Branson, Missouri is situated in Southwest Missouri, 44.2 miles south of Springfield. Branson is ranked 20th among all overnight leisure vacation destinations in the country. According to the Travel Channel, Branson is in the Top Ten Vacation Spots. And according to USA Today, Branson ranks as number 1 for vacation spots in Missouri.
2014 Tourism Impact
- Estimated 8 million visitors in 2014 (+5.8% from 2013)
- Tourism is the Branson/Lakes Area’s chief industry, with an estimated $3.1 billion in tourism-related spending in Taney and Stone counties in 2014
City of Branson Facts
- Population: 10,520 (2014 Est. 11,064) with a labor forceÂ of up to 47,600
- Square Miles: 21
- Total assessed property value: $472,059,763
125 restaurants with over 30,000 seats
13 courses (8 Championship)
207 facilities with 22,000 rooms
100+ shows in 50 theatres with 64,057 seats (more theater seats than Broadway)
Branson is a year-round destination with most of the entertainment offerings open mid-March through the end of December.
Branson’s Seasonality is categorized as the following:
|Season||Dates||Typical Tourist Demographic|
|Hot Winter Fun||Jan. – Feb.||Seniors & Empty Nesters|
|Ozark Mountain Spring||March – May||Seniors, Empty Nesters, & Spring Breakers|
|Summer||June – Aug.||Families (1st Busiest Season)|
|Fall||Sept. – Oct.||Seniors, Empty Nesters, Busses (3rd Busiest Season)|
|Ozark Mountain Christmas||Nov. – Dec.||Veterans Homecoming & Families (2nd Busiest Season) Largest Veterans Celebration in the Nation!|
- 83.7% – Shopping
- 80.2% – Shows
- 51.6% – Lake/Outdoor Activities
- 31.0% – Theme Parks
- 4.8% – Golf
- 4.4% – Fishing
The Branson/Lakes Area offers 50 theaters and more than 100 shows. Audiences can see shows throughout the day – morning shows, matinees and evening performances. Country, pop, swing, rock n’ roll, gospel, classical and Broadway-style music and productions join comedy, acrobatics and magic shows to provide visitors a wide array of entertainment choices.
In 1882 Reuben Branson settled the area now known as Branson. Branson was formally incorporated in 1912. When Ozark Beach Dam (also known as Powersite Dam) was build in 1913 near Forsyth and Lake Taneycomo was created, the area became quite a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who came to fish, boat, swim, hunt and enjoy the rugged beauty of the Ozark Mountains. Branson’s entertainers began performing for audiences in the early 1950’s when country legend Red Foley moved to Springfield to host the “Ozark Jubilee.” In 1959, the Mabe Brothers began performing twice a week by the Lake Taneycomo waterfront. In 1960, a few miles east of Silver Dollar City, Bruce and Mary Trimble began staging an outdoor pageant based on the best-selling novel “The Shepherd of the Hills”; the production grew into the nation’s most popular outdoor historical drama and today boasts a cast of more than 80 actors, dozens of animals, pyrotechnical displays and authentic props and sets. In 1962, the Presley family began entertaining visitors in nearby Kimberling City. The Presleys built the first theater along Highway 76 (“The Strip”) in 1967, followed by the Mabe Brothers, now known as the Baldknobbers, who built their theater in 1968.
In the early 70’s The Foggy River Boys, The Plummer Family, Dolly Parton, Buck Trent, and Porter Wagoner performed in Branson; soon after, Japanese fiddler Shoji Tabuchi began his meteoric rise to Branson fame. In 1983 Branson began its transformation into a major tourist attraction when the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre opened and began to host famous country music stars like Mel Tillis, Box Car Willie, Ray Stevens, and Jim Stafford. In 1985, the Snadon Family purchased the Shepherd of the Hills homestead, adding the 230-foot tall inspiration tower in 1989. The Shepherd of the Hills play, based on the book by the same name, was published in 1907 and is one of the longest running outdoor dramas in the world. The great yearly tradition of Ozark Mountain Christmas was born in 1988, seasonally transforming Branson into a holiday wonderland featuring spectacular lighting displays, multiple shows celebrating Christmas, theme parks in all their holiday glory and numerous special events. Branson is also in the Top Ten Places to be for Christmas.
Time magazine ran an article on their “discovery” of Branson in August of 1991 that set off a chain reaction — The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and People soon followed. On December 8, 1991, 60 Minutesproclaimed Branson the “live music capital of the entire universe.” There were only 22 theaters in operation; today, Branson has more than twice that many, due in part to that turning-point proclamation. Many agree that 60 Minutes launched Branson into a new era of growth by revealing to the world the wonderful playground of fun and entertainment this small southwest Missouri town had become. Performers, visitors, developers and new residents flocked to see what was going on. Throughout the 1990’s and into the new millennium, Branson not only saw tremendous growth in the number of theatrical offerings, but in the number of hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, housing developments, service businesses, and healthcare facilities, as well. In 1992, the $13 million, 4,000-seat Grand Palace opened and was the largest of all the theaters in Branson at the time. Over the next decade, such stars as Andy Williams, Wayne Newton, Barbara Mandrell, John Davidson, Tony Orlando, Bobby Vinton, Mel Tillis, Glen Campbell, Mickey Gilley, Charley Pride, the Lennon Sisters, the Osmond Brothers, Pat Boone, Pam Tillis and The Oak Ridge Boys took up residence in Branson. 2005 the Branson Convention Center and Hilton Hotel broke ground. The New Shanghai Theatre was built for the Acrobats of China, and The Branson League of Theater Owners and Show Producers raised over $120,000 with a telethon concert for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The City of Branson broke a 1993 record in new construction values, well over $120 million for the year. In 2006, the Branson Landing opened, a $420 million, 95-acre lakefront development blending retail shopping, dining, luxury lodging, boardwalk, condominiums, a town plaza, several marinas, and nightlife into a dynamic, waterfront setting. Other exciting developments in Branson included the multi-million dollar TITANIC: The World’s Largest Museum Attraction, towering 100′ over the 76 Strip, with a permanent collection of 400 items; Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater; The Butterfly Palace and Rainforest adventure with more than 1,000 species of live tropical butterflies; and Chateau on the Lake Resort’s new $6 million European-style Spa Chateau, complete with 10 treatment rooms, in a picturesque setting overlooking Table Rock Lake. Overlooking Lake Taneycomo and the Branson Landing, the new state-of-the art Branson Convention Center and adjoining 12-story Hilton Hotel opened in the fall of 2007. In 2008, Branson’s current largest theatre, the 3,000-seat Sight and Sound Theatres opened and began staging Biblical theme productions. May 2009 brought the opening of the Branson Airport. Constructed on a budget of $155 million on land formerly owned by Tennessee Ernie Ford. The airport is privately owned, and it is thought to be the largest privately owned commercial airport in the United States. Its constriction involved flattening the tops of a series of Ozark Mountains and is thought to be the largest earth moving project in the history of the state. In 2013 Silver Dollar City’s Outlaw Run – The Worlds Most Daring Wood Coaster was voted Best New Ride of 2013 worldwide. In 2015, Silver Dollar City’s new Fireman’s Landing Area opened featuring 6 NEW rides and 4 interactive play zones covering 2 acres. Every year holds new surprises for the residents and guests of Branson. Daily life in Branson is history in the making.
Branson is home to two outlet shopping malls with more than 200 retailers. Visitors can find contemporary clothing, gift items, housewares, designer shoes, luggage and other treasures at reduced prices throughout the year at Tanger Outlets & The Shoppes at Branson Meadows Historic Downtown Branson is also a shopper and diner’s delight — Dick’s Old-Fashioned 5 & 10, countless boutiques and specialty stores combined with quaint eateries make the downtown area truly special. The Branson Landing’s 100+ retail shops and lakefront dining establishments are just minutes away.
The Branson/Lakes Area is home to three scenic lakes offering fishing, boating, parasailing, jet skiing and swimming. While the lakes all offer great fishing, each has its specialty. Table Rock Lake offers world-class bass fishing; Lake Taneycomo, with its cold waters, offers superb trout fishing; and Bull Shoals Lake is a warm water angler’s paradise, especially for tournament bass fishing.
Located in the rolling Ozark Mountains, the Branson/Lakes Area is ideal for canoeing, camping, hiking, biking, bird watching or simply wandering through the hills. World-class golf courses provide golf opportunities for the scratch player and novice alike. The Branson/Lakes Area is dedicated to enhancing its natural environment and preserving its lakes and waterways.
Branson is conveniently located within a day’s drive of more than 1/3 of the country’s population. The Branson Airport (BKG), which is located approximately 8 miles south of Branson, began operation in May 2009. There are currently two airlines, Buzz Airways and Branson AirExpress that serve Branson. They provide direct service to Austin, Cincinnati, and New Orleans. Connecting through these cities, more than 100 national and international cities are only one stop away from Branson. The terminal is 58,000-SF and has the capacity to handle more than 1 million enplanements annually. Individuals and groups flying into Branson have access to the auto-services on-site, as well as taxi and shuttle service into Branson. The airport also includes a general aviation facility to handle corporate and private aircraft. The Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) is approximately 50 miles from Branson and serves all of Southwest Missouri with 70 daily flights connecting to eight international airports via four airlines. Choose from Allegiant, American, Delta, and United. These airlines offer direct flights to and from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix, Tampa/ St. Petersburg and one stop service to 476 domestic cities and 40 international destinations.