Memphis Lands on "Best" List (and It's Not for Barbecue)

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Paddlers push their boats down the Mississippi River during a previous running of the Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race. - JOE ROYER
  • Joe Royer
  • Paddlers push their boats down the Mississippi River during a previous running of the Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race.


Look no farther than Tom Lee Park this weekend for proof that Memphis is tops in barbecue.

But look right off the bank of the park - into the Mississippi River - to find out why Memphis is now renowned for something completely different - paddling.

Canoe & Kayak magazine has deemed the city one of the best places in North America to paddle in a (you guessed it) canoe or kayak (probably stand-up paddle boards, too).

The magazine’s June issue will feature the list of its “Best Paddling Towns” and here’s a sample of what writers said about Memphis:

“With America’s great riverine artery pulsing through, Memphis (pop. 653,000) has always been a river town. The Mississippi carried influences from north and south, and stirred the pot that gave us such cultural delicacies as barbecue and the blues. The Big Muddy, with its intimate back channels and quiet tributaries like the Wolf River, also makes Memphis a first-rate paddling town.”

The article notes, too, that the Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race helped win the distinction, calling the race “the South’s biggest paddling event.” The race turns 34 this year and will be run on Saturday, June 20.

Memphis is in fine company on a list that includes Washington, D.C., the Florida Keys, Lake Placid, New York, and Old Town, Maine.


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