Branson, Missouri offers visitors a tremendous amount of things to see and do. Home to a variety of live stage shows, the exciting Silver Dollar City theme park and the beautiful outdoors of the Ozark Mountains, Branson is teeming with activities for visitors. Plus, there are plenty of FREE things to do in Branson that are fun for those of all ages. In Branson, visitors can have fun without spending a fortune to do so.
1. College of the Ozarks
This picturesque campus is resplendent with lovely landscaping, fountains and walking paths. Visitors will also want to experience the Keeter Center Restaurant, the free tours at Edwards Mill, and the Ralph Foster Museum. The museum houses the area’s best collection of Ozarks history. A small fee is required for museum admission. Also, be sure to visit Patriots Park, which houses the The Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
2. Table Rock Lake
The waters of this outdoor wonderland have become a haven for visitors nationwide. Take advantage of water activities such as boating, fishing, water-skiing, swimming, scuba diving, hiking, and camping. A day at Table Rock Lake is the perfect addition to any Branson MO trip. Discover more ways to have fun at Table Rock Lake!
3. Table Rock Lake Dam
This massive engineering structure was completed in 1958 and is responsible for creating Table Rock Lake. Crowds gather to watch the powerful structure hold back the waters of the White River. Bring your camera to capture picture-perfect memories of the Table Rock Lake Dam. After witnessing this majestic site, you’ll want to remember it forever. Visit early in the day to avoid the crowds, if possible.
4. Dewey Short Visitor Center
Just across the dam, the Dewey Short Center, located on the shores of Table Rock Lake, offers interactive exhibits and displays about the dam’s construction and native wildlife. The grounds offer picnic areas and sites for fishing or swimming, all at no cost. Several hiking trails also start and end at the Visitor Center.
5. Table Rock State Park
Located on the shores of Table Rock Lake, this state park is ideal for water activities and other outdoor adventures. In addition, the park is outfitted with a marina so you can easily rent a boat or jet skis. It’s also a great location for camping, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking and more. If you choose to go camping, remember to place your reservation in advance. Spots fill up during the peak lake season!
6. Moon Shine Beach
Moonshine Beach is a great place to relax with the family. Visitors can enjoy the sandy beach, located on the shores of Table Rock Lake which allows families to swim, sun and enjoy beautiful views. There is a small fee of $4 per vehicle to access Moonshine Beach. The Table Rock Lakeshore Trail also runs through this area of the park.
7. Branson Centennial Museum
Get an inside look at the history of Branson at the Branson Centennial Museum. This museum, which is completely free to visit, explores the timeline of Branson from it’s simple roots to the popular vacation destination it is today. Likewise, there are rotating exhibits that focus on everything from what makes Branson unique to the stories behind some of it’s biggest musical entertainers.
8. Henning State Forest
This 1,534 acre-park offers spectacular views, nature trails, and nature studies. There is a naturalist on hand to answer questions and a beautiful scenic lookout area that provides an incredible view of the countryside. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as native birds throughout the forest. We recommend bringing a camera along the way, too!
9. Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery
One of Branson’s most popular tourist sites, the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery is located below Table Rock Dam. The center has several beautiful aquariums showcasing Missouri’s native fish. Families love to walk through the fish hatchery and learn more about the world around them. Self-guided and conducted tours are also available.
10. Lakeside Wilderness Area
Lakeside Wilderness Area is located in the middle of Branson yet offers a pristine slice of nature both visitors and locals can appreciate. The trail here leads to the shores of Lake Taneycomo. Along the way, there is plenty of great scenery to enjoy too. This is a surprising, remote area that reveals the gem that is Branson’s beautiful outdoors.
11. Table Rock Lakeshore Trail
This beautiful trail is 2.2 miles long and runs from the Dewey Short Visitor Center to the Table Rock State Park Marina. As you bike or hike the trail in the spring you will view dogwood, serviceberry and redbud trees in bloom as well as many wildflower species. During the fall season, visitors are treated to nature’s colorful fall foliage. The trail also offers beautiful views of Table Rock Lake. The trail will take you by the Showboat Branson Belle, and it also takes you through Table Rock State Park which offers many additional recreation opportunities.
12. Branson Landing
The Branson Landing has a beautiful boardwalk visitors can stroll along while enjoying scenic views and Lake Taneycomo. Plus, there is a $7.5 million light, water, and sound show at the top of each hour. At night, the show adds fire to the mix, for a sizzling display. For those looking for free things to do in Branson, this show is a hit. It’s a world-class production and is completely free!
13. Lake Taneycomo
This downtown Branson lake lures in fishermen from across the country. In addition, activities like boating, hiking, scuba diving, and picnicking. can be enjoyed here. It’s located near Historic Downtown Branson and the Branson Landing, so it is easily accessible too. Lake Taneycomo also offers an abundance of recreational activities such as hiking and fishing.
14. Shopping in Branson
Branson is a great place to shop and, of course, it doesn’t cost a thing to look! Explore the many outlet malls, the Branson Landing, Downtown Branson’s wide array of locally-owned stores, and more. Even if you’re just window shopping, strolling through Branson’s malls and shopping districts are among the best free things to do in Branson.
15. Historic Downtown Branson
This popular area is filled with shops, restaurants and quaint stores filled with treasures. Be sure to stop by Dick’s 5 & 10 for a nostalgic step back in time. Historic Branson provides visitors with a free, charming glimpse into life in Branson, MO. Don’t forget to visit one of the many restaurants downtown, too.
16. Take the Trolley
The Discovery Trolley takes regular 15-minute loops through downtown Branson, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of the old-time Main Street, preserved building facades, and Victorian lampposts. This popular area is full of restaurants, quaint shops, and historic sites. It even stops at the Branson Landing, which includes a 1.5-mile boardwalk, internationally renowned fountain show, and more than 100 specialty shops and restaurants.
17. Lindwedel Winery
This winery is located in the Ozark Mountains, high on a hill overlooking beautiful Branson. Guests are invited to tour the winery, sample the wines, and relax on the veranda while absorbing the terrific scenic views. Did we mention wine tasting is absolutely free?! If you wish, you can also purchase a bottle of wine, kick back, and enjoy Lindwedel Winery’s gorgeous property.
Free Things to Do in Branson: 17 Ways to Have Affordable Fun
With 17 free things to do in Branson, visitors can experience a fun and unforgettable vacation experience without breaking the budget. Visit today to see firsthand why Branson is the Midwest’s #1 vacation destination.
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Branson to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.