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Discover the Jewel of the Ozarks

Wholesome entertainment, breathtaking natural scenery and a welcoming atmosphere are the basis for great faith-based trips. Branson, Missouri, checks all the boxes. Situated in the Ozark Mountains, this small town leaves a big impression on visitors.

“Branson is this little Midwest town of 12,000 that hosts 10.5 million visitors a year,” said Yvonne Long, assistant director of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Tourism is our only industry, and everything else here exists because of tourism.”

Branson focuses on appealing to guests of all ages with its long list of family-friendly attractions and entertainment. And its striking backdrop of crisp lakes, lush forests and expansive mountains make for an excellent playground.

Branson will host the 2024 Going on Faith Conference, August 6–8, at the Hilton Branson Convention Center. As they meet to network and discuss developments in faith-based group travel, delegates can look forward to Branson’s abundant charms.

Silver Dollar City

One of Branson’s most well-known attractions is Silver Dollar City, a theme park with rides, live entertainment and crafts. The park opened in 1960 and is built around the area’s landmark Marvel Cave, the state’s deepest cave. Marvel Cave was Silver Dollar City’s first attraction, and to this day, cave tours take visitors below ground to see the stunning rock formations. Tours last about an hour and are included with admission to Silver Dollar City.

The park itself was built on the foundations of a mining town, and it maintains that look and feel with wooden structures, historic reenactors and the natural beauty of the Ozarks.

“Silver Dollar City has an 1880s, middle-of-the-woods feel to it,” Long said.

Thrill seekers will enjoy the park’s multitude of roller coasters and other amusement rides. On particularly hot summer days, visitors also enjoy hitting the water park to cool off with equally thrilling rides. Or they can float along in the wave pool and lazy river. Groups can also enjoy a dinner cruise on Table Rock Lake departing from Silver Dollar City.

In addition to rides, the park is an entertainment hub with live shows and concerts performed year-round. Shows include everything from Bluegrass and folk bands to musical theater and from stand-up comedy shows to trained animal acts. Travelers who visit during the many festivals and events held at Silver Dollar City will get to enjoy additional live entertainment.

Another distinct feature of Silver Dollar City is its demonstrating craftsmen. These artisans, often appearing in period clothing, teach visitors their distinct crafts and demonstrate the process of making goods such as furniture, hand-blown glass, candles and lye soap. They can also see candy and taffy being made or watch blacksmiths and millworkers ply their trades.

A Hub for Live Entertainment

Beyond Silver Dollar City, Branson’s live entertainment scene is expansive. With 40 theaters and 110 shows, any group will be sure to find a production that suits them.

“Theaters are good for all age groups,” Long said. “We have everything from Elvis tributes to magicians to acrobats to country music to anthems of rock.”

Branson is home to several dinner shows. These include Dolly Parton’s Stampede, the Hughes Brothers Theatre dinner show and Shepherd of the Hills, among others.

The large variety of other shows includes traditional musical revues, clean comedy shows, murder mystery shows, tribute artists and more.

Another huge draw for groups in Branson is Sight and Sound Theatres, the wildly popular Biblical-themed theater company first founded in Lancaster Pennsylvania in 1976. The Branson location opened in 2008 and has been astounding audiences with high quality shows ever since. These shows, which dramatize Bible stories, use live animals, intricate sets and costumes, and plenty of technical elements for maximum entertainment.

These productions rotate seasonally, so visitors can see new shows each time they come to Branson. The 2024 production is “Queen Esther,” and next year’s production will be “Daniel.” They also show Christmas productions during the holiday season.

Theater isn’t the only entertainment groups will find in Branson. It’s home to the Titanic Museum Attraction, showcasing artifacts from and exhibits surrounding the Titanic that continue to fascinate visitors. They can also visit the city’s Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Branson Ferris Wheel.

Beauty of the Ozarks

If Branson’s theme park, theater productions and attractions weren’t enough to impress travelers, the region’s oldest attraction is one of its most worthwhile. The Ozark Mountains provide travelers with year-round opportunities for outdoor recreation and leisure. Not to mention, you can see their beauty no matter where you are in Branson.

“Since we are in Ozark Mountain country, everything has beautiful scenery around it,” Long said. “It’s not laid out like a city. It follows the ridges of the mountains and the valleys, even when you’re in the middle of the town.”

In addition to Marvel Cave, Branson has plenty of interesting terrain to discover. It also has three lakes: Table Rock Lake, renowned for its water recreation and bass fishing; Bull Shoals Lake, a fishing hotspot; and Lake Taneycomo, next to the Branson Landing boardwalk. Groups can explore the lakes with sightseeing cruises, kayaks or tubing.

Travelers who prefer to stay on land will find many choices for enjoying the great outdoors in Branson. They can explore the lush forests of the Ozarks on many hiking and biking trials, as well as horseback riding excursions. There are also several scenic overlooks, which are especially beautiful in autumn.

“We have lots of great state parks, trails, and everything from BMX trails to walking trails to one that is called the waterfall trail,” Long said. “We are the cave state, so we have three caves that are very close that people can tour.”

There are even several opportunities for adventurous groups to take canopy tours and ziplining excursions in Branson. They can also get a great view of interesting wildlife at one of the city’s many wildlife sanctuaries. These sanctuaries house everything from animals native to the region to exotic wildlife, such as tigers.

Eating in Branson

From its historic downtown district to the beautiful mountain surroundings, Branson has more than its share of great dining options for groups. Branson’s food scene is famous for combining Midwestern flavors with Southern comfort food, and it offers everything from fine dining to varied ethnic cuisines to casual places for a quick bite.

Serving steaks, burgers and seafood, among other American cuisine, Black Oak Grill is located in the historic downtown and Branson Landing area. It’s open for brunch, lunch and dinner, and its dining room is great for large and small parties.

Billy Gail’s serves breakfast for dinner, with massive pancakes and other breakfast items on offer all day. Another top choice for groups is Florentina’s Ristorante Italiano, which serves family-style Italian favorites, including brick-oven pizzas and traditional pasta dishes.

For classic country cooking, visitors have plenty of options in Branson. There’s the Grand Country Buffet, which serves comfort foods like homemade biscuits and pot roast. There’s also Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, offering favorites like fried catfish and chicken and waffles.

Branson’s long list of restaurants also includes many cafes and dessert shops to give visitors their pick of sweet treats and warm drinks. A visit to Hurts Donuts, open all day, will satisfy any sweet tooth, thanks to its massive doughnuts and doughnut milkshakes. Cakes-n-Creams 50’s Diner, which recreates a typical 1950s eatery, serves sugary snacks and ice cream, as well as other diner delicacies.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory offers both confections and a show, with all their sweets being made in full view of the customers. It produces over 300 chocolates and candies and is a great place for groups to stop for edible souvenirs or a snack break.

A good cup of coffee can be found at any of Branson’s cafes, including Hollister Coffee Company, Sugar Leaf Bakery, Café and Espresso, and White River Coffee Company.

Register for the 2024 conference at