Life Love Larson: Family Weekend Getaway: Branson, MO


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Family Weekend Getaway: Branson, MO

The four of us took a last minute weekend trip to Branson, MO last weekend. School starts here next week, so we wanted to get away together for a few days. The place had to be close (3 hour drive) and it had to be family friendly. We had heard good things about Branson and thought we would check it out!

I wanted to give you a little recap of what we did, where we ate, and where we stayed. I find these kinds of posts to be helpful when searching for trip ideas, so here goes!

// FRDAY //
We left Friday morning and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Hilton Branson Convention Center, which is located directly across the street from Branson Landing (a new area with shops/restaurants), right on Lake Taneycomo. This hotel is also within walking distance of local shops/flea markets/cafes/Starbucks(!). There is also a free trolley that takes you around the town with 6 stops, and this Hilton has one of those stops. The Hilton was very nice and the location is unbeatable.

We had reservations at the Dixie Stampede at 3pm, but you can arrive early to see the horses and watch the pre-show starting at 1:45. I think the Dixie Stampede is something you just have to do if you are in Branson, especially with young kids!

The pre-show lasted about 30 minutes and was a one-man juggling/trick show. The kids loved it, and I'm pretty sure we did too! :) After the pre-show, you enter the arena where the main show takes place. You will be served a lot of food, but don't go here expecting the best meal of your life (they have to serve 1,000 people at every show if that tells you anything)! The entertainment is where this place shines. We all enjoyed the lights/music/costumes/horses/show, and my kids are still talking about it. The show lasts about 1.5 hours, so we were on the Dixie Stampede grounds for just shy of 3 hours. Hands down, this was Kate's very favorite thing we did in Branson.

After the show, we headed back to Branson Landing and window shopped. We popped into a bar for a cheap pitcher of Boulevard and enjoyed the amazing weather.

We then walked back to the main area at Branson Landing, where a fountain light show happens at the top of every hour. You can read more about the schedule hereWe also got lucky on this night because live music was happening on the stage right in front of the fountains. We found a spot, grabbed the kids a root beer float, and enjoyed being outside and listening to the band.

We ended Friday with a little night swim at the hotel. It was a fun-filled day!

We woke up Saturday morning and found a little local breakfast place right near our hotel. We had reservations to be at Top of the Rock at 9:45am. Top of the Rock is about 10 miles from the hotel and is where Big Cedar Lodge is located (a place we would like to stay when we come back)! This whole area/concept was developed by Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro, which started in Branson.

We arrived for our Lost Canyon Nature Trail and Cave tour and checked in. It's amazing how the view changes just 3 hours outside of Kansas City! This tour is self-guided by golf cart, which was so fun for the kids. You ride along a gorgeous nature trail and can stop for photos, etc. You then enter a cave with  a 4-story waterfall. We had a gorgeous, crisp morning, and we all thought this was a fantastic hour of family time. Highly recommend!

After the nature trail, we headed to the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery, which is a short drive from Top of the Rock. This is a FREE activity! We love to fish, and we thought this would be fun for Drew. Every year, Lake Taneycomo is stocked with 500,000 trout, a fish that is not native to Missouri. At the hatchery, they breed and raise 1 million trout per year. Interesting, and FREE!

We then went to Danna's BBQ & Burger and had a delicious lunch! This place gets great reviews, and rightfully so. Fun atmosphere, friendly staff, and the best pulled pork nachos!

We headed back to the hotel and hopped on the free trolley. We just wanted to ride and relax. We did some more resting at the hotel and headed back out to Branson Landing. We had reservations at Cantina Laredo, a mexican restaurant that came highly recommended to us from some friends. We sat outside overlooking the fountain show, and had a great meal and drinks. The fish tacos were amazing!

And last, but not least, Drew and Steve got to get a little trout fishing in. You can fish right off the docks at Lake Taneycomo, right off Branson Landing. They had never fished for trout, so they were both excited to catch their first, which they did! Steve brought poles from home and learned what kind of lures, etc you need to catch trout. Good thing there is a Bass Pro right at Branson Landing, so they got everything they needed. Love this little angler!

// SUNDAY //
Steve and Drew went back to the docks for early morning fishing on Sunday. Kate and I slept in and went to Starbucks for some girl time. We took breakfast to the guys and sat along the water. It was very peaceful and chilly (pack a sweatshirt even in the summer).

We checked out of the hotel and started to head back to KC. We also heard about Lambert's Cafe in Springfield, MO, and thought we would check it out for lunch on the way home. Lambert's is the "Home of the Throwed Rolls", famous for doing exactly that; throwing huge, homemade rolls at you while you are in your seat.

People were lined up outside this place an hour before it opened - crazy! Steve and I decided that this place is a novelty and it's fun, but it was definitely a one and done for us. Here are the kids waiting for a "Throwed Roll".

That sums up our time in Branson! It was a great little weekend getaway. We have already talked about going back and camping and doing outdoorsy stuff on the lake. Have you been to Branson? What are your go-to's while you are there?  xoxo


  1. Looks like you guys had a great time!
    I'm headed there this weekend with some of my girl friends. Mommy break!! :)

  2. I am from the area and do agree it is great for family fun. Next time, make sure to spend a day on Table Rock lake and try the White River Fish House (also at the Landing). Loved reading about your adventure in Branson!

    1. Thanks Courtney for stopping by! I saw the Fish House and will have to try it next time!