A Fun-Filled Branson Travel Guide & Itinerary

Big Cedar Lodge - Ridgedale, Missouri

A Quick Branson Travel Guide & Branson Itinerary

Growing up Logan and I spent a fair amount of time in family-friendly and affordable Branson, Missouri. In fact, we always joke that it’s a wonder that we didn’t end up meeting in Branson instead of in college!

We decided that while Branson isn’t a big city, it can still be overwhelming trying to find places to stay, places to eat, and things to do in Branson. So we thought it would be helpful to combine our experiences in Branson for an overall helpful Branson travel guide and itinerary.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links from which we may make commission from. As always, we only recommend places and products we love!


Where is Branson?

Branson is located in southwest Missouri nestled in the Ozark Mountains. It is a popular place to visit for a family-friendly vacation or romantic getaway in nearby Ridgedale which is where we happened to get married. Overall, Branson has a lot to offer to all different parties!


Where to Stay in Branson

One of the things we love most about Branson is that it can accommodate any budget. You can find a number of luxurious hotels, rustic cabins, budget-friendly hotels, and places perfect for larger families.

LUXURY HOTELS IN BRANSON

Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar Lodge - Ridgedale, Missouri
View at Big Cedar Lodge

While Big Cedar Lodge is technically not right in Branson, this is by far our favorite place to stay while in the area due to the location and amenities it has to offer. Big Cedar has a wide variety of accommodations from those that are more budget-friendly and luxurious. While we’ve stayed here a number of times we have yet to stay in all of them.

A more cost-friendly option than the hotel lodge or cabins is to stay at the Big Cedar Wilderness Club. These are timeshare properties but let us be clear, we do not own one. We often find deals on eBay from people renting out their property.

READ MORE: A Complete Guide to Big Cedar Lodge


Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa

Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa
Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa

For those who are looking for a more traditional hotel with luxury accommodations and impeccable service consider booking your stay at the Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa. We’ve stayed here once before and while it’s a slightly older hotel, we were treated like royalty from the moment we arrived. Like Big Cedar Lodge (above), Chateau on the Lake offers on-site spa services, dining, and scenic views.

Cost: Starting at $139/night through their website or $129/night


MID-RANGE HOTELS IN BRANSON

Wyndham Branson at the Meadows

Though also a timeshare property you’ll love how close the Wyndham Branson at the Meadows is to all of the Branson activities. It was really terrific for the price. The accommodations we had, offered two bedrooms and a loft (essential when staying with larger parties). It also had a spacious kitchen and dining area perfect for those who want to cook or play some family games at the table.

Cost: starting at $139/night


Hilton Branson Convention Center

Photos courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Located right on the Branson Landing, the Hilton Branson Convention Center hotel is convenient and beautiful to stay at! You can easily head out of your hotel room and walk along The Landing for shopping and dining. It is also just minutes from other Branson shows and entertainment such as Silver Dollar City.

Cost: starting at $129/night


BUDGET HOTELS IN BRANSON

Honeysuckle Inn and Conference Center

If you’re looking for a budget place to stay the Honeysuckle Inn and Conference Center is perfect for larger groups who are on a budget. It’s also in a fabulous location just minutes from countless attractions and restaurants. We’ve stayed there a few times when visiting for a weekend with friends or family because they have rooms with up to three queen beds. It can be a little crowded at times but it’s great for those looking for just a place to sleep and spend the majority of the day out and about in Branson.

Cost: starting at $59/night


Twelve Oaks Inn

While this is definitely not the most glamorous of places, the Twelve Oaks Inn is clean, and perfect if you are needing something affordable on the Branson strip. We stayed here once while Logan was in Optometry School. During this time we were on a REALLY tight budget but wanted to go somewhere for spring break. Another added perk is it also has a complimentary breakfast and a mini-fridge.

Cost: Starting at $45/night


Things to Do in Branson, Missouri

Branson honestly has the perfect blend of outdoor activities, indoor shows, amusement parks, and adventure activities. Even with the countless times we’ve been to Branson, we still haven’t attended every show or visited every attraction. However, we’ve included some of our favorites and we think these things to do in Branson are enough to get you started in this Branson travel guide.


LIVE SHOWS TO SEE IN BRANSON

It’s no secret that Branson is somewhat touristy, hence the plethora of shows that you can attend. Last we checked there were over 100! Most of the shows in Branson are family-friendly and range from comedy, impersonation, magic, acrobatic, and dinner theatre!


Dolly Parton’s Stampede

Dolly Partons Stampede - Branson travel guide

Photo courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

As a kid, I always loved visiting Dolly Parton’s Stampede and now as an adult, I love Dolly even more. But not only is this a show but it has also even been named Branson’s Most Fun Place to Eat.

Once seated you’ll be served a four-course meal featuring an array of Southern cooking like creamy vegetable soup, rotisserie chicken, barbecue pork loin, buttery corn on the cob, herbed potato, and dessert. If you’re vegetarian they also have a veggie pasta option!

While enjoying your meal you’ll witness the magnificent parade of horses along with their riders who perform tricks, dances, and more. Dolly Parton’s Stampede is a must-visit for anyone visiting Branson.

Location: 1525 76 Country Blvd, Branson // MAP
Cost: $55/adult, $30/child


Sight & Sound Theatres

Sight and Sound Theatre - Branson travel guide

Photo courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Every few years the Sight & Sound Theater comes out with a new performance based on a Biblical story. Each time we have visited, the shows have been comparable to those we have seen in other theaters. They have really dedicated actors and actresses, amazing sets, and beautiful songs. This is a must-do if you are into theatrical performances or musicals.

Location: 1001 Shepherd of the Hills Expy #8007, Branson // MAP
Cost: $49/adult, $23/child


Acrobats of Shanghai

Acrobats of Shanghai in Branson
Acrobats of Shanghai

The Acrobats of Shanghai are unlike any of the other things to do in Branson. In this two-hour performance, there are beautiful costumes and scenery complete with the unbelievable art of acrobatics that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat! Each of the performers is incredibly talented and has a specific skill they showcase throughout the show such as chair balancing, foot juggling, aerial acrobatics, and plate spinning. This is by far one of the most exciting Branson shows around.

Location: 470 State Hwy 248, Branson // MAP
Cost: $40/adult, $20/ages 5-15


Legends in Concert

Elvis impersonator - Legends in Concert, things to do in Branson - Branson travel guide

Photo courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Do you have a singer that you swoon over? As a kid and teenager, I couldn’t get enough of Michael Jackson’s music. At Legends in Concert, professional impersonators sing the tunes of former and current artists so well you might even think you’re getting the real deal. When we attended Legends in Concert we saw Elvis, Johnny Cash, Barbra Streisand, and Frank Sinatra but their set rotates weekly so be sure to check and see who is performing before booking this Branson travel guide attraction.

Location: 1600 76 Country Blvd, Branson // MAP
Cost: $38.50/adult, $16.18/child


Showboat Branson Belle

Showboat Branson Belle on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri

Photo courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Another unique dinner theatre you can experience in Branson is the Showboat Branson Belle where you can set sail on Table Rock Lake and enjoy a three-course meal while watching a variety of performances including comedy, music, and magic. The Showboat Branson Belle is a one-of-a-kind experience and is the largest ship to be built on a land-locked late to date!

Location: 4800 MO-165, Branson // MAP
Cost: $59/adult, $32/child


MUSEUMS IN BRANSON

Ripley’s Believe It or Not

As a kid, I used to BEG my parents to let me buy the newest Ripley’s Believe It or Not book at our school book fair. Then as an adult, I finally visited Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum! If you enjoy being bamboozled, disturbed, or are a fellow Ripley’s book lover, this is the place for you. There are over 450 exhibits in the eight themed galleries at this Ripley’s Believe It or Not location so step right up and see what crazy artifacts you can find!

Location: 3326 76 Country Blvd, Branson // MAP
Cost: $21/adult, $13/child


Branson Auto & Farm Museum

Classic cars at the Branson Auto and Farm Museum - Branson, Missouri

Photo courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

For lovers of antique cars and America’s finest farm equipment, the Branson Auto & Farm Museum is truly unique. There are over 2 acres of vintage cars and farm equipment including 150 collectible, classic, and muscle cars in their inventory. However, you might want to leave your credit card at home or you could be leaving with some new wheels since most are for sale!

Location: 1335 State Hwy 76, Branson // MAP
Cost: $22/adult, $12/student


Titanic Museum

Outside of the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri

Photo courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Of all the museums in Branson, the Titanic Museum is by far my favorite. As you enter the museum, you’ll find yourself aboard this famous ship and receive a boarding pass of an actual passenger or crew member telling a few details about their life. Later on in the museum, you’ll discover the fate of this passenger.

Before you start thinking this is a tourist trap, I’ll admit that while some of the artifacts are replicas, there are over 400 authentic artifacts that are from the actual ship and its passengers. This museum is informative, interactive, and all-around fascinating!

Location: 3235 76 Country Blvd, Branson // MAP
Cost: $30/adult, $14/child


RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES IN BRANSON

Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

Whether you are an adult traveler or a family with kids, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is an exciting, pirate-themed mini-golf park with 18 holes, waterfalls, and caves. It’s a cheap and fun way to spend a couple of hours on your Branson itinerary.

Location: 2901 Green Mountain Dr, Branson // MAP
Cost: Blackbeard’s Challenge $9.50/adult, Captain’s Course $9.50/adult, 36-hole adventure $14.95/adult


Silver Dollar City

The Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.
The Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City.

“If you’ve never been to Silver Dollar City, imagine you’re at Cracker Barrel and there’s a roller coaster attached to the gift shop.” Yep, I think that tweet just about sums it up perfectly and I can’t remember who said it, so let me know who to credit. Silver Dollar City is an 1880’s amusement park with 30 different rides, live entertainment, crafts, and shopping.

Rides you can’t miss at Silver Dollar City:

  • Time Traveler: The newest roller coaster at Silver Dollar City that spins you as your riding.
  • Powder Keg: A roller coaster that launches you from 0 to 53 mph in 2.8 seconds!
  • WildFire: A looping coaster that reaches speeds of 66 mph.
  • Fire-In-The-Hole: A low-key indoor roller coaster that is perfect for those who are wanting to experience their first coaster (it only has one small drop!).
  • The Giant Barn Swing: Swing seven stories high at 45 mph.

A few of our favorite places to eat at Silver Dollar City are the Tater Twist stand, Fry Bread Company for one of their sandwiches, Crossroads Pizza, and Eva & Delilah’s Bakery for a breakfast item or snack. Once upon a time Logan may or may not have spent $50 on the cheesy breadsticks at Eva and Delilah’s. Don’t worry, he shared… sort of. For those that are curious about dietary restrictions, Silver Dollar City offers a number of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options too!

Throughout the year there are a number of festivals, our favorites being the Fall Harvest Festival and the Old Time Christmas which is absolutely magical with millions of lights on display.

Christmas in Midtown at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.
Christmas in Midtown event at Silver Dollar City.

We love this place so much we typically spend a whole day here whenever we visit Branson and even bought season passes last year. With the variety of activities offered at Silver Dollar City, it’s great for ALL ages and is by far our favorite attraction in this Branson itinerary.

Location: 399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy, Branson // MAP
Cost: $71/adult, $61/child, $69/senior


SHOPPING IN BRANSON

The Branson Landing

Branson Landing water show - Branson travel guide

Photo courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Branson Landing is a premier spot for shopping, dining, and entertainment in Branson. They often host live concert series, farmer’s markets, holiday events, and a water fountain show. The Branson Landing has a number of chain and smaller restaurants and stores to shop at in a casual outdoor mall setting. Some of the popular stores you can find at the Branson Landing are H&M, Belk, Francesca’s, Versona, Brighton, The Spice & Tea Exchange, Earthbound Trading and Bass Pro. If you’re curious about some of the restaurants offered at The Landing, I have a few listed in the dining section of this Branson travel guide.

Location: 100 Branson Landing Blvd, Branson // MAP


Tanger Outlets Branson

Storefront of Tanger Outlets in Branson, Missouri

Photo courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

If you are looking for great shopping deals in Branson, Tanger Outlets is a typical outlet mall that hosts many well-known brands including Adidas, Coach, Nike, Under Armour, Fossil, Merrell, Polo Ralph Lauren, Vera Bradley, and Michael Kors. You are definitely bound to find some great deals on many popular stores.

Location: 300 Tanger Blvd, Branson // MAP
Hours: Sunday 10am-7pm, Monday-Saturday 9am-9pm


Grand Village Shops

Grand Village Shops courtyard in Branson, Missouri

Photo courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

If you’re wanting to shop local, then Grand Village Shops are a great place to start. These shops are a collection of local stores and boutiques unique to Branson. This is one of those shopping areas that you easily spend a few hours here looking at all of the specialty items and local goods. I personally love getting lunch at Sugar Leaf Bakery and heading over to Kringle’s Christmas Store which has a plethora of Christmas and holiday items.

Location: 2800 76 Country Blvd, Branson // MAP


SPAS IN BRANSON

Spa O2

Sore from riding go-carts and walking around Silver Dollar City? Enjoy a massage at Spa O2. Spa O2 is a premier day spa that offers massage therapy, Swedish massage, prenatal, deep-tissue massages, and other treatments.

Location: 2461 MO-165 Suite E, Branson // MAP
Cost: Starting at $70/individual massage


Cedar Creek Spa at Big Cedar Lodge

Cedar Creek Spa is a bit more expensive than other spas in Branson but the luxury amenities here are amazing. If you book a spa service it also gives you access to all amenities at Big Cedar Lodge for the day if you aren’t staying on the property including the plunge pools, ice baths, and grotto pools.

Location: 190 Top of the Rock Rd, Ridgedale // MAP
Cost: Starting at $110/individual massage


OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN BRANSON

Talking Rocks Cavern

Talking Rocks Cavern in Branson
Talking Rocks Cavern

If you are looking for a unique outdoor experience, Talking Rocks Cavern is a really neat place to visit on this Branson travel guide. Talking Rocks Cavern offers an hour-long guided, walking tour through the cavern that is 63 degrees year-round.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes with a non-slip sole. The caves can be rather slick!

Location: 423 Fairy Cave Ln, Branson West // MAP
Cost: $21.95/adult $11.95/child


165 Scenic Outlook

Scenic overlook of Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri - Branson Travel Guide

The 165 Scenic Outlook has one of the most terrific panoramic views of the Branson skyline. We recommend visiting at sunrise or sunset for the best view from the overlook.

Location: 5329 MO-165, Hollister // MAP
Cost: FREE


Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Golden trout at Dogwood Canyon.
Golden trout at Dogwood Canyon.

Located a little outside of Branson, Dogwood Canyon is our favorite place to spend time outside in this Branson itinerary. The 10,000 acres at Dogwood Canyon are the perfect place to explore by bike, walking, or a guided tram tour. There are also a number of other activities to enjoy in Dogwood Canyon like fishing, segway tours, and horseback riding.

Location: 2038 State Hwy 86, Lampe // MAP
Hours: 9am-5pm daily
Cost: $15


Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area

Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area in Branson, Missouri
Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area

We are always looking for hiking trails when traveling and were impressed with the natural beauty of the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area. If you are looking for a nice, short hike, this is the spot.

Location: // MAP
Price: FREE


NIGHTLIFE ACTIVITIES IN BRANSON

Ernie Biggs Dueling Piano Bar

Ernie Biggs Dueling Piano Bar is a typical piano bar but also a terrific place to order an appetizer, mixed drink, or brew while also enjoying some live entertainment. Request your own songs for some added pizazz.

Location: 505 Branson Landing Blvd, Branson // MAP
Hours: Wednesdays-Saturdays | 6:30pm-1am
Cover Charge: $5 (last we checked), free if visiting for a reserved party. Must be 21 years or older.


Places to Eat in Branson

FINE DINING IN BRANSON

Dobyns Dining Room

Outside of the Keeter Center - Branson, Missouri
Outside of the Keeter Center.

Located at the College of the Ozarks, Dobyns Dining Room is an incredibly unique restaurant. Everything is student-run, meaning the staff at the restaurant are current students at the College of the Ozarks. Even cooler, all of the food you eat is from student-operated farms!
Recommendations: Pulled Pork BBQ Mac & Cheese, Catfish Almandine,  and polish it off with their fresh chocolate cake for dessert (be careful, it’s HUGE). Please note their menu changes seasonally.

Location: 1 Opportunity Ave, Point Lookout // MAP
Hours: 8am-6pm daily, closed Sundays (Make Reservation)


Landry’s Seafood House

Landry’s Seafood House is a bit more upscale dining that is perfect for couples or large parties. We were surprised that the seafood seemed so fresh being in southern Missouri.
Recommendations: Snapper Hemingway or the snow crab legs

Location: 2900 State Hwy 76, Branson // MAP
Hours: Sunday 11:30am-8:30pm, Monday-Thursday 11:30am-9pm, Friday & Saturday 11:30am-9:30pm


CASUAL DINING IN BRANSON

Danna’s Barbeque & Burger Shop

Danna’s Barbeque & Burger Shop is a family-owned local BBQ joint that is ALWAYS busy for a great reason, it’s dang tasty. Every night, they smoke their beef and pork for 12-14 hours over hickory wood and their ribs, chicken, and sausage is smoked for four hours, twice a day. All of the meat is never frozen so you can trust that you’re getting a plate of fresh good ol’ fashioned BBQ.

Recommendations: Try the Combo Plate and pick two types of meat. Let it also be known that the Memphis rolls are to die for and better yet if you love them as much as we did you can buy a dozen for $10!

Location: 963 MO-165, Branson // MAP
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:30am-8pm, Friday & Saturday 10:30am-9pm, Closed Sundays


Cantina Laredo

Although it’s a chain restaurant, I felt it necessary to include Cantina Laredo in this Branson travel guide because it’s a great place to dine at on the Branson Landing. Cantina Laredo has a different approach to Modern Mexican cuisine that is consistently good.
Recommendations: Top Shelf Guacamole (Logan even loved it!), Tacos de Pescado, or the Quesadillas al Carbon

Location: 1001 Branson Landing Blvd, Branson // MAP
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-9pm


White River Fish House

White River Fish House is a historic floating restaurant that is located off Lake Taneycomo. When you first sit down and are greeted by a cast-iron of jalapeño cornbread and as the name suggests, fresh seafood is the focus here but they also have steaks, chicken, and sandwiches.
Recommendations: White Cheddar Cheese Curds, Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon, and the spicy breaded Canadian Walleye

Location: 1 Bass Pro Drive, Branson // MAP
Hours: Sunday 11am-8pm, Monday-Saturday 11am-9pm


Hook & Ladder Pizza Co

Hook & Ladder Pizza Co - Branson, Missouri
Hook & Ladder Pizza Co

Hook & Ladder Pizza Co is a firehouse-themed pizza joint that is operated by volunteer firemen. We love the casual environment and the great pizzas too!

Location: 26 Downing St, Hollister // MAP
Hours: Sunday 11am-8pm, Monday-Saturday 11am-9pm


Sugar Leaf Bakery & Cafe

While Sugar Leaf Bakery may be known for its beautiful wedding cakes, it is also my favorite lunch spot in Branson. To be honest, I have come here solely to purchase 3-4 different desserts and not share (no shame).
Recommendations: Peach Iced Tea, Homemade Hot Chocolate, Strawberry Spinach Salad, Cafe Chicken Salad, Ultimate BLT, Strawberry Cake, S’mores Cookie, and so many more desserts.

Location: 2800 76 Country Blvd, Branson // MAP
Hours: 10am-4pm daily, closed Sundays


DESSERTS IN BRANSON

Kilwins

Finding it hard to pick a sweet treat? Kilwins has everything a sugar addict could want! We recommend the Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, or the Champagne Truffle!

Location: Branson Landing Blvd #813, Branson // MAP
Hours: Sunday 10am-8pm, Monday-Saturday 10am-9pm


Vintage Paris Coffee & Wine Cafe

Latte Art Coffee

A very quaint and beautiful coffee shop in historic Hollister that has crafted lattes and desserts to share.

Location: 7900 Historic State Hwy 165, Hollister // MAP
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-10pm, Friday & Saturday 9am-12pm, Closed Sundays


We hope that this Branson itinerary and travel guide has been able to give you a little insight into Branson and helped make planning your vacation more convenient! What are some of your favorite shows, restaurants, and places to stay in Branson? 


Looking for things to do in Branson, Missouri? These top attractions, accommodations, and restaurants will help you start planning a romantic getaway or family-friendly vacation! www.pagesoftravel.org

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