Branson is a small city located in Taney County, Missouri, in the southernmost part of the state. It was formally incorporated as a city in 1912, and currently has a population of 6,050 residents. However that doesn’t even begin to cover the popularity that Branson Missouri Vacations have earned throughout it’s history.
Branson enjoys a great deal of popularity as a tourist attraction, especially for residents of nearby states, due in part to its proximity to a number of lakes that are ideal for fishing and other outdoor activities.
However, the first real tourist attraction in Branson was a cave called Marvel Cave, which now sits inside one of Missouri’s most popular amusement parks, called Silver Dollar City. Branson also has many museums and hosts a number of musical and variety acts every year.
One of the main contributing factors in Branson’s first becoming a tourism capital of the Midwestwas the publication of a 1907 novel about the Ozarks entitled “The Shepherd of the Hills” by Harold Bell Wright. This popular book drew many curious visitors to the Ozark region in southern Missouri, and the tourism industry of Branson was born.
The first Branson Missouri Vacation attraction was the aforementioned Marvel Cave, but after the Depression and World War II, the residents of Branson added many more attractions to their growing city. In 1949, a local artist and a local businessman teamed up to create a giant Christmas nativity scene which is traditionally illuminated on the first day of December and draws crowds of up to 30,000 yearly. Branson also has a popular Christmas parade to go along with the lighting of the nativity. During the 1970s and 1980s, many musical acts of the country and folk genres opened their own theaters in Branson and performed shows there throughout the year. This, combined with the popularity of Silver Dollar City, made Branson a great family travel destination as many attractions in the city were appropriate for all ages and some even had a historical or educational aspect to them.
Today, tourists flock to Branson for fishing on man-made and natural lakes, shopping at department stores and outlet malls, and just to enjoy the pristine natural beauty of the Ozark region. Musical and variety shows continue to be very popular as well, such as Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, which opened a Branson location in the mid-90s.