Located in southwestern Missouri, deep in the Ozark Mountains, is a large town, Branson, Missouri. Once known for its deep country music roots, Branson has been working to reinvent itself as a top family tourist destination in the mid west catering to a large demographic.
There is a common misconception about Branson. I know, because I once held this misconception. If you don’t live within an easy day’s drive of Branson you might not had the pleasure of visiting. But I’m sure you know of parents, grandparents and their friends who have visited, so you hear about it through them. More often than not, this leads you to conclude that it is for the older generation.
That is certainly true. There are plenty of shows, attractions, dining, and shopping for those who are retired or closer to retirement. However, the misconception of it only being entertaining for that group is merely that; a misconception.
I must admit, as an amusement park and roller coaster enthusiast (or fanatic – call it as you will) my primary reason for coming to Branson was Silver Dollar City, a great theme park with six roller coasters and other fun rides and attractions. Fortunately for me, Silver Dollar City was not open during most of my stay in Branson, forcing me to go out of my thrill-seeker shell and discover some of what Branson has to offer.
I quickly fell in love with this wonderful town nestled in the beautiful Ozark mountains. Had I been able to spend most of my time at the theme park, I would have missed out on some of the great things that Branson has to offer. For everybody. Of all ages.
There is a broad range of hotel and resort accommodations to fit every budget, and other sites such as Explore Branson, have a comprehensive listing to help you find the best choice. However, as RVers, we are looking for a great campground to park our home away from home, and we often find one at a KOA.
Explore Branson also has a comprehensive listing of the many area campgrounds, and we found the Branson KOA to be the best choice for our needs. It is a popular local campground with a great Woodall’s rating and is conveniently located near many of the area attractions.
The friendly and helpful staff quickly helped us get settled in our luxury RV site. It was a spacious level site, like most of their sites, which is important to note since the terrain of Branson is largely hilly. We were very pleased with our choice of the Branson KOA and will certainly stay there during our next visit. You will note that their peak season runs from early May through the end of October so if you want to enjoy their great facility, you may need to make a reservation many months in advance to secure a campsite.
Who doesn’t like food? I know I certainly do, and Branson boasts many unique offerings. Two of our favorites that we highly recommend are:
- Mel’s Hard Luck Diner – Mel’s is a 50’s style diner where most of the staff is comprised of professional singers. While you are dining, they roam the restaurant floor singing songs from all genres. Not only is the singing good, their unique variety of diner food is very good and you are sure to find something worth talking about.
- Farmhouse Restaurant – If you are looking for some good quality home-style cooking, look no further than the Farmhouse Restaurant located in Historic Downtown Branson. You can taste the love they put into their food and you will leave planning your next visit. Don’t forget to try their famous blackberry cobbler. It is even better with some ice cream.
Branson is well known for its quality shows. Where there is a big country theme in Branson, there are many shows designed for all interests. You are sure to find something that everybody in your group enjoys. During our trip we only attended one show but it was so exceptional I feel the need to mention it.
- Buckets N Boards – This is a comedy percussion act starring Matt Levingston and Gareth Sever. Well, actually, they are actually the only two people in the show. How entertaining can just two people be? You truly have to see it to believe it. This drumming-tapping-dancing-acting-singing-guitar playing comedy duo will have you laughing and wanting more. Not only will you find them performing in Branson, they also tour the country and perform on some Disney cruises. No matter what your age, unless you don’t like to have a good laugh, you are certain to enjoy them.
- Silver Dollar City – This is a great western-style theme park with plenty of good roller coasters, entertainment, and rides for all ages. It is also one of the only theme parks in the world with its own cave, Marvel Cave. Included with your park admission is the hour-long tour of this cave located near the entrance to the park.
If shopping is your thing, Branson has you covered. They have a large selection of stores at Tanger Outlets and Branson Landing. We also found the following stores to have intriguing selection of items.
- Dick’s 5 & 10 – This old-time 5 & 10 offers an incredible selection of nostalgic and novelty merchandise with something for everybody. Don’t be surprised if you end up spending hours hereWhile you are here in Historic Downtown Branson, be sure to check out some of the other great stores withing easy walking distance.A free trolley can help you get around downtown Branson with numerous convenient stops.
- The Grand Village Shops – This enchanting group of shops ranging from a Christmas store, gourmet foods and the location for Mel’s Hard Luck Diner offers a broad range of shopping. You are sure to find a unique souvenir to remember the exciting time you had in Branson.
When you find the need to escape all the fun and excitement in Branson, head on over to Table Rock State Park. Surrounding Table Rock Lake, this Missouri State Park offers something for every outdoor adventurer; from a mountain bike trail, to nature trails and a full-service marina, you are sure to find your connection with nature.
Since Branson offers so much to do, it is impossible to do it all in a single trip. Here are some other ideas that we found interesting but didn’t have the time to do. At least not on this trip.
Branson, Missouri, is a great family vacation getaway. The large, diverse entertainment options are sure to please your entire generation of family, from kids, to parents, and even grandparents. We had a great time and so will you!