Though Branson is generally known for live shows and one-of-kind theme parks, some of the most enjoyable Branson adventures are free — and full of Branson culture and character, even giving you the opportunity to befriend locals in the process!
Here at Branson Travel, we’re here to aid you in your search for cost-effective activities during your trip to Branson, we have put together a list of some of our favorite free Branson exploits.
Explore Branson’s Beauty
1) Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery:
Take the opportunity to visit this trout farming facility and public learning conservation center during your vacation to Branson. Learn about trout culture, aquatic life, fishing and the role of the Missouri Department of Conservation in aquatic resource management. Or perhaps, you desire a more “hands on” experience at the Hatchery…take a hike on the nearby trails, view wildlife or simply enjoy a day of relaxation at the pavilion or family-friendly picnic areas.
Address: 483 Hatchery Rd., Branson, MO 65616
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily
2) Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area:
If you have a hankering to get “off the beaten path” during your vacation, you may want to take some time to explore the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area, which encompasses a whopping 1,534-acres. You will be immersed in the beauty of Branson’s nature. The conservation area offers multiple hiking trails, bird viewing locations, learning kiosks and viewing towers. Not to mention, you will have the opportunity to see the famous glades (known as “balds” by the locals) and some of the key features from Harold Bell Wright’s novel, Shepherd of the Hills.
Driving Directions: http://mdc7.mdc.mo.gov/applications/moatlas/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=8208
3) Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area:
This beautiful area is a nature preserve that encompasses 140 acres of breathtaking views and is located
right in the heart of Branson — yet, it remains hidden in nature. In fact, in passing, you could easily miss the area. This wilderness area offers six hiking trails with beautiful views along each trail. You can also find picnic tables at the trailhead to enjoy a packed lunch or some “down” time.
Location: the corner of Fall Creek Road and 76 Highway, Branson, MO 65616
Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. winter (extends through 7:00 p.m. in the summer)
4) College of the Ozarks:
Engage with locals and college students during your Branson vacation through visiting this treasured college campus. College of the Ozarks (also known as Hard Work U) is unlike most. Students work on campus in order to pay for tuition, producing great students with great character — and a truly unique college campus experience. Visit the school’s student-run Keeter Center (a small elegant yet rustic lodge with exceptional dining), Edward’s Mill, the College Dairy, Point Lookout, Lake Honor and much more.
Location: 100 Opportunity Avenue, Point Lookout, MO 65726
Hours: Varies by sight
Savor The Tranquility Of Branson Lake Life
5) Lake Taneycomo:
What is a Branson vacation without a day of fishing, boating or relaxing along Lake Taneycomo? This cold-water, river-like lake runs through Taney County (a portion of the lake running alongside the Branson Landing) and is among the world’s top trout fishing spots. It is not necessarily a lake anyone would want to swim in because of cold temperatures; however, it does make for a great outing of fishing, boating, kayaking and picnicking.
Fishing report: https://fishing.mdc.mo.gov/reports/lake-taneycomo
6) Table Rock Lake:
Ready for a break from the hustle and bustle of urban Branson? Table Rock Lake could be just what the doctor ordered. Enjoy a day (or weekend) at Table Rock during your Branson vacation. Consider camping lakeside or taking a hike along the lakeside trails. Play a game of volleyball, have a picnic or bathe in the sun. Make plans to visit the State Park Marina, the Dewey Short Visitor Center and the Table Rock Lake Dam…The options only continue and the beauty is surreal.
Location: 4500 MO-165, Branson, MO 65616
Hours: Varies by activity