Fun Summer Things to do in Branson MO

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Branson, Missouri, is best known for live music and family fun. The seemingly endless entertainment district on Missouri Highway 76 has a show to suit every musical taste, along with sidesplitting comedy performances, and is dotted with family fun parks with go-karts and miniature golf. Paired with the backdrop of the Ozark Mountains, Branson has always had a wholesome, down-home vibe that draws summer visitors. 

Although Branson earns its nickname “Live Music Capital of the World,” it is more than music shows. Downtown Branson might be “Lights, Camera, Action!” but there are tons of opportunities to experience outdoor fun. A popular vacation spot since the 1950s, part of Branson's charm is that anyone can enjoy this destination. It's an ideal family and multi-gen group trip since there are activities to make everyone happy, from grandparents to the smallest tots. Branson Landing is a newer, more modern area of Branson that sits along the White River and has many choices for shopping and dining that may appeal to couples and other adult-only groups.

Fun Summer Things to do in Branson MO

Musical Performance in Branson the Haygoods.
Photo: Explore Branson.

Summer is a perfect time to visit Branson. The weather is warm and suited for outdoor activities, and there are plenty of indoor choices if the July and August heat and humidity are too much. January through March is considered the Branson off-season, with many musical acts closing up shop. Summer visitors will find everything open and the fun in full swing.  

If you've been to – and enjoyed – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, you'll likely enjoy Branson. The entertainment offerings and general vibe are very similar. 

Sea the Sea at the Aquarium at the Boardwalk

Even though Branson is entirely landlocked, there's an opportunity to learn about marine life. The aquarium's entrance is graced with a larger-than-life, sparkly octopus, so the building is hard to miss. The aquarium has large tanks full of colorful fish, some with crawl-through spaces for kids so they can be in the center of the action, a touch pool, a 5D “submarine” ride, and kids' play/climbing areas. 

This is a solid indoor time filler for travel groups with younger kids. It is comparable to the SEALIFE Aquariums often found in malls and other urban areas. 

Titanic Branson

Titanic Branson's exterior is a replica of the ill-fated ship, which may prompt the question, “Why a museum dedicated to the Titanic in…Missouri?” The museum is owned by John Joslyn, who was part of a 1987 undersea mission to explore the ship's remains. Joslyn also owns a sister Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Although a museum dedicated to the Titanic may seem out of step with the other attractions in Branson, it is very well done and easily one of the top places to see in town.

 The museum contains over 400 verified artifacts, including dinnerware and deck furniture. The museum is very interactive – upon entrance, visitors will get a card with a picture of an actual RMS Titanic passenger and will find out at the end of their visit whether their passenger survived the voyage. There's an exhibit that mimics the slant of the ship at various points during the sinking, and a pool of frigid water allows guests to put their hands in as they imagine what it would be like to be fully immersed in the icy North Atlantic. One gallery illustrates the differences between the experiences of first class, second class, and steerage passengers, and another is dedicated to the onboard musicians.

Buy tickets in advance as the museum often reaches capacity.

Branson is the newest city to offer Pink Jeep Tours, a staple in Sedona and the Grand Canyon for years. Choose from a handful of two and three-hour tours showcasing Branson's downtown attractions and more protected natural areas. The three-hour “Best of Branson Sunset Tour” includes history, off-roading, and a private spot atop Baird Mountain to see the sunset over Table Rock Lake. The guides are very knowledgeable about the area, and if you plan to participate in water activities on Table Rock Lake or Lake Taneycomo, this is an excellent opportunity to ask questions of an expert. There are also lots of spots around the lake to grab a drink and listen to music, so if you're interested, this tour is a great way to get the lay of the land.

None of Branson's currently listed Pink Jeep Tours allow kids under two or pregnant women. 

Go Snow Tubing

Yes, really. You can snow tube in Branson during summer. Branson is home to the world’s largest synthetic snow tubing run. Snowflex is a high-performance polymer snow substitute that lets you enjoy winter fun all year long. Timed one-hour tickets let you whiz down the snow tube run as many times as you can until your allotted time expires. 

There are also two onsite ziplining/sky bridge runs as well as a freefall option. Combo tickets that allow visitors to experience both the zipline course and an hour’s worth of snow tubing are also available. 

Explore the Ozarks via Mountain Coaster

Whizzing down the mountain in one of Branson's three mountain coasters is a fun way to get your adrenaline fix without spending an entire day at an amusement park. The riders can control the speed of their car with a hand brake and choose between taking the plunge with one or two riders. There are some age/height/weight restrictions on how this is configured, so make sure you read up on requirements beforehand if you plan to go with children. 

Branson's three mountain coasters are: 

  • Runaway Mountain Coaster at Branson Mountain Adventure Park (ziplining and gem mining are also available);
  • The Branson Coaster;
  • Copperhead Mountain Coaster at Shepard on the Hill (dinner shows and themed dinners, ziplining, miniature golf, and a children's play area.)

Track Family Fun Park

Ferris Wheel in Branson MO.
Photo: Explore Branson.

There are three Track Family Fun Park locations in Branson, so that alone is a measure of how popular these attractions are with vacationers. The fun includes many different types of go-karts, from regular round tracks to multi-story towers like the “Heavy Metal High Rise to tracks designed just for rookie drivers. Grab tickets for the Ferris wheel if you want a bird's eye view of Branson. If this particular Ferris wheel looks familiar, it used to reside at Chicago's Navy Pier. It has been in Branson since 2016. 

Other Track Family Fun Park attractions include laser tag, mini golf, batting cages, arcade games, and a variety of thrill and kiddie rides. Not all attractions are at each Track Family Fun Park location, so you'll have to move around if you want to do all the activities offered. The website provides different ticket packages and a breakdown of activities at each location. 

Silver Dollar City

Ride at Silver Dollar City in Branson MO.
Photo: Explore Branson.

Silver Dollar City is a unique theme park that perfectly blends rides for everyone, musical entertainment, and resident artisans. If someone in your group needs to check the box on a big theme park with thrill rides, Silver Dollar City is it, but there's much more to the experience than coasters and things that whirl and spin. There is so much to do that you can experience a full day in the park and not ride a single ride. 

Music shows include everything from Old West saloon girls doing the cancan in brightly colored petticoats to banjo pickers to modern favorites. The 100+ resident craftsmen set the park apart from other theme parks. Visitors can watch live-action soapmaking, wood carving, candy pulling, and all sorts of different crafts and skills from times past. The park is built atop a cave, and visitors can tour Marvel Cave as part of their general admission ticket. 

Although the “more than just rides” list is long, the rides don't disappoint anyone. Whether you're a serious adrenaline seeker or lean toward the tamer family and kiddie rides, there will be plenty for everyone to enjoy. Silver Dollar City also has an adjacent water park, White Water, that requires a separate ticket. One day is enough to see most of Silver Dollar City, but I don't recommend making firm evening plans if that's the route you choose to take.

Branson Musical Shows

The Haygoods 

These six musical siblings – five brothers and a single sister – dazzle audiences with impressive vocals and a wide range of musical instruments. The music of the Haygoods – a mixture of classic country, rock, and pop – is enhanced with pyrotechnics and LED/fiber optic projections. This is 100 percent my favorite show in Branson, and I challenge you not to tap your toes.

Shanghai Circus 

This performance features spectacular acrobatics and aerial acts set to traditional Chinese music. The costumes and LED enhancements make this show truly pop. 

Dolly Parton's Stampede

Dolly Parton's Stampede is a dinner show in a 35,000-square-foot arena. You'll see trick riding, aerial stunts, musical entertainment, and live animals. Arrive early to experience the Horse Walk, where you'll get an up-close look at the horses, meet their trainers, and pose for pictures with these talented animals.

Clay Cooper's Country Express

 Clay Cooper's Country Express stars Clay Cooper, his family members, and a host of talented singers, dancers, and other musicians. The show features mostly classic country and gospel songs with a bit of rock and pop thrown in the mix. Cooper's slightly corny scene-stealing humor is the common theme of the show. This is a solid pick if you've got a large group and you're trying to choose a show everyone will enjoy. 

SIX Show

This show features six talented brothers who make music with no instruments. These incredibly talented singers can mimic the sounds of bands and orchestras using only vocal techniques. This is currently the only a cappella performance in Branson. 

Reza – The Edge of Illusion

 This show often sells out. This show features blow-your-mind illusions infused with humor and charm. If you’re looking for something less focused on music, this is a great choice and often sells out.

Showboat Branson Belle

 Cruise on Table Rock Lake on the 700-passenger paddle wheel river boat while enjoying musical entertainment and a three-course meal. The meal is served while warmup entertainment entertains diners from the main stage. There's a break between the meal and the main show, where visitors may explore the boat and take in the views from the deck.

 This short list only scratches the surface of shows available in Branson. Explore Branson – both the website and downtown Visitor’s Center – have a plethora of information on shows and other attractions. Your hotel or Airbnb will also have information on shows and how to get tickets. 

Nice to Know Branson Facts and Pro-Tips

  • Buy show and attractions tickets in advance. Shows do sell out during busy periods.
  • Arrive early everywhere. Parking lots can get congested, and most shows have lines to get inside the theater.
  • Carry a sweater or hoodie, even in summer. It’s usually cold inside the theaters. 
  • If you are a veteran or first responder, ask about discounts everywhere. 
  • Don’t try to do it all. Branson has an almost overwhelming amount of activity choices, and trying to fit everything in is an impossible feat.


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