When we rate a city on its pet friendliness our criteria is a little different than most. In fact, we only consider one thing: Is it easy to do all the things a visitor would normally do – but do them with our dogs.
Unfortunately, we found that Memphis does not get high marks for its pet friendliness.
Washington, DC is a great example of a pet friendly place to visit. From the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, the White House to Capitol Hill, even Arlington National Cemetery – you can see much of what Washington has to offer with your pet. Aspen, Colorado is another super place to visit with your pet.
We’re not saying that Memphis isn’t a decent place to visit with your pets – just that traveling here requires a bit more work. Its best known attractions, the Civil Rights Museum, the live music venues on Beale Street, and Graceland, do not allow pets. Combine that with Memphis’ hot and humid summer weather, and you’re looking at finding a pet sitter or doggy day care if you want to visit these locations.
A little more research and some tips from friends turned us on to a few things we did enjoy in Memphis.
The recently constructed Shelby Farms Greenline Trail, a seven-miles rails-to-trails project, connects Shelby Farms to Midtown Memphis. Leashed pets are welcome, though you should note that the trail is new and there aren’t any trash cans yet. Be sure to take your own waste bags and be prepared to pack the poop out.
All the trails at Shelby Farms Park are pet friendly, as long as the dogs are leashed. But the big attraction here is the off-leash area. And when I say big, I mean BIG! The staff was unable to tell me how many acres it is, but if you have a dog that doesn’t come back when you call him, I can tell you this isn’t the park for you. There are six lakes, rolling hills, and a plethora of sticks to choose from. Buster thought it was fabulous.
If you find yourself downtown, look up Mabel and Rob for a pet friendly carriage tour of historic Memphis. Rob adopted this sweet pup after she and her litter mates wandered into the stable. Now they make a great team. Just look at those ears! Who could resist her?
And, finally, if you need a snack you don’t want to miss Muddy’s Bake Shop. The “Prozac” cupcake is so good it should be illegal. They also make fresh sandwiches and provide pet friendly sidewalk seating.
Memphis does have a good selection of pet friendly hotels to choose from, and a reasonable number of pet friendly restaurants. The Agricenter campground where we stayed was only a mile from Shelby Farms Park, and though it wasn’t pretty, it was clean and the people were friendly.
When you’re choosing a pet friendly destination, what are the most important things to you?