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Singing the Pet Friendly Blues in Memphis

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.

Beale Street - Memphis, TN Beale Street - Posted

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.

Shelby Farms Greenline Trail

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.

Buster at Shelby Farms Off-leash Area Buster and the stick

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?

Mabel the Carriage Pup in Memphis, TN

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?

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
Pet Friendly Hotels | Pet Friendly Destinations | Pet Friendly Activities

  • Thanks for lettig us know, Stephanie!

  • We were traveling through Memphis and wanted to stop at the zoo along our way, the zoo does not allow dogs. I called this doggy daycare to drop her off for the day while we played. The best part about doing this was, because it was our first time using them it was completely free! I recommend dropping your 4 legged friend off here while you enjoy all of Memphis.http://www.campbowwow.com/memphis-balmoral

  • That sounds like a great trip, Marcia! Unfortunately, we didn’t use a pet sitter in Memphis, so I can’t offer you a recommendation. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Waggin’ trails to you all!

  • We are headed to Memphis the7-10 th of June. Taking our shin tzu George , hoping he has a good vacation. We are staying close to Shelby Farms. Any suggestions for a good caring daycare in the area if we choose to use one?

  • Just came across your post as we are headed to Memphis in a few weeks in our RV. What a bummer that Beale Street doesn’t allow dogs. As we travel around, it will be interesting to balance what we want to see, and what allows us to bring our pup!

    • Yea, it was a bummer Tricia – it would have been a blast to sit out with the dogs and listen to live music. But, we still found plenty of fun things to do with the boys. I hope you guys have a great time!

  • Margaret says:

    We are headed to Memphis in the middle of May. Of course, we are bringing the dogs. I thought we would camp in Shelby Forest State Park. I guess we will forgo many of sites and just enjoy being with dogs. I didn’t realize that they had such a hugh leash-free area.

  • Hi Y’all,

    Sounds like the off leash area makes Memphis worth a stop. However, the summer heat anywhere makes traveling with dogs difficult.

    For us hotels that allow 100lb dogs is a must. Oh yes, and that they don’t rob you for having a large dog.

    BrownDog’s Human

  • Deborah Flick says:

    Love the off-leash area. That’s awesome.

    I like your litmus test for pet friendliness: Is it easy to do all the things a visitor would normally do – but do them with our dogs. :-)

    • Thanks Deborah! When you’re talking about taking your pet on a trip, isn’t that what pet friendly really means? I get that sometimes compromises are necessary – for example we don’t expect the dogs to be allowed in museums. But when the dogs aren’t welcome at the outside attractions – that irritates me a little. I guess because we know that some places go out of their way to welcome people and their pets, it’s disappointing when you visit other places that are not making any kind of effort at all.

  • Bummer that you can’t take the dogs onto Beale Street, but you can’t bring your pet snake either. I guess that they were having a problem with reptiles?

  • Pup Fan says:

    Wow… that’s a huge off-leash area!

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