Music and Family Fun in Branson, Missouri
Silver Dollar City, copyright Branson CVB
In some ways, Branson, population under 5,000, is a tiny Midwestern town gone tourism crazy. The Ozarks community proudly calls itself "The Live Entertainment Capital." And that's not wishful thinking. Branson has bona fide stars, glitz, and neon -- all the stuff you'd expect from a place with that title.
But Branson is also a down-home kind of vacation spot. Pop culture meets old-fashioned family values here, and star-studded spectacles are just down the street from Mother Nature in all her glory.
Visitors can also behold rarities like Dan Britton of the group Pierce Arrow, who is the world's lowest bass singer (he's listed as such in the Guinness Book of World Records). You can also see the "world's largest ball of nylon string" at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, and a huge banjo (yep, the world's largest, too) at Grand Country market.
Those looking for local lore can go to downtown Branson, home of 20 historic sites (pick up a self-guided tour map at the Downtown Branson Mainstreet Association), and shops like Dick's 5 and 10 (where you can find toys and practically every doohickey imaginable).
Or you can see where this funky town began with a visit to Shepherd of the Hills Homestead, a historic site based on the novel Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright. Published in 1907, this tale of Ozark Mountain families is credited with putting Branson on the map.