About four years ago, my family and I traveled to Branson, Missouri, for summer vacation. It was an incredible vacation that I still remember vividly to this day. My parents decided to make Branson our next vacation spot after a friend’s mom raved about how there was an endless amount of activities to do there and how much fun their trips to Branson had been. And man, was she right; this trip was jam-packed with awesome adventures and tons of fun for our entire family!
Accommodations and Trip Overview
We stayed at the Lodges at Timber Ridge in Branson. We opted for a two-bedroom unit in a lodge on the hill. The property has a real homey, neighborhood feel. There is a miniature golf course on the property that my sister and I enjoyed. Our lodge was within walking distance to the pool and that was a plus! There was an outdoor water play area for the little ones, a decent-sized outdoor pool, and an indoor pool with waterslides that you can access from the outdoor pool. We spent a fair amount of time swimming and relaxing at the pool when we weren’t enjoying all of the attractions and activities we added to our repertoire.
The places and activities my family and I experienced include: Silver Dollar City Theme Park; Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum; The Duck Tour; Our Body: The Universe Within; Cirque Montage at Starlite Theatre (last show was in 2013, but there are many new ones); and the Dam on Lake Taneycomo. And that doesn’t even begin to cover all there is to do in Branson.
Out of all of these things, I really can’t choose a favorite. But if forced to choose, I would have to say Silver Dollar City, the Duck Tour, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! all tie for first place!
Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City is a pretty large theme park with plenty of rides for little kids and big kids alike. There are different, smaller attractions to visit such as the Oak Trail School and Grandfather’s Mansion. And in addition to all of that fun stuff, there is still something even bigger and greater (and maybe a little scarier) that the whole family can try: Marvel Cave! This is what the Silver Dollar City Theme Park evolved from. A tour of Marvel Cave is included with your visit to Silver Dollar City and is filled with unique information from the trained cave guide about the cave’s geography and history as you plunge about 300 feet underground and explore the many wonders of this cave.
Silver Dollar City was also the place where I had THE BEST McDonald’s French fries in my life. I hope they still taste as good as they did on that day, because they were “double D”: delectable and delicious! I recommend Silver Dollar City to any family that visits Branson. It offers tons of fun and will definitely be an experience everyone will remember.
The Duck Tour
We also rode the Duck mobile, which was another enjoyable and memorable experience. You ride in a vehicle that is built to travel on land and in water. This ride has a tour guide who drives you around the city for a tour and then splashes right into the water to do some more sightseeing! This was so much fun and thrilling, too. I marveled at how we were just on land and then in the water at Table Rock Lake. Either before or after the Duck Tour, be sure to visit Splash’s Candy Emporium and Gift Shop. They sell an assortment of tasty salt water taffy and have lots of intriguing historical items on display. The Duck Tour is great for all ages and is one of my favorite things to do while in Branson.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
The last place that I highly recommend visiting in Branson is Ripley’s Believe It or Not! It is filled with things such as odd facts, the tallest man wax figure, and optical illusions. I think this is a great place for people who find weird things to be really interesting. I don’t, however, recommend this place to a family with young kids because they might be frightened by some of the different exhibits and artifacts. If you do decide to visit this museum, I think it will be entertaining for everyone: individuals, couples, and families (with a little older kids) alike. There are so many diverse, odd, and interesting things to see, and there are a lot of hands-on exhibits to engage the kids. Another note about Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is that it is self-guided, so you can take your time, and you are allowed to take pictures. The museum offers free parking right on the property that will get you into the building with ease to start your adventure in the Odditorium!
Great Eats: Danna’s Bar B Que & Burger Shop
During our trip to Branson, my sister and I really enjoyed dining at Danna’s Bar B Que & Burger Shop! It is perfect for picky eaters (I had a very limited palate back then, and am still working on broadening it). They are known to have the best burgers in Branson but I particularly enjoyed the fried catfish. It was crispy and had a great amount of flavor even before I added a little bit of hot sauce (I like to keep it safe). My parents really enjoyed the rib plate with beans, coleslaw, French fries, and a Memphis roll. I definitely suggest visiting this restaurant if you get the chance. It has an appealing family friendly atmosphere and the employees make you feel welcome from the time you walk in the door until the time you leave.
Branson is such a fun-filled and pleasant place to have a vacation. Branson truly has something for everyone. There’s an expansive list of attractions, shows, and activities – far more than what I mentioned. It is a beautiful place with so many trees and breathtaking scenery that speaks to its natural beauty, as well. I would love to go back. I wholeheartedly recommend Branson, Missouri as a vacation destination, especially as an off-the-beaten-path location that may be overlooked by many. We could not have had a better time!
I am Brooke Lauryn. I am a high school student with diverse interests. I enjoy being a member of my high school band and marching at Friday night football games, along with participating in basketball and track & field. I appreciate art and music and learning about other cultures. I love spending time with my family and friends. Since I was a child I have always enjoyed traveling, and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite places and “cool” things to do with you.
Wow, I would have never thought of Missouri as a great traveling destination. Who would have guessed it? It seems like you had a great trip and there’s a ton to do there!!
Brooke Lauryn says
This is how I felt when I first heard about going to Missouri. I did not think the trip would be as fun filled and memorable as it was!
I’ve never been to Branson, but I here there’s a lot to do there. Especially if you like concerts.
There’s a Ripley’s near my hometown, I always thought it was a cool place to visit. Sounds like it was a wonderful trip.
Sounds like an amazing trip. I love family trips that involve tons of fun activities. Great recap!
I’ve never been to Missouri, but have a friend that just moved there. So it may be in my future. Nice that they have a restaurant that would please even the pickiest of eaters… like me :).
Sounds like a great trip. Ive heard from a coworker that Branson is a great place for a family getaway.
WOW, I can feel the energy through these words that it was a BLAST. Especially Ripley’s Believe or Not. I remember visiting that place back in the early 90’s. Awww, such good memories you share.
Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green says
Sounds like fun, I’ve never been to Missouri. However I love the Duck Boat Tour in Miami, its a great way to learn about the city/town.
Siobhan (BeFree Project) says
Brooke what an awesome post capturing your trip to Branson. Sounds like you and your family had an awesome trip. You’re a great writer and I really enjoyed reading about your travel experience.
Brooke Lauryn says
Thank you so much!
Sounds like a fun experience. I haven’t visited the midwest yet and this town looks fun. I really hope to still make travel a priority if I have kids.
I love this teen travel series. My husband wants to go to Ripley’s belief it or not. I have not been interested but if you ladies say it is worth the trip, then I am going to go ahead and do this with him.
Camesha | Mama Motivator says
I can’t tell you how much good stuff I’ve heard about Branson, Missouri. There is so much to do. It sounds like a fun place to visit.
Brooke Lauryn says
It is such a fun place! There are so many more places to go beyond what I mention here 🙂
Nicole (Nicole's Lifestyle Lounge) says
Girl you need to take me on one of your trips. Love hearing about your travels.
Thanks so much Nicole! Come on along! 🙂