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Branson, Missouri

Drive 68.4 miles • 1 hour, 39 minutes

Go underground, head back in time and then finish your trip in a place where the music never ends. Discover the sides of Missouri that you never thought existed—but save enough energy to enjoy fantastic live music at the end of the day.



1. Fantastic Caverns

Starting Point • Nature, Quirky

When a state goes by the moniker of the “Cave State,” it’s no surprise that spelunkers make the pilgrimage. In all, Missouri boasts 5,600 caves. Fantastic Caverns, located just outside of Springfield, Missouri, is the state’s only drive-through cave, meaning that visitors can see stalagmites, tiny soda straws, cave pearls, massive columns and more from the comfort of a Jeep-drawn tram (leave all that expensive cave exploring equipment at home).


2. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

16.6 miles, 29 minutes • History

Missouri never officially joined the Confederacy during the Civil War, but thousands of native sons nonetheless signed up to fight for the rebel cause. A contingent of Missouri rebel forces duked it out with the Union during the Battle of Wilson’s Creek on August 10, 1861. Relive the action along a five-mile looping road and see the restored 1852 Ray House—a field hospital for rebel troops. Walk “Bloody Hill,” the site of a devastating Confederate cavalry charge.



3. Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

34.2 miles, 45 minutes • Nature

With an 18-mile tapestry of trails woven through a rugged Ozark landscape, the 2,502-acre Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area draws outdoor enthusiasts to hike, cycle and horseback ride. With unique rock outcroppings and the crystal-clear Woods Forks stream, Busiek reinvents itself with each season. There are two well-marked hiking trail systems—a 10-mile “East” trail system, and an eight-mile “West” trail system—that navigate the diverse terrain.



Vince Cook

4. Branson

17.6 miles, 25 minutes • Entertainment, Quirky, Shopping

At the heart of Missouri’s Ozark region, Branson is a place where country music theaters, miniature-golf courses and bumper-car concessions nudge up against chain restaurants and novelty stores. It’s kind of like Vegas, but without the R rating. Memorable attractions include Hamner’s Unbelievable Variety Show, Legends in Concert and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction. Just outside of Branson, the much-loved Silver Dollar City theme park delivers a hearty dose of All-American fun with rides and music.