When it’s time to plan the next family-friendly vacation, it’s easy to think of popular destinations like Orlando, Fort Worth, or even Palm Springs. But nestled amidst the Ozark Mountains, you’ll find everything you need for a five-star getaway in Branson, Missouri. From outdoor activities and theme parks to live entertainment and shows, there are plenty of fun things to do. (There are even options for those interested in a more romantic night out!)
From dawn ‘til dusk, you could spend the entire day enjoying the great outdoors while visiting Branson. Here are some of the most highly-recommended al fresco activities to work into your itinerary.
Lying on the west side of the city, Table Rock Lake features over 800 miles of shoreline and more than 43,000 acres of surface area. In other words, there’s always a peaceful cove nearby for fishing, and true angling aficionados can check out popular events like the Kevin VanDam Big Bass Classic in April, or the Crappie Expo in October.
Of course, fishing isn’t the only watersport to be enjoyed. From paddleboarding and boating to water skiing and even scuba diving, there are plenty of options for a day full of top-notch lake adventure. (P.S. If you’re craving a more laid-back excursion, Moonshine Beach has a spot ready for your umbrella and lounge chair.)
A blast from the past, the Branson Scenic Railway carries you over 40 miles through the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. You’ll ride in unique, vintage passenger cars that have been beautifully refurbished, with panoramic windows that provide a clear view of scenic wilderness, local wildlife, and communities of yesteryear.
Known as Branson’s outdoor recreation base camp, Table Rock State Park offers ample opportunity to lace up your hiking boots. You can take a leisurely stroll along Table Rock Lakeshore Trail for a more relaxed day of sightseeing, or trek the White River Valley Trail System (there are over 11 miles of terrain) for a more rugged adventure.
A tried-and-true family vacation destination, Branson offers a chance to reconnect with those closest to us. These are the best things to do with kids that facilitate non-stop fun.
There’s a reason Branson is nicknamed the Live Music Capital of the World: with over 100 live dinner shows along Highway 76, it’s hard to go a night without entertainment. From Dolly Parton’s Stampede and Branson’s Murder Mystery Show to acrobatic performances and awe-inspiring magic displays, a different family member could choose a show each evening to guarantee happy smiles and full bellies all-around.
With 31 roller coasters to choose from, Silver Dollar City is the place to be for those seeking a day of thrills. Whether you like classic wooden roller coasters, multiple-loop hair raisers, or kid-friendly rides, there are options for all (not to mention a water park and other attractions for young ones) at this 1880s theme park.
That’s right: at Promised Land Zoo you don’t just see some of your favorite animals — you get to play with them, too. The unique Live Animal Shows brings you up close and personal with five or six animals not on display, while the Parakeet Paradise experience is sure to make you one with the flock. Best part: both are included in your basic admission fee!
Branson isn’t just for families — there are plenty of fun things for couples to do, too. With both rustic and luxurious cabins, breathtaking scenery, and unforgettable experiences, these date night ideas help infuse some romance into the air.
Aptly described as a “subterranean fairy land,” glistening crystals serve as the backdrop for a romantic night out at Talking Rocks Cavern. It’s perfect for couples who like to get off the beaten path, and you can continue your cave exploration at Marvel Cave (which just so happens to be accessible with standard admission to Silver Dollar City).
With a braking system that slows things down or speeds things up depending on the mood of your date, the uniquely designed Runaway Mountain Coaster is Branson’s longest — and it lets couples be the master of their own adventure.
After a full day of shows, rides, and museums, head to Branson Landing for a sunset to be remembered. This 95-acre entertainment and retail destination features a waterfront boardwalk, where you can watch a water and fire show as the sun goes down over Lake Taneycomo.
From endless outdoor activities and family-friendly finds to romantic nights out with your loved one, Branson offers something for every type of traveler. To learn more about visiting — including where to find a great vacation rental to serve as your home base — check out our vacation-made-easy guide to Branson.
The moment you book your vacation, you should start looking forward to your trip — not worrying about the little details. When you choose Evolve for your Branson vacation, you can feel confident that the home you book will live up to our standards.
Every Evolve vacation rental comes with a team of hospitality experts, and we’re here to help make your stay comfortable 24/7. To help you feel even more confident, we created our Rest Easy Promise: if a stay doesn’t match our standards, we’ll make it right.