Looking to get away in the coming months? Choosing the perfect holiday spot is no easy feat. Families spend weeks deliberating where they want to spend their time off.
Particularly if you have a young family, you’ll want to settle on a location that will keep all family members happy and engaged. Of course, there are other factors to consider as well – including how much you’re able to spend, the distance you’re able to travel, and more.
In any case, the town of Branson, Missouri is a fantastic option. To start, it’s fairly central to the rest of the country – allowing you to travel by plane or car. What’s more, its low population of roughly 11,800 means you’re able to avoid the heavy traffic and general busyness that comes with a typical tourist destination.
Whether you’re travelling from another state or are planning to spend a day or two in your own backyard, here are nine of the top Branson attractions you don’t want to miss:
A Branson show
Branson shows are one of the town’s main attractions. With more than 50 different theatres, there is no shortage of ways to get your fix of live entertainment.
With a young family, you might opt for a dinner show. Whether it’s the world-famous Dolly Parton’s Stampede, the thrilling Branson Murder Mystery, or the knee-slapping WhoDunnit Hoedown, nothing passes the time quite like a delicious meal and a feast for the eyes.
If you’d rather keep your entertainment and your food separate, consider the Rexa Edge of Illusion Magic Show or the Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai—two shows that are guaranteed to deliver stunning thrills and feats.
For those who prefer live music to theatre, book your ticket to see The Haygoods – one of Branson’s most popular shows. Sing along as this highly talented family band performs some of the biggest hits from the past 50 years.
Finally, Sight & Sound Theatres is a popular spot for those who want to witness an impressive performance of a Biblical story. The theatre itself seats up to 2,000 people and features a whopping 300-foot stage. Not to mention, performances often include singing, dancing, and live animals!
Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City was named USA Today’s #2 Best Amusement Park for 2021 – second to only Orlando’s SeaWorld – and it’s easy to see why. As the largest family-owned amusement park in the country, Silver Dollar City delivers more than 100 acres of entertainment and thrills.
To start, Silver Dollar’s theme park features 40 different rides and attractions, from the gut-wrenching drops of Outlaw Run to the unrelenting loops of Time Traveler. If roller coasters aren’t your thing, fear not, the park offers its fair share of shows, stores, and restaurants for you to enjoy.
What really sets the Silver Dollar City theme park apart from your run-of-the-mill amusement park is its Craftsman Village. Stop by more than a dozen exhibits to view talented artists at work, and even take home your own handcrafted treasure!
Silver Dollar City’s White Water park features2 million gallons of water and spans across 13 acres. Throw on your boots or swimsuit and cool off with a handful of water slides, rides, and wave pools!
Needless to say, there’s enough at Silver Dollar City to keep you and your family occupied for hours on end. If there are simply too many attractions for you to explore in a single day, you can stay at Silver Dollar City’s camp ground. Cabins, RV sites, and tent camping options are all available!
The Showboat Branson Belle
If you’re the type of person who prefers serenity to an adrenaline rush, keep in mind that Silver Dollar City also has its very own cruise liner: the Showboat Branson Belle. During a two-hour cruise experience, the ‘Queen of the Ozarks’ will gracefully coast across the gorgeous waters of Branson’s Table Rock Lake.
Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy a delectable three-course meal, as well as an entertaining live show that features dancing and popular music from each of the last six decades, all performed by a group of professional singers and a top-notch four-piece band.
During the show’s intermission, you’ll get to spend some time exploring the ship and enjoying a scenic view from its balcony. Book an evening cruise experience, and you may even get to witness the sun set over the lake’s quiet waters.
The Titanic Museum
Shortly after the Titanic’s wreckage was rediscovered in 1986, Branson became the new home of countless artefacts valued at well over $4 million. See them up close with a trip to the Titanic Museum, one of just two locations here in the United States.
During a self-guided tour, you’ll learn a great deal about the ship’s design, its passengers, and the days leading up to that fateful day.
In fact, every guest is given a ticket with the name and biography of one of the ship’s passengers. By the end of the tour, you will have learned all about your passenger; including their background, their family, and where they stayed on the ship.
More than your average museum, the Titanic Museum provides an immersive experience for its guests. Throughout the tour, you’ll get the opportunity to dunk your hand in 28-degree water, sample the frigid temperatures of that April night, and touch a growing iceberg!
A Branson Landing fountain show
Branson Landing is a boardwalk that spans 1.5 miles down the gorgeous Taneycomo Lakefront. Despite all of its natural beauty, the boardwalk’s most prominent feature is its $7.5 million water display, a series of fountains that shoot towering geysers into the air.
What makes this particular fountain display unique is its use of pyrotechnics, lights, and music. Shows run every hour and feature some of the most beloved songs in popular culture, including ‘Living on a Prayer’, ‘Kung Fu Fighting’, and ‘Star-Spangled Banner’.
These shows start at noon each day, ending by 11pm on Monday – Saturday and by 10 PM on Sunday. Check out the Branson Landing’s fountain show schedule to make sure you catch your favourite tune.
Tanger Outlets Branson
If shopping is your preferred vacation activity, there’s no better place to part with your money than at Tanger Outlets.
With77 different stores and deals up to 70% off, this enormous shopping complex is likely to have everything you could want; whether you’re on the hunt for clothes, furniture, or children’s toys.
Score deals on top designer brands such as Kate Spade, Vera Bradley, and Coach; or take advantage of bargains at more familiar options such as GAP, Levi’s, and American Eagle.
The Tanger Outlets typically open at 9 AM and close at 7 PM. Parking is often limited so make sure you arrive early and grab a spot.
Branson’s Promised Land Zoo
If you’re bringing young children to Branson, there is perhaps no better way to get outside and enjoy nature than to visit Branson’s Promised Land Zoo.
This family-owned and operated facility is the area’s top-rated animal attraction, boasting dozens of wildlife exhibits across 75 acres of the Ozarks’ topography. With a general admission ticket, you’ll enjoy a self-guided tour of the zoo, access to the zoo’s main exhibits and attractions, and a two-mile safari experience.
With VIP admission, you and your children will have opportunities to pet, feed, and take pictures with some of the animals. Meanwhile, VIP-plus guests will get to experience a rare encounter with an animal by entering its habitat!
If you have teenagers, you know that it can be a struggle to keep them engaged during a family vacation. With a trip to Arcade City, however, you’ll have no issue keeping them entertained.
This facility is filled with nearly every type of arcade game imaginable; from classics like PAC-MAN and pinball machines to table hockey and enormous digital Connect4 boards.
As you swipe your play card and compete in games, you’ll gradually rack up points that can be redeemed for all types of fun prizes at the end of the day. Of course, you can purchase your play cards when you enter; but you can just as easily skip the line and get right to gaming by purchasing your play cards online.
Table Rock State Park
For those who love the great outdoors, Table Rock State Park offers a handful of fun activities that the entire family will enjoy.
To start, the park boasts multiple hiking and biking trails. Take in the gorgeous scenery of the Ozarks as you get your workout in. On a hot day, you can enjoy any number of water activities at the State Park Marina; whether it’s boating, tubing, waterskiing, fishing, or swimming.
What’s more, picnic sites are scattered throughout the park. Rather than leaving the park to find a place to eat, remember to pack lunch and enjoy a meal with your family outdoors.
If you would prefer to spend a few days at the park, make the most of your time by booking a space at the park’s lodge or reserving a spot at the park’s campsite.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He is interested in mental health and well-being.