Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Go Kayaking in the 901

kayak in memphis

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I’ve always loved canoeing but I got into kayaking about 6 or 7 years ago and finally bought my own 4 years ago. It’s a Perception Prodigy 10.0 that I got from Outdoors. It’s a comfortable, durable and affordable, recreational kayak. It definitely makes things a lot easier when you can just pick up and go whenever you want without having to worry about renting a boat.

If I’m paddling somewhere in town, it’s usually Shelby Farms, Shelby Forrest or Herb Parson’s Lake. I’ve done the Ghost River section of the Wolf River, too, which is amazing! I also like to get up to the Buffalo River in Tennessee a couple of times a year to change things up a bit. It’s a lazy river but it’s a really nice area and easy to get to since there aren’t a lot of options in and around Memphis. That being said though, I have just found my favorite new spot in town: the Wolf River Harbor. I knew Mud Island offered kayaking but I just haven’t gotten around to checking it out but decided I would come the holiday weekend.

I called Mud Island River Park when they opened on a Friday morning and was told they were offering kayaking that day and was informed of their pricing ($15 for a single kayak, $20 for a double kayak or canoe). This is for one hour in the harbor. Once I got there, I was told the activities store was closed (though I called and was told otherwise) but after speaking with a manger, he let me rent one anyway, which was awesome of him seeing as how I’d been planning this for some time and would’ve been so disappointed had I not been able to get on the water that day. They didn’t have any single kayaks available so I took out a double. It was a little more difficult to maneuver but all in all, it was pretty great.

That hour goes by quick! I paddled up to Harbor Town and back. It’s really amazing to see downtown Memphis, the bridge, the Pyramid, etc. from a little boat in the harbor. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have every intention of getting back out there soon. I was really pleased with the entire Mud Island experience, in general. Everyone that worked there was polite and professional. I haven’t been there in many years (aside from the amphitheater)  and couldn’t have been happier to see such a great crowd of people. Just be sure to call first (and try to get a manger on the phone!) before heading down there with hopes of getting on the water.

Things I learned:

  • You can bring your own canoe or kayak down and put in at the cobblestones on the Mud Island side. You would just need to enter from the Harbor Town entrance so you can drive your boat down to the ramp, then park in the parking area provided at the top of the cobblestones. I imagine you have to pay a rental to use their dock but I’m not sure.
  • Be sure you have a life-jacket if you’ll be getting on the water as well. If you rent from Mud Island, they provide a paddle and life-jacket for you.
  • It was really hot when I was out there so I highly recommend bringing some water out with you. I always carry a small ammo can with me when I kayak, for all my personal items, i.e: sunscreen, camera, phone, keys, bungee cords, snacks, etc. Ammo cans are great because they’re waterproof and they also float. You can find them at army surplus stores or online. Day bags are also great and those can be found at Outdoors or similar.
  • I also recommend a good pair of water shoes, Keen makes some great ones. You need something that will stay on and protect your feet at the same time. NRS is an amazing site for anything and everything you could ever need for kayaking and canoeing. 

All that being said, I’m really excited about my new kayaking spot and can’t wait to get back down there!

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