Hi guys! Happy Friday. I wanted to share a recap of our recent family vaca to Branson, MO because we had SUCH a great time! Obviously a lot of peoples’ vacations are being postponed/cancelled due to COVID, and we were no exception. We had originally planned to go to the Bahamas, but cancelled that and still wanted to find a way to be together for the holiday. So, my sister and I started researching where we could all drive and rent a house. My sister and her family live in Austin, TX, my parents still live in Chicago, and obviously Mike and I live in Cincinnati, so we needed to find somewhere somewhat equidistant that we could all road trip since none of us felt safe/comfortable flying right now. Enter Branson, MO. Nestled a bit south of the Ozarks, Branson is basically a tourist trap type town with tons of outdoor adventure to be had [think a hybrid of the Wisconsin Dells and Gatlinburg, TN]. It was ~9 hours for all of us to drive and we found this awesome 6 bedroom house [that could sleep up to 16!] and we hit the road.
We knew that we’d be basically just sheltering in place together at this house, so we wanted to make sure it had all the amenities we needed to be comfortable for a week there. This was probably the most stacked rental I’ve ever stayed in in terms of accessories and utilities in the house. There was every plate/cup/utensil you could need, tons of towels, board games and books, and a shuffleboard table that was the real MVP of the trip! The community that the house is in had a neighborhood pool too. We went there for about an hour each morning where we had it COMPLETELY to ourselves and then we would leave once other people arrived. There was a trail behind the house that we walked everyday, as well. I highly recommend checking this house out if you’re looking to plan a trip!
I will preface this by saying that I packed SUPER casually knowing that we’d really be at the pool/lake, hiking a trail outside, or hanging around the house. But, here is what I wore throughout the week.
tie-dye PJ set [under $25; wearing a L]
scalloped high-waisted bikini [size up]
Like I said, we basically hung out around the house most of the time, but we did venture out for a few activites where we were able to keep our distance and enjoy the outdoors!
Boat Day – This was so awesome! We got a pontoon for the day and the check-in process was super smooth and we were able to stay totally distant from other people until we got on the boat. We spent 5 hours cruising around and swimming in coves. Highly recommend this!
Ruth & Paul Henning Conservation Trail – This was a hike we did as a family that even my 70+ year old parents joined us on. It was a bit steep/intense at times, but had some killer views. I’d call this moderate difficulty and was a great activity for everyone [even the kids finished it].
Top Of the Rock Golf Cart Tour – This was probably the highlight of the trip. This tour has unbelievable views, a bar inside a cave, and a totally socially distant activity. We all LOVED this and thought it was worth every penny.
Table Rock Lakeshore Trail – This was the easiest walk/hike of the bunch and had a good view of the lake and boats. The kids loved this one and made for a leisurely afternoon activity.
Lakeside Forest Wilderness Trail – This was the most strenuous of the hikes with an absolutely amazing view. This one is not for the faint of heart [we climbed up 27 floors of steps!] but it was awesome.
We basically got groceries and cooked/grilled out at home every day. We did order pizza out twice; once we ordered from Hook & Ladder [which we would not recommend] and then Mr. Gilbertis [which was pretty good deep dish pizza]. There seem to be a lot of in-dining options [which we didn’t feel comfortable doing] and not so much delivery/take-out. Keep that in mind if scheduling a trip, especially in the near future!
All in all this was such an unforgettable family trip where so many laughs were had and memories were made. If you’re in the Midwest, I highly recommend taking the trip down to Branson. Even during COVID where we really didn’t do much/go anywhere, there were still options to get outside and enjoy nature while staying socially distant. The drive was really easy [even for the length] and we all had such an amazing time. There are tons of houses to rent so you’re sure to find somewhere that can accommodate your families. Let me know if you have any other questions!
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