10 Best Family Outdoor Excursions Near  Branson, Missouri 

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Branson, Missouri, is the certified king of the Ozarks. It isn’t as quaint or picturesque as other spots like Eureka Springs. Still, it offers so much to do, excellent accommodation options, and, most importantly, access to nature.

Branson will still be your best bet if you want to get out of the city and soak in the mountain air with your family. 

View of Branson MO
Water tower near the entertainment strip of Branson, a popular tourist destination.

A good mix of activities is important for all family members. That way, you can go out and enjoy nature during the day and then have a big pick of options for what to do in the evening.

The many different entertainment options allow you to choose what best suits your energy levels. When you only have so many days for vacation, you want them to count. 

That’s why picking a spot like Westgate Branson as your home base is such a good idea. From there, you’ll be within easy reach of all the great shows, shopping, and amenities in Branson. You’ll also be close to these ten incredible outdoor excursions, ideal for travelling with your family and your teenagers:  

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park 

This beautiful nature pack is a photographer’s absolute dream. It’s perfect for slow, luxurious walks outside, no matter the weather, and has excellent trails.

You’ll see beautiful waterfalls, picturesque suspension bridges, and incredible panoramic views here. Your teenager will no doubt be able to take several stunning photos! If you must pick just one trail while in this park, make it the 1.5-mile trail that takes you from the main centre to Inspiration Point.

You can even organize your trip to that spot during sunrise or sunset for even more incredible sights.  

​Table Rock State Park 

This state park is one of the best areas to spend your day. It’s located just outside Branson, and you can even get to it via an 8.5-mile hike that takes you along the lakeshore up toward Table Rock.

a jetty sticking out into a lake at table rock state park
The scenery at Table Rock State Park

Once you’re there, you can enjoy all the joys of the lakes, go on easy hikes around the plateau, and fuel up again at the many eateries.

One of the best options is to go to State Park Marina and rent either a kayak or a paddleboard so that you can explore the stunning Table Rock Lake up close and personal.  

Top of the Rock 

The Top of the Rock is in Table Rock State Park, but it’s so special it deserves its only section.

a old church at the top of the rock in Branson
The views from The Top of the Rock

This area is the plateau right at the top of the park. It is home to easy trails and a famous restaurant, but it’s loved chiefly for its magical view of the Ozark Mountains.  

Shepherd of the Hills  

A great option is to visit Shepherd of the Hills, a historical homestead with so much to see, do, and enjoy outdoors. Here, you can go for a short horseback tour through the woods or get above the trees with their new 600-foot skyline trail that takes you across treetop bridges.

It’s also home to outdoor theatre shows and the Inspiration Tower Amphitheatre, giving you a good mix of activities you can enjoy throughout the day.  

Go on a Thrilling Jet Boat  

Many thrilling jet boat tour companies exist on Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo. Think fast, think 360° spins, and think high-speed rooster trails. It’s not all water sports, however, as you’ll also get up close and personal with bluffs and waterfalls, making this quite the experience for newcomers to the area.  

Adventure Ziplines of Branson  

Go on a zipline if you want to get above the tree line! The area has many options, but if you’re after speed, go with Adventure Ziplines of Branson.

a teenager having fun on a zipline near Branson MO
A teen having fun on a zipline near Branson

It’s a 7-mile zipline course that allows you to reach 40mph speeds. Plus, the views you’ll see on your trip are hard to beat, making it an excellent choice for those who want to soak in the views while experiencing the thrills.  

Silver Dollar City  

Silver Dollar City is so much more than just a theme park. It’s also where you can experience music, crafts, and workshops. Many don’t know that it’s also where you can dive deep into the wonders of Marvel Cave, where you can walk down into the earth in one of the largest cave structures.  

Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area  

If you want a traditional hike and time outside, Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area is the place to go.

a family in the forest on the dogwood trail
A family enjoying the trails around Branson

There are many, many hikes to choose from. If you go to the visitor’s centre, you can learn more about the types of walks, the time it will take to complete them, and what exercise level you’d need to complete them easily.

If in doubt, ask one of the concierges. Otherwise, go for Dogwood Trail. It’s a simple 2.5-mile loop that will take you through beautiful forests and then along the shores of Lake Taneycomo and is easy for all.  

Bull Shoals Lake  

​If you love to fish, there’s no better spot than Bull Shoals Lake. It’s here you can catch bass, walleye, or crappie. The waters are crystal clear, the fish are aplenty, and you have options. You can fish on your own by renting a boat (and the gear, if you didn’t bring your own), or you can go on a guided tour.  

Cathedral of Nature  

Another great (if unexpected) destination is the Cathedral of Nature on a resort and golf course. Even stranger, the golf course was there first. Back in 2015, just one year after opening, a sinkhole appeared right in the middle of it.

The owners then excavated the area, revealing a unique canyon. They’ve since also built the Big Cedar Lodge on the property, so you can visit the Cathedral of Nature, go ahead and spend time on the golf course, or even treat yourself to a spa day. 

We hope this article on Wyld Family Travel inspires you to visit the Branson region in Missouri.


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