There is so much more to Branson than musical productions, theme parks, and tourist glitz. Branson is surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful scenery and holds a rich, deep history. Less than an hour away is Missouri’s third largest city, Springfield, where the list of things to see and do is seemingly endless. Whether you are seeking a wilderness escape or craving sports, city life or culture, there are many fulfilling day trips that await you.
About 45 minutes north of Branson is the city of Springfield. Sports fans will love the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Take yourself out to the ball game with the Springfield Cardinals, the AA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. History buffs should check out the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, the site of the first Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River in 1861. Springfield has wonderful family destinations, such as Fantastic Caverns, Dickerson Park Zoo, and The Discovery Center of Springfield. For fishing addicts, Springfield is home to the Bass Pro Shops headquarters, a veritable nirvana for anglers of all ages.
With sixty-three natural springs within the town limits and over 100 more in the surrounding area, Eureka Springs, Arkansas is one of the most fascinating destinations in the Ozark Mountains. Located 50 miles southwest of Branson, the entire downtown district is on the National Register of Historic Places and features a wealth of boutiques, gourmet restaurants, art galleries, and over 250 “painted lady” historic homes. A more unusual attraction in Eureka Springs is the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a 459-acre rescue refuge for abused and abandoned big cats.
Float back in time along the James River, an integral waterway for the survival of Native Americans, early settlers, and wildlife in the early 1800s. Located only 30 minutes from Branson, the 130-mile long James River can be navigated by john boat, canoe, or kayak and offers wildlife watching, excellent fishing, and loads of wilderness serenity.
One of the few remaining undammed rivers in the U.S., the Buffalo River in Arkansas was established as America’s first national river in 1972 and flows freely for 135 miles. Located 67 miles southeast of Branson, the Buffalo River National Park offers many opportunities for camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, white water rafting, and horseback riding. Buffalo River National Park holds a wealth of fascinating cultural history from prehistoric times through the mid-1900s, and makes for an excellent day trip the whole family will enjoy.
No, this is not the famous Rockaway Beach in New York. Rockaway Beach, Missouri is a stunningly beautiful resort town on the banks of Lake Taneycomo, and is one of the oldest resort towns west of the Mississippi River. Famous for record sized brown trout, Lake Taneycomo draws anglers from around the U.S. as well as those just looking for peace, quiet, and natural beauty.