Hit the town known for its concerts, shows, and family attractions like theme parks, river cruises, zoos, and more. This Midwest town is known for being a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. The combination gives it a lot of the glitz and charm of Las Vegas with attractions like a museum built to look like the Titanic, epic fountains that put on timed shows to music, and other themed attractions. All while keeping a squeaky-clean atmosphere appropriate for all ages. Instead of “Sin City,” think “Kin City,” as one writer put it.
oIf Las Vegas has “The Strip,” Branson has “The Branson Strip” filled with eye-catching attractions that will make you want to stop in your tracks. Along with all the other people traveling this highly trafficked road. Locals caution you to plan your travel wisely because of this phenomenon, using alternate parallel routes as often as occasion merits. While most people drive into Branson, many fly directly into town and use an extensive public transportation network to get around. Three airports reside within two hours of Branson, including the Branson Airport (BKG). Kansas City and Tulsa, Oklahoma are also within striking distance with a rental car. Once in this showy town, your options for getting around broaden. A free downtown trolley known affectionately as “Sparky” can keep you from driving the hectic strip, and limo or other ride hailing services also abound.
Things to Do
Table Rock Lake: Explore nearly 800 miles of shoreline at a massive and winding manmade lake well suited to houseboating, fishing, and watersports. This scenic lake in the Ozark Mountains has many fingers, arms, and coves that make it a big draw as a fisherman’s playground to hook feisty bass, crappie, bluegill, and more.
Branson Shows: Branson is famous for its shows that rival Las Vegas in number and variety. Want a thrill? Catch a show filled with flying acrobats? In the mood for music? Check out a variety of country, rock, gospel, and pop shows. Want a laugh? Catch a comedy routine. Whatever your taste, you’ll find a show that fits the bill.
Branson Scenic Railway: Hit the rails with a scenic railway keeping luxury rail travel alive for a new millennium. This 40-mile roundtrip train ride will take you through tunnels and over trestles in the Ozark foothills while being regaled with stories of the area. Enjoy big views of the Ozarks through wraparound windows while you sway along the tracks.
Boating & Fishing: Get hooked on Branson’s wide variety of fishing and boating opportunities. Table Rock Lake attracts houseboaters with its coves and fingers, and the fishing’s fine — especially if you want to try your hand at bass fishing. Bull Shoals Lake has similar fishing, but Lake Taneycomo offers trout fishing with its clear, cold waters. Additionally, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park offers excellent rainbow trout fly fishing in an area laden with forest pools, waterfalls, and craggy cliffs.
Lake Tours: Take a fishing tour, paddleboat tour, luxury cruise, or even jetboat tour along the lakes of Branson, Missouri. You can take a meal on the water and watch a spectacular fountain show on land, parasail over the Ozarks, or find another option that floats your boat.
Silver Dollar City: Experience a top-five modern theme park styled around the 1880s with more than 40 rollercoasters and rides. This theme park built up around the entrance to the Marvel Cave, a natural underground cave that hosted its own tourist show for 50 years. Lantern-light tours still available — if you’re not too busy hollering on a rollercoaster or flume ride.
Butterfly Palace: Wander through a rainforest environment filled with 40-60 species of exotic butterflies that flit out of your way in colorful waves as you walk among them. Add a little modern fun to your butterfly sightseeing with a Banyan Tree Adventure — an obstacle course of sorts modeled after a banyan tree. Or hit the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze to try your navigational skills in a rainforest-themed house of mirrors.
Titanic Museum: Become a part of “living theatre” in a museum built to look like the Titanic. The museum houses $4.5 million in Titanic artifacts and an exact replica of the grand staircase from the original ship. You’ll feel like part of history while standing in as an actual Titanic passenger and learning of your fate in a memorial room that wraps up the tour.
White Water Park: Feelin' the heat? This 13-acre water park will let you make a splash in 2 million gallons of cool water. Thrilling water slides and rides complement a lazy river and 500,000-gallon wave pool that’ll transport you from the Midwest to the West Coast instantaneously.
Promised Land Zoo: Visit a top-25 zoo in the United States that does the zoo thing more like an adventure. Take a self-guided walking safari, a drive-through safari, a guided tram tour included with mid-tier admission, or book a VIP up-close-and-personal encounter with animals not on display like lemurs, sloths, or owls.