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Explore Branson Missouri: A Jewel in the Heart of America

33626951404_920f7a1122_z.jpgThe town of Branson, Missouri is likened to favorite tourist sites like Las Vegas, Nashville, and even New York City. This sparkling jewel in the heart of middle America has all the fun and excitement of Las Vegas, but in a much more family-friendly format.
Branson features the best the country music world has to offer, with residencies by the finest artists of today, tomorrow and yesterday. And with a vibrant theatre scene, the town compares favorably to the Big Apple, without the rushed attitude and street crime.


No matter what you are looking for in a vacation destination, chances are Branson will fit the bill

Whether you are a music lover, an avid theatre-goer, or just a people watcher, you will find plenty of engaging things to see and do when you visit Branson.
iStock-505535371.jpgThere is a reason the pleasant town of Branson, Missouri attracts so many repeat visitors. Many first-time visitors to this entertaining vacation destination find that once is simply not enough. Those happy first-timers are barely home and already planning their next trip to the jewel of the American heartland.
If you are a first-time visitor to Branson, plan your trip carefully. For the uninitiated, the town of Branson can be overwhelming, so it pays to pace yourself and choose your tours with care. Here are some of our favorite things to see and do in beautiful Branson.


What Makes Branson So Special?

shutterstock_212749894.jpgThe town of Branson, Missouri has a long and storied history and plenty of charm to offer its visitors. Branson was not always the hot spot it is today, and it has grown enormously over the past couple of decades. From senior citizens to families with young children, everyone loves Branson, and for a good reason.
The town of Branson sits in the heart of Taney County, Missouri, with convenient access from everywhere in the country. An extensive network of highways serves the region, including U.S. Route 65, the predominant north-south connector route. Branson is also served by the Branson Airport, providing easy access for visitors around the country.
Its scenic Ozark Mountain location makes Branson an excellent choice for lovers of the outdoors offering boat tours, fishing charters, camping, and amazing hiking opportunities.  But, perhaps the most popular activities take place indoors - at the many theatres hosting plays and musical performances.
The town of Branson derives its name from one Reuben Branson, who settled in the region back in 1880 and operated the general store there. The eponymous Mr. Branson also served as the postmaster in a town that was only a shadow of what it would later become.

Where are the Branson Hotspots?

9526703682_d3094254de_z.jpgThe entire town of Branson is something special, but some areas are more heavily traveled than others. The famous 76 Country Boulevard is a real hotspot in Branson, and the city is home to many of the best theatres and concert venues.
The Shepherd of the Hills Expressway is another popular destination for first-time and repeat Branson visitors. This part of town is home to the famous Dolly Parton Stampede, a two-hour must-see venue for fans of the legendary country singer.  This amazing show includes dinner and pre-show entertainment.
Branson Landing, adjacent to the historic downtown area, sits along the Taneycomo lakefront is also a well-known hangout. With lighted fountain shows, dining, shopping and entertainment venues, this 1.5 mile boardwalk offers panoramic views and lots of people-watching activities.  Plus, during summer months, the Landing plays hosts to a concert series and the Branson Farmer's Market runs weekly from April through October.


When is the best time to visit Branson?

12754427254_072fb4edf7_z.jpgAny time is a great time to visit Branson, but some seasons are better than others. Late summer and early fall are particularly good times to be in town, with fewer crowds, warm weather and lots of hot shows.  Plus the changing of autumn leaves is absolutely spectacular in the Ozarks this time of year!
If you are traveling later in the year, especially around the holidays, it is best to check the schedules for your favorite shows. Many shows, theatres, and local attractions close during the holidays, so plan your trip accordingly.

What are some of the best family-friendly activities in Branson?

The town of Branson is world famous for its family-friendly activities. Unlike other well-loved music towns like Nashville and New York City, Branson is a destination everyone, from the youngest kids to the oldest grandparents, can enjoy.  Since Branson is such a favorite spot for senior citizens, the entire town is easily accessible and walking friendly. Here are just a few of the best family-friendly attractions the Branson area has to offer.
Silver Dollar City
9466317299_47afe69cbb_z.jpgSilver Dollar City is a delight for the kids, but it is also lots of fun for the adults in the family. This popular 1880's theme park is a must-visit destination for families, especially thrill seekers. 
Chief among the attractions at Silver Dollar City is the new Time Traveler. Billed as the fastest, tallest, and steepest spinning coaster in the world, this thrill ride is not for the faint of heart. For the less adventurous, there are plenty of less challenging rides and plenty of fun for the whole family. The theme park boasts numerous rides for all-sizes of children, and includes a few splashy water rides as well.
9466312569_bd9b46a951_z.jpgEnjoy a variety of shows from indie folk bands, gospel singers, country bands, pickers, barn dances, cloggers, street troupes and much more.  Plus, watch dozens of demonstrations from skilled craftsmen who showcase the art of candymaking, glassblowing,  blacksmithing, creating pottery and soapmaking, to name a few.
Just when you think you've seen and experienced about everything including shopping and dining on yummy snacks to full restaurant fare, you'll likely realize there's so much more to do at Silver Dollar City. 
Take a cruise, enjoy a meal, and see a show on the Showboat Branson Belle, schedule some time to splash at White Water Park, and consider Silver Dollar City's Wilderness area for camping, staying in a log cabin or parking your RV.  There's just so much offered at Silver Dollar City!
Ride the Ducks

16510029272_5fd0aa263a_z.jpgThe unique location of Branson makes it a perfect spot for an attraction like Ride the Ducks. These popular tours feature special amphibious vehicles that are equally at home on land or water, and they promise lots of fun for the young and young at heart.


The Ride the Ducks attraction combines a street tour of Branson with some waterborne adventure. First-time visitors can get the lay of the land as they traverse the streets, and the kids can have lots of fun waving (and quacking) as passersby.
Escape Rooms
Esshutterstock_713204284.jpgcape room experiences are all the rage these days, and the Escape Code is ranked one of the best. This fun and family-friendly activity is perfect for not only families but couples, corporate outings and anyone else with a sense of adventure.
If you have never experienced an escape room before, the Escape Code is an easy introduction to the art form. Like being in a movie, these escape rooms offers tantalizing clues, fun adventures, and lots of challenges for young and old alike.  There are several Branson facilities so check out the themes and pick the best fit for your family.
Extreme Racing Center

If you need speed, just head down to the Extreme Racing Center. This family-friendly racing adventure will take your breath away and let you channel your inner race car driver driving European karts.  Featuring one of the longest concrete raceways in America, this Xtreme 3,500 foot track offers a sophisticated timing system to track speeds to the one-thousandth of a second. The Junior Track offers riders 7+ under the opportunity to test their driving skills.

33627285484_86eea8f598_z.jpgBranson Ferris Wheel
From Las Vegas to London, giant Ferris wheels have been popping up all over. Not to be undone, the town of Branson offers its own high-flying adventure, with spectacular views and lots of fun for the entire family.
Even if you are uneasy about heights, you simply must give the famous Branson Ferris wheel a try.  Standing 140 feet tall, the 40 gondolas can play host to 240 riders and illuminates the sky with 16,000 LED lights!  
Promised Land Zoo
shutterstock_555282181.jpgThe town of Branson is home to fascinating humans, but it is also home to lots of furry four-legged wonders. The Promised Land Zoo is more than just another animal park - visitors can get up close and personal with the animals who make the 65-acre park their home.
The Promised Land Zoo is always a preferred spot, not only for visitors but locals as well. If you are traveling with kids, or just love animals, you will want to spend some time in the Promised Land.
Big Foot on the Strip
39745517241_f52299bca6_z.jpgWhether you are a believer or a skeptic, you are sure to love Big Foot on the Strip. This celebration of all things Big Foot is one of the more unusual attractions in the town of Branson, but it is also one of the best.
Big Foot believers can track the elusive creature during a safari ride and create their own adventures. Even if you are not a believer now, you may be one by the time you leave.  Onsite, find thrill-seeking rides, mini-golf, a gamer's arcade offering prize redemption, a fun zone and monkey-jump, and a 14-seat 8DI cinema.  It's BIG fun for the entire family!
Talking Rocks Caverns
shutterstock_1026949813.jpgThe surrounding Ozark Mountains are a geological marvel, and there are plenty of mysterious caves and caverns to explore throughout the region.
Visitors to Branson should save time for a trip to the famous Talking Rocks Caverns, where you can explore the unique rock formations and marvel at the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
Onsite, find a gift shop, mini-golf, gemstone mining, Speleo box mazes and plenty of nature trails.  You won't be disappointed!

What are the most popular entertainment venues in Branson?

While there are plenty of things to see and do in Branson, many visitors come strictly for the live shows. Branson, Missouri is long known as a country music fan's dream come true, but the town features a wide variety of musical acts, live theatre, dinner theatre and other popular forms of entertainment.
Some of the biggest names in country music have left their mark here, and many popular artists have set up residencies throughout the town. No matter who your favorite is, chances are they have graced the stages of Branson at one time or another. Be sure to reserve your tickets before you leave, since the top acts can sell out pretty quickly.
24875983107_9b21893578_z.jpgSight & Sound Theatres

With an ever changing lineup of concerts, theatrical performances and music acts, Sight & Sound Theatres is revered for its breathtaking 300-foot stage production, thought-provoking content, and sense of fun and adventure. Whether they are bringing beloved Biblical stories to life or hosting the best of country, folk, and rock music, the performers and actors at Sight & Sound Theatre take their jobs very seriously. Just check them out to see what is one stage, then book your tickets right away.

32083586555_6833d4a36a_z.jpgRaiding the Country Vault
If you are a classic country music fan , you will love the aptly-named Raiding the Country Vault. This popular Branson entertainment venue at the Starlite Theatre features some of the best country music around.  Enjoy classics from some of the biggest acts — George Strait, Brad Paisley, Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, and Garth Brooks to name a few.  Grab your tickets and bring the whole family.
9466143961_0fc9c39e32_z.jpgClay Cooper Theatre
The Clay Cooper Theatre is another popular hotspot for residents and tourists alike. With an ever-changing lineup of the best country artists in the country, it is easy to see why so many Branson visitors consider Clay Cooper to be a must-see.  Clay has been entertaining in Branson for 3+ decades and shows are action-packed with dancing, singing, comedy, trick-roping and much more!
14456455171_10839f7d43_z.jpgBuckets and Boards Comedy Percussion Show
When you have had your fill of the best country music, you can laugh the night away at the Buckets and Boards Comedy Percussion Show. This original combination of laugh-out-loud comedy, enchanting music, and talented performers has been bringing the house down for some time, and the excitement is just getting started.  Come and let Matt Levingston and Gareth Sever entertain your entire family with good, clean fun!

9465812541_7942b2bc37_z.jpgPresley's Country Jubilee

This unique combination of music and comedy is a real show stopper and a delight for the whole family. Whether you are visiting Branson for the first time or coming back after a long absence, you are sure to experience a great time laughing the night away and stamping your feet to the Presley's Country Jubilee.  Entertaining in the Ozark's for over 50 years, these folks patterned the foundation of Branson shows.




9465466181_82a101dd6f_z.jpgDutton Family Theatre
The Dutton Family Theatre is another can't miss site in the town of Branson. The three-generations of music at the theatre is top notch, the entertainment is perfect for the whole family, and the owners are friendly, welcoming and happy to share their love of Branson and all it has to offer.
9523893855_22a308d7a4_z.jpgDolly Parton's Stampede Dinner Attraction
From the earliest days of Nashville to the modern world of country music, Dolly Parton has been a mainstay of this exclusive world. Now she brings her unique blend of acting, comedy and fantastic music to her very own dinner theatre — Dolly Parton's Stampede Dinner Attraction. Already a fan of Dolly Parton and her music?  You will be an even bigger fan by the time you leave the theatre!  If you are new to the world of Dolly Parton, you are sure to enjoy yourself - and you might even become a fan for life.


Branson, with more than 20 unique museums, is a haven for the culturally aware!

With so much music and so many family-friendly attractions, it would be easy to overlook the cultural qualities the town of Branson has to offer. Many first-time visitors are surprised at the sheer number of museums that dot the streets and highways around town, and pleasantly surprised at the cultural attractions the city has to offer. Whether you want to delve deep into history or explore the world of Hollywood, you will find plenty of ways to scratch your cultural itch. Here are some of the best museums the town of Branson has to offer.
9469146636_471353657f_z.jpgTitanic Museum
Whether you are a fan of the iconic film or just a history buff, you will find plenty to love at the Titanic Museum. This Branson area classic is home to some astonishing artifacts, each representing a unique memory of the ill-fated ship and its collision with the iceberg.
9966810393_00a7221acb_z.jpgBranson Veterans Memorial Museum
The heartland of America is well known for its patriotism and commitment to civic duty, and the town of Branson is indeed no exception. From its earliest days as a central outpost to its current incarnation, Branson has sent its best and brightest off to war.  The Branson Veterans Memorial Museum is dedicated to those brave men and women, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty. If you are a military fan and a patriot, you will want to make time to visit this extraordinary museum.
27966640429_021a7b2663_z.jpgHollywood Wax Museum

No matter where located, wax museums are lots of fun, and the Hollywood Wax Museum in the heart of Branson is no exception. Where else can you take selfies with celebrities or have your picture taken with a famous politician? From iconic singers to famous presidents, you will find them all at the legendary Hollywood Wax Museum.

When touring the museum, check out special rates for the Hollywood Entertainment Center All Access Pass which includes access to the Castle of Chaos 5D ride, Hannah's Maze of Mirrors and discounted mini-golf at Shoot for the Stars.
13880483203_1aa3d33cfc_z.jpgRipley's Believe It or Not
Home to startlingly impressive curiosities and natural wonders, Ripley's Believe It or Not is not to be missed. The kids will love exploring its unique attractions, and you will enjoy watching them have fun as you learn about the stranger aspects of the natural and man-made world.
Ralph Foster Museum
The Ralph Foster Museum is dedicated to the Ozarks, from their historic beauty to their artwork to the unique people who have called the region home. Since its humble start in the 1920s, the Ralph Foster Museum has grown into a world-class institution, and its many exhibits are well worth a visit.
32068788276_4630c43c0e_z.jpgBranson Auto and Farm Museum
You do not have to be a farmer to love the Branson Auto and Farm Museum. This celebration of farming and farm machinery welcomes visitors from all walks of life with its educational exhibits and historical artifacts. This museum houses one of the most eclectic and unusual collections anywhere in the country.


History of Fishing Museum
The people of Branson love to fish, so much so that they have created a museum dedicated to the sport. If you are an angler, you are sure to enjoy the History of Fishing Museum, a celebration of fishing in all its many forms. Even if you never dipped a hook in the water, you will learn a lot and have a great time as you explore the History of Fishing from the inside out.

Explore The Natural Wonders of the Branson Area

The town of Branson is more than just neon lights and dynamic music. The region is rich in natural beauty as well, with amazing parks, vast green spaces and ample opportunities for water sports. The nearby Ozark Mountains are a delight for all the senses, with hiking, bike trails, camping and other outdoor diversions. In addition to the mountain terrain, there are lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Here are some of our favorites.
shutterstock_117936850.jpgShepherd Hills Hatchery
Fishing is significant in the town of Branson, and many of those monster fish get their start right here. If you have always wanted to know more about fishing and the natural environment, you will find a tour of the Shepherd Hill Hatchery both educational and enlightening.
shutterstock_398306131.jpgLakeside Forest Wilderness Area
You might not expect true wilderness so close to the neon lights of Branson, but you can find it here. The Lakeside Forest Wilderness area feels a world away from the theatres and shows of Branson, and it is a great place to relax, unwind and recharge your batteries for another day of sightseeing and adventure.
shutterstock_547019707.jpgTableRock Dam and Lake
The TableRock Dam is an engineering marvel, but it is also a beautiful place to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you take a walk with the family, enjoy a picnic lunch or just watch the world go by, you are sure to have a great day at TableRock Dam.



Butterfly Place12753988225_553f3f6682_z.jpg

The humble butterfly plays a significant role in the local ecology, and these beautiful winged creatures thrive at the aptly-named Butterfly Place. This celebration of all things butterfly is a delight for the senses and the perfect place to spend quality time with the kids. No matter where you are from, you are sure to leave with a smile on your face after watching the butterflies frolic and play.

12595629615_a4ef636fbe_z.jpgFishing Trips
If you love to fish, you will find plenty of opportunities to cast your rod and try your luck. The town of Branson is a favorite place to fish, with professional fishing tours, gear rental, and every supply you need to catch the big one.
Zipline Adventure
If you are craving something with a bit more adrenaline, a ride on a zipline may be just what you need. This high-speed attraction is a favorite with thrill-seekers, and you can enjoy some sweeping views of the natural world as you take the ride of a lifetime.

What are some popular and historic landmarks in Branson?

The town of Branson is filled with historical landmarks and sites of natural beauty. Whether you are visiting Branson for the first time to coming back for more fun, here are some of the best landmarks the region has to offer.
College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout)
The College of the Ozarks is one of the most well respected educational institutions in the region, home to many exceptional students and even more accomplished alumni. Whether you are thinking of sending your kids here or just want to enjoy the beauty of the region, you can take a walking tour of the campus and enjoy a relaxing day out and about.
Historic Downtown
Unlike many towns and cities across America, Branson still has a vibrant and growing downtown. The downtown scene features dozens of local shops, restaurants, theatres, and bars, and you could spend weeks exploring them all.
Create your own walking tour of the downtown area, or you can join an organized tour of the Branson downtown. No matter which option you choose, you are sure to come away with a new appreciation of this extraordinary town.
15573053557_7cb06d53d5_z.jpgBranson Landing Fountain Show

Branson Landing is a hub for people watching, strolling and family fun. While there, be sure to check out the famous Branson Landing Fountain Show, a waterborne adventure that is sure to leave you awestruck.


Shooting 120-feet into the air, the fountains are combined with  bright blasting fire cannons and choreographed music with colorful lights.  The fire and water show is a creation by Wet Designs, the same producers of Las Vegas Bellagio's show and Downtown Disney in Orlando. A variety of performances start at noon daily.  Don't miss this amazing show!


What are the best sightseeing tours in Branson?

The town of Branson covers a vast area, far more extensive than you can explore on foot. That is why taking a sightseeing tour is such a great idea. On a sightseeing tour, you can get the lay of the land and plan your future adventures, all while learning about the region from experienced tour guides who genuinely love the town.
There are dozens of tours and sightseeing opportunities throughout the Branson area, with something to offer for guests of all ages. Here are some of our favorite Branson area tours.
shutterstock_290914721.jpgSegway Tours
If you have always wanted to ride a Segway, now is your chance. Branson Segway Tours and Adventure Center offers captivating rips around town on these unique self-balancing transporters. Riding a Segway is easy even for first-timers, and once you get the hang of it, you may never want to walk again.
VIP Tours of Branson
VIP Tours of Branson is one of the best tour operators in town, with a wide variety of adventures for visitors of all ages. Whether you book a wine tour, embark on a historical adventure or explore the heritage of the region, you are sure to have a great time.
14420726950_77eced99ee_z.jpgMain Street Lake Cruises
The lake in Branson is a special place to be, especially when you see it from the deck of a cruise ship. Main Street Lake Cruises offers a relaxing day on the water, so you can recharge and get ready for a new adventure.
Chopper Charter
Branson is beautiful at ground level, but it is even more spectacular from the air. Chopper Charter offers impressive helicopter tours of the Branson area, so you can get a bird's eye view of the entire region and have an incredible adventure.
Branson Scenic Railway
10272112053_dbf3a95e4f_z.jpgIf you appreciate trains, you will love the Branson Scenic Railway. This railroad is a must-see for any train fan, and a great way to spend a relaxing day with the family.
The town of Branson is a pleasing place to visit, with dozens of theatres, appealing museums, abundant green spaces and lots of family-friendly attractions. Now is the perfect time to plan your Branson getaway, and TravNow can put together the perfect package for you. Whether you are a music fan, a theatre buff, or a nature lover, find the ideal travel accommodations at TravNow.
 Photos courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau, Explore Branson.com and Branson CVB Photos
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Topics: Missouri, Branson