Can’t Miss Day Trips Near Branson Missouri
Branson isn’t all theme parks and musical productions—there are lots of things to do in the Branson/Lakes Area, including several day trips that will enhance your vacation. The surrounding communities offer plenty of opportunities to explore the Ozarks. Read on for some of the “can’t-miss” trips in the Lakes Area:
Visit Springfield, Missouri – Spend the day in the state’s third-largest city and see the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame or, during baseball season, catch a Springfield Cardinals game—the St. Louis Cardinals’ AA affiliate! For families, you can’t beat The Discovery Center of Springfield, an interactive learning center for kids and parents partake in the science of fun. You may also enjoy a trip to Fantastic Caverns, an ancient underground riverbed, the Dickerson Park Zoo, or the Wild Animal Safari.
Other things to see include Wilson’s Creek National (Civil War) Battlefield and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum. Springfield is also the national headquarters of Bass Pro Shops, which offers a huge shopping complex for outdoor-lovers, including hunting and fishing galleries and Hemingway’s Blue Water Café.
Explore the James River – Located 30 minutes from Branson, the historic James River has offered its pure water and teeming wildlife for the survival of the Native Americans to several early pioneer settlements in the early 1800’s. Spend the day taking a float trip down the James in a “john” boat—said to have been invented specifically to maneuver the James’ shallow, yet swift currents—and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the river and ample smallmouth bass fishing.
Take in Eureka Springs, Arkansas – A town that enjoys the distinction of its entire downtown area being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Eureka Springs is famous for its natural springs. Visitors were originally drawn to the town by the “healing” benefits of the 63 springs within city limits and over 100 more in the surrounding areas. Today, Eureka Springs is also known for its Victorian Village, where you’ll see more than 250 “painted lady” houses, as well as multiple bed and breakfasts, gourmet restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shopping. The town also puts on a nationally renowned production of The Great Passion Play, which depicts the epic of Jesus Christ’s last week on Earth and was named “America’s #1 Attended Outdoor Drama.”
Enjoy the Outdoors at the Buffalo River National Park, Arkansas – Emanating from a trickle in the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas, the Buffalo River is touted as the nation’s first national river. Considered to be one of the last naturally flowing rivers because of its size, wild-life, Karst formations, and resources, the waterway offers amazing opportunities for hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, canoeing, and even horseback riding. : Branson offers plenty of activities that don’t cost a penny—you’ll have entire days when you won’t have to pay for anything. Enjoy Lake Taneycomo or Table Rock Lake for hiking or relaxing in the sun. Branson offers free museums and other family-friendly exhibits. Check online ahead of time to find out what will be going on during your trip.
Relax at Rockaway Beach – The first “Family Resort Community” west of the Mississippi, Rockaway Beach offers 1-½ miles of pristine shoreline along Lake Taneycomo. A history as a well-known hideaway of Al Capone during his heyday and one of the country’s best sources of Rainbow and German Brown Trout makes Rockaway Beach a great excursion during your next Branson trip.
Other day trip-worthy destinations include the charming towns of Hollister and Forsyth, which offer a change of pace with shopping and outdoor activities for the whole family.
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