If you want to make the most of your Branson vacation, follow my itinerary. Whether you’ve got one day to explore or a leisurely week to play, this go-to guide will take the stress out of your travel plans.
Hopefully you’ve got more than one day to spend in Branson. However, even if you don’t, you can make the most of your day by hitting up the absolute best Branson attractions.
Spend the Day at Silver Dollar City: Sure, you’ve probably been to a theme park before. But, I guarantee you haven’t been to a theme park like this one. Silver Dollar City combines the history and allure of the Ozarks with world-class rides and shows. Set in an 1880’s atmosphere, it’s a total throwback park emphasizing crafts, home cooking and tradition.
Dine at Branson Landing: I recommend eating dinner at the Branson Landing complex. There are a variety of restaurants to pick from, with White River Fish House and Texas Land and Cattle being two personal favorites. Sit outside on the patio (weather permitting) and take in the scenery, compliments of Lake Taneycomo. After dinner, be sure to watch the fire and water fountain show.
Get Tickets to the Haygoods: The Baldknobbers and Presleys may have started the music scene in Branson, but The Haygoods are continuing it. This talented family is the new wave of Branson entertainment, focusing on modern music that appeals to the new generation of visitors on a Branson vacation.
The second day or your Branson vacation should be spent outside, exploring the natural side of the Ozarks. It amazes me when people visit and miss the many gems that make Branson so unique.
Visit Table Rock Lake: During the summer season, you’ll find me at the lake every single weekend. Table Rock is the crown jewel of the Tri-Lakes area—and for good reason. Framed by rising hills and green valleys, it’s picturesque and the waters are pristine. Rent a boat to explore the coves and crannies of the lake, or simply go to Moonshine beach for a day of swimming. Luckily, the weather in Branson is fairly temperate in the spring and fall, too, so the lake is fair game many months out of the year.
If you happen to visit during a time too chilly for lake activity, Table Rock is still worth a visit. Sites like the Dewey Short Visitor Center provide an excellent way to learn about the area, while the Table Rock Lake Shore Trail is a natural escape. Sunsets here are seriously amazing, too, so be sure to see one during your Branson vacation.
Go Underground: Missouri is known as the cave state, and it’s easy to see why as there are almost 6,400 caves here. In the Branson area there are nearly 200 caves alone! One of the absolute best is Talking Rocks Cavern. See it for yourself with an hour-long guided tour. At 62-deggrees year-round, this cool adventure is edutainment at its finest. During the tour, you’ll learn about the caves discovery and related history, as well as learn about the mineral deposits and other geological information.
Get Adventurous: One of the best ways to experience the natural side of Branson is with a zipline tour. Branson Zipline features the most immersive course, with a total of seven ziplines and 10 skybridges set in the canopy of the Ozarks. In addition, they have the only freefall experience in Branson. The freefall dismount from their Everest Tower is the stuff thrills are made of—you’ve gotta do it!
On day three of your Branson vacation, enjoy some local-approved attractions.
Eat Like the Locals: They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The people at Billy Gail’s Café certainly think so. Hearty portions and made-from-scratch flavors attract a crowd created by both locals who love it and visitors eager to try it. This Branson breakfast café, with a location in a remodeled gas station, is unlike any other place you’ve ever ate. Try the Sloppy Biscuit or if you’re starving, the Hungry Man Platter is a guaranteed cure.
Go Shopping: Walk off some of those calories you’ve just ingested by shopping in Branson. The Tanger Outlet Mall is the place to go shop for discounts and deals. On the other hand, the Branson Landing is home to name brands and boutiques. On top of that, Branson craft malls and antique stores offer the kitschy, the cute and the unbelievable. Two favorites are Branson Craft Mall, Branson Mill Craft Village and Caldwell’s Antiques.
See a Matinee Show: Squeeze in a matinee for a fun afternoon. With so many shows to see in Branson, scheduling a matinee is the best way to see as many of the top shows as possible. I recommend watching SIX. It features a complete experience filled with unbelievable vocal harmonies and exceptional showmanship by the talented Knudsen brothers.
Visit Top of the Rock: Top of the Rock might be the most beautiful place in Branson. Perched above Table Rock Lake, the captivating setting is a slice of true Ozarks. Johnny Morris, owner of Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge, went above and beyond the bounds of ordinary when designing this attraction. Arrive early so you can visit the Ozark Heritage Museum and tour the cave (which has a bar!). Then, eat at the Osage Restaurant before having after-dinner drinks on the patio surrounded by the flames of a fire-pit. It’ll be the perfect end to a day in Branson—I promise!
Day four of your Branson vacation is a mix of activities that are signatures of the Branson scene.
Get Quacky: Ride the Ducks are an excellent way to see the sights of Branson. The amphibious vehicles venture on both land and water for a one-of-a-kind sightseeing experience. Kids really love this attraction as they can drive the boat with aide of Captain.
Take in the Titanic: The Titanic Museum in Branson is a world-class attraction dedicated to the RMS Titanic and its passengers. Take a self-guided tour to view fully recreated cabins, parlors and the infamous $1-million grand staircase, as well as interactive displays and children’s exhibits.
Be a Star: At the Hollywood Wax Museum, you’re the star of the show. See startling real wax figures of your favorite celebrities, in iconic settings from movies and TV shows. This place is made for share-worthy photos, so get ready to be a ham! It makes the attraction all the more fun.
Have Fun While You Eat: Dixie Stampede is Branson’s most fun place to eat—Dolly Parton guarantees it! Experience 32 magnificent horses, Return of the Buffalo, hilarious racing pigs, the Rumble in the Treetops lumberjack relay, equestrian feats, friendly competition and a fabulous four-course feast.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fifth day in Branson use these ideas to make the most of your day.
Tee Off: Branson has a thriving golf scene, with several top-rated courses in the area. Courses like Buffalo Ridge, Ledgestone and Top of the Rock Golf Course are fun for all golfers, whether you’re a pro or a novice.
See the Show that Started it All: Baldknobbers claims to be the show that started it all in Branson, but really the right to that title goes to the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama. The show is based on the bestselling Harold Bell Wright novel of the same name. It’s a declaration of love to the hills and hollers of the Ozarks. Performances of the show take place on the original homestead that inspired the book. Overall, it’s a classic piece of Branson history worth experiencing.
Classic Family Fun: At Track Family Fun Parks, classic family fun is found. Whether you want to race go-karts, make a splash on bumper boats or play a round of mini-golf, there’s plenty of things to keep you and the kids entertained. Plus, The Track recently added the Ferris wheel from Chicago’s Navy Pier to its attraction line-up. Take a high-rising ride to get a bird-eye-view of Branson.
It’s easy to plan a Branson vacation when you have a little guidance. Follow this itinerary to the tee, or mix it up so it fits your travel needs. Either way, you’re sure to have a fun-filled time in the Ozarks.