Branson - Off the beaten track
Henning State Forest
If 'The Strip', the shows, the shops, the wax museums and the traffic are all getting too much you might want to escape to Henning State Forest, just west of Branson on Hwy 76 in the White River Hills region. This 1,534 acre (621ha) park offers many self-guided trails through the forest where you can enjoy bird-watching, scenic vistas, and nature studies. There is a naturalist on duty to answer any questions and also to lead interpretive walks, although many of the trees are labelled to help with identification. Also in the forest, and accessed by a half-mile trail, is a 40ft (12.2m) viewing tower, which provides an excellent panoramic view of the area.
Ride the Ducks
If you want a tour with a difference, and don't mind the possibility of getting a little wet, then this may just be what you were after - riding in a brightly decorated, amphibious military landing vehicle. The tour begins in Branson in an open-air WWII vintage amphibious vehicle and guides you around the town and then straight onto neighbouring Lake Taneycomo. On route you'll pass sights like Tablerock Lake Dam, the old stern-wheeled riverboat, the Branson Belle and Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. For over 25 years, the Coast Guard-licensed captains have guided visitors on these 80-minute fun and fact-filled trips around the area. So when in Branson do as the brochure says - grab your 'Wacky Quacker', hop on a Duck and take to the water. Ride the Ducks are at 2320 West Hwy 76.
Table Rock Helicopters
For a completely different view of Branson and surrounds, Table Rock Helicopters have been operating guided air tours of the Branson area for over 25 years. Tours vary, depending on the type of tour you choose, from five to fifty miles in length, and prices vary accordingly. You'll get a birds-eye view of the Ozark landscape and the three giant lakes that border the city of Branson. Tours include the sights of Branson, Tablerock Lake, Chateau on the Lake and Eureka Springs. Table Rock Helicopters are at 309 West Hwy 76.