The state of Missouri is one of the hidden gems in the U.S. The state itself is filled with pieces of history and natural landmarks. If you are in one of the surrounding states, keep in mind that the Show Me State is always worth your visit. As there is quite a lot to visit in the city, it would be wise to narrow down your trip to Missouri’s best cities and areas. That’s why for his time, we are going to take you to the Live Music Capital of the World, Branson, Missouri. It is a city in Taney and Stone counties in Missouri. It is also located in the Ozark Mountains meaning the state has a lot of natural wonders to behold.
The city is named after Reuben Branson who opened a general store and post office in the area in 1882. By 1894, the city’s tourism economy began to flourish when William Henry Lunch bought Marble Cav and began to accept visitors to tour it. The attraction was later on named as Marvel Cave and to this date, it remains as one of the top tourist attractions in the city of Branson.
For years, the city was on a phase of development and it was formally incorporated into the state in 1912. From then on, the city was consistently growing and its population grew to support the bustling economy. In the mid-50s, Branson become more popular because it served as the home of a booming music scene that stands strong to this day.
The city is a popular destination for those in Missouri and the U.S. in general. It has a solid collection of entertainment theatres in 76 Country Boulevard. These theatres include Dolly Parton’s Stampede and many others more. Of course, these aren’t just the must-visit places in Branson, Missouri.
Other than the many entertainment theaters in the city, Branson is also renowned for its local attractions. These include the Hollywood Wax Museum, Silver Dollar City, White Water, Branson Top Ops, Mount Pleasant Winery, and many more. Other than that, there are numerous activities to partake in such as cave tours, zipline, trekking, mini golf, and more. These are all experienced in the Ozark Mountains.
We know you’re very excited to visit these places but before anything else, here are some important things to keep in mind to prepare for the amazing trip that’s up ahead.
- 1 How to Get to Branson, Missouri
- 2 Getting Around Branson, Missouri
- 3 Best Time to Visit Branson, Missouri
- 4 Things to Do in Branson MO
- 5 Before You Go
How to Get to Branson, Missouri
Getting to Branson is relatively easy considering that there are quite a few ways to do so. The easiest and most convenient if you are coming from far-off places is via the Branson Airport (BKG) which is roughly 15 minutes away from Highway 65. This is the nearest airport to the city of Branson, You can get to this city via connecting flights from Chicago, Dallas, and Denver.
Less than an hour away from Branson is the Springfield/Branson National Airport (SGF). This spacious airport accommodates flights from various carriers and several national airlines. The airport is well-equipped with various facilities such as souvenir shops, cafes, car rental services, restaurants, and more.
Downtown Branson is easily accessible via Highway 65 as well so if you are driving to the city, be sure to be on the lookout for this road. Alternatively, Branson is easily accessible from various parts of Missouri via Amtrak and public busses.
Getting Around Branson, Missouri
Branson’s top tourist destinations are scattered around the city and in the Ozark Mountains. As such, we recommend renting a car to get around the city of Missouri. Luckily, car rental services such as Avis, Enterprise, Dollar, Hertz, and more which are available at the airports stated above. By booking these cars ahead of the trip, you can easily get to the city from the airport via driving.
Alternatively, you can take ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft in Branson. However, the routes will be limited to the city itself and not to the attractions outside it. Furthermore, while it is convenient, taking this transportation option again and again will certainly put a dent on your budget so this is not a great option for budget travelers.
There are also several public transportation options while you are already in the city. First is the Downtown Branson Trolley. This trolley system offers 13 stops around historic landmarks in Branson such as Branson Landing. It operates all-year-round but it will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Another popular option for public transportation is the Branson Loop. This is a shuttle service that operates to and from Branson Airport and Springfield/Branson National Airport. Other than that, the service will also take you to popular attractions such as Showboat Branson Belle and Silver Dollar City. It’s a great option especially if you are in a hurry to visit the city.
Best Time to Visit Branson, Missouri
In terms of tourism, the most popular month in Branson is during the winter season. The months of November and December in Branson are filled with events and festivals such as An Old Time Christmas, Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights, and Let There Be Lights. The main problem though is that the rooms will be pricier than usual so we advise that you book your room months ahead of the trip to get reasonable discounts.
Other than the winter season, the hotel rates in Branson are pretty reasonable. If you want to visit during a time when the weather is perfect, we recommend going to the city during the summer. Summers in Branson are far from being too hot so you’ll get to enjoy visiting the top attractions in the city without any issues.
Things to Do in Branson MO
Branson, Missouri has gained so much attention for years because of its music shows and gorgeous natural attractions. While they are worth seeing, Branson still has a lot more activities and attractions to offer than just that and you should see them as well. If you’ve already seen Branson’s natural attractions and music shows and want to see more of what the city has to offer, you’ve come to the right place as we’re giving you the unique attractions and things to do in Branson MO. Here’s a rundown of some of them that we’re sure will really pique your interest.
1Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum
If there’s one thing that will really pique your interest in Branson, there’s no place like the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. Just by its name alone, you’ll know that visiting the museum is one of the most interesting things to do in Branson MO.
If you’re not quite familiar with Ripley’s, it’s actually an American franchise founded by Robert Ripley’s that features the most bizarre events and items that are so strange and unusual that you might question the claims. It actually started out as a newspaper panel but with so many bizarre stories and items being featured, piquing the interest of many, it was later adapted into radio, television, books, and now, a chain of museums. Luckily, Branson houses one of its museums and it’s definitely worth visiting as there’s so much to see and learn about. What’s even better is that each museum or branch all over the world has different collections on display so you will really be surprised by what’s inside. Branson’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum alone has 8 galleries with changing collections of nearly 500 unique artifacts, mind-blowing illusions, unbelievable art, and wacky interactive displays that people of all ages will surely love. It’s a fun and interesting place that is also perfect for the whole family.
Titanic, since it hit the big screens in 1997 and garnered numerous awards, has been making rounds even until today that museums around the world were made in honor of the real-life ship and the iconic movie. But among all of those Titanic Museums around the world, Branson’s is the official one and is a must-see. In fact, it is considered as one of the top five museums from around the world.
As its name suggests, it houses plenty of memorabilia of the famous ship. As a matter of fact, this Titanic Museum in Branson has 20 galleries with approximately 400 pre-discovery artifacts from the actual ship. On top of that, inside, you’ll really feel as if you are a passenger of the iconic ship (or even a cast in the popular 1997 movie) with the themed décor that it has inside, apart from the memorabilia that it houses. The Titanic Museum also offers tours wherein you can get to hear interesting stories about a number of its passengers and more facts about the Titanic. But the interiors of the museum isn’t just the only interesting thing to see but its exteriors too. Apparently, the Titanic Museum’s main exterior visual feature is also Titanic-themed – this means it really looks like the original ocean liner on the outside too. There’s also a partial mockup of the famous iceberg that sank the ship.
Re-enact you favorite Titanic movie scene or hear the stories of the real ship, exploring this place is really one of the most interesting things to do in Branson MO so don’t miss any chance to see it.
Nope, this isn’t a superheroes’ hideout or something. But this isn’t another one of the many natural attractions in Canada (sort of). Rather, this is actually a theme park and a natural cave. Kind of confusing?
Actually, this is really a natural cave that was thought to have a marble ceiling. Because of this, explorers started a mining company in the 1880s believing they could mine marbles in the said cave. But later, they figured out that there was never really any marble in the cave and ceased all operations after nearly five years. It was later leased and renovated as a part of a theme park, called the Silver Dollar City, which sits atop it. The renovation led to a thematic mining town where you will also be entertained by costumed characters, apart from the amusement rides that it has. That said, exploring it is really one of the most interesting things to do in Branson MO as you will not just get to enjoy one of Branson’s natural attractions but you can also get to enjoy an exciting man-made one at the same time. Visiting it is definitely one of the interesting things in Branson MO that everyone in the family will surely enjoy.
4Hollywood Wax Museum
There are several cool wax museums around the world. One of which is the popular Madame Tussaud’s that has a number of branches in Europe, America, and even in Asia. And it’s not a surprise, though as it is the most convenient way to see your favorite celebrities – the realistic figures, of course. But Branson has its own version of that and even better – and that is the Hollywood Wax Museum.
Like Madame Tussaud’s, Branson’s Hollywood Wax Museum has realistic wax figures of various celebrities too. But it also has wax figures of other fictional characters such as Kingkong, Captain Jack Sparrow, the characters from the Wizard of Oz, and Leatherface, to name a few. And what sets the Hollywood Wax Museum apart from other wax museums is that the replicas of the celebrities that it features continue to change regularly. Thus, you’ll always be surprised whose wax figure you’re going to see in every visit. Strike a pose with your favorite celebrity or even your favorite movie character, it’s definitely for the whole family to enjoy. Needless to say, visiting it and taking the best Instagram-worthy posts is one of the most interesting things to do in Branson MO that you shouldn’t miss, especially if you’re traveling with the whole family.
5Talking Rocks Cavern
Okay, you might wonder what the Talking Rocks cavern is doing here when this list is actually for those who want to see more of Branson beside the natural attractions that it has. But hear us out first as this has some interesting story to tell. Unlike other natural attractions in Branson that only offers some sightseeing activities, the Talking Rocks has a bit of some story to tell. But don’t get it wrong, though, the rocks in this cavern don’t literally talk. However, the rocks and mineral deposits on this cave can tell their stories of how they were formed with just the physical evidence that they show by just looking at them; hence the name.
What also makes exploring this place one of the most interesting things to do in Branson MO is that it has a number of fun activities to offer than the other natural attractions that the city has. Here, you can pan for gemstones, crawl through the Speleo Box mazes that they have, and play mini golf. They also get “edutained,” as what they call it where you can get to learn educational info about the place and at the same time be entertained as you explore it.
6Haunted House and Monster Asylum
To give you a better idea of what kind of experience awaits you in the Haunted House and Monster Asylum, here, you will travel through an Ozark cemetery, an insane asylum, and a ghostly castle where you can see realistic displays. Some adults who have already been there actually got scared at the monsters on display too because of the eerie feel of the place and how realistic the displays were made.
But unlike most of the attractions that we’ve mentioned, the Haunted House and Monster Asylum is not for visitors who are traveling with kids. It’s not for the faint of heart as well. As its name suggests, this place offers a thrilling, scary, but fun experience. However, some previous visitors said that they brought their kids with them in the Haunted House and Monster Asylum and they were fine – we mean, the kids really got scared but they still enjoyed it. Also, previous visitors say that the staff of the said attraction are very friendly that kids conquered their fears because of their help. If you’re traveling with kids, you might just want to be more careful in deciding as to whether or not you will take them with you as you visit the Haunted House and Monster Asylum as they might not enjoy it, unlike the other kids. Still, it’s one of the interesting things to do in Branson MO that you shouldn’t pass on.
Exploring the Branson Landing is also an activity that you shouldn’t miss as it has almost everything that you can ask for. Here, you have countless shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Shop ‘til you drop, purchase some unique items that you can bring home as a souvenir for your trip or for your loved ones back home, try out the most bizarre dishes that the restaurants here have to offer, this place can make you experience a little of everything that the city has to offer. In fact, this place has more than 100 storefronts alone.
There are extreme activities being offered too. If you are feeling brave or adventurous, we highly recommend trying out Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zip Line where you can zip line across the lake nearby. And speaking of lake, yes, Branson Landing also boasts of its lakeside boardwalk and a series of water fountains that are set to light, fire, and really entertain you and make you feel as if you’re in Las Vegas (the fountain’s feature was actually designed by the same company who made the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, hence the vibe). And, of course, you can get to enjoy a nice view of the sunset here. However, this place has regular operation hours – from 10 Am to 9 PM. That said, you might want to time your visit and allot more hours if you want to explore every corner of the Branson Landing. And if you plan on visiting this place during holidays like Christmas, don’t worry, their schedule varies by the season and day. Hence, you might have longer hours to enjoy the place during the holidays.
Nope, you’re not going to see Moses or any biblical characters here; don’t be confused by the name. But you will be in for an entertaining and educational visit. This is because this is actually a zoo that lets you see the animals up close and personal. What’s even better is that you can also get to learn more about the animals that the zoo houses. Needless to say, visiting it is one of the most interesting things to do in Branson MO, especially if you’re traveling with kids. You can even get to see unique animals that you will not get to see in other zoos in other parts of the world. What makes this place even more interesting is that you will not just get to see animals being exhibited but the zoo also has shows that are a must-see as they will keep you, as well as the whole family entertained all the more during your visit. On top of that, the zoo has a picnic area where you and your whole family can just sit and admire the views that the zoo has to offer as you bond. There are hiking trails as well that are perfect for visitors who seek more outdoor adventure.
Before You Go
There are a lot of interesting to do in Branson MO for everyone and it’s such a shame if you will not get to try or enjoy even one of them. So to make sure that you make the most out of your trip, here are some reminders to take note of.
- Wear comfortable shoes – Whether you plan to see the natural attractions that Branson has or the attractions that we have mentioned, it is important that you wear the most comfortable shoes that you have as you will surely be in for some adventure with lots of walking.
- Don’t forget your camera – As with any trip, it is important to not forget your camera with you to capture the most precious moments during your trip.
- Check the schedules of the attraction – It is also a must that you check the operation schedules of the attraction that you’re eyeing on so you can plan your trip well and not miss any second or miss any attraction.
- Bring extra cash – Some attractions have extra activities that might require you to spend some extra cash if you want to try them out. Thus, don’t forget to bring extra cash to not miss any moment.
- Bring some snacks – If you are traveling with kids, you also might want to consider bringing some snacks in case they get hungry in the middle of the activity.