The Jewel of Missouri Tourism
When Rueben Branson built a post office and general store on the banks of the White River in Missouri back in the 1880s he could never have guessed what would become of the town which bears his name.
Branson, Missouri has become one of the top tourist destinations in the entire country. From humble beginnings of small family music groups, float-fishing trips on the river, and a cave where square dances were held, the city has grown to be renowned as the Live Entertainment Capital of the World.
Branson is certainly proud of its entertainment. Boasting more theater seats than Broadway in its more than 50 theaters hosting more than 100 shows, Branson offers a wide variety of musical and other performances. Gone are the days when the few theaters on the strip offered a country music and hillbilly comedy routine. World-class performers, many of whom have theaters bearing their name are regulars in Branson. Shoji Tabuchi Theater is infamous not only for the amazing musical talent and exquisite choreography, but for the luxurious decor in the theater's restrooms. The Starlite Theater features regular appearances from comedy great, Paul Harris; Country Music star Billy Dean, and many theaters have special appearances throughout the year hosting artists like Sawyer Brown, Bill Cosby, Wynonna Judd and Clint Black. A couple of the original shows are still in town, too, although they have greatly increased the capacity and technology of their theaters you can still see The Baldknobbers, and The Presleys.
But its not just the live entertainment that draws millions of visitors each year. The city is home to more than 200 restaurants, including dinner and show venues like the Dixie Stampede, and The Showboat Branson Belle. Shopping malls, and retail outlets number more than 200, from the Branson Landing Shopping, Dining, and Entertainment District, to discount shopping at Tanger Outlet Mall, and dozens of specialty shops in the historic downtown.
Seven amusement parks with award winning roller coasters and water slides are a huge reason to visit Branson. Silver Dollar City, built at the site of Marvel Cave is a theme park designed to resemble an 1800's village, leaving the natural beauty of the Ozarks intact as much as possible. More attractions are being added to the area all the time, the latest trend being the zipline rides. Branson Zipline and Canopy Tours, The Vigilante, and Parakeet Pete's which is a gondola zip ride over Lake Taneycomo. The strip is dotted with golf kart attractions, museums, and miniature golf.
The outdoor vacationer has plenty of options in Branson as well. Two lakes, with more 1000 miles of shoreline, offer ample water sports. Boating, skiing, scuba diving and parasailing are all favorites on Table Rock Lake. But its the fishing that drew many of the area's first tourists, and still does today. Table Rock is renowned for Bass, Catfish and Walleye, and the cold waters of Lake Taneycomo are a trout angler's dream. The Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery keeps it well stocked with Brown and Rainbow. You can find 25 campgrounds, 16 parks, and a dozen golf courses to round out your outdoor activities.
Ideally located in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Branson is within a day's drive of one third of the United States population. It is the number one motor coach destination, and Branson Vacation Packages, which bundle lodging and activities are also a huge draw for the nearly eight million annual visitors.
Branson is a gem, the jewel in the crown of Missouri Tourism.