5 Free Things to Do in Branson, Missouri
Branson, Missouri, has a well-earned reputation as an entertainment mecca, with its wealth of theater, music, and museums.
Tour historic downtown Branson
The Discovery Trolley takes regular 15-minute loops through downtown Branson, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of the old-time Main Street, preserved building facades, and Victorian lampposts. This popular area is also full of restaurants, quaint shops, and historic sites. It makes several stops, including at Branson Landing, which includes a 1.5-mile boardwalk, internationally renowned fountain spectaculars, and more than 100 specialty shops and restaurants.
Visit Table Rock Dam and Lake
This massive engineering structure, which created Table Rock Lake, was completed in 1958. Visitors interested in the workings of the dam and its power-generating plant should stand just beneath the dam for the best view. Nearby are plenty of good walking trails and picnic areas. Designed, built and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Table Rock Dam and Lake have become a haven for swimmers, boaters, scuba divers, water-skiers, campers and fishermen alike. Families can play on the sandy beach.
Sip some Spumante
See how Spumante is made at Missouri’s oldest and most awarded winery. The Stone Hill Winery offers free hour-long tours of its vast complex. Guests are offered a film on the tradition of Missouri winemaking before learning how sherry is made and how the wine is bottled. The tour ends in one of six tasting rooms, where visitors sample their way through an array of Stone Hill’s wines. The wines range from the dry, full-bodied Norton, a red wine that has captured international recognition, to the sweet and fruity Pink Catawba and Concord. Plenty of juice is available for children.
Explore the College of the Ozarks
This college has earned the nickname “Hard Work U,” as each student must work 15 hours per week to earn tuition. Its picturesque campus includes scenic walking paths, a pond with swans and fountains, and a student-operated 1880s gristmill, powered by a twelve-foot water wheel driven by water flowing from Lake Honor. Visit the Ralph Foster Museum and see the original Beverly Hillbillies car. This museum (which has a modest admission fee) houses the area’s best collections of Ozarks history. The student-run Keeter Center Restaurant, serves fine country-style cooking.
See a Sunday show
Several of the Branson theaters open their doors Sunday mornings for old-time, gospel get-togethers, Ozark style. Hear some of your favorite Branson entertainers and musicians doing traditional gospel music while mingling with other tourists, locals, and some Branson celebrities. Some theaters host worship services complete with preaching and testimonies.
Sources: travelguide.com, branson-mo.net,