Branson travel guide

Branson Tourism | Branson Guide

You're Going to Love Branson

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.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Branson

1. The Strip

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.

2. The Fantastic Range of Outdoor Activities

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.

3. Shopping

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.

4. Theme Parks

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.

5. Wellness and Pampering

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.

What to do in Branson

1. Silver Dollar City: 19th-Century-Themed Fun for the Whole Family

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.

2. Titanic Museum: A Fascinating Midwest Tribute

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.

3. Branson's Promised Land Zoo: A Safari Spectacular

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).

4. Tablerock Lake State Park: Explore Branson's Exotic Lake

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.

5. Branson Landing: Retail, Restaurants, and Riverside Scenery

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.

1. Silver Dollar City: 19th-Century-Themed Fun for the Whole Family

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.

2. Titanic Museum: A Fascinating Midwest Tribute

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.

3. Branson's Promised Land Zoo: A Safari Spectacular

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).

4. Tablerock Lake State Park: Explore Branson's Exotic Lake

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.

5. Branson Landing: Retail, Restaurants, and Riverside Scenery

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.

Where to Eat in Branson

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.

When to visit Branson

Branson in May
Estimated hotel price
$107
1 night at 3-star hotel
Branson in May
Estimated hotel price
$107
1 night at 3-star hotel

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.

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How to Get to Branson

Plane

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.

Car

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!

Bus

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.

Airlines serving Branson

Lufthansa
Good (1,410 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,477 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,906 reviews)
KLM
Good (293 reviews)
Air France
Good (302 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,666 reviews)
British Airways
Good (951 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (946 reviews)
Iberia
Good (678 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (653 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (1,966 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,142 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (789 reviews)
Aer Lingus
Good (312 reviews)
Frontier
Good (1,439 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (447 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Good (304 reviews)
Korean Air
Excellent (122 reviews)
Gulf Air
Good (42 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (104 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Branson

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.

Popular neighbourhoods in Branson

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.

Where to stay in popular areas of Branson

Most booked hotels in Branson

Drury Inn & Suites Springfield, MO
Excellent (9, Excellent reviews)
$237+
Radisson Hotel Branson , MO
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
$156+
AmericInn by Wyndham Branson & Conference Center
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
$162+
Baymont by Wyndham Branson Theatre District
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
$104+
Quality Inn & Suites Chesterfield Village
Good (7.6, Good reviews)
$133+
Days Inn by Wyndham Battlefield Rd/Hwy 65
Good (7.4, Good reviews)
$88+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Branson

Bus

Branson is quite unlike other US destinations. There is no public bus or metro service at present although private shuttle services are available.

Taxi

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.

Car

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.

The Cost of Living in Branson

Branson’s Hottest Shopping Streets

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.

Groceries and Other Necessities

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.

Other popular cities in Missouri