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West Tennessee Loop Tour
Music of Memphis to Hurricane Mills & Back
This tour is for music lovers! Touring western Tennessee will cover artists like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and B.B. King. Enjoy museums, memorials, and beautiful outdoor Tennessee in impressive cities like Jackson, Camden, and of course, Memphis.
Tennessee’s largest city – not to mention the largest city on the Mississippi River – Memphis is a staple of western Tennessee culture.
A stunning metropolis, River City features incredible historic sites and districts, plus great food, festivals, and folks.
Memphis is also known as Blues City and Birthplace of Rock & Roll for good reason. Visitors and music fans alike are more than encouraged to check out the famous music sites of Memphis.
Elvis fans, your first stop is of course Graceland, best followed by a trip to Sun Studio – former stomping grounds of Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and of course the King. Both stops are U.S. National Historic Landmarks found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and both offer daily tours.
For more blues in Blues City, be sure to visit Beale Street – a lively historic district host to shops, restaurants, clubs, and best of all, atmosphere. Check out the Church Park Auditorium, the B.B. King Blues Club, or see if you can catch the Beale Street Music Festival.
If you want to move through Memphis like a local, ditch the wheels are head for the iconic Memphis Trolleys – operated the Memphis Area Transit Authority. The vintage MATA Trolley consists of the Main Street Line, the the Madison Avenue Line, and the Riverfront Loop.
Covering 4,500 acres, Shelby Farms is a massive park in eastern Memphis featuring multi-use trails, two lakes, disc golf, and a BMX race track.
Hikers can take to the Chickasaw Trail or Tour de Wolf, while others can try horseback riding, nature viewing, pedal and row boating, and of course, picnicking.
From Memphis, hop on Interstate 40 and head northeast for 90 miles to Jackson – just passed the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge. Jackson is a sports town if ever there was one, home to the Jackson Generals, the Ballpark at Jackson, Oman Arena, and the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex – plus plenty more to see and do.
Jackson is home to the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame Museum – just in case you music fans did get enough in Memphis.
Head here for films, exhibits, and artwork featuring big names in rockabilly like Henry Harrison and Carl Perkins. Get a picture with the Paul McCartney and Perkins mural, and sign up for the “Of the Life of Legends” tour – given every day but Sunday.
A festive spot in west Tennessee, Jackson always has something going on. Don’t miss the Rockabilly Birthday Party at the Rock-A-Billy Hall, or see what’s on the event calendar for the Jackson Arts Council, Jackson Generals, and the Jackson Symphony.
And if you happen to catch Jackson on a slow day – which we doubt – other attractions include the Rusty's TV & Movie Car Museum and Brooks Shaw's Old Country Store. Both come highly recommended.
Jackson boasts 12 parks covering over 800 acres. Our recommendation is Cypress Grove – a sprawling refuge known for its mile-long boardwalk through the swamp.
Visitors enjoy wildlife viewing, exploring the Aerie Trail Raptor Center, and checking out the 25-acre Wood Duck Lake. Get a eye full of the whole park from atop the Rockwell Observation Tower.
From Jackson, continue east on I-40 for 75 miles – possibly stopping at the Natchez Trace State Park – until you reach Hurricane Mills. While in the Mills, we highly suggest you visit the Loretta Lynn Ranch.
From HM, move north on State Route 13 to Waverly, and head back west on U.S. Route 70. You’ll travel over the Tennessee River, moving just south of the Johnsonville State Historic Park, until you reach Camden.
The music fan tour continues. Be sure to visit the Patsy Cline Memorial – set on Mt. Carmel Road just north of Camden. The Patsy Cline Crash Site Memorial commemorates the spot where country western stars Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and of course, Patsy Cline were tragically lost in a plane crash in 1963. The sire features a stone marker and walking trail.
Along with the Patsy Cline Memorial, Camden offers other historic markers in and near town. Be sure to see the Moving Wall and the Benton County Veterans Memorial – both at the Benton County Industrial Park.
And for you Civil War fans, don’t miss the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. Make your way to the top of Pilot Knob – Tennessee’s highest point – and explore the Tennessee River Folklife Museum.
This little corner of Tennessee is surrounded by water. Outdoor lovers can head for the Tennessee River, Kentucky Lake, and the Duck River. Visitors enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, waterskiing, and wildlife viewing throughout Benton County.
Check out the Tennessee Fresh Water Pearl Farm & Museum, and get a great view of the Tennessee River Valley from the Duck River Scenic Overlook.
From Camden, take SR 1 for 30 miles west to 30 miles till you reach McKenzie.
Visitors are encouraged to explore downtown McKenzie – home to the incredibly quaint Downtown Veterans Memorial Park, and the Gordon Browning Genealogical Museum. Stick around central McKenzie for shopping, eateries, and plenty of historic sites.
If you’re looking for an event, McKenzie features a number of annual events. See if you can catch Memorial Day celebrations, the Festival of Freedom, Veteran's Day observances, and McKenzie's Hometown Christmas.
McKenzie is packed with outdoor activities. Link lovers can head for Carroll Lake Golf Course, while others can skip right to Carroll Lake for boating and picnicking. Feed the ducks at "The Barn" and the 25-acre McKenzie City Park – where you can also fish, try tennis, or let the kids loose on the playgrounds.
From Mckenzie, it’s about a two-hour drive back to Memphis – either by State Route 79 or back down Interstate 40.