By Caitlin Moore
Perfect for families, entertainment-lovers, and pleasure seekers in search of a laid-back, fuss-free vacation, Branson, Missouri has confidently taken center stage as one of the most popular tourist sites not just in the Midwest, but in the country. For an old-fashioned retreat styled with a few modern touches, check out this bustling beehive of boisterous fun located in southern Missouri.
A number of factors contributed to Bransonís evolution from sleepy town to happening tourist destination, including business development, nearby dam activity that led to lake formation, and a novel called Shepard of the Hills that celebrates the settlers and the landscape of long-ago Branson. All of this plus a little pluck led to the brightly-lit, ever-active city of today, where you are welcomed to take in a show or two, fill yourself full of delicious food, or head out to the lake for some quality time with Mother Nature.
The center of the city is hopping with music, dancing, and colorful lights. A more wholesome Las Vegas, Branson offers choices for all members of the family. Country Western is generally the name of the game, but comedy, variety, and magic shows can all be sampled if you have the time. The overall theme of Branson entertainment is timeless fun, so if you seek solace in a more innocent atmosphere than the world sometimes offers up, consider traveling to the Ozarks.
In addition to shows, youíll also find many more diversions that will please everyone in your group. Water parks will cool things down during the steamy summers, the Titanic Museum will fill your brain with information, and Silver Dollar City amusement park will provide thrills all year long. Several more museums and parks will tempt you while youíre here, so take a family vote and then fill your days with plummets and perusals of the local fare.
Shopping is another canít-miss activity. Outlet malls and specialty shops abound, so keep your eyes open for great bargains and one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home to jealous friends who wish they could have gone to Branson, too. Donít forget that this land was once dominated by rough explorers and hardy horseback riders, so if you need a new pair of boots or a flashy belt buckle youíve come to the right place. The land is tamer and the people are a bit more civilized these days, but Bransonites are proud of their heritage as weathered travelers who could handle anything thrown their way.
The outlying areas reveal another side to Bransonís personality, one that youíll definitely want to become acquainted with. As mentioned before, dam-building means that there are lakes to be enjoyed, so pack up the fishing poles and the swimming suits for a few days of respite from the hubbub of daily life. Nothing is better than setting out across the water in a speedboat or lazily floating down the stream in a canoe, as youíll soon discover during your excursion to one of the nearby sparkling blue oases.
Table Rock Lake is just three miles southwest of the city, and has an astounding 745 miles of shoreline. It is fit for boating, swimming, excellent fishing, hiking, camping, and pretty much anything else you can think of that youíd like to do by the water. Keep it low-key by stretching out for a snooze or kick things up a notch by renting a jet ski, either way youíll find Table Rock the perfect place to be.
Similarly, Lake Taneycomo has what it takes to delight you and your companions as well. It has characteristics of both a river and a lake, and its cold waters are perfect for trout fishing. Marinas and boat ramps make things convenient, you wonít be too far away from restaurants and lodging options, and the lake itself is sparkling and clean. All in all, Lake Taneycomo should receive a little attention from you if you do decide on a Branson vacation.
Speaking of lodging, a good way to go when visiting this area is in the direction of renting a vacation property. Lake front cabins would make for many fine memories, as would condos that are conveniently located to golf courses, amusement parks, or whatever else tops your list. Imagine having enough space for everyone to settle in, avoiding the usual confrontations over sleeping arrangements and drawer space. If this sounds too good to be true, look into acquiring a Branson Vacation Rental and see what develops.
If you have a certain taste that has yet to be satisfied by your previous vacations, Branson might be what youíre looking for. It is distinctive and crowd-pleasing, with a little bit of natural beauty thrown in for good measure. Follow the well-beaten path to this friendly city to discover for yourself what all the fuss is about.
HomeAway.com is a good resource for all your vacation rental needs.