Branson, population 6,500, is an Ozark Mountain entertainment mecca. Its more exuberant boosters often call Branson the live entertainment capital of the world. A thriving live music and theater scene hosts national and international acts. Abundant shopping opportunities, theme parks, and easy access to three lakes make the area one of the nation's top family vacation destinations. The forested Ozark Mountains provide scenic views, dogwoods in spring and changing leaves in fall, which can be enjoyed by auto, helicopter or train.
More than 100 different live performances, concerts, musicals, theater, comedy and acrobatics, play out in 49 venues. Music acts cover a wide variety of genres including country, gospel, jazz, rock, classical and more. Several performers call the area home including Andy Williams, whose Moon River Theatre was Branson's first non-country music venue. Dinner theater performances like Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, which features horses, buffalos and ostriches, are popular. Holiday visitors enjoy extravagant light displays and special seasonal shows at the entertainment venues.
Visitors come to Branson for serious shopping. Branson has three outlet malls, Tanger Factory Outlet Center, The Shoppes at Branson Meadows, and Factory Merchants Branson. In addition, there are numerous craft and antique stores and art galleries.
There are many non-performance attractions for families. Go-cart tracks and miniature golf courses are spread throughout the city. Craft demonstrations and festivals are part of the charm of 1880s themed Silver Dollar City. Amusement rides and arcade games are the base of Celebration City. White Water Water Park is open May through September and Splash Country offers indoor water play all year. The Shepherd of the Hills pays tribute to Harold Bell Wright's novel of the same name. Its Inspirational Tower gives a bird's eye view of Branson.
Three area lakes provide year round boating, water sport and fishing venues. Table Rock Lake is home to Ride the Ducks. These amphibious vehicles take visitors from city tours into the lake with a splash. The 43,000-acre lake is a popular bass fishing spot and hosts several fishing tournaments. Fly fishing paradise, Lake Taneycomo is 2,000 acres of stocked, coldwater trout habitat. The northern sections of Bull Shoals Lake cross the Missouri border from Arkansas. Bull Shoals' deep water brings scuba diving and fishing enthusiasts to the area.
Branson has 10 award winning golf courses with challenging Ozark Mountain terrain. Mild weather allows several of the courses to be open year round.
Branson is located 45 miles south of Springfield. It is accessible via U.S. Highways 65 and 160 and State Highway 76. There are many lodging options including resorts, campgrounds, cabins and RV sites on the lakes, and condos, hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast around the city.