Well, after the Branson, Missouri overview post and a post on the free things to do in Branson, now it’s time to move onto a couple of “everything else” posts. Today I wanted to share the other things I did in Branson that initially made my “free” things to do post. Technically, they are free and, if you don’t spend money at the places, obviously, they remain a no-cost adventure. But since you go to these places with the idea of spending money, I decided to move those to today’s post. Then there are the shows I saw when my dad flew in to visit for a couple days.

Finally, in next week’s post, I share the random other fun things I found. Spoiler alert: I saved the best of Branson for the last post. These are a combination of touristy things and off-the-beaten-path things.

Between this week and next, my intent is to give you a good mixture of the variety of things you can do in Branson, even if, like me, you aren’t a big fan of the flashy, touristy, over-priced adventures.

So, let’s jump right in.

Moonshine Tasting

I don’t know the history of moonshine in Missouri, but I’m inclined to think it’s a long one. Hence, its popularity of moonshine in Branson. Maybe it’s the hilly area. Back during Prohibition, you can see there would be lots of places to hide a still.

Brick wall with the logo for Smith Creek Moonshine panted on it.
Selfie Wall.

If you decide to go on a moonshine tasting adventure, you have a lot to choose from. One of my friends from the RV Entrepreneur Summit happened to be in Branson at the same time so joined me. We chose to visit Smith Creek in Branson Landing.  Branson Landing is, basically, a mall that runs along the riverfront.

And…guess what? I’d never tried moonshine. So, doing this made the top of my list because I love adding to my “firsts” list.

Their tasting included a sample of all 11 moonshines they produce which left me a bit lightheaded by the time we were done. Fortunately, they also serve food so we ended up eating lunch there to give the effects of the alcohol time to dissipate.

Stack of Mason jars filled with moonshine. A small sample cup in the foreground filled with orange-colored moonshine.
Orange Cream sample. Yummy.

Ten of the 11 moonshines are flavored which makes them about 50% alcohol. Salted Caramel is their most popular moonshine. But my favorites were Butter Cake and Orange Creme.  I bought a mason jar of each and will share them with friends during the Balloon Fiesta.

The most surprising one was the final one. Named Straight because it’s pure moonshine, 100% alcohol. I psyched myself to taste it, thinking it would take the skin off all the way to my stomach. It was surprisingly smooth and not painful. It’s the kind of drink that could get you in trouble—actually all of them were—because it’s hard to realize how much alcohol is going down because it all tastes so good.

Wine Tasting

Like the moonshine tasting, if you go wine tasting there are lots of places to choose from. The place I ended up was completely unplanned so it wasn’t chosen with research or review. We chose it because we saw a sign on the side of the road.

I’d planned a moonshine tasting with my dad during his visit, but the place I chose opened an hour later than I thought. Since I needed to get him to the airport, we didn’t have time to wait around until they opened. But as we were leaving, we saw a wine tasting sign and decided to follow it.  

Building that looks like Old English village, against a blue and white sky.
My dad’s hotel in Hollister. We learned on the train ride that downtown Hollister is fashioned after an Old English village.

Because I get so many wine tasting opportunities with my various Harvest Hosts stays (to learn more about the unique and totally awesome membership program, read this post) I wasn’t looking to do one in Branson. But it was fun and I ended up with a bottle of blueberry wine.

And if you are interested, click here for a 15% discount off a Harvest Hosts membership. The discount code will appear as a banner across the top of the screen.

Bonus Note: If you want to add a Missouri scenic drive to your tasting, many moonshine and wine tasting options are outside the center of Branson among the hills. You can make a lovely half-day adventure of the experience.

Outlet Mall

Shopping isn’t really my thing. In fact, the outlet mall in Branson was the first time I’d ever been to an outlet mall. But I love Crocs and needed a new pair. And, as it happens, one of the stores in the Branson outlet mall was a Crocs store which was also a first for me. Previous pairs, I’d purchased online with varying degrees of success in terms of fit.

I went with my friend after we did moonshine tasting as she loves Crocs too. I left with two pairs.

There were tons of stores so if you are a shopper—whether buyer or window—I think you’ll like the Branson outlet mall.

Visit from Dad

Man with white hair, red shirt and black shorts wheeling a piece of luggage. He is standing on the welcome sign at the Branson Missouri airport.
Picking my dad up at the Branson Missouri airport.

My dad came out for a few days at the beginning of my stay in Branson. He flew into the tiny, but nice, Branson airport. The drive to and from the airport is also nice scenery.

Our time together was a lot of fun. And a first for him to join me somewhere on the road. But definitely not the last. He stayed just down the road from me at a hotel in Hollister.


During his visit, he was particularly keen on seeing shows. So, we saw five. Four in one day alone. There are shows for every taste from magic to animals to comedy. And, of course, the live music shows Branson is known for.

Three men playing instruments--a cello, a guitar and a banjo.
The pre-show entertainment at the Dixie Stampede. Three talented brothers.

We saw Dolly Pardon’s Dixie Stampede (which came with dinner), the Duttons (who participated in one of those television talent shows and made it to the finals), Branson Murder Mystery Dinner theater that told of a period when Frank and Jesse James were in the area and included audience-assigned roles (in fact, an audience member was the killer) and two others.

Our favorite, without a doubt, was the Duttons. The three-generation family dances and sings. But mostly, they play string instruments. The group is super talented and—except for all the merchandise hawking that I mentioned in the first Branson post—we were in awe of the quality of the show and of their ability.

All Aboard

Taking the Scenic Train Ride was on my list, even if my dad didn’t visit. This, I have to say, was the single most disappointing thing I did in Branson. And my dad agreed. The reason? Because there is no “scenic” part of the scenic train ride. None.

Older man with white hair holding two tickets and a brochure, sitting at a table.
Before the train pulled out of the station. Two tickets and a brochure. We were so excited. Too bad it didn’t last.

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but barely. You spend nearly the entire train ride in a tunnel of trees. Truly, there was nothing scenic about the train ride.

Now if you love trains or train rides, you’ll probably like it. The top speed is 25 mph and you head south, cross the Arkansas border, go through a tunnel. Then stop and come back. However, I felt like it was a waste of time and money.

More to Come

I hope you aren’t sick of Branson yet as I have one final post. And it might be the best one because it includes my hands-down favorite thing I did in Branson.  And to think, I nearly missed it. 

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