit the little house where rockabilly pioneer Carl Perkins once lived, just outside of Tiptonville. It was in these cotton fields that he learned to play a second-hand guitar, blending the rhythm-and-blues sound with the hillbilly twang he loved. Stop in for information about the Tiptonville area, and play a few Perkins tunes on the jukebox--some you're sure to recognize, like "Blue Suede Shoes."
230 Carl Perkins Pkwy
Tiptonville, TN 38079
Ed Jones Boat Ramp
Enjoy beautiful views of the Mississippi just north of the Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge.
Boat Ramp Rd
Chisholm Lake Store and Restaurant
Stop by this local favorite on the banks of Chisholm Lake Friday and Saturday nights for steak or crablegs. The first Thursday of every month is a special treat, when the owners serve fried fish. Lake access is reserved for members, but restaurant patrons are welcome Thursday through Sunday evenings.
Fort Pillow State Historic Park
This 1,600-acre state park is situated on the first Chickasaw Bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi. This was a strategic spot for the Confederate Army during the Civil War; they hastily built earthen fortifications here, which are well preserved today. Learn more about the historical and archaeological significance of this park at its museum and interpretive center, where you can view Civil War artifacts and a film about the 1864 battle. The park also offers boat access, camping, fishing and picnic facilities.
Champion Lake and Little Champion Lake are ringed with beautiful and ancient cypress and tupelo trees. It is a paddler's dream, as the lakes are rarely crowded and the quiet and serenity are hard to match. There is a small pier available for birdwatching and fishing.
Champion Lake Road
Randolph Bluff Historic Site
Just past the Randolph United Methodist Church, you'll find one of the best views of the Mississippi River, high above the floodplain on the second Chickasaw Bluff. A Civil War historical marker describes the area's significance including Fort Wright (now private property) near this spot. The 1861 fort served not only as a defensive position for the Confederates on the Mississippi, it was one of the state's first military training camps, where recruits (including future Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest) learned how to defend and fight for the Confederacy.
241 Ballard Slough Rd
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Over 13,000 acres atop the third Chickasaw Bluff are yours to explore in this scenic state park in the bottomland hardwood forest. Take a break among the oak, cypress, and tupelo trees to fish, hike, picnic, or enjoy the wildlife for a day or overnight — camping and vacation cabins are available. Don't miss the nature center on Piersol Lake, the oldest man-made lake in the state; you'll find hands-on exhibits and come face to face with some of the park's wildlife.
Shelby Forest General Store
Stop by this charming market for fresh-made biscuits and world-famous cheeseburgers, live music on weekends and an authentic general store experience. This is the kind of place where locals gather for coffee on the front porch, and it's also a favorite hangout of Millington's famous son, musician/actor Justin Timberlake.