Taking a Break in Branson: Where to Stay & What to Do
July 10, 2016
Every so often a town will pleasantly surprise me. Branson in Missouri is one of those towns. I had been years ago to visit an amusement park. I didn’t see much else and didn’t give it a second thought until I had to go back last year for a conference. I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it was, but I didn’t have much time to explore. So when the Women Bloggers in association with the Kendal King Group and #SoapboxInfluence offered me the chance to be hosted by the Branson CVB, I jumped to take a break in the Live Entertainment Capital Of The World! Did you know there are more seats for shows in Branson than in NYC? True story! The whole family will find something they love in Branson. So from us to you, here are ten highlights and things to do in Branson we’d recommend.
Things to do in Branson
Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel
We’re turning K into a hotel critic haha! She walked in and exclaimed, “OH this is so pretty. I really, really like this place.” As someone who spends just about half the year in hotels, I agreed that I really, really liked it, too. Of course, the event planner in me drooled over the 220,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, onsite restaurants and flow of the property. The crystal chandeliers were beautiful in the open lobby. It’s in a perfect location and walkable to shops, restaurants and entertainment.
The Branson Ferris Wheel at the Track Family Fun Parks Did you know that the ferris wheel from the Navy Pier in Chicago is now calling Branson home? I had been up in it years ago and now it was time for round two! The hubs and K thought it would be funny to tease me about rocking our gondola and I’m not talking with music. I’m happy to report that during the 7 ½ minute ride they behaved. Definitely check it out for some great views!
Branson Zipline and Canopy Tours
If there was one part of our getaway we were looking forward to, it was ziplining! We got up early and headed seven miles up the road where we checked in and browsed Wolfe Creek Station, the 3,000 square foot gift shop full of unique souvenirs. We also met Russ, the owner of Branson Zipline and Canopy Tours. His dad was in the Navy at the same time the hubs’ dad was in, so they swapped stories and he invited us to his property in Branson Landing, Parakeet Pete’s, after our tour. Once it was time, our group turned over our phones and cameras (they are not allowed in the canopies) and suited up in our gear. They will take photos for purchase at the end. We hopped in a retired Swiss Army Pinzgauer for a few minutes, arrived to the first platform and it was time to fly!
Our guides, Hunter, Blake and Colin were great. They go through extensive training and shadowing to make sure they know their stuff. It was a blast and we are going again to do the higher ziplines next time. A tip from the three of us: We definitely recommend going early in the morning before the heat really sets in!
Located right on the oh-so-picturesque Lake Taneycomo, I love Branson Landing. Clothing, home décor, ice-cream or moonshine, they have it all. At the end sits a huge Outdoor World. It’s walker-friendly with plenty of great restaurant options, too.
Parakeet Pete’s Steampunk Balloon
Another great place to take in the view is at Parakeet Pete’s Steampunk themed Balloon located right inside Branson Landing. Decorated with clocks and gears, it takes you up 188 feet. Hang out a bit and get a great birds-eye view along with stories about Branson. They operate rain or shine and they’re open everyday March 1st through December 31st. Of course, check their website for any updates.
See A Show
Branson is known for its shows and one of the most famous of them all is Dixie Stampede. I wasn’t sure what to expect other than A LOT of food and that we’d be eating sans utensils. Yes, that’s right – you eat everything with your hands! The food is really good, so go hungry! Once the show started this city girl’s jaw dropped a little. It was surprising there was a North vs. South competition theme. I am glad I gave it a chance, though. The end was really great and I even got a little emo. Another thing I loved was their collaboration with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Over 60,000,000 books have been mailed to children through these efforts. It was appropriate for all ages and you can feel good knowing part of your ticket cost goes to such a great cause.
If you want tried and true like Shogun or a hearty, local meal Branson will deliver. We had the pleasure of having breakfast at Clockers Café with Liz and Kristiana from the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was so fun to learn more about their personal experiences over biscuits and gravy, pancakes and French toast (uuhhh we all partook haha). You definitely don’t have to go far to find something everyone will be happy with.
Ride the Ducks
Part land, part water it was nice to let someone else take the wheel during this seventy-minute tour. One thing we noticed while we were in Branson is the respect and recognition of our military. Our ride on the duck reiterated this. A little kitschy with the music I will admit, but the tour through old military vehicles actually used during prior wars was interesting and a lot of the kids on the tour were inquisitive about veterans. Once we hit the water on Table Rock Lake everyone was in heaven. I don’t think anyone wanted to leave. The views were wonderful and all of the kids got to “drive” the Duck.
Silver Dollar City
Although we didn’t hit Silver Dollar City this time around, with over 40 rides and attractions I am including it in the list because it’s a fun time for all. They’ve got an 1880’s theme going on and a lot of festivals and events throughout the year. The Christmas lights are especially spectacular!
Be a Family
When we arrived at Dixie Stampede there was a pre-show. It turned out the magician is the son of Erich Brenn, the man who performed the spinning plates act on the Ed Sullivan Show. He said something that really resonated with me: He was proud to be part of a family-friendly show where no one has to worry about what their kids will see or hear. I realized the entire time we were in Branson I didn’t have to worry about that when it came to K. There were so many options for us to enjoy together and there was no shortage of things to do and see. We’re lucky to live close and you can bet we’ll be back to Branson real soon!