Think you know everything there is to do in Branson? Don't be so sure. It's a pretty dynamic place.
1. Branson Has More Theater Seats Than Broadway
Though the town's population numbers around only 10,000 people, every year it draws around 8 to 10 million visitors from all over the world. Throughout the decades, Branson has been ranked a top destination on various awards lists, including a spot on the Travel Channel's "Most Christmassy Places in America." The town definitely lives up to its reputation as the "Live Music Capital Of The World" with over 50 theaters and more seats than the Broadway District in New York City. The range of entertainment is extremely broad and includes magic, music, comedy, and even animal-based performances.
2. Table Rock Lake Offers More Shoreline Than Many Beaches
If you can't get to the ocean any time soon, enjoy the next best thing at Table Rock Lake. As the largest lake in Missouri, Table Rock has almost as much shoreline as the entire state of California. Among the gorgeous Ozark forests, you'll find incredible places to hike, swim, relax, or fish. Not only does Table Rock offer great trout fishing all year long, it's also one of the top bass fishing lakes in the country.
3. It's An Incredible Place To Be A Golfer
If you're looking to spend a day out on the golf course, then your only problem in Branson may be choosing which one to visit. The city offers ten championship golf courses, many of which are named after legends of the sport such as Nicklaus, Palmer, and Payne Stewart. Offering courses for players of all levels, the unique hills and valleys of Branson provide fun, interesting layouts, and gorgeous surroundings.
4. You Can Go On The Butterfly Adventure Of A Lifetime
Among the town's more underrated destinations is The Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure. There you'll find a tropically-themed museum where you can learn all kinds of fun and interesting facts about the rainforest. Best of all, there's an attached 7,000 square-foot butterfly sanctuary and garden you can walk through, amid thousands of stunning butterflies. They'll even give you a complimentary feeder filled with nectar so you can offer the little guys a drink.
5. Branson Has The World's Largest Toy Museum
Take a trip back to the nostalgia of your childhood at the largest toy museum on the planet. You'll see everything from old cast iron and tin toys to lunchboxes to train sets. With over a million toys, the museum offers a guaranteed blast from the past for people of all ages.
6. A Peek Into The Victorian Era
Back in 1912, the entire downtown Branson district was ravished by a huge fire that left very few buildings standing. Among the few survivors, however, was Patricia's Victorian House, which stands as a monument to the late 1800s to this day. When you step through the door, you'll feel like you've walked back in time into a Victorian-era ladies' shop.
Inside, you'll find everything from silk floral arrangements to handmade curtains and decor. Whether you're looking to pick up a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture or some vintage clothing, Patricia's has you covered. Even if you don't intend to buy anything, it's worth a trip just to walk around and take in the atmosphere.
7. You Can Eat At A 100-Year-Old Diner
With over 400 restaurant options in Branson, it can be hard to know which to choose for a great dining experience. If you'd like to enjoy some incredible comfort food and take in a little history at the same time, try the Branson Cafe. Established in 1910, this historic diner has been serving up everything from chicken fried steak to biscuits and gravy for over a century.
Nestled in historic downtown Branson, the café is surrounded by quaint shops and still offers the same unassuming atmosphere as it has for decades. Amid the small town charm, you can also enjoy time-honored desserts like delicious cinnamon rolls and freshly baked pies.
8. Branson Boasts The World's Largest Titanic Museum Attraction
Alongside the beauty of nature and the thrill of live entertainment, you can also visit one of the most incredible Titanic museums in the country. When you arrive, you'll receive a boarding pass with the name of an actual Titanic passenger or crew member. Once inside, you'll find over $4.5 million worth of Titanic artifacts and walk a $1 million exact replica of the ship's famous Grand Staircase.
The museum makes history come alive by offering guests the chance to touch an iceberg, shovel "coal" in the boiler room, experience different angles of the sloping decks of the ship as it descended, and hear true passenger stories while seated in a lifeboat. Last but not least, you'll be able to find out the fate of the passenger on your boarding pass inside the Titanic Memorial Room.
9. Branson Is Wine Country, Too
If you’re into the wine life, she said, “Their knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides make the story and traditions of winemaking fun for all ages. After the tour, you have the chance to sample Missouri-made wines.”
Not much of a wine drinker? Or perhaps you’ve gotten stuck being the designated driver for the outing? No worries, there is something for you too! For all non-wine drinkers, children, and designated drivers, there is a special homemade grape juice option.
10. You Can (And Should) Hit The Trails
If you want to explore the land and take a hike, then Branson is the place to do it. Branson is actually home to several breathtaking hiking trails.
If you’re a beginner looking to simply test the trails, the Table Rock Lakeshore Trail may be the perfect speed. It offers impressive scenery and is easy enough that first timers should be able to get the hang of it while enjoying themselves during their adventure.
According to Josh Creznic, general manager of several Wyndham timeshare resorts in Branson, a little bonus is that “this trail is just a short three miles from our Wyndham resorts, so it's very centrally located for our guests who are exploring Branson.” This makes it the perfect destination for guests looking for a place to explore that is nearby their lodging arrangements.
Looking for one of the best views in town? Hit the trails at the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area. With 130 acres to wander around in, this park is located right in the middle of Branson. Tyann Marcink, photographer and owner of Branson Family Retreats, explained, “There are rugged hiking trails, a scenic observation deck, and even 315 hand-lain stone steps.”
The view can be even more impressive than the trails. Marcink shared that “the stone steps lead down to a natural waterfall, Owen’s Falls, and there are two caves just past the falls. It feels like you are encompassed by nature, but you are truly right in the middle of Branson, hiking along the cliffs of Lake Taneycomo.”
These trails also offer a bit of variety, from options that offer paved routes and parking lots to several handicapped accessible trails. Maybe you don’t intend on doing much hiking at all, but need to let the kids in your group run off some energy. Good news: There is a playground at the Lakeside Forest trailhead.
11. Branson Invites You To Transcend To A Natural Paradise
If you have a knack for nature, then the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area might be a stop worth making during your Branson trip. This is a 1,534-acre nature preserve that offers self-guided trails and an observation tower. Perhaps you want some quality time with that special someone or time for quiet reflection; this is the perfect place to get away from the bright lights of the Branson strip.
Located nearby the Branson Wyndham Resorts, Creznic told TravelAwaits that this spot is “just about five miles from our resorts and just outside of the theatre district, so it's within easy proximity of some of Branson's most popular activities, but feels like you've been transported to a natural paradise.”
12. The Waters In Branson Are Worth Exploring
Why not add a water experience to your list of things to do? Branson has several outdoor experiences to offer, ranging from ziplining, hiking, fishing, and just simply enjoying the beautiful scenery. Of course if you’ve hit the trails, toured a winery, and climbed the Henning Conservation Area tower, the next best thing is to enjoy some time out on the water. Given Branson’s proximity to Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo, one of the best ways to explore the area is on a boat.
Boat rentals are available throughout Branson from a variety of vendors. Valerie Streif, head of marketing at Get My Boat, said they offer an array of boats to choose from.
“This massive reservoir is perfect to experience on the water, and we're making it easy to reserve a boat rental -- travelers or locals can download our app and book everything from jet skis to pontoons during their stay in Branson.”
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*This article was updated in May 2019.