It’s hard to have a bad experience in a Branson vacation

I just love going to Branson. I don’t go often enough. When we go to Branson, it’s usually just a long weekend.

That’s probably good because we like to pack in a lot of activity and it can get expensive.

We have probably stayed at 20 different hotels in our many excursions to the Show Me State. Some have been really good but none have been really terrible. You would think we would go to the same place each time but thanks to the Internet, we keep finding great deals on bargains at hotels.

And to be honest, we don’t spend much time in our hotels because we go out to eat and every night and usually take in a show each night.

You could get a really cheap hotel for maybe $50 a night or you could spend $400 or $500 for a really nice condo on the lake or a log cabin in the woods.

I have stayed at lousy hotels elsewhere, but I’ve never had a terrible stay in Branson.

Shopping in Branson is fun.

We like to go to the Tanger Outlet Mall. Unlike so many other outlet stores, the ones at Tanger Outlet really discount their prices. And they have a unique set of stores ranging from kitchenware to quilts to chocolate fudge.

The only time we didn’t like Tanger Outlet Mall was on Thanksgiving night a few years ago. All the stores were going to be open at midnight, so we decided to drop by and shop.

That was a mistake.

All the parking spots were taken and we had to park in a dirt field behind the center. We left pretty quickly.

Silver Dollar City has to be the main attraction in Branson. It is so rich with culture, including craftsmen like silversmiths, glass blowers, bakers and blacksmiths.

The food is great. Our kids (who are grown) still love the rides. There are music shows and special events almost every day.

Christmas is special in Branson and even though the rides are closed, Silver Dollar City is a real treat during the holidays. And I love the fact that Silver Dollar City is owned by a Christian family who not only speak of the faith but treat their employees and customers as they would like to be treated.

And, of course, there are the live shows – more than 100 to choose from.

I think I have seen more than 20 shows, many more than once.

I have only seen one show that I didn’t enjoy (I am not saying which one).

The music, the magic and the comedy are refreshing. There are no blue comics in Branson. All the shows are family friendly and safe for kids.

When our kids were little and we first went there, our kids were not thrilled about going to “hillbilly shows” with country music. That changed immediately when they saw that Branson shows have a wide variety of formats. But even the hard-core hillbilly shows are a barrel of fun.

I have never heard a bad vocalist in Branson. The level of talent is top-notch, as far as I can tell.

And there is the Christian influence in the shows. It’s very upfront with some (which I like) and it’s more subtle with others. The Mormon shows are interesting because they don’t proclaim Mormon doctrine (there are some hints) and even those shows portray traditional, moral values.

The Branson shows all love veterans. Many shows with have a chorus of the fight songs for the various branches of the military and almost all shows will have a spot to honor America’s military.

We love to eat out in Branson.

One of our favorite steakhouses, Montana Mike’s, had closed its locations, but they have reopened on the Strip and that’s great.

Most hotels offer some kind of breakfast, from a light menu on a continental breakfast all the way up to a full buffet. We stayed in a hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, one time that had a free continental breakfast next to their buffet. Our kids were not happy that we weren’t springing for the buffet.

Branson has most the chain restaurants and fast food – including a new Chick-fil-A. We like to eat at least once on the Showboat Branson Belle, which serves a great dinner.

Going hungry in Branson is not a concern.

I like Orlando but Branson is so much closer and less expensive. I will take Silver Dollar City over Disney World any day of the week.

I guess that’s because I have a little bit of hillbilly in me…