Tips For Enjoying Your Branson, Missouri Vacation

This year our family vacation adventures took us to Branson, Mo. Now, that we’ve been back for several weeks, I’ve had time to reflect on our trip and how fantastic it was! Fantastic and yet exhausting and wonderful. I’ve compiled a few tips for you and your family to help you assure that you enjoy your Branson vacation AND have a great time, just like we did:

Become friends with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Early on in our planning stages, I communicated with the Explore Branson people about a visitor’s guide, recommendations, etc. They were so helpful and answered any and all questions that I had. It was great to know that I had someone on my side to help make sure our trip went off without a hitch.

Budget. I know this may be obvious to some, but there is so much to see and do in Branson that spending can easily spin out of control. We had planned on spending so much and spent more! Because there were additional things we wanted to see and do it added to our cost, but in the end it was worth it. Be aware of admission prices to the places you want to go and the age cut-offs between kids and adults. Most everywhere in Branson, the cutoff is 12.

Plan time to relax. This is one of my tips for any vacation, but especially in a destination like Branson. The main part of the city is so busy and vibrant and there is so much to see and do that it’s easy to keep going and going until you’re all exhausted. But, both the kids and you (the parents) will be in much better moods if the kids get pool time and you get some downtime. It’ll make your excursions that much better.

Lost Canyon WOWM
Lost Canyon

Get outside the city. There is so much to do within Branson that in essence you don’t need to leave, but I assure you that you will want to! On our last day exploring Branson, we headed outside the city to Top of the Rock and Lost Canyon. We are so glad we did! It was great to get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy nature. The boys also partook in a fishing adventure on Table Rock Lake that took them away from all the excitement and they enjoyed that just as much.

Visit The Landing. While the main part of Branson and its attractions are where the theaters and museums are (along Hwy 76), there is a fantastic are along Lake Taneycomo called, “The Landing”. It’s an open mall consisting of stores, restaurants, pop-up vendors, a few little adventures, and the fountains. The fountain show is complete with fountains, fire, and music. It’s also only a few blocks from historic downtown Branson which is another great area to explore. It’s different than the rest of the city, but all four of us thoroughly enjoyed our time at The Landing!

the landing WOWM
The Landing

There is so much to see and do that it’s easy to be overwhelmed! Hopefully these few simple tips will help make your trip a success! Let me know if you do venture to Branson, I’d love to hear about it!

14081347_10153650927742237_71061657_nKaty blogs at Learning As I Go about life as a wife, a step-mom, and an adult. Follow her adventures around Iowa and the midwest with her family as well as their love for gardening and food! 

Hidden Gem in Southeastern Ohio: Boch Hollow Nature Preserve

By Abby Hockman of Wanderlost Travels

Nature preserves are never something I used to consider seeking out while traveling. However, all of that has changed after a recent visit to Boch Hollow in Logan, Ohio, only 20 miles south of my hometown. Boch Hollow’s 572 acres is divided into two parts – a part that requires a permit, and a part that does not.

Getting to Boch Hollow is half of the fun of the experience! The permit-required section of the preserve is extremely well-hidden and to get there you must cross a highway and climb over a guardrail to find the signs for the trail.

Road

Once you make it into this part of the Hollow, light pours in through the surrounding trees to reveal sights straight out of a fairy tale. Follow the path back to a series of waterfalls and a world of bright green moss and vibrant wild flowers are exposed.

Waterfall1

 

This part of Boch Hollow was only opened up in recent months and most of the locals don’t even know it exists! Since the number of permits is controlled, you may get the chance to explore the Hollow all by yourself. During my trip, we only encountered one other person in the Hollow during the first ten minutes.

Corkscrew

Pictures of the above Corkscrew Falls cannot do it justice. The space feels sacred and the rushing water cleared my mind from the noise of the everyday until I could do nothing but simply stand in appreciation of the beauty enfolding me. From Corkscrew Falls, it was a short jaunt back to the main road.

The access point to the general admittance portion of Boch Hollow is well-marked a few miles down the road from the falls. The other half of the preserve offers a completely different, but equally worthwhile vibe. Rather than the exciting waterfalls and virtually non-existent paths of the permit section, there is a generous path that leads to a serene lake bedecked with lily pads and cattails swaying in tandem with a calm breeze.

Path2

The lake is the perfect spot for picnicking, reflecting, or teaching children about nature. There were countless beautiful fireflies the day that we went. If only they would have stayed in one place long enough for a picture!

Lake

Boch Hollow is a special place because of the ecosystem. It is home to the largest population of Federally Endangered Running Buffalo Clover in Ohio. The Hollow is often utilized as a way to educate the public, specifically children, about Appalachian Ohio ecology. The cicadas and their song were out in full force this year after waking from their 17-year slumber.

Cicada

My favorite part of the lake was the multitude of mini lily pads.

Lilypads

Boch Hollow is on the outskirts of the well-known Hocking Hills region and is often left out when both locals and the international crowd travel to see Old Man’s Cave. Don’t forget to put this gem on your list of places to visit when you find yourself in Southern Ohio!

To obtain a permit for part of the preserve, you must apply through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Don’t worry if you don’t see Boch Hollow on the list – the permit required section is so new that it is not up on the website yet, but the process is still the same. To learn more about Boch Hollow, visit http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/bochhollow.

Visit Abby’s blog Wanderlost Travels and connect with her on Twitter @WLTravels or Facebook