Family Vacation Ideas in Branson, Missouri

When it comes to camping, most people think about visiting the mountains or lakes or maybe a scenic location by the beach.

But for the Sandgren family of Ozark, Mo., the best place to camp is the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Forsyth, Mo., which they use as a base camp for family excursions to Branson.

For the past three years, in fact, Eric Sandgren and his wife, Becky, have rented a campsite for the whole camping season and used it as a getaway retreat with their two children, ages six and nine.

“Branson is very kid friendly,” Eric Sandgren said. “We’ve done everything from White Water to Silver Dollar City and seen a lot of the shows.”

Branson, in fact, is considered the “Live Entertainment Capital of the Country,” said Ross Summers, president and CEO of the Branson / Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureau, adding, “All of our entertainment is family based. We don’t have gambling or adult entertainment.”

At any given time, Branson offers close to 100 shows (you can find their schedule here) in 40 venues from concert halls to dinner theaters like Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede to the Showboat Branson Belle.

Live entertainment ranges from comedians, top singers and tribute bands from virtually every musical genre to unique performances such as the Acrobats of China and The Adventures of Marco Polo to the Amazing Pets Show at the Grand Country Music Hall.

Other unique Branson attractions range from the National Tiger Sanctuary to the Titanic Museum, whose exhibits include the largest collection of Titanic memorabilia in the world, to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, which features a “genuine vampire killing kit” from the 1850s, a two-headed calf and other animal oddities.

Other attractions include Branson Landing, a scenic 1.5-mile boardwalk along the Taneycomo Lakefront, whose attractions now include spectacular fountain shows that combine 120-foot geysers with fire cannons, light and music.

The greater Branson area also offers scenic places for swimming, boating and fishing, such as Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo as well as hiking, hunting and fishing opportunities in the Ozarks,

“There are endless possibilities,” Sandgren said, adding that he and his family often enjoy simply relaxing at the Jellystone Park in Forsyth. “Oftentimes, the kids will ride their bikes or we’ll go out on a lake or just sit around the campfire and take it easy.”

Here’s a sampling of other campgrounds in the greater Branson area: