Parks, Lakes, and Recreation Near Branson, Missouri
Branson, MO is the perfect place to go when you need quality time with nature. Surrounded by the Ozark Mountains with the area's natural resources and wildlife, you can find many activities that will pique your interest and make sure that everyone has fun.
Table Rock State Park is located in the center of the Ozarks of White River valley. This 356-acre park surrounds Table Rock Lake and, at first sight, you will see why the Indians and early settlers were drawn to this place. The rugged beauty of the land is still drawing crowds today. Table Rock State Park has 152 campsites that are located close to the shoreline of Table Rock Lake for easy access to the water and all of the fun activities that await you.
For those that like water sports, you can rent a ski boat or Jet Ski, try your hand at parasailing or keep it in the water with a 48-foot catamaran. Paddle Boats, pontoons and fishing boats can also be rented and a paved ramp makes launching easy. It is nationally known that bass fishing on Table Rock Lake can't be beat, but you will also find crappie, sunfish and catfish hiding beneath the surface. Scuba diving is another popular sport for Table Rock Lake with the clarity of the water giving you access to it's underwater world. Diving equipment is available for rent and there are lessons for beginners that really want to explore.
A variety of wildlife and native plant life can be found in Table Rock State Park. White tail deer, red and gray fox, wild turkey and tarantulas as well as many songbirds can be found here. If you're lucky, you may spot some of them from a trail that is more than 2.5 miles along the shoreline of Table Rock Lake. It's 8 feet wide and has an asphalt surface to accommodate wheelchairs, bikes, skateboards and scooters and can be accessed from three points; The Dewey Short Visitor Center, the Showboat Branson Belle and from the picnic area at Table Rock State Park.
Other lakes that are nearby and ready to explore are Lake Taneycomo and Bull Shoals Lake. Lake Taneycomo was created in 1911 when the need for electricity and a way to control the flood-prone White River Valley brought about the plans for a dam. You will find that no matter which lake you decide to visit, the wonderful scenery and native animal and plant life will have you clicking away on your camera.
Henning State Forest
Henning State Forest, located just west of Branson, offers many self-guided trails where you will be surrounded by the beauty of the area. There is a naturalist on duty to answer any questions you may have about your surroundings and you will find that many of the trees are labeled to help with identification. You will also find an observation tower here that will give you a spectacular view of the Ozarks.
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is just south of Branson and sprawls across the Missouri-Arkansas border. You can find many activities here such as walking, hiking trails, back country jeep tours, trout fishing, horseback riding, and tram tours.
As you can see, there is more to Branson than even the most experienced traveler knows about. A new outdoor activity is the Branson zip line. The Branson Zipline and Canopy Tour opened in 2010 and offers visitors the thrill of a lifetime. Planning your vacation to the Branson area will get you there and get you started exploring all that the area has to offer. If you and your family love the outdoors you will find a home away from home here in the Ozarks and you will always feel welcome, no matter what you decide to do when you get here.