Memphis is a great base for exploring the rest of Tennessee – a state that is rich in history and saturated with tales. From Memphis you’ll have easy access to the legendary city of Nashville, but also to older historical sites and the real small-town America that most of us only get to see on the big screen. Culture Trip has put together a varied selection of exciting day trips from Memphis for you to choose from.
Jackson, Mississippi, is much more than a hub between Nashville and Memphis. It is home to historical American Civil War battleground sites as well as a flourishing downtown, and it rivals Nashville for producing musical icons. Jackson is a city that thrives as an underdog. It is where rock music was arguably born, with the mystical elements of moonshine, the blues, and country music coming together to form a style that took over the planet. That is the spirit of this city, so be prepared to know that you may leave it howling at the moon.
Around a one-and-a-half-hour drive northeast of Memphis lies Pinson Mounds, a preserved Native American area that dates back to around 1500CE. The grounds cover 400 acres with around 30 mounds to explore. The legend is that this was ancient religious ceremonial land, and there is some evidence that the mounds align with the stars. The earthwork has been wonderfully preserved. If you have any desire to immerse yourself in ancient culture or for anyone who just wants to take a hike with a different edge, this is a good option for a day out of the ordinary.
If you really want a small-town experience, head further south from Oxford to a town that is thriving with the energy of young people who want to live in an engaging community away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. Water Valley offers that sense of a community that is flourishing to the backdrop of American life from another era. This is a city where professors, musicians and retired farmers can all be friends sitting alongside each other in a coffee house. Young people have bought historic homes cheaply and in turn have brought new life to this city from bygone days.