Eclipse Trip Leg 9–Kansas City to Branson

Where We Stayed

Next, we drove southeast to Branson, Missouri. So far on this trip, we’ve driven through Texas hill country and some of the Great Plains. On this drive, we made it to the Ozarks.

Missouri Travel Tip

We didn’t stop there, but while passing the Springfield Bucee’s, we saw they have designated RV parking!

There are so many billboards on the drive to Branson! If you enjoy live entertainment, you’ll love Branson. There are billboards for all kinds of shows.

Also, the scenery is beautiful. The landscape really changes going up into the mountains.

Where We Stayed

Branson Treehouse Adventures gets its name from the dozen or so treehouses you can rent. We didn’t get to go in any of them, but each one has a different look, and they are really cute from the outside. Some even have a small suspension bridge. I imagine it would be a great place to stay with kids.

At the moment, the campground is basically empty. There are two sections of the campground. There are two RVs in the front, and we are one of three RVs in the back. Granted, it’s a Monday, so I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised. And, although unexpected, the quiet is definitely nice.

Campground NameBranson Treehouse Adventures
LocationBranson West, MO
DatesApril 15-17, 2024
Site NumberSite 31
Site SurfaceGravel (with concrete pad for picnic table)
Hook-upsFull hookups + 50-amp electric
Cost$63.09 per night (including taxes and fees)
Water Pressure30 psi
Voltage120 V
AT&T Speed Test24 Mbps down; 24 Mbps up
Verizon Speed Test110 Mbps down; 11 Mbps up
T-Mobile Speed Test340 Mbps down; 36 Mbps up
Campground WiFi3 Mbps down; 12.75 Mbps up

As cute as the treehouses look, I can’t say we will be coming to this campground again. Why? It all comes down to the dogs…

While the campground allows dogs, I wouldn’t exactly consider them dog-friendly. Several factors together just left us feeling that dogs were allowed, but not wanted.

  • There is no dog park.
  • This is the first campground we’ve been to that required a pet deposit (refundable, but still) and the first that wanted to know their breeds and weights when we checked in.
  • We received three papers when we checked in. One campground map, one sheet of coupons, and an entire sheet devoted to the pet rules. (More on this later.)
  • Multiple “no dogs allowed” signs.

One of the pet rules is that pets cannot go on campsites other than your own, even if they’re vacant.

There is a lot of gravel here. The road is gravel; the sites are gravel (with a concrete pad for the picnic table); the space between sites is gravel. The only green seems to be the trees and where weeds have grown up through the gravel.

Since our site was gravel and concrete, we had to go elsewhere for potty breaks (let alone actual walks). But where?

Well, pets aren’t allowed on other sites. There is some grass by the pool and playground, but there are “no dogs allowed” signs there. The answer is a small, grassy field under the power lines near the front of the campground (and the road). They told us at check-in that we could let them off-leash there. I don’t know about your dogs, but mine like long walks, not laps around a small field. There are a few trails marked on their map, but because of the terrain, they weren’t an option for our senior, large

No one ever said anything negative about dogs, but overall, I’d say this is not an ideal place to stay if you’re traveling with dogs.

Branson Travel Tip

The campground gave us a sheet of coupons when we checked in. (I’m willing to bet they’re given out elsewhere, too.) Be sure to look at those! We found coupons for two activities we were already planning on!

What We Did

Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City, the 1880s-themed amusement park, is only about five minutes from the campground. There’s so much to look at, so even if you aren’t big on roller coasters, there are plenty of shops to wander and food to taste while the thrill-seekers in your family have some fun.

I’m not big on roller coasters (for me, the cinnamon bread is the best part), but Silver Dollar City had some interesting rides. For example, have you ever seen a water ride with an elevator? I have! You should try out the river raft ride called Mystic River Falls for that experience alone. Outlaw Run was intense! Don’t let the fact that it’s a wooden coaster fool you! The coaster called Time Traveler had an unexpected twist (no pun intended).

Silver Dollar City Travel Tip

The locker rental machine only takes cash and would only accept exact change at the time we were there, so have some small bills available. (It was $12 for an all-day rental when we were there.)

Speaking of cinnamon bread, don’t wait until the end of the day to buy it! Around 5:15, we went to the shop that sells the bread, and a woman told us she’d have fresh bread in 10 minutes. It was a small shop, so we decided to wait outside. When we went back in about 8 minutes later, there was a short line and the woman told us the person in front of us would be the last person to get bread. I wish I’d realized there would be such a limited quantity and that we’d waited inside. I hope we remember that if we’re ever here again.

Table Rock Lake

We drove about 20 minutes to Indian Point Campground, one of 13 campgrounds adjacent to Table Rock Lake. We took a quick walk around the campground and then let the dogs wade in the lake.

Table Rock Dam is only a 16-minute drive from the campground. There’s also a visitor center (whose pictures look quite impressive) and several hiking trails nearby. We didn’t make it there, but if you’re in the area, that looks like it’s worth investigating.

Talking Rocks Cavern–So Much More Than a Cave Tour

As far as I’m concerned, Talking Rocks Cavern is a must-see attraction if you’re ever in Branson. We’ve taken several cave tours in the last few years. This isn’t the biggest or most spectacular cave, but it was the best overall experience. There are many fun things to see and do here, making it more than just a cave tour.

As expected, our guide pointed out the expected cave formations (which are fascinating) and explained the history of the cave.

My favorite part of the tour was when she found two different species of cave salamanders.

This is the most kid-friendly cave I’ve seen. Not so much the tour as the other activities at the location. There are slides, miniature golf, and even a nature trail that leads to a lookout tower (and a great view).

Talking Rocks Cavern’s lookout tower
The view from Talking Rocks Cavern’s lookout tower

I saved my favorite part for last. I would like to introduce to you…the SpeleoBox. What’s a SpeleoBox, you ask? It’s designed to simulate caving and “consists of over 100 feet of crawl-way on 5 different levels with numerous twists, turns, tight-spots, climb-ups and climb-downs.” There is one outside the building and one inside, and they are great fun. I thought it was a kids-only thing, but when I learned the father of some kids in our tour group had done one, I decided to try it too. It was harder than I thought it would be, but so much fun. I wish I’d seen one of these when I was a kid!

Talking Rocks Cavern Travel Tip

When you’re in the gift shop, be sure to find and explore the mineral blacklight room! There’s a lot to look at in the gift shop, so it’s easy to skip, but that part is definitely worth some time.

Branson’s Wild World

I have mixed feelings about Branson’s Wild World. Part of the problem might be that it’s the first place we went after the Kansas City Zoo. Comparing the two places is just not a fair fight. Secondly, Branson’s Wild World is not an AZA facility, so I was skeptical from the start. Some of their enclosures were fine, but others had a lot of room for improvement, I thought.

With only two exceptions, their animals are spayed/neutered, so they get points for that. They also have signs on some of the exhibits about certain animals that were rescued from poor circumstances. I was pleasantly surprised to discover some signage about why snakes are beneficial.

A sign about snake venom being used in modern medicine
A beautiful Gaboon viper

Overall, I don’t think we would go back if we were in the area again. My suggestion would be to save your money for the Talking Rocks Cavern.

The Branson Coaster

We passed this on the way back to the campground one day and decided to stop. It’s kid-friendly because a child can ride with an adult. It was a little pricey, but it was fun.

Happy travels!

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