Branson is one of the top family vacation destinations in the country. With more than 100 live shows, world-class family attractions and plenty of outdoor adventure, there truly is something for everyone. Fall is a great time to sample everything the Ozarks has to offer. The changing colors of leaves on the trees provide a nice backdrop for so many scenic views. The weather in the fall is perfect for many activities, including golf.
The Branson/Lakes Area is the fastest-growing golf destination in America, likely the world. Three courses have opened in the past four years, and another three are planned to debut in the next three years. That’s the golf development equivalent of driving a car 100 mph+ in a 25-mph zone.
And they’re not just any courses. They’re mind-blowers, with recently opened ones designed by Nicklaus, Fazio and Player. A Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw layout is under construction and plans to open in 2018, with two more by Tiger Woods announced in April of this year, his first-ever public courses. There are whispers that one of the pending courses could be considered for another high-profile golf tournament (there’s already one in the destination). Think PGA TOUR and USGA-type competitions, and you’re plugged into the rumor mill.
One man is largely responsible for the Branson area’s emergence as one of the best golf destinations anywhere – Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops Founder and owner of Big Cedar Lodge. Morris is a passionate conservationist, with nature’s bounty lovingly incorporated throughout Big Cedar Lodge resort. The marina, shooting academy, spa, restaurants, pools, bridges, caverns, restaurants and walking paths mesh seamlessly with the lush, rolling Ozarks terrain.
The golf courses are so good that two of them – Buffalo Ridge and Top of the Rock – are played annually as part of the PGA TOUR Champions Legends of Golf each spring. “The best par 3 course in the world,” says World Golf Hall of Fame member Gary Player about Top of the Rock, which includes Arnie’s Barn (yes, it’s been moved here from Latrobe, Penn.), gardens, waterfalls, the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, and the Lost Canyon Cave (a golf cart tour of which is included in the green fee!). There is no other golf resort like it in the world.
The new and planned courses join an existing collection of good to great ones in the Branson area. They include delightful Thousand Hills, a Bob Cupp design that belies the first impression its par-64 routing invokes. Sinewy, excellent Branson Hills Golf Club, where the state amateur championship was held, is a hearty, gorgeous golf test.
Don’t omit playing LedgeStone Country Club or Pointe Royale Golf Village when in Branson. Both public access, the former is a rollicking routing over hill and dale, where hole names fittingly advise golfers of what’s to come – The Slot, Temptation, Deception and The Plunge, to name a few. The latter is where many Branson entertainers live and play.
The diversity and complementary nature of Branson-area courses ensure a variety of interesting, fun choices awaiting players. And the after-golf options are so many that you’ll want to build time into your getaway itinerary to explore the live music shows and family fun attractions.
Late fall is also the beginning of the Christmas season in Branson. November 1 marks the start of dozens of Christmas shows, holiday light displays and much more. As Christmas approaches, Branson turns into a winter wonderland with numerous events, festivals and a blanket of holiday decorations. Branson is truly a magical place to be during the Christmas season.
Just to name a few accolades, Branson has been recognized as one of the best Christmas destinations in America by NBC’s Today Show (Best Holiday Travel Deal); USA Today, A&E Network, Travel Channel and The Wall Street Journal.
It’s time for an Ozark Mountain Christmas celebration, and Branson’s star performers are ready to share the holidays with you and your family in November and December. With dazzling, star-filled Christmas shows, many of Branson’s entertaining families celebrate the reason for the season in a variety of song and dance – Branson showcases the holiday’s finest talent.
Branson also features two Christmas Parades. The Annual Adoration Parade Celebration takes place the first Sunday in December and wends its way through the downtown and waterfront district at dusk. It is a chance to stop and reflect on the beauty of the Christmas story that still inspires the world today. Branson celebrates keeping Christ in Christmas on this special night. No one is in the limelight and no particular organization or business is promoted, only an overwhelming outpouring of love from our community and celebration as we come together to honor the story of Jesus’ birth.
Another parade, fittingly named “Most Wonderful Time of Year” parade, is dedicated to Mr. Christmas himself, the late Andy Williams. Folks from around the country will gather at the Branson Landing for a beautiful daytime Christmas parade. This event features a full line-up of Branson’s star entertainers, floats, classic cars, live performances and Santa Claus, himself. Enjoy live, on-stage performances with Branson entertainers in front of the Branson Landing fountains immediately following the parade.
Who doesn’t love a beautiful Christmas tree, radiant day and night with the warmth and joy of the season? The already amazing holiday season in Branson is even better as the community transforms into “America’s Christmas Tree City.” Many cities have a single iconic Christmas tree. Branson has the largest variety of wonderful and unique Christmas trees found anywhere! Discover over 100 dazzling trees – in addition to music shows, shopping, family fun and downhome cooking – making Branson an even more tree-mendous holiday destination! Pick up the Branson Christmas Tree Tour map and find four different types of trees displayed during Ozark Mountain Christmas: traditional, natural, creative, and dancing lights. Be sure to tag your photos with #ExploreBranson.
Of course, a trip to Branson during the holidays wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Silver Dollar City. Christmas gets even brighter with the NEW Christmas in Midtown Light Spectacular this year at Silver Dollar City, adding 1.5 million lights, bringing the park total to 6.5 million lights! Plus An Old Time Christmas presents ‘Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade, led by the most famous reindeer of all, with musical lighted floats and dozens of costumed characters. The festival also features two original musical productions: It’s A Wonderful Life and A Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Ranked as one of the world’s top holiday events, the park dazzles with the acclaimed 5-story special effects Christmas Tree and an all-encompassing light-and-sound show on the Square.
With dozens of star-filled Christmas music shows, Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City and a glittering array of drive-through light displays, there’s more “yule” do. A visit to Branson will create beautiful memories and new Christmas traditions for your family. Visit ExploreBranson.com/Christmas for holiday happenings.