Find all the best things to do in Branson, Missouri with tips from a frequent weekender. These are the best Branson Missouri attractions for people of all ages, including free things to do in Branson MO with kids!

This list is comprehensive and frequently updated. In fact, you’ll see all the best family-friendly fun Branson attractions imaginable!

A red and white ferris wheel against a blue sky in a guide of Things to do in Branson Mo.
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A couple weeks ago we spent a week at our lake cottage near Branson, Missouri. This modern lake house is the perfect home for us, with great views, an idyllic location and the right floor plan for our little family.

It occurred to me that while we frequent the area all year long, I’ve never shared anything about it!

We’ve been so lucky to enjoy our little home away from home at Table Rock Lake, Missouri. In fact, I’ve written about all the things to do at Table Rock Lake, as well as enjoying the 6.5 million lights at Christmas at Silver Dollar City.

Branson is a family friendly destination filled to the brim with fun things to do! In fact, there are so many Branson attractions that you’ll never find yourself bored here, whether you spend a day or a week!

While we are frequent weekenders in the Branson area, it’s not our full time home – don’t miss my post about things to do in St. Louis

Where is Branson Missouri?

Branson is in Southwest Missouri, in the Ozark Mountain region. It’s nestled near the Arkansas border and not far from Oklahoma. Branson attracts visitors from all over the United States, with most visiting spring through New Year’s.

The area is known for beautiful sunsets, outdoor activities, caves, shows, and family friendly fun.

I grew up visiting Branson, a kitschy getaway nestled within just 4 hours of Kansas City, St. Louis, and Tulsa. It’s lined with live entertainment, over-the-top attractions, thrill rides and restaurants.

Indeed, it’s like a family friendly Las Vegas – sans gambling.

sunset at table rock lake


  • This guide is long, because there’s just so much to do here! Use the drop down Table of Contents menu to help navigate this post through categories.
  • As you can see, there are so many things to do in Branson, with many of them residing on Route 76. This often results in a lot of traffic, especially in the evenings.
  • Use Waze or this color coded map for traffic relief routes. While you’ll venture a few miles out of your way, they are a great time saving measure.
  • As I previously mentioned, there is often a lot of traffic to Silver Dollar City. Bypass it and visit a local Branson West eatery to skip the high traffic times.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best month to go to Branson Missouri?

It’s so much fun to visit Branson during the holidays. Much of Branson, as well as Silver Dollar City, becomes a festive winter wonderland! Summer months while kids are out of school are very popular, but that means higher crowds, longer lines, and of course summer heat.

What is Branson best known for?

Branson is most notably known for music and shows on 76, but the Marvel Cave at Silver Dollar City and the book, The Shepherd of the Hills in 1907 gave the area notoriety.
It has grown to be a destination for all ages with an amusement park, spectacular water features synchronized to music, countless unique museums, activities, parks, caves, zoos, adventures and more!

Things to Do in Branson Missouri

There are so many things to do in Branson Missouri, that we still haven’t seen and done them all, though I grew up frequenting the area.

These are our favorite things to do in Branson with kids on a hot summer day, cold winter day or a rainy day. Above all, I hope you enjoy them on any occasion just as much as we do!

Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery (free) – see the fish ladder and trout pens that raise 400,000 pounds of rainbow and brown trout each year! Bring quarters to feed the fish.

Tiger Sanctuary – tour and feed big cats or go behind the scenes to learn about their care. They rescue and release animals into wildlife as well.

An alpaca behind a fence, with a little girl on the other side.

Bigfoot Fun Park – this is a newer Branson attraction filled with so much to do! You’ll find an arcade, mini golf, rides, and of course the main attraction, which is a Bigfoot Discovery Expedition! It’s a cool, fully immersive safari style adventure through the Ozark Hills for the whole family.

Aquarium at the Boardwalk – See the sea rays, walk through the water tunnel, enjoy the touch tanks and more! This newer Branson attraction cost a whopping $55 million to build!

Three little girls sitting on a garden bench with grasses behind them.

Mountain Coaster – if you’re here for the rides, you won’t be disappointed by this popular runaway roller coaster experience! This is a coaster through the woods where YOU control the speed!

Wonderworks – An upside down amusement park filled with science, technology, math and engineering.

branson mo ferris wheel

Ferris Wheel – of the many can’t-miss attractions on Highway 76 lies the ferris wheel, relocated from the Navy Pier in Chicago. I told you it was kitschy.

Branson Scenic Railway departs at the historic depot nestled in downtown Branson. Ride a classic train through the Ozark Mountains. This is particularly fun during the holidays as you ride through Christmas light parks aboard the Polar Express, complete with a visit from Santa.

Go horseback riding at Bear Creek Trails for a one hour guided tour by a waterfall. You can also ride at Ozark Mountain Trail Rides.

Branson Missouri wax museum entrance, with a giant Godzilla statue.

Hollywood Wax Museum – even if you don’t enter the museum, stop by for a photo op. There are several outdoors.

Speaking of photo ops, if you’ve ever wanted to have your photo taken by a gigantic meatball, go to Pasghetti’s. To be honest, I don’t care for the food, but who can resist standing next to a giant fork?

things to do in Branson MO wax museum

Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors is an interactive fairytale experience with hallways full of mirrors and a chance to see who can be the hero!

Visit the fountains at Branson Landing (free). An hourly show of water, fire, light and music starts on the hour from noon to 10pm daily {9 on Sundays}. Find a spot in the plaza or grab a drink on the patio at Cantina Laredo to enjoy.

While at Branson Landing, walk the waterfront of Lake Taneycomo to feed the fish or peruse Bass Pro.

Promised Land Zoo – walk through a petting zoo and feed parakeets, donkeys and goats. The zoo boasts over 60 acres of animals, including a tiger and lion rescue.

Walk through to see sloths, giraffes, a capybara and more, then take a tram or drive through the 60+ acre park to see bison, elk, and zebras. Don’t miss the ostrich and emu eggs in the incubator at the gift shop as you exit.

Zebras standing behind zoo fencing in Branson Missouri.

Grape Juice Tasting (free) – okay, okay, this is a just a disguise of wine tasting for mom and dad. But after Dixie Stampede, you’ve earned it. The kids will love partaking in grape juice tasting while you enjoy a little wine. Stop by Curling Vine and take a little tour.

Branson Museums

Toy Museum – we haven’t been, but you can see some of your childhood favorites and a million others!

Dinosaur Museum – we haven’t been, but I can imagine this would make some little kids very happy.

Celebrity Car Museum – See an ever changing array of cars from movies and TV shows including the Fast and the Furious, Back to the Future, Cars and more.

Branson Auto and Farm Museum – Over 90,000 square feet of classic cars and farm equipment.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not – the kids love visiting Ripley’s for it’s oddities and intriguing activities. Perfect for a cold or rainy day.

Branson Area Caves

Talking Rocks is a beautiful walking cave tour that utilizes light and sound to show off the curtain formations. Once outside of the cave kids can enjoy a fun play area complete with a playground, observation tower, maze, gemstone panning and more.

inside a branson mo cave

Marvel Cave – this National Landmark is really fascinating to see, however, it requires entry into Silver Dollar City. It was Branson’s first attraction bringing tourists from all over. Take a walk down and ride the tram back up for a unique experience.

cave in branson mo
A Branson Attraction, cave with a waterfall

More Branson Attractions

Wolfe Mountain Snowflex. Enjoy year round “snow” tubing without the cold!

The Butterfly Palace and Rainforest – we have a Butterfly House in St. Louis, but the offerings of nectar to attract butterflies, magnifying glasses and binoculars makes this place unique. The kids love visiting. Bonus points for a mirror maze and mock rainforest for the kids to climb through.

Three little girls walking through butterfly palace, a branson attraction

Dicks 5 & 10 – how does a store make my list? Well, it’s a favorite of kids and adults alike and fits right into kitschy Branson. Where else can you buy a unicorn head, old fashion candy, cast iron, pranks and granny panties under one roof? It has just about everything you could ever want – and everything you never thought you’d see.

Titanic Museum – You only thought the Titanic was 12,600 below sea level. It’s actually located in Branson, Missouri. At the Titanic Museum, you can view artifacts, take photos on the replica stairway, touch an iceberg, shovel coal and so much more.

Beyond the Lens – Escape rooms, virtual reality, flip zone bumper cars, augmented reality scavenger hunt and so much more.

An adventure park ship in a post of things to do in branson, Missouri.

Visit Fun Mountain (at Big Cedar) for a unique bowling experience, arcade, indoor playground (free), bumper cars and if you’re feeling really adventurous, the Flip Zone.

The Flip Zone is full of bumper cars that will twist you upside down! You can see more in the YouTube video in this post!

bumper cars fun mountain branson mo

Fritz’s Adventure is an indoor adventure park. Climb through tunnels, a plane, up to high flying slides and up a brick wall! They offer two indoor rope courses – one for children and another for adults. In addition they have an aerodium flying experience.

A little girl climbing a wall at the Branson attraction, Fritzs

Silver Dollar City

No visit to Branson is complete without spending time at Silver Dollar City. The clean, family friendly amusement park was built to provide activities while guests waited to enter Marvel Cave. Silver Dollar City is also beautiful during Christmas, check out my post about Silver Dollar City Christmas

Now it’s filled with rides the entire family can enjoy along with glass blowing, blacksmith, and woodcarving demonstrations to name a few. Don’t miss Grandfather’s Mansion. It’s always a favorite.

grandfather's mansion silver dollar city
Grandpa’s Mansion at Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City is truly one of our favorite theme parks for family fun! Bypass the traffic on your way there and stop at the Old Fashioned Dough Company. You’ll find the most amazing cinnamon rolls in the midwest and two friendly smiles – every time! 

Above all, of course, after your Silver Dollar City adventure you must stop by Mickey’s for hot dogs, burgers and a peanut butter shake. Another great stop is Danna’s for BBQ. These local businesses are so good, so friendly and thankful for your business.

Things to Do in Branson MO on Table Rock Lake

Don’t skip beautiful Table Rock Lake if you’re in Branson. It’s an incredible way to enjoy the outdoors – see the link above for a full list of things to do there! While you’re at it, check out my collection of the best Boat Snacks to take for a day on the water – like these Snackle Boxes!

Moonshine Beach (free) – kick back on a hot summer day and let the kids play in the sand and swim at the beach on Table Rock Lake.

Dewey Short Visitor Center (free) – take a break on a cold or rainy day and enjoy the view and activities at the visitor center. Build a dam, read a book or enjoy one of the interactive activities while learning about the hydroelectric dam.

You can visit the Dewey Short Visitor Center and get a close up view of Table Rock Dam by car or boat! There is a complimentary dock and small beach nearby. It’s also connected to several trails that are perfect for an easy walk or bike ride!

A little girl hiking in the woods on a list of free things to do in branson mo

Feed the fish at State Park Marina. Step out over the water to see carp, blue gill, turtles, minnows and more. Eat on the water at Danna’s BBQ, enjoy a snow cone and the boutique while there. Food is just $1/bag.

A lake and skyline at sunset

Rent a boat, kayak or paddle boat to enjoy life on the lake. There are several places to select from including State Park Marina, Indian Point Marina, and Big Cedar.

Three little girls on a white boat on Table Rock Lake as part of a list of things to do in Branson Missouri.

Take a swim cruise on a catamaran – the Spirit of America takes daily cruises with inflatable swim toys like a trampoline and obstacle course. Cool off and enjoy Table Rock Lake…our home sweet second home!

branson belle on the water at Table Rock Lake.

Take a daytime or dinner cruise around the lake on the Showboat.

Stop by the Tiki Bar at Rock Lane. Don’t let the surrounding area discourage you – the Tiki Bar is well kept and so much fun! Swing at the bar or play one of their many outdoor games while listening to live music. You can visit by boat or car.

Check out one of these Table Rock Lake Restaurants while you’re there!

top of the rock at Table Rock Lake, a Branson Missouri attraction.

Top of the Rock

Go on a golf cart ride at Top of the Rock for beautiful views, carved rock, man made waterfalls that flow over the paths and take your breath away. Bring cash to grab a drink at the bat bar as you drive through the cave.

Partake in the sunset ceremony at Top of the Rock – gather on the patio at the Buffalo Bar or on the lawn near the chapel to listen to bagpipes play while a real canon fires off to celebrate another sunset (March-October).

top of the rock things to do in branson mo

Take a walk through the wine cellar for a beautiful view of “End of the Trail” (shown above) and magnificent views of the lake.

There is a beautiful museum there as well – if you visit it, plan to peruse for a minimum of 2 hours.

There is also a driving range and par 3 golf course.

One of my favorite childhood memories was taking a helicopter ride overlooking Branson and Table Rock Lake, which you can still do today! There’s no better way to see the kitschy fun of the Branson strip and beauty of the Ozarks.

Day at the Spa

  • Chateau on the Lake
  • Big Cedar
branson mo helicopter ride

Water Parks

  • One of my childhood favorites was White Water – a local outdoor waterpark. Enjoy the wave pool, water slides, lazy river and more!
  • Splash Country is an indoor / outdoor water park with a lazy river, huge slides, toddler pool and more!
  • Still Waters (inclusive for guests only)

Miniature Golf Course

  • Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf
  • Lost Treasure Golf
  • Greatest Adventures Miniature Golf
  • Dinosaur Canyon
  • Shoot for the Stars
  • Brookside
  • BigFoot Fun Park
  • Grand Country
  • Wildwood Indoor

Go Karts

  • Xtreme Racing
  • The Track
  • Fun Mountain
  • Grand Country Resort 

Bumper Boats

  • Bumper Boat Amusement Center
  • The Track

Bumper Cars 

  • Fun Mountain (Flip Zone – upside down, Spin Zone – spin)
  • The Track
  • Grand Country
  • Bumper Boat Amusement Center



  • Zipline USA – the longest zip line in the state! ziplining-branson
  • Adventure Ziplines
  • Wolfe Mountain
  • Shepherd of the Hills

See a Show

There are so many shows in Branson MO and they’re constantly changing. 

  • Acrobats of Shanghai – a truly amazing show filled with incredible stunts {and unfortunately really slow music}. The kids absolutely loved this show.
  • Dixie Stampede is one of the girls’ favorite things to do in Branson. Get your tickets in advance for this popular show. It includes dinner, if you like to eat with your hands.
  • Sight and Sound Theatre is known as the Christian Broadway. 
sunset in branson mo over Table Rock Lake

Free Things to Do in Branson MO

  • Dewey Short Visitor Center – see above
  • See the Horses at Dixie Stampede – Take the horse walk around the stables outside. See above.
  • Fish Hatchery – see above
  • State Park Marina – see above
  • Moonshine Beach – see above
  • Table Rock State Park – walking/biking trail
  • Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation is 1,534-acre nature preserve offers self-guided trails, benches and an observation tower. 
  • Fountains at Branson Landing – see above branson-fountains
  • Celebrity Car Museum – see one of the many cars on display outside and take your photo (currently 2 cars from Cars, The Mystery Machine from Scooby and more!
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Photo Ops – 76 is FULL of photo ops! Take your photo under the giant meatball, next to King Kong, with Big Foot, by Mount Rushmore (Branson style) and more!
  • Trolley – enjoy a ride on the trolley that runs through downtown Branson MO to see old time Main Street.
  • Boat or Kayak by Devil’s Pool waterfall devils pool things to do in branson
A little girl hiking near water as part of a list of branson mo things to do

And just a short drive from Branson, you’ll find Dogwood Canyon! You can go behind the scenes to see all it has to offer in our YouTube video!

Where to Eat in Branson

Some of our favorite local Branson Missouri restaurants are:

  • Mr. G’s Pizza
  • Danna’s BBQ
  • Mickey’s
  • Billy Gail’s (cash only breakfast)
  • Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls
  • Bistro 58
  • Cantina Laredo
  • Top of the Rock

Branson at Christmas

For one of the most special celebrations you can imagine, come to Branson at Christmas time! There’s so much to see and do, for every age and stage of life. They really know how to do it right around here!

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  1. Hi Julie, We are heading to Branson this summer to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I looked on Trip Advisor for places to eat. Is the Chateau on the lake a good place for a fine dining celebration? It looks pricey which we are ok with if it’s worth it. There are mixed reviews but mostly 5 stars. Especially for the view of the lake at sunset. Have you tried this place and if so, do you recommend it or have another favorite for fine dining celebrations? I would really appreciate your help!


    1. They have amazing views, but we haven’t had the best experience with food. I’d recommend Top of the Rock Buffalo Bar (seated on the outdoor patio) for sunset…you’ll catch the sunset ceremony and it’s a great experience. There are limited fine dining experiences, Level 2 falls short (in my opinion) and Keeter Center is alcohol free.

  2. Thanks for sharing Julie! I’m so excited to visit this part of the US this summer and again in October. My niece and nephew (twins) are both getting married. After the wedding in downtown St. Louis i July we are going to spend a few days at Lake of the Ozarks where my sister keeps her boat. Can’t wait!!

  3. Julie, that was a very nice post on things to do in Branson. I live full time on the lake and go to the same gym! It really is a great family friendly place to live. I love your decorating style you have created on both your homes. Your blog Is one of my favorite blogs every morning with coffee! Peggy

    1. You’re too sweet, Peggy! Thank you for making my day! Small world, neighbor. Have you been to Bistro 58? It’s our new favorite. We love the area and feel very fortunate to retreat there frequently.