The lakes in Branson are part of the White River system. This system still contains several great rivers for leisurely float trips. The James River is just north and west of Branson and actually leads directly into Table Rock Lake. If you are looking for a short excursion very close to Branson, this river is for you. The Buffalo National River is a poplar destination for floaters, and during high float season the river can be quite busy…but it’s a big river and there’s enough room for everyone!
Sometimes its nice to get off the main drags and explore quieter places. During your Branson Vacation there are some great places we know you will enjoy that are not too far from Branson, but where you may find fewer people and a slower pace, or activities you may want to take advantage on your way to or from Branson.
Just north of Branson is Missouri’s third largest city, Springfield. Springfield is home to the Bass Pro Shop & Outdoor World, Springfield Cardinals Minor League Baseball team and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Springfield is an easy 45 minute drive up Highway 65 and can hold lots of added fun for your vacation.
Wild adventures await just north of Branson Highway 65. This new attraction to Branson allows visitors to get up close and personal with big cats. The National Tiger Sanctuary provides a lifetime home for big cats. This refuge is open to the public and gives guided tours several times a day.
Hollister, Missouri is only a few miles from Branson across Lake Taneycomo. Historic Downing Street is considered “Downtown” Hollister. Here you will find Elizabethan style buildings dating back to the founding of Hollister in the early 1900’s. In Hollister, you will also find unique restaurants like the Riverstone Café, located inside the Ye’Olde English Inn and the Vintage Paris Wine Bar. Downing Street is also home to other unique shops.
Branson being the outdoor paradise that it is offers many trails for hiking and biking. If you are looking for a leisurely walk through the beautiful Ozark Mountains, Henning Conservation Area may be just the place for you. Located off Highway 76 heading west towards Silver Dollar City, it’s a beautiful trail that you can see nature unfolding right before your very eyes! A relatively new trail system has opened up that takes you along the shore of Table Rock Lake around the Dewey Short Visitors’ Center and meanders toward the Showboat Branson Belle. There are several trails nestled in the city limits of Branson that give you beautiful views of everything from Lake Taneycomo to waterfalls. The City of Branson’s Parks & Recreation website has a list of all city trails.
Just a short 50 miles south of Branson is the unique and eclectic town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Known for everything from spas to ghosts, there is something for everyone in this small city built on a hill. History abounds in Eureka Springs. At one point the city used to be much lower, but after several mud slides the residents decided to leave the mud and build new roads and buildings on top of the old. This “old” part of the city is now referred to as the “underground.” You can take a historical walking tour of the city and learn more about the underground.
Have you noticed that the Ozarks is made up of rock or maybe you noticed little waterfalls coming out of the side of rocky hill. Missouri is known as the cave state. Over 6,000 have been recorded in the state! There are several caves within a short drive of Branson that are very entertaining to explore. You will learn history that took place in the caves, from music to bandit hideouts and the ecosystem that keep the caves a living changing place.