If you think that visiting Branson with teens and young adults may not be so hot, think again. The Missouri city is filled with a ton of super fun things to do especially with teens. From unbelievable museums to testing their skill at their golf short game to rolling on a river and century old artifacts, here are the best things to do in Branson with teens and young adults during the holidays or any time of year.
Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by the fine folks at Explore Branson to give you the scoop on the best things to do in Branson for teens. All opinions are my own!
The last time we were anywhere near Branson, MO, was a visit to Eureka Springs, AR. During our road trip, I kept seeing billboards featuring Branson and swore that I’s visit soon as everyone I talked to about the city had rave reviews. So this year, we packed up the car and drove 13 hours from Pittsburgh to see what Branson has to offer teens during the holidays. The results were a happy surprise for both my teen (now 20!) daughter and me. Here’s the scoop.
Branson with Teens: Showboat Branson Belle
I have a daughter that loves old fashioned riverboats. So, a ride on the Showboat Branson Belle was a no brainer for our first night in town. We were able to choose from a prix fixe menu (she loved the salmon!) and enjoy a well-choreographed dinner show while rolling on a river.
If you or your family member is leery about being on a boat, it was smooth as glass and we barely noticed we were moving.
Branson with Teens: Silver Dollar City Theme Park
While I would definitely recommend visiting Silver Dollar City theme park during the winter holidays to see its millions of lights, it’s fun no matter what season you go. With an 1880’s (think steampunk-ish) themed atmosphere, each park section is different from the next. But for teens and young adults I definitely recommend checking out its coaster, especially Time Traveler.
During An Old Time Christmas, the park glows with over 6.5 million holiday lights and it’s literally wall to wall glimmering beauty. Make sure to hang around until after dark to really see the splendor of the park, check out the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer throwback parade, and taste its famous treats including cinnamon bread and rolls.
If you’d like to take a look at our first time experience at Silver Dollar City here is YouTube video link:
Branson with Teens: Titanic Museum Attraction
During my visit to Branson, all my daughter wanted for her 20th birthday was to check out the Titanic Museum. Outside is very cool as it looks like the Titanic itself complete with water wake. But inside is where the real fun happens.
While the entire experience is worth the ticket price, the real magic is seeing actual Titanic artifacts and glimpses of what passengers would have eaten and witnessed while on the ship.
We visited during the winter holidays, so the lobby area and grand staircase were decorated to the hilt. But, truly, it is worth visiting any time of year.
Branson with Teens: Snowflex
With or without snow, Snowflex is a fun way to tube down a giant hill all year long. It uses a slick plastic base and light water spray to slide down hill and we were able to go both solo and tandem.
Hour long passes are available for purchase and timed tickets are a necessity.
Branson with Teens: Hollywood Wax Museum
I’ve been to some hokey wax museums in my day, but the Hollywood Wax Museum in Branson was not one of them. Filled with both classic and newer celebrities, we really enjoyed the fact that you could get up close and actually take photos with the statues, check out their height compared to ours, and even have some fun photo ops with a couple of “Jacks”.
Additionally, almost every section has props to wear or hold, so look out for those to amp up your photo fun.
Shoot for the Stars Mini Golf
Literally across a small street from the Hollywood Wax Museum is a fun mini golf course called Shoot for the Stars. With 18 all-outside holes, make sure to check this one out on good weather days.
The theme is pretty interactive in that it makes you work your way up to become a full fledged Hollywood star or starlet, and includes both some easy and challenging holes.
Branson Aquarium at the Boardwalk
Branson Aquarium is truly a must see no matter how old you are. During our visit, we aquatic specimens that we have never seen in any other aquarium, and we’ve toured plenty. Including a “mermaids purse”,aka, shark egg lit from behind to actually show the baby inside.
My advice, particularly if you don’t enjoy crowds, is to visit when it opens or a little while before closing.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum
I’ve been to several Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museums in my lifetime, so watching my daughter mosey around and check out the exhibits was well worth the visit. Each of its two floors is jam packed with oddities and unbelievable facts which are always a jaw dropping site.
There are several hands-on exhibit to enjoy, but the part she liked most was the video changing effect room.
Branson with Teens: Shepherd of the Hills
Unique in the fact that it has an arial course, petting zoo, old fashioned Christmas decorations, and an actual chapel, Shepherd of the Hills is a must see at least one time.
If you’re pressed for time and can only see a couple things, I highly recommend the Copperhead Mountain Coaster (check out our YouTube POV above) and it’s dinner shows. During our visit, it offered a murder mystery dinner show complete with southern comfort food.
Branson with Teens: Drive Through Holiday Lights of Joy
You’re never too old for Santa in my book, so getting to meet him in person and drive through gorgeous light displays is the perfect blend of holiday cheer. With car headlights off, we crept through the well lit paths with mouths agape looking at the animated light displays.
What my daughter loved was there were multiple holiday and religious themes and they get bigger and better with each passing year.
Branson with Teens: Branson Ferris Wheel
If your teen doesn’t have a fear of heights, taking a spin on the Branson Ferris Wheel is a very good suggestion. Coming in at 150 feet tall the cabins are open air so make sure plan when the weather is nice or prepare to bundle up. From the top, the view is so gorgeous!
Branson with Teens: Where to Stay in Branson
During our visit, we stayed at Hilton Branson Convention Center. It’s right in the heart of historic downtown Branson, connected to the Branson Convention Center.
We stayed in a two-queen room that looked out to the shops and restaurants at Branson Landing are across the street and the Branson Scenic Railway down below. The property features both an indoor and outdoor pool, fitness center, and valet parking which we really loved.
During the holidays, we had an amazing view of the light display at Branson Landing and could even hear Christmas music from our window. Ahh…