Staycation Ideas for Branson, Missouri

by GettingFreedom on May 22, 2011

The words summer and family vacation tend to thought of together.  If you are in a tough financial postition, and don’t want to miss out on the fun and relaxation of a vacation,  consider going on a fun-filled Staycation instead. Oftentimes we overlook the attractions in our own areas.

Southern Missouri is home to many interesting town and state parks.  Branson, although a few hours from our home in South Central Missouri, is a well-loved place for us to visit for many reasons. It is often known for it’s musical shows, amusement parks, and the hefty price tag that these attractions bring when taking out and entertaining an entire family.  However, Branson also has many other entertaining options that are FREE!

Free Branson Attractions


Lake Taneycomo - Branson, Missouri

Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and Lake Taneycomo

Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery

Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery is a little known gem that is often forgotten among the hustle and bustle that is Branson. That doesn’t stop it from being a favorite amongst locals, though. The fish hatchery produces rainbow and brown trout, which you are also able to feed.  Make sure to remember your quarters and a cup to hold the fish feed!  They are open almost year around, and offer guided as well as self-guided tours.  Check out their website for more information.

Branson, Missouri

Tablerock Lake

I don’t know about you, but when summer comes, you can’t keep my children out of the water!  Tablerock Lake provides a wonderful atmosphere to relax, cool off, and enjoy the summer sun!  Tablerock State Park has something for every member of your family!

Tablerock Lake is acclaimed as one of the best bass fishing lakes around.  In addition to fishing you can also enjoy picnicking, boating, canoeing, as well as hiking and bicycling trails. You might just want to snatch up a camp site {complete with showers and water for around $20 {price varies on services requested} pitch a tent and stay a while. ;)

While you’re at Tablerock State Park, you can take a trail from the Marina to The Dewey Short Visitor Center which features three films that help tell a little about local history: “Taming of the Riviera Blanche,” “Where Eagles Soar,” and “The Expedition of Lewis and Clark, 1804-1806.”

Stone Hill Winery

Stone Hill Winery offers a free hour long tour that shows the wine making and wine bottling process.  While I’ve personally never been to the Branson, Missouri location of Stone Hill Winery, my husband an I have toured their location in Herrman, Missouri.  It was beautiful, kid-friendly, and their staff was there to please.

Edwards Mill

I just recently learned of Edwards Mill, although I’ve been in this area since I was a child!  Our local news station did a feature on College of the Ozarks {also known has Hard Work U}, which is where Edwards Mill is actually located. Edwards Mill is powered by a twelve-foot water wheel which is turned by runoff water from a nearby lake and is used to grind whole-grain meal and flour. They also create hand woven baskets and in their weaving studio  they use traditional looms to create rugs, amongst many other items.

If you plan to visit Edwards Mill, be sure to check out all of the other sites on campus such as the greenhouses {with exotic plants} the Keeter Center {with an amazing restaurant, I’m told}, and the museums. The extra neat thing about Hard Work U, is all of the work done on campus is by students, and the proceeds from the sales of their goods goes back to offset the price of tuition.  All students that attend Hard Work U never pay a dime–they instead work for their tuition.  Novel idea, if you ask me! :)

Branson Landing

Branson Landing is a scenic boardwalk along Lake Taneycomo. It includes shopping, dining, lodging, and a spectacular fountain show.  The Branson Landing Fountain is the first-ever to merge water, fire, light and music.

Other Branson Attractions

If you want to get in on all things Branson, there are a few shows and entertainment options that you won’t want to miss!  To get the latest deals, be sure to check out Groupon {Branson doesn’t have it’s own, but they do offer Branson Groupon’s for shows/restaurants through the neighboring Springfield, MO} as well as Half Price Ozarks.

Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City - Branson, Missouri
Silver Dollar City is  a fun place for all ages.  When you enter the park you step back into the 1880’s all with thrill rides, crafts, festivals, and lots of food! Our favorites?  Fire In The Hole, Powder Keg, and Thunderation.  The employees all dress in clothing of that time period, and you can step inside many quaint little stores, and see glass blowers and blacksmiths in action.

If rides aren’t your thing–visit Marvel Cave {which is what the entire theme park was built around!}, home to the Cathedral Room which is the largest cave entrance in the US.

Silver Dollar City - Branson, Missouri

You can find ticket pricing and discounts HERE.

*Frugal Tip* You are able to bring in your own food/drink.

Dixie Stampede

You receive a 4 Course Meal and entertainment all in one place with the Dixie Stampede.  We’ve been here twice now {one was a Christmas gift, and other time was a school field trip}, and both shows have been great!  While the ticket price is a bit steep, you won’t be bored or hungry.   ;) Also, when purchasing your tickets they offer you discounts on other attractions like the Titanic and Ride the Ducks.

Are you planning a Staycation or a Vacation this year?

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