Branson, Missouri is often called the "family-friendly" Las Vegas - without the casinos. Just like Nevada’s Vegas, this Taney County hotspot has its own "strip" lined with glittering show venues, music halls and theaters.
The city is blessed with an excellent location on the banks of the White River in the heart of Ozark Mountain country. The region’s three magnificent human-made lakes are a major attraction for anglers and water sports enthusiasts. Branson is also within easy reach of several conservation areas, such as Dogwood Canyon Nature Park.
Golf is also big news in Branson and the town boasts a Jack Nicklaus signature course. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional you can tee off on some of America’s most scenic courses.
Terrific museums specializing in the unusual and the unique, shows, theme parks and the great outdoors, Branson has something to appeal to every age group.
For over half a century, live shows have attracted visitors to Branson. There is something to suit every member of the family. Head to "the strip" on Highway 76 (76 Country Boulevard); this dazzling stretch of neon is home to over 50 entertainment venues. Highlights include “Legends” at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater and “Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai” at the New Shanghai Theater.
The city’s three beautiful human-made lakes attract visitors from across the US. You'll find world-class trout fishing at Lake Taneycomo and an impressive range of water sports and outdoor activities around the shores of both Bull Shoals Lake and Table Rock Lake.
Branson Landing Mall has over 100 stores and restaurants and is ideal for a family day out. While you pick up outdoor gear from Bass Pro or designer clothing at Hudson Belk the kids can watch the fabulous light, fire and water show at the fountain in the mall’s central square.
Be sure to set aside at least a couple of days for Silver Dollar City. This exciting "historic Ozark" style park rivals the famous “Dollywood” park in Tennessee and has a similar family-friendly setup. Try the thrilling rides, see another show or explore the many arts & crafts outlets.
After all the shows and thrilling rides, you deserve a little me time. Take a drive to Big Cedar Spa for a range of therapies and luxury spa treatments. There are even treatments for under 15’s. Those who prefer the outdoors can play a round of golf at the Jack Nicklaus signature course; The Top of the Rock Golf Course is a Par 3 course and is also part of the spa.
Home to over 40 rides, 60 stores, and 100 on-site artisans who create hand-made souvenirs, Silver Dollar City takes its inspiration from the 1880s, but there's nothing old-fashioned about it. From soaking wet plunge rides and spiral roller coasters to more sedate options for younger visitors, the rides cover everyone's tastes, while music venues like the Dockside Theater and the Echo Hollow amphitheater stage daily spectacles to round off the day. There just aren't many places that mix this many entertaining attractions in one location.
What does a small town in Missouri have to do with an ocean liner that sank over 100 years ago in the North Atlantic? Well, the connection is John Joslyn, who spearheaded the quest to find the sunken vessel in the 1980s. Shaped like the Titanic itself, this quirky museum in the city center showcases 400 of Joslyn's finds from the wreck as well as incredibly lifelike reconstructions of how the ship would have looked in its pomp. Poignant and fun at the same time, it's a unique experience.
Another major attraction at the center of Branson, the Promised Land Zoo is one of Missouri's premier animal collections. Dubbed Branson's "home for animal adventure", the zoo is sure to deliver. The 65-acre safari park features giraffes, lions, and zebras, plus there's a foot safari section, live animal shows, and "VIP Encounters" where staff will let visitors touch and feed selected critters (for a small extra charge).
Located on the shores of Tablerock Lake around three miles south of Branson city center, this State Park is the resort's recreation hub. If you have a hankering to get outdoors in the Missouri sunshine, Tablerock is the place to go. Rent jet skis and boats from the marina, try water skiing or fishing on the lake, hit the biking trails, or strap on a wetsuit and oxygen and explore the underwater attractions the lake has to offer. It's a beautiful setting for restful family picnics or adrenaline-filled getaways with buddies.
Right next to the White River, you'll come across Branson Landing - one of the Ozarks' premier shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations. It's the resort's focal point and somewhere every visitor tends to gravitate towards, and with good reason. On the retail side, boutiques like Chico's and J. Jill rub shoulders with jewelry stores, toy stores, and specialty food vendors, while the Town Square is the location for an endless sequence of farmer's markets and live concerts. And if you're hunting for fine Southern cuisine, the Landing hosts all of the BBQ, wings, and whiskey joints any vacationer could need.
The city enjoys four distinct seasons with warm summers and pristine snow in winter. Peak season, from May until September, is the most popular time to visit Branson but the city can be busy, and prices for accommodation will reflect that. Many people choose spring between March and April or Autumn from October to November when good deals on hotels and flights can be found. The festive season from mid-December to New Year is also popular thanks to events like ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Parade" in historic downtown Branson and "Breakfast with Santa" at the Chateau on the Lake.
Many people fly into Branson Airport (BKG) which is just 8 miles south of the city. Regular flights arrive from a number of US cities including Denver, Dallas/Fort Worth, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. You’ll also find low fares to Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) which is 50 miles north of Branson from various cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Atlanta. Shuttle services are available at both locations and those wishing to rent a car can do so nearby.
Lots of visitors choose to rent a car for their stay in Branson. It takes just 20 minutes to drive to the city center from Branson Airport on Branson Creek Blvd and US-65, and you’ll find major car outlets on Branson Airport Boulevard or Blue Sky Lane. Those flying to Springfield-Branson National Airport can take US-65 S. Did you know that Branson is under a day’s drive away for a third of US citizens? The perfect reason to bring the family car!
National carrier, Greyhound offers bus services from most major US cities with ongoing connections to Branson-Hollister. Passengers may have to change several times depending on their departure point. Buses terminate at the Spirit Shop bus stop on the Veterans Highway BUS 65 close to Branson Landing.
There is accommodation to suit absolutely everyone in Branson, from RV parks and campgrounds for outdoor fans to luxurious resorts like Still Waters Lakefront Resort and the Chateau on the Lake Spa and Convention Center. Branson is home to popular national brands like Best Western and Quality Inn, and these affordable hotels are ideal for family vacations. You’ll also find traditional bed & breakfasts and original boutique hotels within easy reach of the city’s outstanding attractions.
Entertainment District – centred on and around 76 Country Boulevard, this is where you’ll find most of the city’s famous music halls and entertainment venues such as Presley’s Country Jubilee, the Starlite and the Dixie Stampede dinner show.
Historic Downtown Branson – quaint, themed shops, beautiful buildings and even a late evening ghost tour through the historic alleys and streets during the summer season. Highlights include Dick’s Old Time Five and Dime and Bonnie Brook Historic Home.
Branson Hills Parkway – some of the city’s most upmarket homes can be found here, and BHP is also the base for many regional businesses.
Most of the shows are centred around 76 Country Boulevard and other attractions are within walking distance. Renting a car is the ideal solution if you plan to explore the surrounding countryside.
Branson is quite unlike other US destinations. There is no public bus or metro service at present although private shuttle services are available.
There is a small local taxi fleet and cars can be called as you need them. However, there are many private shuttle companies that service Branson and the surrounding district. They can be booked for airport pick-ups or just to take you from A to B. Local limo services are a great option if you’d like to arrive at a show in style or enjoy a special night out.
Driving is the preferred method of transport in Branson. Highway 76 (the Branson Strip/76 Country Boulevard) runs from east to west and is the city’s busiest road. A colored route system overlaid as Red, Blue and Yellow on the city’s existing roads is simple to use and ensures that you can plan trips with the minimum of traffic congestion.
Branson is cheaper than many major US cities for food and basics. Shoppers can find everything from the latest designer clothing to fishing rods in the city’s malls and specialty stores.
Branson Mall is the ideal solution when you’re in need of a little retail therapy; over 100 outlets including the Belk department store and Bass Pro Shop, plus restaurants and coffee shops serving snacks or full meals. Pick up designer bargains at The Shoppes at Branson Meadows or Tanger Outlets, or head to historic Downtown for antiques and curios. Be sure to stop off at Dick’s Old Time Five and Dime; Dick is said to have over 175,000 items in stock, ranging from quaint retro toys to the downright unusual.
Branson is not home to many national chains, although there is a Walmart Superstore where you can pick up food and essentials on Branson Hills Parkway. Smaller stores, which are more popular with locals, include Country Mart at Cedar Ridge and Harter House on Gage Drive. Be sure to check out Pepper Palace at Branson Landing Boulevard for an impressive selection of condiments.
From famous dinner shows like Dixie Stampede to steakhouses and family restaurants, everyone is well catered for in Branson. Try delicious Japanese-inspired cuisine made with fresh, locally produced ingredients at Mitsu Neko in the Village Plaza or enjoy a fabulous show and three courses of classic American dishes on the Showboat Branson Belle.
Ice cream lovers can sample a wide range of flavors at Marble Slab or Mrs. B’s Ice-cream Parlor; though Andy’s Frozen Custard is a great alternative. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial treat yourself to a dinner show at Dixie Stampede or tuck into sizzling steaks at the Outback Steak & Oyster Bar.