Branson, Missouri is one of America’s most rapidly growing tourist destinations, drawing more than 9 million visitors every year with its vibrant theater district, theme park attractions, and the natural majesty of the Ozark Mountains. Branson is family-friendly and absolutely bursting with opportunities to fill a day, a week, or a month.
Whether you’ve come to visit the world-famous Silver Dollar City amusement park, take in a performance at Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Show, be inspired and wowed by a biblical epic performed at the Sight and Sound Theatre, ride the gigantic Branson Ferris Wheel that was once at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, see an action-packed historical reenactment at the Shepherd of the Hills outdoor theatre, visit the Talking Rocks Cavern, hike the enveloping trails in Table Rock State Park, stroll the shops at Branson Landing, or have meal or ice cream at the campus hotel and be enheartened by the student industry at the nearby College of the Ozarks, you’ll have no shortage of ways to spend your time in Branson.
Of course, that means you’ll also find no shortage of ways to spend your money. The price of all that fun can really add up. According to Champion Traveler, a family of four will pay an average price of $5,801 for four days in Branson. In other words, Branson may be family-friendly, but it will take a little extra work and research on your part to make it financially friendly as well.
The good news is that you can actually start saving money on your trip right away, or at least you can begin recouping your expenses, by booking your flight with a credit card that offers generous airline mile rewards. Before you book your flight, we strongly recommend checking out the Best Airline Miles Credit Cards. Make sure you earn miles on your trip to Branson, and on every business or personal flight you take before your big vacation.
Otherwise, read on and check out these 10 ways to save money on your trip to Branson…
1. Book During Off-Peak Season
Any time you’re planning a vacation, your best deals will come during off-peak season. Branson is a particularly popular destination for tourists and visitors both during the summer months and throughout the Christmas holiday season. Certainly, one of the reasons for this popularity is that Branson is pretty darn charming and festive during the holidays. For instance, the Silver Dollar City theme park features a number of notable performances and shows during the holidays. But many of these shows will take a hiatus as soon as the New Year arrives. So before you pick the date for your trip, Branson Vacation Cabins advises “be sure that the attractions you’re most looking forward to will be open during your vacation.”
With that in mind, if your goal is to save money on the trip, Champion Traveler notes that you’ll score your best prices on flights, lodging, park passes and performance tickets by visiting between January 8th and March 11th; or between August 13th to November 25th. Champion Traveler also notes that tourist traffic is typically lower in the last two weeks of April and that the “absolute cheapest time to take a vacation in Branson is usually mid to late September.”
2. Sit Through the Timeshare Pitch
I know what you’re thinking…that sounds like a drag, and a great way to get swindled. But hey, think of it as a free hour in an air-conditioned room, followed by an entirely free stay at the hotel or resort that they’re attempting to sell you on. Here’s the thing—generally speaking, a time-share is not worth it. As long as you know that, and as long as you are confident that you can sit through the timeshare pitch without being dazzled by a high-pressure superstar salesperson, you will absolutely save a fortune on your lodging. Before you agree to any free timeshare stay or gift,
Grand Oaks Hotel recommends that you “Read the fine print. Do you have to buy anything? Does your income qualify you for the presentation and free gift?” As long as the answers are “no” and “yes” respectively, it’s not a crime to feign interest for the free room, or the free theater tickets, or the restaurant comps, or whatever else they offer in exchange for your time.
3. Register for A Branson Coupon Book
Branson is home to tons of shows, restaurants and special events, which is great. But all that fun can add up to a lot of money. Fortunately, if you’re willing to do a little old-fashioned coupon clipping, you won’t have to pay full price for most of these experiences. In fact, you can plan your trip around opportunities to save by enlisting the services of a location-specific travel agency like Save on Branson.
Save On Branson offers visitors access to a Free Branson Premium Coupon Package that highlights affordable experiences, provides a schedule of cheap daily specials, and includes an array of discounts for performance tickets and spotlighted attractions. You can use these deals and discounts to schedule the ideal time for your visit to any number of attractions including performances with discounted off-peak tickets, restaurants with early-bird specials, and theme parks with discounts for early or late entrance.
Get your hands on a coupon package before you arrive so you can start budgeting for your trip now. But don’t stop there. Employing the services of a company like Save On Branson can also offer perks upon your arrival. For instance, you can pick up “Branson vacation guides, dining guides, color brochures, large Branson maps and so much more at [Save On Branson’s] conveniently located Welcome Center.”
4. Visit the Branson Tourism Center
As long as you’re clipping coupons and looking for ways to prioritize your time in Branson, do not skip a visit to the Branson Tourism Center. You’ll find friendly faces there with answers to all of your questions, not to mention tons of pamphlets and brochures highlighting attractions and offering cut-out coupons.
Generally speaking, it’s always a good idea to check out the visitor’s center when you travel to a new town. You can’t know what undiscovered travel tips await you until you actually drop by for the complete bird’s eye view of Branson.
And if you don’t want to wait until your arrival to start scooping up those discounts, drop by the Tourism Center’s equally welcoming website, where you can browse, purchase, and score deals on concert tickets, theater performances, and even full vacation packages.
5. Bundle Lodging, Flights, Tickets and More
Speaking of full vacation packages, the Branson Tourism Center does make it easy to save on your whole trip by pointing directly to bundling opportunities. You can browse Branson Tourism for deep discounts when you purchase show tickets and meal vouchers along with your lodging.
You can also visit a wide range of online travel sites like Expedia, Priceline or Orbitz to find discounts when you bundle together flight and lodging. You should be sure to compare the price of any bundle directly to the cost that you can get by joining a loyalty program and booking directly through a specific hotel. However, you may find that merging the cost of your flight and hotel with the help of an online booking service can save you money on both.
6. Explore Silver Dollar City Discounts
Silver Dollar City is the single most popular destination in Branson. This, naturally, makes it among the costliest attractions as well. According to Branson Vacation Cabins, there are a few ways to get a discount off of the regular ticket price (which is $61 for adults and $50 for children ages 4-11). Seniors, ages 62 and over, will pay $59 for a regular park pass. However, there are numerous ways to get discounts on your passes.
For instance, you can get discounted tickets when you book in groups of ten or more. This group rate translates to $58 per adult or $46 per child. And for every ten tickets you purchase, your group will receive one complimentary ticket. Other discounts apply for both active military personnel and veterans, who can purchase two-day tickets for the price of one, or receive $5 off of a single-day pass.
You may want to keep your eye out for one other discount opportunity. In the past, Silver Dollar City has promoted specials through participating local stores and attractions where visitors can purchase tickets for summer Thursday passes at the low rate of $40. If you catch this special at the right time, this may be your most affordable way into Branson’s top family attraction.
7. Get the Silver Dollar City Season Pass
If you’re in Branson for a week or more, there’s a good chance you’ll return to Silver Dollar City for seconds at some point…especially if you have kids. If you have any intention of visiting this attraction more than once on non-consecutive days, the season pass will pay for itself at a cost of $90 for adults and $80 for children. Seniors pay $84 for a season pass. According to Branson Vacation Cabins, “A pass offers unlimited visits all season long, so if you plan to go more than once, it’s typically worth it.”
8. Do Some Free Stuff
Obviously, the restaurants, shows, and theme parks are a blast. But Branson also sits at the heart of the Ozark Mountains, and spills out into an absolutely breathtaking array of natural attractions. These attractions will cost you nothing. Grand Oaks Hotel points to a few top natural spaces including the Table Rock State Park. The Grand Oaks advises starting your visit at the Dewey Short Visitor Center, where you’ll learn about highlights like the Table Rock Dam, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo. If you’re visiting with the family, you may also enjoy the fish hatchery nearby where you can actually feed the fish. This is just one of countless outdoor recreational opportunities that won’t cost you a thing. Branson and the surrounding region are home to countless hiking trails, vistas, and bodies of water. Add some outdoor adventure to your trip for inspiration (and savings!)
And if you think you have the self-control for window-shopping, spend a breezy afternoon walking along Branson Landing. This waterfront walkway is home to some of Branson’s best stores and restaurants. And in fact, Grand Oaks notes that there’s much more to do than just shopping at Branson’s Landing, pointing out that “there’s the gorgeous view for just strolling and every hour on the hour there’s a fountain that has a water and fire show. There’s also some live music from time to time on the landing.”
Take a break from all the spending by exploring the free charms that Branson has to offer.
9. Pack Your Own Meals
Any time you go on vacation, all those meals can really add up to a small fortune. Try to offset that fortune with a little grocery shopping. Tripster notes that while Branson is home to many wonderful, world-class restaurants, you can save a bundle by packing your own meals, whether you’re visiting a theme park or going for an outdoor adventure.
Accordingly, Tripster says that “To eat in Branson on the cheap, I recommend packing a picnic and enjoying the jaw-dropping scenery of the Ozarks. Even if you do this just once, you’ll forgo spending top dollar at a restaurant! In addition, many of the best attractions such as Silver Dollar City, allow guests to bring in outside food. This enables you to fuel up and save money at the same time during your Branson vacation.”
For a day at Silver Dollar City or an afternoon strolling the Table Rock State Park, consider purchasing an insulated backpack that allows for easy traveling with enough food and drink for the whole family.
10. Do Thorough Online Research
While we strongly recommend some old-fashioned coupon clipping, make sure you also do your online research. There are discounts for Branson attractions everywhere online, from location-specific tourism sites to larger coupon clubs like Groupon. You just have to be willing to search for the best deals.
Make an itinerary, then seek out discounts on tickets and admission prices for each individual attraction on your Branson bucket list. For instance, says Drift Travel, “You can look online for the best times to visit if you want to get the cheapest hotel prices, for example, or you can search for discounts and coupon codes that help you save money on Branson’s biggest shows like Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Show.”
The more time you spend searching for deals, discounts, and daily low rates, the more affordable your trip to Branson will ultimately be.
Speaking of Dolly Parton, Branson isn’t the only town with a major attraction bearing her name. The country legend and national treasure also holds a major stake in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee’s most popular attraction—Dollywood. Find out how you can visit Dollywood and vacation in Pigeon Forge on the cheap.