Choose your type of getaway—quiet or energetic—in this region that includes vast Table Rock Lake, Silver Dollar City and Branson’s entertainment district. Check out our trip guide for things to do, where to eat and where to stay in Branson.

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com
March 19, 2013
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Chapel of the Ozarks at Top of the Rock

Do

The Branson Coaster The double-track Alpine coaster opened last year on Branson's Strip, letting riders race or glide down the curving track. thebransoncoaster.com

Branson Landing The upscale outdoor shopping center at Lake Taneycomo is known for its Bellagio-style hourly fountain shows with fire, lights and music. bransonlanding.com

Branson Scenic Railway Vintage rail cars journey from the 1905 depot in downtown Branson for a 40-mile round trip into the Ozark foothills. bransontrain.com

Branson Zipline at Wolfe Mountain Zips, suspension bridges and scenery fill the course north of town. The ¼-mile Blue Streak tour ends with a 100-foot free fall. bransonzipline.com

College of the Ozarks Reap the rewards of student work hours by purchasing bags of grain after free tours of a gristmill. Or visit the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen for fruitcakes and free tours. The Ralph Foster Museum houses the jalopy from The Beverly Hillbillies show, plus items about Ozark history. cofo.edu

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park In nearby Lampe, two-hour tram tours cross into Arkansas and stop to see elk and bison. Visitors also enjoy fly-fishing, biking and horseback riding. dogwoodcanyon.org

Golf In 2020, the opening of Tiger Woods’ Payne’s Valley, a tribute to the late Payne Stewart of Missouri, will seal Branson as a national golf hot spot. It opens at Big Cedar Lodge near four other courses designed by some of the leading names in golf.

Lake Taneycomo The clear, cold waters of the man-made lake are ideal for trout. Cast a line off the banks near Branson Landing. Or stroll the waterfront to see cliffs. explorebranson.com

Marvel Cave The Silver Dollar City theme park grew up around this natural cave, a tourist attraction since the late 1800s. Park admission includes an hour-long cave tour, with highlights like the Cathedral Room and Waterfall Room. Be prepared to tackle nearly 600 steps. silverdollarcity.com

Runaway Mountain Coaster The double-track alpine coaster, the longest and fastest in town, lets riders race or glide down a curving track. bransonalpinemountaincoaster.com

Showboat Branson Belle A paddle-wheeler glides around Table Rock Lake. Midday and evening cruises offer meals and entertainment. showboatbransonbelle.com

Shows More than 100 shows take place daily in summer, and the offerings run from sentimental to sophisticated. A few of our faves: Raiding the Country Vault, the biblical-theme shows at

the Sight and Sound Theatre, and The Haygoods live music show. explorebranson.com

Silver Dollar City In its 60th season, the theme park adds a raft ride and new BBQ restaurant to more than 40 other rides and attractions. Admission includes an hour-long tour of Marvel Cave, a natural cave that’s been a tourist attraction since the late 1800s. Check out the park’s Ozarks crafts demonstrations and enjoy Ozarks-themed restaurants. Special events include the new Harvest Festival, with Craft Days featuring artisans and Pumpkin Nights with seasonal decor (September 23–October 31, 2020.) silverdollarcity.com

Table Rock Lake Behind a massive dam, this reservoir serves as the centerpiece of Branson’s outdoors. Known for its clear water and relative solitude, Table Rock provides some of the area’s most consistent bass fishing. Also popular: water-skiing, stand-up paddleboarding and cruising the lake in boats like Big Cedar Lodge’s Lady Liberty. At Long Creek Marina, rent boats or charter a fishing guide. visittablerocklake.com

Table Rock Lake

The Titanic Museum Attraction Beyond the man-made iceberg puncturing the bow of the ship-shape building on the Strip, the sober story unfolds about the ship’s construction and sinking. See salvaged items from the ship and walk the replica Grand Staircase. titanicbranson.com

Titanic Museum

Top of the Rock The bluff-top destination includes a golf course, Chapel of the Ozarks, a wine cellar, three restaurants, an Ozarks natural-history museum, and Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail. topoftherock.com

Eat

BillyGail's Cafe The pancakes at this breakfast and lunch spot are so big they flop over the ends of the platters. Red-checked tablecloths and mismatched mugs look cheery in the former gas station. Billy Gail's Cafe on Facebook

Black Oak Grill A corner spot in the Branson Landing outdoor shopping mall along Lake Taneycomo turns out familiar menu items like burgers, grilled meatloaf and garlicky mashed potatoes. blackoakgrill.com

Black Oak Grill

Branson Cafe The old-time diner dishes comfort foods: made-from-scratch biscuits and gravy, plate-size cinnamon rolls, fried chicken, and breakfast ham. downtownbransoncafe.com

Devil's Pool Restaurant At sumptuous Big Cedar Lodge just outside of town, inspired Heartland cuisine satisfies in a dining room filled with antique furnishings. bigcedar.com

Dino's Cake and Coffee Company Pianist Dino Kartsonakis' flair extends to his baking, too. The star is a three-layer carrot cake. bransoncake.com

Fall Creek Steak and Catfish House Guests come for tossed rolls, as well as meals of deep-fried catfish and blackberry cobbler. fallcreeksteakhouse.com

The Keeter Center Students at College of the Ozarks bake, cook and serve hearty fare, such as pot roast and glazed flat-iron steaks, in a dining room accented with stone and wooden beams. Also at the center: a bakery, creamery and student-run lodge with 15 suites. keetercenter.edu

Level 2 Steakhouse at the Hilton Perfectly aged corn-fed beef steaks appeal to diners; we also love the Missouri butter cake with vanilla ice cream. level2steakhouse.com

Osage Restaurant Views of a golf course, Table Rock Lake and the Ozark Mountains are the perfect backdrop to meals of tender ribeye and roasted potatoes. topoftherock.com

Pasghetti's A 65-foot-high fork and meatball form the entryway to this Italian eatery, where the food takes a back seat to the decor. Themed dining rooms and an indoor Ferris wheel keep the atmosphere lively. pasghettis.com

Sugar Leaf Bakery Although it’s in a mall, you’ll feel like you’re in a garden room while eating quiche or a flaky pastry. sugarleaftreats.com

White River Fish House The floating-barge restaurant on Lake Taneycomo offers gator and catfish. whiteriverfishhouse.com

Stay

Big Cedar Lodge The wooded location on Table Rock Lake is 10 miles south of the neon hustle of Branson. Amenities include a spa, golf courses, a marina and Fun Mountain, a play complex with attractions such as underwater-theme bowling. Accommodations range from lodge rooms to cottages and log cabins. bigcedar.com

Big Cedar Lodge

Cabins at Green Mountain Resort Cabins—some on a wooded stream—give a sense of a forest getaway. festiva.com

Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa and Convention Center Rooms and suites surround a soaring central atrium. Fine-dining restaurant Chateau Grille, two pools and a marina make the hotel stand out. chateauonthelakebranson.com

Silver Dollar City's Wilderness Ozark woodlands blanket this property near the theme park. The 38 cabins range from rustic to premium loft. silverdollarcity.com

Still Waters Resort A well-stocked marina, three swimming pools, mini golf and easy access to Silver Dollar City attract families and boaters. stillwatersresort.com

Still Waters Resort

Thousand Hills Golf Resort Tee off at an 18-hole course with rocks, forests and streams. Lodging options include newly built seven- and 10-bedroom lodges. thousandhills.com

The Village at Indian Point Near Table Rock Lake’s shore, the condos have fireplaces, private decks and great views. Enjoy two pools and access to a boat ramp. thevillageatindianpoint.com

The Village at Indian Point. Photo © Kristi Foster.

For more information  explorebranson.com