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How to have a great family mini-vacation without breaking the bank.
The Dutton Inn is very reasonably priced. The rooms are clean and a Free hot breakfast buffet is included in the price of the room. The only downside is they do not have a swimming pool but they do offer discounts to White Water (which is just across the street). They are located in the heart of the theater district (right between Hwy. 76 and Green Mountain Road). Green Mountain Road is an excellent way to avoid all the traffic of Hwy. 76.
Free! The Stone Hill Winery has free tours starting every 15 minutes and lasting about 30 minutes. Each tour ends with free wine tasting (they have grape juice for those who don't drink). The tour begins with a short video and then takes you through the winery complex showing the step-by-step winemaking process.
FREE! The fish hatchery is a fun place to visit with children. The have several outdoor tanks with fish and for $.25 you can buy a handful of feed.
Free! The students maintain the lovely landscaping, with walking paths, a pond with swans and fountains, and many spots other that are great for pictures. There are free tours of Edwards Mill which is a student-operated 1880's grist mill that produces several products you can buy on site. You can also tour the Ralph Foster Museum (for a modest fee) and see the original Beverly Hillbillies car and great collections of Ozarks history.
Free! Several of the theaters offer Free Sunday morning shows. You can hear the famous Branson entertainers and musicians doing traditional gospel music. Some theaters host worship services complete with preaching and testimonies.
It doesn't cost anything just to look! Branson has several excellent outlet malls: Tanger Outlet Mall, Factory Shoppes at Branson Meadows, and Factory Merchants Outlet Mall . Downtown Branson also has 101 shops (although the new waterfront is under construction so it may be difficult to find a praking place). In addition there are several theme malls featuring antiques, demonstrating master craftsmen, country crafts, or flea markets.
Free! The Dewey Short Visitor Center, normally open seven days a week from April 1st to October 1 of each year is located on State Highway 165 at the south end of the dam between Moonshine Beach and the State Park. There is a 20 minute film entitled, Ã¢Taming of the Riviera BlancheÃ¢ explains the history and construction of the dam itself. The visitor center is also one of the trail heads for the new 2.2 mile Table Rock Lakeshore Trail. The trail, completed in the fall of 2004 is level, paved, and is suitable for wheel chairs.
Free! Moonshine Beach is located across Table Rock Dam. Be sure to take water shoes as the rocks are a bit sharp. A nice, free alternative to the crowed water parks. ou can swim at this tree-shaded, sandy beach, picnic, hike the trails, or just sit and watch the passing sailboats and the majestic Showboat Branson Belle cruising by.
Silver Dollar City offers season passes. If you are planning on returning or if you would like to go to the park for 2 days it is more cost effective to purchase a season pass. Also, check their website before going as they often offer Internet Only specials like 2 days for the price of 1 day. Silver Dollar City is a wonderful theme park for all ages. They have also just opened a new area with rides for the smaller children. The parking is a bit difficult so get there early or be prepared to wait.