Last updated on February 16th, 2024 at 12:53 pm
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Westgate’s Branson Resorts. See full disclosure policy here.
Are you thinking about your next vacation? If you’re looking for a kid-friendly getaway that you’ll love too, the Ozark Mountains just might be for you!
There’s no better place to enjoy nature, breathe in fresh air, and connect with nature. And, don’t worry, we’re not talking about heading to the middle of nowhere–there’s a little bit of everything in the Ozarks. You and your little ones will find loads of activities and experiences to enjoy!
If you’ve never been to the Ozark Moutains, let us be your guide to some of the best things to do, shows to see, and even some fun day trips to add to your itinerary.
Your Kid-Friendly Ozarks Guide
Where to Stay
Before jumping into the top kid-friendly activities, you’ll need to choose where you’re going to stay. The best suggestion for families, especially if it seems like your kids always have more energy than you do, is to head to a resort. Westgate’s Branson Resorts not only have kid-friendly amenities like a pool, but they also host and organize activities.
You can sign your kids up for all kinds of fun adventures, or, if they’re old enough, trust them to entertain themselves. This way, parents get time to relax–or can even get a recovery day if they need it.
When to Visit
There are plenty of things to do throughout the year, but by far the two best seasons to visit are summer (naturally, since the kids will be out of school) and fall. The fall colors and fall festivals in the area during the autumn are hard to beat.
If you prefer a Christmas vacation, there are some wonderful events to enjoy in the Ozarks during the holiday season. Branson lights up in millions of Christmas lights, and the beautifully-decorated Christmas trees are not to be missed.
Although there are holiday events, you can likely make your winter visit a weekend trip, since it’s too cold to enjoy everything the area has to offer. That’s why summer is your best bet, and fall is the runner-up.
What to Do
Now, let’s talk about the top kid-friendly excursions you’ll want to check out. Some of these will take the whole day, others just a few hours. But remember, with kids in tow, thing often longer than you expect. With little ones especially, plan for frequent breaks so everyone has time to recoup and reenergize.
Silver Dollar City
If there’s one day trip that’s an absolute must for the family, it’s Silver Dollar City. This theme park beats the rest for the sheer number of things to do. Of course, there are thrilling rides. Get your screams in by riding on the Outlaw Run or Fire in the Hole.
You can also watch live music shows, comedy shows, magic acts, and more. You can explore festivals, food, crafts, and even a cave. Everyone in the family will find lots to enjoy here.
Branson Scenic Railway
Take a trip on the Branson Scenic Railway if you want a lower-energy excursion. The railway takes you along a 40-mile loop from Branson to the Top of the Rock, where you’ll see some beautiful sights.
Not only will you get to see some amazing natural views, you can also enjoy a meal during your trip. Then, if you’re a hiker, when you reach the end of the line, you can head back down along the lakeshore into town. (It’s about 8.5 miles one-way.)
Table Rock Lake
Be sure to add a day out on the water to your vacation plans when you’re in the Ozark Mountains. The area is full of beautiful crystal clear lakes. And there are marinas where you can rent all the equipment you’ll need for a day out on the water.
One of the most popular lakes is Table Rock Lake. Here, you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and boats. Or maybe you want to go for a swim, or fish, or even look for turtles! With nearly 800 miles of shoreline to explore, allow yourself at least a full day at the lake.
Another great spot for non-stop action is Fritz’s Adventure. This is an an indoor adventure park and playground with over 80,000 square feet of explorable space! There are 19 different attractions, including rope courses, rock climbing walls, ziplines, and so much more. The best part is that there are activities for all ages and abilities, so no one is left out of the fun.
If there are any rainy days in the forecast, this is the place to be, since everything’s indoors!
Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure
If your kids love butterflies, don’t miss this rainforest garden. It’s home to thousands of live exotic butterflies imported from their native countries. Kids can learn all about these beautiful creatures, and see them up close.
Shepherd of the Hills
Shepherd of the Hills is a homestead experience with so much to offer! You and your kids can ride horses or walk among the treetops on over 600-foot of suspension bridges overlooking the beautiful Ozark Mountains. Then, you might want to watch a live show at the on-site theater.
Bonus: Top Day Trip Towns
Looking for even more family fun? Consider taking a day trip (or two) in the Ozarks. Here’s just a short list of the best options in the area:
- Eureka Springs, Arkansas – Eureka Springs is home to beautiful Victorian architecture, small boutique shops, and plenty of chances to enjoy live music.
- Mansfield, Missouri – Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the “Little House on the Prairie” series lived here, so if you’re a fan, you can visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum, among other attractions.
- Red Oak II – Do you love the arts? Visit a resurrected ghost town turned artist community that’s home to sculptures, galleries, and incredible architecture.
These are just some of the family-friendly activities to add to your to-do list as you plan your Ozarks getaway. You’ll also want to watch for special events and festivals during your stay, since they can make your trip even more special.
Have you visited the Ozarks? What do you recommend for first time visitors? Leave us a comment.
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