20 Best Things to Do in Branson, Missouri: Top-Rated Attractions 2023
Branson is a family vacation destination in southwestern Missouri. This Ozark city is best known for its theaters and family attractions. However, you will find many activities to entertain you regardless of your tastes, and there are things for all ages.
The strip is where you will find most entertainment and live attractions. Other parts of the city have excellent restaurants, museums, and much more.
On the city’s outskirts, you will also find picturesque places and places to enjoy outdoor activities. To help you plan your vacation, so you don’t miss out on the best this city has to offer, here are the top 20 things to do in Branson, Missouri, for beginners.
1. Play a round of golf
Branson is a promising golf destination with several golf courses to choose from. There are also plans to develop more golf courses around this city.
Therefore, it is an excellent place to visit for golf lovers or for those who want to try it for the first time. Some of the golf courses you can play in Branson include Branson Hills Golf Club, Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course, Holiday Hills Golf Club, and Thousand Hills Resort & Golf Club.
2. Explore Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
If you want to get away from the busy and lively entertainment this Ozark town is famous for, then a great place to hang out is Dogwood Canyon Park. This 10,000-acre park consists of evergreen and dogwood trees, limestone cliffs, streams, and waterfalls.
There are paved walking and biking trails so you can explore the park. You can also choose to take a tram or jeep tour of the park. These lead you to pastures so you can see longhorn cattle, elk, and bison. Alternative ways to explore the park are by Segway or on horseback.
3. Ride a golf cart along with Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail
An exciting way to take in some of the natural beauty around Branson is to take the Lost Canyon Nature Trail. This is a two-and-a-half-mile trail, and riding a golf cart is the option.
It is an interesting trail as it takes you through waterfalls and rock formations, underground caves, and covered bridges.
4. Go to the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum
One of the best museums to visit in Branson is the Ancient Ozarks Museum of Natural History, says Travel Awaits. This museum has interesting exhibits that include Native American artifacts, prehistoric creatures, and works of art.
There are also galleries showing the American West and the Civil War. Some other museums you should consider visiting include the World’s Largest Toy Museum, the Celebrity Car Museum, and the Ralph Foster Museum at Lookout Point.
5. Have fun along the Branson Strip
The Branson Strip is where much of the action takes place, as it is home to some of the city’s biggest attractions, including Silver Dollar City.
However, there are many more things to enjoy beyond the main attractions, as there are smaller places where you can enjoy family fun. Along the strip, you can enjoy a wide variety of fun family activities, including crazy golf, go-karts, and arcades.
Activities vary in price, and some are suitable for younger children, while others offer fun for the whole family.
6. Visit the Palace of the Butterflies and Adventure in the Tropical Jungle
An exciting activity to enjoy is the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure, located on the west side of the city overlooking the entertainment district.
The main feature of this attraction is the Butterfly Palace, which is home to thousands of live butterflies imported from all over the world.
There are many educational opportunities and fun adventures, although the highlight for many people is the daily butterfly release.
The Rainforest Science Center, the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze, the Great Banyan Tree Adventure, and the Butterfly Atrium are other great features.
7. Hike around the wilderness of the woods by the lake
Just outside the entertainment district is the Lakeside Forest wilderness area, and there is a stark contrast between these two parts of Branson.
The Lakeside Forest Wilderness area spans 140 acres and is a popular hiking spot. Most of the paths are smooth but lead to wide staircases that pose a challenge.
The park has many Ozark formations that the region is famous for, and there are small underground caves that are safe and fun to explore. This is a free place to visit on a day with good weather.
8. Explore Table Rock Lake Park
This park has been described as the natural gateway to the Ozarks. Most of the park is covered in second-growth oak forests, which are intertwined with multi-use trails.
Therefore, it is a popular place for people who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and cycling. As it is located on the shores of Table Rock Lake, it is also a popular place for fishing.
It is a beautiful place for nature lovers to spend their time, and there are many terrific photo opportunities throughout the park.
9. See the animals at the promised land zoo
One of the many family-focused attractions to enjoy in Branson is the Promised Land Zoo. Founded in the 1990s by the Sanders family, the goal of this zoo is to preserve and rescue endangered animals. The animals are cared for by biologists and conservationists.
Visitors to the zoo learn about the animals, their natural habitat, and the conservation of various species. Some of the animals you will see at this small zoo include kangaroos, kinkajous, and sloths.
There are bottle-feeding sessions and animal shows to enjoy during your visit. If you visit Branson in November or December, you can enjoy the lights at this attraction.
10. Have fun at White Water Branson
If you are visiting Branson as a family, a great day out is at White Water Branson Water Park. This is Silver Dollar City’s water-based sister attraction.
The main feature of the water park is a huge wave pool. There is also a lazy river and speed slide to enjoy. It’s a great place to cool off on a bot day.
11. Go to the Titanic Museum
An exciting and famous museum to visit is the Titanic Museum. As soon as you enter the museum, there is a great atmosphere, which is designed to look like the Titanic, as visitors receive a boarding pass as if they were passengers on a ship.
Visitors can enjoy a guided tour that allows them to see more than 400 artifacts that have been rescued and preserved from the doomed ship.
The tour also takes them up a large, recreated staircase. At the end of the time, visitors read the name on their boarding pass to see if they were one of the surviving passengers.
12. Cruise Table Rock Lake
US News recommends taking a Table Rock Lake cruise. This lake is an important natural feature of southwestern Missouri, covering more than 50,000 acres and has nearly 800 miles of shoreline. Branson is just one of the cities that sit on its shores.
The lake offers opportunities for various activities, such as swimming, fishing, and boating.
Tourists visiting the area also enjoy lake cruises as this is a fun activity that gives you a different perspective of the lake and its shores. There are many cruise packages available that run at other times, including food and drink.
13. Spend the day at Talking Rocks Cavern
Talking Rocks Caverns is an entertainment venue that offers a variety of underground and aerial activities. Above-ground activities include nature trails, gem mining, and miniature golf.
There are also two wooden box mazes for visitors to navigate. These are meant to replicate the cramped conditions experienced by people exploring caves.
Underground, the main attraction is the one-hour guided tour of Talking Rocks Caverns. Descend a series of stairs to explore the caverns, and you will learn how the caverns have defined Branson and its surroundings for thousands of years.
14. Be amazed by Ripley’s Believe It or Not Branson Odditorium
If you want to see unusual items that you are unlikely to see anywhere else in the world, then the place to visit is Ripley’s Believe It or Not Branson Odditorium. This odditorium displays unusual artifacts from around the world that will amaze you.
It’s hard to believe that many of the items on display are accurate. After visiting this museum, head down the strip to the Hollywood Wax Museum. It has an extensive collection of wax replicas of various pop icons from different eras.
15. Visit the Veterans Memorial Museum
There are several museums that you can visit during your stay in Branson. One of the top-rated museums in this city is the Veterans Memorial Museum.
Inside the museum, ten exhibition halls feature exhibits covering American combat throughout the 20th century. The presentations are engaging, and there are many great learning opportunities.
16. Eat, drink and shop at Branson Landing
Branson Landing is a place that you will likely visit on more than one occasion during your stay, depending on the length of your vacation. This is a shopping, dining, and entertainment venue located on the shores of Lake Taneycomo in historic downtown Branson.
The charming promenade has more than a hundred shops. There are also several dining options at Branson Landing. A notable feature of this destination is the Branson Landing Fountains, which pride themselves at 120 feet. Every day, the fountains become part of a show that includes music and pyrotechnics.
17. Take a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway
A great way to see the sights is to take the Branson Scenic Train. Head to the 1905 station in the historic district on Branson’s east side to board the train.
Although there are different routes, one to the north and one to the south, both will take you through the foothills of the Ozark, through the lush landscape, under tunnels, and into the Ozark Desert.
The classic carriages have been fully restored, and passengers are encouraged to explore them during the journey. Each round trip covers 40 miles and takes about two hours.
18. Explore the Wonder of Marvel Cave
Sitting below Silver Dollar City is Marvel Cave. The discovery of this cave initially drew attention to the area and led to the development of the city and its attractions.
Visitors can pay a fee to take a guided tour of Marvel Cave before returning to ground level to enjoy the amusements.
19. Have a lot of fun in Silver Dollar City
Located between Branson and West Branson, Silver Dollar City is a giant amusement park and entertainment space that has something for everyone. It covers more than 100 acres and has more than 40 rides and attractions.
The park has a theme from the 1880s that adds to its appeal. In addition to attractions and amusements, the park has shows, shops, and restaurants. Additionally, various events and classes are held within the park throughout the year.
20. Watch a musical performance
Branson is famous for his musical performances, so the Musical Interpretation and this art of playing musical instruments by composers from different places and styles, combining the knowledge of the musical language, will be an unforgettable experience that cannot be missed.
Tips for saving money in Branson
Here are some quick tips for saving money on your Branson trip:
- Visit in shoulder season for better deals
- Book hotel packages
- Buy discounted show tickets
- Eat at affordable restaurants
- Pack your own snacks and lunch
- Rent a condo with a kitchen
- Create a souvenir budget
- Take advantage of free activities
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in Branson
How many days do I need to visit Branson?
The time you need to visit Branson depends on what you want to do and how much you want to see. If you’re interested in seeing the top attractions, you could do it in 2-3 days. But if you want to enjoy all that Branson offers, like the great outdoors, live music, and shopping, you’ll need at least 4-5 days.
What is Branson Missouri best known for?
Branson may be famous for its live entertainment, with shows covering just about every genre of music, but there are three other activities that draw millions of visitors – attractions, shopping, and outdoor recreation, including fishing. Branson’s attractions are many and varied; museums, go-karts, ziplines, and more.
What is the best time of year to go to Branson Missouri?
The best time to visit Branson is in November and December when the entire town gets into the holiday spirit and transforms into a winter wonderland. The months between June and August are another peak season for this family-friendly destination, and as such, the city is inundated with crowds (and heat).
How do you enjoy Branson MO?
Indulge in some retail therapy with a great day of shopping in Branson. Enjoy a visit to a local winery. Fly over the Ozarks in a helicopter or soar over on a zip line. If you’re in the mood to relax, plan a tranquil day at a luxurious spa in Branson.
Is Branson Missouri worth the trip?
From shows to show caves, the most iconic experiences in Branson. Branson is so jam-packed with incredible things to see and do, a trip to the city could be a bit overwhelming for a first-timer. It has a rich history as a destination for those looking to get away from everyday life and indulge in a little fun.
Is Branson expensive?
The average price of a 7-day trip to Branson is $1,723 for a solo traveler, $3,095 for a couple, and $5,801 for a family of 4. Branson hotels range from $65 to $294 per night with an average of $103, while most vacation rentals will cost $240 to $560 per night for the entire home.
Is Branson Missouri still popular?
“The tourist attractions were all family-focused with a handful of music shows.” Today, Branson is much more than country music, and its tourist season has inched closer and closer to year-round. An estimated 9 million people visited the city-and not just for country music.
Where are the best places to shop in Branson, Missouri?
The most famous shopping areas in Branson include:
- The downtown historic district.
- Branson Landing along Lake Taneycomo.
- The outlets at Tanger Outlets Branson Meadows.
Downtown has a variety of boutiques, gift shops, and antique stores. Branson Landing features waterfront restaurants and national chains.
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