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Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

Livonia, Michigan
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1,564 posts
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Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

There will be 12 of us vacationing in Branson Aug 5 - Aug 9 before heading to St. Louis for a few days. Our group will consist of 6 adults (two 70+, four 40+) and 6 children (ages 3 & 5 and 9, 11, 11 & 13). We are planning on staying in a 4 bedroom lodge at Stonebridge. We plan on doing some activities together and some apart. Looking to do some hokey touristy stuff as is why we're going to Branson, as well as looking for maybe a day trip or two (educational, nature, interesting) within an hour or so of Branson including adjoining states. I have some ideas on the hokey touristy stuff, but need some help on the day trips. Also, any advice on if we should avoid any of our touristy stuff which includes: duck tour, Mark Twain Breakfast, butterly palace, Bounce (basketball show), Branson Belle, Fantastic Caves, Hard Luck Diner & maybe a water/amusement park.

Thank you!

Chesapeake, VA
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for Virginia Beach
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1. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

I have not been yet -- going at the end of this week. But I'll tell you what we have planned. We're doing a day trip to Eureka Springs in Arkansas (about an hour from Branson). If you haven't heard of this place, just type eurekasprings.org and follow the links. Some of the interesting things there include a train ride through the Ozarks, LOTS of art shops, a haunted hotel, and a peculiar house known as Quigley's Castle (Google it). We also plan to visit the College of the Ozarks and have lunch on campus -- everyone says the food is great. If you don't know the story of this school, it's interesting: there is no tuition - students work their way through. There are a couple museums and galleries on campus that sound like they're worth a visit.

Nature -- there are several caves that others have recommended.

As for the hokey touristy stuff, I HAVE to see the Roy Rogers Museum with Trigger and Buttermilk on display! As a kid I watched the show every week and it was my desire to have a cowgirl outfit like Dale Evans' but I never got it. It's unthinkable that this isn't on your list too! HA!

Louisiana
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2. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

Ride the Ducks is so much fun. You have to go to Silver Dollar City, it is something for all ages to do. We are going in July and we are going to Silver Dollar City. Also you might consider the Sheperd of the Hills. They have a tram tour that takes you on a tour of the old Homestead. We are seeing the show, doing the tour and riding the horses. We are also seeing Baldknobbers, Presleys, Joey Riley, John Wayne, Yakov, and the Branson Belle. There are tons of museums, Titanic, Wax Museum, Ripley's, Veterans, Presidents, Roy Rogers, Patch Collection. I think you will find plenty to do. Have a great time planning! For me that is the funest part.

Livonia, Michigan
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3. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

Thanks to the both of you for the ideas. Yes, the planning is so much fun!

Des Arc, Arkansas
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4. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

Just got back from spending the Memorial Day weekend in Branson. I would definitely go to Silver Dollar City and the Showboat Branson Belle. We did both of those this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The Showboat is wonderful for all ages! The show is great and you'll laugh so hard you'll almost cry. It's so much fun!!! I've also heard the Titanic Museum is really good but haven't gotten to go yet. Plan on doing that later this summer.

I too would recommend a day trip to Eureka Springs. That's one of my favorite places to visit. There is also another website for Eureka Springs with lots of information. It's www.eurekasprings.com . There is a forum there called "Ask the Locals" with lots of good advice.

Have a great trip!

Kansas
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5. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

We go to Branson 2-3 times a year with our kids, ages 6-12. Definitely do Ride the Ducks, Branson Belle, Fantastic Caverns and Hard Luck. If you can swing it, Silver Dollar City is a place for all ages. Our family did not enjoy Bounce at all and my 2 males are huge basketball fans. There are a lot of shows that are better than Bounce, but if you're wanting hokey, that one would definitely fit the bill. If you're really wanting to do the unusual, Ripley's museum and/or the new Titanic museum would be fun. Have a great trip!

Linn, Missouri
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6. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

To the pp, who mentioned Quigley's Castle in Eureka Springs, I wouldn't waste the trip. Hubby and i went on our honeymoon 5 years back and it was almost creepy. It was outside of town and no one was there besides us and this older tour guide. The place was hokey and even when the tour guide left you to look, you still felt as though you were being watched.

Defintely go to the Hawthorne Chapel (I think the name is right), it's all glass and gorgeous, as well as their botantical garden.

amanda

Livonia, Michigan
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7. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

Thanks for all the feedback. It is greatly appreciated!

Louisville
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8. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

LoveVacations, just got back from Branson. We spent one day in Eureka Springs. Great shops on Spring St., but I didn't see much kids would like. The glass church is Thorncrown Chapel and well worth seeing. Eureka has a trolley system and for $4 you can ride all day. You can get off and on as many times as you want and they have different routes. One takes you to Thorncrown Chapel, one to the hotel at the top of the hill, one around historic district, etc. Eureka Springs was about 1 hr. from Branson.

The kids would love Silver Dollar City and there is a lot for adults as well as far as crafts and shops. They also have a lot of music. It is rather pricey. I think two adult tickets were $92.

Hard Luck Diner was fun. Also, there is a restaurant called Lambert's outside of Springfield. It's lots of fun... they throw rolls to you.

Have fun!

Livonia, Michigan
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9. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

Thanks for the trip report. I have another post out about my lodging choice. It seems that traffic can be a problem. Wondering if I should keep my current plan and stay at Stonebridge or maybe change to Thousand Hills which is closer to town. Did you run into a lot of traffic, especially around Silver Dollar City? I don't mind a traffic jam here or there, but I don't want to spend my whole vacation sitting in traffic.

Louisville
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10. Re: Large Family Vacation Advice & Day Trips

We didn't get into traffic until Friday, 5/26. We stayed on Green Mtn. Rd. (yellow route) and took all the alternate roads when we could. Traffic was really bad Friday, even at 10:00 p.m. when we got out of a show. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going, and stay off 76 when you can if there is lots of traffic. The first 4 days we were there (Monday thru Thursday), we had no problem at all.