why Branson?

It’s funny how Branson, Missouri, reminded me of two of North America’s raciest cities–Las Vegas and New Orleans–because Branson is far from racy. It’s rather the opposite and unquestionably driven by pure-hearted religious forces. You’d be pretty hard pressed to find the seedy side of life in this small, wholesome American city that is home to just over 11,400 people. There are massive churches everywhere–primarily Baptist and Methodist. No casinos. No chicken ranches (brothels) although it is home to one giant chicken!

branson-missouri

You’ll find this massive rooster at the Great American Steak and Chicken House in Branson, Missouri.

Yet, Branson is filled with neon lights and endless stage show entertainment reminding the visitor of nights on the strip in Las Vegas. (Perhaps it was more so because we visited during the holidays and Branson is very big on Christmas and Christmas lights.)

branson-missouri

A salute from the Santa at Branson Landing

why choose branson missouri?

But the fact that you can find performances going at any hour of the day, and free spontaneous entertainment at any eating venue in the city really reminded me of New Orleans and made me pinch myself several times throughout our week-long visit. Just where were we, and how did we find ourselves in Branson, Missouri?

It was my husband’s choice. We take turns choosing vacation destinations and Branson was his choice. He’d heard there was good live entertainment at reasonable prices. And he was right! I’m told there are 100 choices for live entertainment daily in this tiny city. It’s no surprise that Branson hosts approximately 8 million toe-tapping visitors each year. There is lots to do, and much of it won’t cost you a bundle.

there are many entertainment options in branson missouri

Country music is prevalent, with a heavy dose of gospel thrown in. With music greats like Elvis Presley and Ray Charles having gotten their start in gospel, it’s no surprise that Elvis and Ray Charles impersonators are big draws in Branson. We took in the Legends In Concert show at the Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater. It was fabulous! As a huge fan of Alan Jackson, I especially enjoyed the performance of Doug Brewin, who didn’t miss a beat in his well-executed tribute to Alan Jackson!

 We also enjoyed the Legend of Kung Fu production, which featured a troop of 65 dancers and acrobats from China who had performed during the Bejing Olympics and were definitely worldclass. (Click on the link to see online video clips of the production.) Reg and his friend Neil really liked the intimacy in the smaller “Little Opry Theater” used for the Tribute to Marty Robbins (which they thoroughly enjoyed) while I ate chocolate at a local chocolate shop. Yes, I found some terrific chocolate in Missouri! Thanks to Explore Branson for providing us with tickets to the attractions we visited.

accommodation options in branson missouri

Just as there is a wide range of entertainment options in Branson, you will also find a good range of accommodation options. The Chateau on the Lake Resort and Spa is a lovely place to stay right on the shores of Table Rock Lake. This would be my choice for my next visit to Branson, as I love the setting and ambiance.
branson-missouri

The Chateau on the Lake Resort and Spa is one of the fabulous accommodation options in Branson, Missouri.

We had the pleasure of staying at the Wyndham Branson at the Meadows resort as I had a Wyndham timeshare. It was a terrific facility, and thanks to reviews on Trip Advisor, I had requested a top floor suite which gave us great views of the Ozark Foothills and lessened any noise from neighbouring suites. The atmosphere at the resort was very laid-back, just like the rest of Branson. No high pressure sales tactics like we’d found on our previous Wyndham stay in Orlando. After that experience we were almost ready for a timeshare exit, but ultimately decided against it for the time being.
Have you been to Branson? If so, please tell us about your experience. What did you like or dislike most about this unique destination? 

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Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

52 Responses

  1. I am migrating this blog over from the free hosted to a self-hosted platform, so please bare with me during the transition period. I’ve added the Comment Luv widget so that fellow readers can grab a quick link to your own blog. Hope it works!

  2. Wendy Peck says:

    Doreen — congrats on making the leap to self-hosted. I am mightily impressed.
    Wendy Peck recently posted…Making juice when the lemons shineMy Profile

  3. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thank YOU, Wendy, for your assistance in getting me there!

    Very much appreciated,
    Doreen.

  4. Adeline says:

    Congratulations on the migration, Doreen and great choice on adding the CommentLuv plugin!

    I must say, I was quite shocked to learn that Las Vegas is among the raciest cities in the US. With all the liberal stuff going around there (if you know what I mean), I’d expect they would be a tad bit more open-minded.

  5. Adeline says:

    That’s odd. The commentluv link didn’t show up in my first comment. Oh well. 🙁
    Adeline recently posted…Christmas, Filipino StyleMy Profile

  6. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Glad the Comment Luv showed up on your second comment, Adeline, and thanks for visiting the new version of Travel Diversions with Doreen!

    You misread my comment in the post. I didn’t say Las Vegas was racist! I meant it was racy, as in wild and crazy, very liberal minded, and other things described in the dictionary definition: suggestive, naughty, sexy, spicy, ribald; indecorous, indecent, immodest, off-color, dirty, rude, smutty, crude, salacious. You’ll find all of the above in Vegas, plus a lot of good stuff, too! But you certainly WON’T find the smutty, crude stuff in Branson. Most of the entertainment is very family oriented and many shows reflect Christian values. Some may find that too “hokey,” but as long as you know what to expect when you arrive … you won’t be disappointed!

  7. Dennis Salvatier says:

    Who would have thought… Branson, Missouri. I would love the the Legend of Kung-Fu show. I grew up on Kung Fu movies. By the way, I never heard of Branson until the Simpsons.

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Cute video, Dennis.

      We flew into Springfield, MO, and I thought it was the home of The Simpsons. But I soon learned that the Simpsons are actually based in Springfield, Illinois and not Springfield, MO. I kept my eye out for Homer anyway, but no show!

      Thanks for dropping into the blog.

  8. I’m just commenting because I finally can. Love the new look of the blog. Great post about your trip.

  9. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks, Suzanne. Nice to have you here.

    Yes, there is still a glitch in the software for this blog that is being ironed out. If people click on the “comment” tab to leave a comment, they may inadvertently be transferred back to the original site for this blog. But if they click on the tab where it indicates the “# of comments” at the top of each post, they will be directed to this spot. Hope to get the glitch ironed out today. Stay tuned!

  10. Pawlina says:

    I knew you’d love Branson, Doreen, just as I did when I visited in May 2010 with my husband. The Springfield airport wasn’t open yet, so we flew into St. Louis and rented a car. We had no idea what to expect, except for bluegrass music (which we both adore) and were delighted to discover this rare treasure of a vacation destination. Great bluegrass at the fest in Silver Dollar City. One of the groups was from Newfoundland, believe it or not! (They were outstanding, btw.) We also took in a few other shows (Mo Bandy, Mickey Gilley and Six. A week wasn’t nearly enough time there! We’re planning to return soon. Maybe we’ll see you there. 🙂

  11. Wouldn’t that be totally awesome? To meet up in Branson?

    I’d love to go back in the summer when Branson Landing is warm and hospitable. That cold wind was sure blowing when we were there.

    Thanks again for the tips for Branson. We really enjoyed our visit, and like you … would like to go back.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…let your networks work for youMy Profile

  12. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Newsflash: There was a tornado in Branson in the wee hours of the morning of Feb 29, 2012. Good thing that Branson closes down for Jan & Feb each year, as there were very few people in town when this happened. Here is the news blurb I rec’d via e-mail courtesy of the Tri-City Herald:
    [A powerful storm system that produced multiple reports of tornadoes has lashed the Midwest, roughing up the entertainment resort town of Branson and laying waste to small towns in Illinois and Kansas. An apparent twister rolled through Branson just before 1 a.m. on Feb. 29 and seemed to hopscotch up the city’s main roadway, ripping roofs off hotels and damaging some of the city’s famed music theaters dangerously close to the start of the heavy tourism season.

    “We were blessed with several things – the time of year and certainly the time of day, when people were not in their vehicles or outdoors,” said Mayor Raeanne Presley. She noted that during Branson’s peak season, up to 60,000 visitors would have been in the city on any given day and staying in many of the hotels that were damaged.

    “If it was a week later, it’d be a different story,” said Bill Tirone, assistant general manager for the 530-room downtown Hilton hotel, where windows were shattered and some rooms had furniture sucked away by high winds. Hotel workers were able to get all guests to safety. ]

  13. I am glad you had such a nice time in Branson! In response to your latest post, I wanted to add that Branson shows and attractions are up an running at full speed! We encourage everyone to visit this year as we know it will be a great season!

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Thanks for the update, Liarra!

      We were just talking about Branson on the weekend, and I was telling friends what a great place it is to get high quality shows and meals for such favourable prices. We’ll definitely be back!

  14. April says:

    Why Branson? Because Branson is just a beautiful place to visit when traveling that you can easily call, home.

  15. We’ve never been to Branson although it seems like a great destination for more-wholesome-than-Las Vegas entertainment!

  16. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    Only 11,400 citizens yet welcomes 8 million visitors per year. Branson is not doing too badly. I like the fact that a lot of their entertainment is clean and geared towards families. I cannot imagine enjoying myself in Las Vegas as I picture it to be crude, shallow and open to anything. I could however be wrong. Thank you for sharing your travels with us. Always refreshing to read your articles.

  17. Beverly says:

    Wow! Branson is another place to put on the destination wish list thanks to your lively commentary on its many tourist virtues. Reg brought Donnie a baseball cap with the Branson on it which he treasured. It is displayed in the games room.

  18. Linda
    Twitter:
    says:

    It’s funny how on-edge Americans are these days. As I eat your opening line, my mind interpreted raciest to racist!
    I think I’d prefer to visit Austin, TX for my music entertainment. I get nervous around pure-hearted religious forces. The cool thing about America is that there is something for everyone. (For a while, at least.)

  19. We were in Branson in 2011. We parked our RV in a campground and saw a lot of shows. I like Branson because it is much cheaper than Vegas and the shows are all wholesome.

  20. Hi Doreen, I didn’t know you’d visited Branson! I’ve not yet been there but imagine I will make it there eventually since I live in the Midwest. I like the idea of having wholesome family entertainment and also love country music, so I’m sure I’d enjoy it! Thanks for the impetus to put it on the list.

    • Thx for your comment, Debbie. Yes, sometimes we can be quite surprised by a destination. I never would have visited if not for my husband’s encouragement. And now, I wish I was going again, to meet up with my NATJA friends for the conference this month. 🙂
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…why Branson?My Profile

  21. I did a solo trip to Branson a few years ago. There were really a lot of fun things to do. Everyone was so friendly! They’re doing a good job with tourism.

  22. I’v had many friends go to Branson, but have never been–I’ve been to Vegas and NOLA, does that count?
    I’d be drawn to the hotel on the lake, for sure.

  23. I had never heard of Branson until this post, in fact, I initially thought it was Richard Branson you were referring to! Thanks for sharing this gem. I can’t believe such a small place does so much.

  24. We ALMOST planned a trip to Branson, for a conference, but travels will take us across the pond instead. I’ll save your tips.

  25. Jeri
    Twitter:
    says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Branson one of these days. On my cross country trips I managed to spend time in Memphis and Nashville. If I could have fit it in, Branson would have been on that list as well. It would be fun to experience a wholesome Vegas of sorts 😉

  26. Lisa Chavis
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thank you for putting Branson, Missouri on my travel radar! Looks like there’s so much to do – and I’d definitely love to see the giant rooster! 😉

  27. I have heard about Branson, but have never been. Seeing the Ozark Foothills must of been stunning. I am sometimes more impressed with nature than I am with man’s creations.
    Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  28. How amazing to have so much live entertainment in such a small town. Sounds as if Branson is a fun place to visit!

  29. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    I am looking forward to seeing Branson for the first time this coming week.

  30. Kemkem
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve never been to Branson, but l have longed to visit for a long time for the music scene. I remember years ago when it was just getting popular and they had some fantastic acts. Thanks for showing us Branson :-).

  31. Sue Reddel
    Twitter:
    says:

    I have to say that you surprised me with this story on Branson. I’m not a country music fan so I haven’t considered going but knowing there’s more than country music makes me rethink it. I had to click through to your post on the chocolate in Branson. Who knew? Great post.

  32. I was very eager to find out the answer to your question – “Why Branson?” I drove through Branson on a road trip once — didn’t stop or give it much thought at the time. Thanks for the tips about the town and what it has to offer.

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