Transportation and Travel to Branson is much Easier…
Transportation to Branson is getting even easier in 2009. Up until this year 2008 aprx. 95% of Bransons visitors came by vehicle. These included private automobiles, RVs, chartered bus and rented cars from the Springfield-Branson Airport Stringfield, Mo about 40 miles to the north. The other 5% probably arrived by private or chartered airplane flying into the Taney County Airport . This airfield is a smaller airport on the grounds of the College of the Ozarks in Branson and not large enough for commercial airplanes.
While the above transportation options will still be the main travel source Branson will, in the spring of 2009, have it’s own commercial airport called the Branson Airport and it is in the city of Hollister , a Branson suburb, and is only 8 miles or 15 minutes from Branson. The Springfield-Branson Airport will continue to bring in passengers to Branson where they maybe able to make better connections from their home city or find better fares. Surface transportation from Springfield would make the savings smaller.
This new airport will also bring in folks to the new Branson Convention Center . Grayline will provide ground transportation of all types from the new airport as well as to and from Springfield. The Branson Airport will also have a hotel built soon and is very close to several Golf Courses and Branson Creek Lodging . Click on the airport link for much more on the new facility.
Even though millions of folks arrive yearly at Branson via Motor Coach. In my opinion they have one major setback. The coach tours are booked so filled with shows (to make them sell better) they leave no time for leisure or side trips. They will often have 3-4 shows a day with only time between to eat quick meals and sleep. We have had friends arrive this way and they had to give up shows to come and see our new home overlooking Table Rock lake and the Branson skyline.
We picked them up and returned them because they had no private surface transportation. With that said I think the Motor Coach tour is a good way to first visit Branson and get a general feel for the city and the area and all the Entertainment and Attractions.
The next trip you might like to have your own transportation so you can see more of the Ozark Mountain County and the beautiful lakes we have in abundance. You may also want to make a side trip to Eureka Springs which is really a wonderful experience as it is a great look at a early Ozark Mountain Country Town built deep in the hills with lots of quaint Victorian architecture and narrow streets winding along the mountain canyon floor with the homes and businesses hanging on the mountain walls. I remember one shop that had the mountain face as it’s back wall.
Your own transportation would also give you a chance to get in some great fishing and boating and you could even stay at a Lake Resort and still be only minutes from the famous Hwy 76 Country Music Boulevard. There is also good fishing and kayak/canoe/tubing on the Buffalo River just to our south. We also made a side trip to Little Rock Arkansas and visited the President Clinton Library. Our surface transportation is really much better since they completed the second lane on highway 65 south from Branson to the Arkansas state line where there were 4 lanes before. This improvement also includes a new super traffic exchange in the city of Hollister that eliminated two traffic lights that used to back up traffic for miles to Branson and points farther north or south. Highway 65 is also a main north south route for lots of truck traffic and that also makes for tough bumper to bumper traffic. Now there is never a slowdown on highway 65 unless there are repairs or an accident.
OK, now lets talk about traffic on Hwy 76, also known as Country Music Blvd., except during the winter off tourist season this 5 mile stretch of hwy. is bumper to bumper. The city has tried to limit the number of stop lights as they really slow down the through traffic. There is however 4 traffic lights and they are really needed to handle all the merging and cross traffic at major intersections. Folks here, well the locals usually, will slow down the 76 traffic or even stop a little short to let merging traffic get in line or at least into the center turn lane. This turn lane really helps keep the traffic moving.
After being here a while you will see or read about the traffic relief routes. They basically are parallel or circle routes that take traffic off the main drag and move them around the traffic back ups and back to the hwy. close to their destination. We locals use them all through the busy season to get around quicker. You need to stop at a visitor center and get a map that has all the traffic relief routes marked on them and those maps will also have all the attractions/entertainment marked as well. These routes are designated by colors such as the Green Route, Red Route or Blue Route Etc.
One great way to get a tour of the city and lake area is to take a tour on the Ducks. These are amphibious military style crafts that go on land and in the water. These are being built here in Branson now. They will take you through part of the city and out to Table Rock Lake where you will take a cruise over by the Branson Bell Showboat and you will see the State of Missouri Campground and Marina Then you travel up to a couple high look out spots where you can look out over the lake and the city.
There have been some studies made on how to alleviate some of the traffic along the strip. They have looked at closing the strip and only using trolley or monorail but that would only put the traffic somewhere else and be hard on those that have disabilities. They also want to preserve the original flavor of the strip and not make it look commercial. The way it is works OK you just have to allow lots of extra time to go only a few miles at bumper to bumper speed of aprx. 5 MPH. Most of the tour bus drivers know the back streets and usually stay off the main drag. All the shows have special parking spots for the tour buses. Many folks book lodging on the strip and walk to their shows it’s almost as fast as driving. There is cab service but no city bus service in Branson.
Another fun thing you can do is visit the older downtown part of Branson, the Business District, where the Branson Convention Center and Branson Landing is located and go for a scenic trip on the Branson Scenic Railroad. We took the train trip when all the trees were in fall color and it was really beautiful. The trip takes you out of the city and down the valley out into the country through a tunnel or two and stops on a high curved trestle. No it doesn’t turn around there it is just pulled back to town by an engine on the other end. Yup it has an engine on both ends. This is a great get away ride.
Train passenger travel service stopped coming to Branson many many years ago but the track is still there going north and south through town and it hauls freight on the most costly section of the entire rail line. All the grade was hand made with dynamite to blast the mountain sides and the loose rock was used to fill in the low spots on the grade. The tunnels were carved through the mountain and bridges constructed over the river and Taneycomo Lake. There is also scenic Tethered Balloon and Helicopter rides available in town. If you are up to a scenic drive you wouldn’t want to miss the Wineries, Table Rock Dam , State of Missouri Fish Hatchery (417-334-4865)and travel through the Ozark Mountain Country. You can make a day trip all the way around Table Rock Lake and visit all the neighboring villages and cities along the way. There are some companies that give private tours of the area also.
We covered travel by Automobile, RV, Tour Bus, Airplane, Boat, Train and even the Ducks. We are glad to see about 8-10 million folks a year and with the new airport and Branson Convention Center we are hoping to extend our season to nearly year around. Ya-AL Come Now Ya Hear!
All the colored words or phrases on the page are links that will open to more information on that subject and return you to this page when you close them.
Motorcycles and Bikers have known about Branson for a long while but only recently with modern communications and the Internet have these folks been able to get together and plan rallies to Branson and the Ozark Mountain Country. Now the rallies are getting more frequent and larger and on the Motorcycles Page you can get all the details.