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Music-lovers have made their way to Branson for 60 years to see famous musicians perform. These days, as many as 100 different shows may be running at one time, most of them on 76 Country Boulevard, also known as the Strip. But this Ozark Mountains getaway offers more than theaters: You can find adventure parks devoted to trampolines, ropes courses, and roller coasters. Local resorts offer a host of outdoor activities such as golf and fishing on Table Rock Lake. If you want to slip away from the crowds, more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails will lead you through the dense forests and rolling hills of this scenic area. Many visitors come in November and December to see downtown Branson illuminated in Christmas lights.
Located 225 miles or so from St. Louis, Memphis, Tulsa, and Kansas City, Branson draws visitors from all over the Midwestern and Southern states. Many people drive, particularly because there is no public bus system, but Greyhound bus routes also link Branson to surrounding states.
Two airports serve Branson. Frontier Airlines operates direct flights from a number of U.S. cities to Branson Airport (BKG), just south of town. Many major airlines fly into the larger Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF), 50 miles north of Branson. You can rent a car at either, or find airport shuttles, taxis, and carshare services.
If you’re interested in spending most of your trip to Branson on the trails and the lakes, spring and fall may be the best months to stay in one of the area’s cabins. The temperatures range from the 50s to the 70s Fahrenheit in both seasons, and the fields and forests are filled with color.
Summer heat is a guarantee. Temperatures in the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit are common from June through early September. June is the rainiest month, so bring light raincoats or umbrellas along with your shorts and T-shirts, but it remains humid through August. Although winters in Branson are far milder than in northern states, it can get quite chilly from December through February, with many days dipping below zero Fahrenheit.
Many visitors to Branson spend their entire vacation on 76 Country Boulevard, which runs through the center of town. During the day, you can explore a number of fun parks and the wax museum. At night, catch dinner and a performance at one of the local dinner theatres.
At this expansive theme park, there are plenty of ways to boost your adrenaline levels, like on one of the world’s fastest-moving wood coasters. Keep a map at hand to navigate from stage to food court to areas where craftspeople like potters and blacksmiths display their art. (A tip: Look for discount tickets on Thursdays.)
Just to the west of Branson, this long and sinuous lake, which resembles a dragon on the map, becomes a playground during the warm months. Some visitors take a boat out on the water in the early morning to fish for bass. Others zip along on water skis, or paddleboard closer to the shore.