To say that we enjoy visiting the Branson, MO area might be an understatement! We enjoy it so much that we have visited three times in a 1 year time span! Planning any family vacation or trip can be overwhelming and now that we consider ourselves “pros” at visiting Branson, we thought we would share some tips to help you plan your visit.
We have camped and stayed in condos while visiting Branson and we definitely recommend staying in a condo! The main reason for our switching was that we sold our camper, but as we researched different hotels and condos, we were able to get a great space (2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with full kitchen, living room, and patio) for the same price as some of the hotels. With two growing teenage boys, it’s important for us to have space to spread out in and our condo that we booked through VRBO definitely did this!
Plan Indoor & Outdoor Activities
If you choose to visit Branson in the summer, know that it gets incredibly HOT! Most days in July are between 85 and 95 before heat index! So, for this reason, we recommend planning both indoor and outdoor activites! Then, we recommend doing the outdoor activity in the morning and the indoor in the afternoon, or simply schedule the afternoon for pool time! Head back outdoors to things like mini-golf or go-karts in the evening! (Our favorite mini golf courses are Dinosaur Canyon and Lost Treasure Golf! Our favorite go-kart is the Wild Woody!) Here are some of our other recommendations for indoor & outdoor activities
- Top of the Rock/Lost Canyon Tours (outdoor)
- Titanic Museum (indoor)
- Wild World (indoor)
- Branson Ferris Wheel (outdoor) – and we highly recommend riding it during the day (for the views) and at night (for the lights) and don’t miss the 10PM light and music show!
- Hollywood Entertainment Center (indoor & outdoor): Wax Museum, Shoot for the Stars Mini Golf, Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors, & Castle of Chaos
- World’s Largest Toy Museum (indoor)
We try to keep this in mind when we are on vacation, but it’s definitely true in Branson! Forget the chain restaurants and give the local spots a try! Some of them are about the experience and they make it more entertaining and others just have delicious food! While Danaa’s Burgers & BBQ is definitely our favorite, we also enjoy and recommend: Cantina Laredo, Cakes & Creams Fifties Diner, Poncho Villa, Garfield’s Restaurant & Pub, and White River Fish House. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed at any of these!
Traveling in the Winter
Branson’s main tourist season runs from March 1st until January 1st. A lot of attractions and shows shut down in January and February so if you plan on visiting in one of those months, make sure you do research first! T and I traveled down in mid-February last year and didn’t have much problems (a few restaurants we wanted to try were closed), but we were still able to enjoy the warm weather and the surroundings, plus we go away to “do nothing” and we did a lot of that! If you do travel in the winter, one of the best shows you can catch is the Legends in Concert at the Dick Clark theatre! We weren’t quite sure what to expect from a show of impersonators, but were pleasantly suprised and really loved the show!
It’s definitely easy to enjoy the warmer weather, however and we definitely recommend getting ice cream from Andy’s Custard! Well, actually we recommend that no matter what time of year you visit!
Get A Map
Not only do we suggest getting a paper map of the area, but we also recommend using it! The main drag (Highway 76) is incredibly busy during prime tourist season as it is only one lane each way, but you can easily avoid it by using their other “routes”. Branson has labeled routes by color: red, blue, yellow, etc and they help you to get around and avoid the main drag! It definitely helps alleviate sitting in traffic and many headaches! Of course, we love driving down the main strip every once in awhile, but once you’ve done it, you’ll want to get out of the traffic, I promise!
Get Ready For Fun
It doesn’t matter if this is your first trip or fifth, we promise that you’ll have fun! We’ve found what we love and what we’ll go back to when we visit again and we know what we’ll avoid! Each family is different, but regardless there is something for everyone when visiting Branson and we promise you’ll find something for your family too and make lots of memories in the meantime!