Johnson's Shut Ins State Park | INCREDIBLE Swimming Hole!
Aside from a minor injury after slipping on the jagged rocks, we LOVED our time at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park!
This is an incredible, bucket list swimming hole in Missouri!
When you live in a vacation town the fun never stops!
My wife Amy and I along with three of our five children arrived home to Branson, Missouri the other day from a ten-day trip to Colorado and Oklahoma.
The day we returned, we had an appointment set on a private boat cruise on beautiful Table Rock Lake, at sunset, with fireworks popping all around. After a five-hour drive from Oklahoma we found ourselves standing on the dock at a marina at Big Cedar Lodge ready to board. My wife said, “It's like we returned from vacation to go on vacation.”
Living in a tourist destination like Branson, Missouri provides non-stop opportunities for fun, entertainment and relaxation. Over the years we have lived in several “normal” places like the suburbs of Dallas, Kansas City and Detroit, so we understand the typical lifestyles those localities offer. The predictable, “What do you want to do tonight,” is followed by the even more predictable, “How about dinner and a movie?”
We ask that question in our family too, but the answers are vastly different in our hometown.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO TODAY?
The options are endless, and after living here for the past six years we still haven't run out of things to do. (I always find it humorous when people wonder if there's enough to do here over a one-week vacation.)
On any given day or night, wondering what we could do is answered with innumerable fun-packed opportunities. The most difficult part is choosing from them all!
As season pass holders at Silver Dollar City, a short five-minute drive puts us right in the middle of this special place. Walking around, smelling the delicious food, watching the happy people, viewing the beauty of the Ozarks, listening to phenomenal musicians, enjoying remarkable shows and riding world-class rides is at the top of our list when thinking about things to do as locals in Branson. It's not uncommon for us to visit Silver Dollar City three or four times a week.
A day at one of the lakes is an exceptionally good day indeed. Whether you are swimming, fishing, tubing, boating, water skiing, scuba diving, cruising on the Showboat Branson Belle or simply enjoying the beauty from the banks, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo provide world-class fun and refreshing.
From there the choices multiply by the hundreds. From mini-golf to attractions like Wonderworks, The Aquarium at the Boardwalk and The Butterfly Palace to water parks to incredible shows to golf, hiking, shopping, amazing restaurants and, yes, even movies, you will never run out of things to do.
Add to this the many more amazing places to visit within an hour or so like the unparalleled Buffalo National River and your options multiply yet again. Another hour or two gets you into larger cities like Kansas City, St. Louis, Little Rock, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, so you have the very best of both worlds at your disposal.
WHY SO SERIOUS?
Amy and I have determined there's no place we'd enjoy living more than Branson, but if we had to move it would have to be to another tourism epicenter. Gatlinburg, Orlando and Myrtle Beach are a few localities we've considered.
As we were driving home from vacation (to our never-ending Branson vacation) we wondered why in the past we were so serious. Go to work, mow the lawn, pay the bills, watch some television, go to bed and do it all over again. Truth be told, we've always been more adventurous than that, but it wasn't until we moved out of suburbia that we realized there was so much more!
Yes, we still make sure the lawn is maintained and that our bills are taken care of. We run businesses and do the more serious stuff every day. We are also invested in ministry projects and I find myself writing several days a week for various publications. Life goes on and the mundane stuff happens. But, after that, the party begins!
When we were deciding what niche our YouTube channel should be centered on, it was obvious that it had to be vacation oriented. The result was TPF! Travel which stands for Trips, Places and FUN!
We come alive when we are at theme parks, water parks, shows, hiking on trails, on our scooters in exciting new lands and discovering amazing new restaurants, attractions and places to visit. Living in a place like Branson, Missouri (the best places in the nation to live, in our opinion) makes all of that easy to accomplish. The videos on our channel reveal just how much fun we are having and we believe it shines through to our friends and fans.
The thought of living anywhere except an entertainment-focused region makes us a little sad. Living in Branson keeps things exciting, and when we travel we aren't disappointed when the vacation ends. All that means is our year-around vacation in Branson is set to continue!
Local Flavor Branson Mo | AMAZING New Branson Restaurant
Is the new Tasting Passport at Silver Dollar City Worth it? Yes!
After trying out Silver Dollar City's Tasting Passport during the recent Street Fest and Dollywood's Dining Pass during their Flower and Food Festival, we were excited to see if Herschend Family Entertainment could outdo themselves.
The could. They did.
For $30 you receive a badge and lanyard that provides you many delectable options to choose from. At Dollywood you find a QR code on the Dining Pass that hangs around your neck. While a quick scan opens up an informative website with all of the food items and their locations in the park, we found Silver Dollar City's method preferrable.
Every option was printed clearly on the badge, or as Silver Dollar City calls it, the Passport. Additionally, everything could be seen in larger print in the Pathfinder, Silver Dollar City's free newspaper and park guide.
Opening day of the festival gave us perfect weather to walk the park and enjoy a great variety of bluegrass music and non-stop, diverse aromas as we passed by all of the various food stands and restaurants.
While we enjoyed our day at Dollywood recently, we didn't prefer the majority of the Dining Pass stops to be located in one section of the park. We found ourselves aimlessly wandering the nether regions of Dollywood wondering when we might stumble into a kiosk. It wasn't until we moved back toward the front of the park that we found the food.
At Silver Dollar City it's an entire park experience. The cooks are joyfully and artistically creating their edible masterpieces at every corner of the park. Whether you are on Main Street, by the Grand Exposition, near Mystic River Falls or down by Fire in the Hole, temptations abound.
The only time we had to ask for directions was for the last punch of our passport. I was desperately seeking a BBQ bacon mac and cheese waffle cone, but didn't know to look right on Main Street for the kiosk. A wonderful Silver Dollar City citizen pointed us in the right direction and before long I was devouring a waffle cone made out of fortune cookie batter filled with a curious and mouth watering mix.
Our favorite item of the day was probably the barbecue tater twist dog. It was truly amazing, and the portion size was large.
The Tasting Passport is not meant to be a meal replacement, but rather a fun and adventurous sampling of new and unique foods. While the idea is for each item to be snack sized, if you plan your day of tasting carefully, you'll find some samples are larger than others. In fact, like our tater twist dog, some are full sized.
We'd recommend considering eating a full meal at lunch and also purchasing a single Tasting Passport that can be used throughout the day for snacks and desserts. Between the two of us both times at Silver Dollar City and also once at Dollywood we purchased only one Passport and shared each of the five items. This worked great for us and we weren't at all hungry doing it this way. Of course, if you are zeroed in on treats others in your family are not, then you'll be very happy securing one all for yourself.
So, is the Tasting Passport worth it? We can't answer for everybody, but for us the answer is a resounding yes!
It does seem as if the portion sizes have increased some from the previous festival, which is great.
This time around we didn't get any desserts on the list. It took every ounce of restraint to say no to the temptations that were all around. Suffice it to say the desserts were our favorite foods the previous two festivals here and in Tennessee. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.
A festival of food, flowers and fun in Springfield, Missouri!
As travel vloggers based in Branson, Missouri, we are always looking for something fun and unique to do. Over two years into our endeavor, one would think we'd be running out of things to do and see in the region. We have covered loads of attractions and restaurants in Branson specifically along with other places of interest near and far.
It's hard to believe this extremely popular and very well done farmer's market didn't ping our radar much sooner. It's truly amazing!
Located at the Farmer's Market Pavilion at 2144 E. Republic Road, the Farmer's Market of the Ozarks is easily accessible even though it sits hidden, tucked back behind a hotel. Once you zig and zag down some side streets, you'll know you are in the right place on a Saturday morning when you see throngs of people joyfully darting about.
Food trucks lined the entry way outside of the pavilion as did several booths. Surrounding the market was Aviary Cafe and Creperie, a barber shop, other upscale businesses and a roaming banjo player that made the experience all the better.
As is true for most farmer's markets, much of the enjoyment comes from engaging with the various business owners and employees who manned the booths. There's something about good ole' fashioned American entrepreneurship and ingenuity that feels healthy and right. The energy in the environment was palpable and we couldn't help but cheer for the smash success of every business represented.
Aside from the social aspect there was, of course, food! Flowers! Crafts! Goodies of all types!
Whether you want to try some honey sticks (as we did), pastries, jerky or kombucha, or find some farm fresh eggs, meats and other staples to take home, the Ozark's Farmer's Market is the place to be!
Our favorite experience of the day was street corn at the Corn Hub booth. Various concoctions of corn on the cob were prominently displayed and resistance was futile. We chose the barbeque adorned option and found a picnic table outside to savor our snack. Suffice it to say it was absolutely delicious. I can't recommend it enough. It would do you well to head down to the Farmer's Market Pavilion this Saturday and get an ear or two. The owners are great and their passion for their business is obvious.
As entrepreneurs ourselves, it was hard not to celebrate the festive atmosphere filled with fellow dreamers.
Even if you have no plans on purchasing anything, head on out for a visit. Enjoy the music, smell the aromas, meet some new friends and take notes for future visits. However, I'll warn you, window shopping is all but impossible. The enticing nature of the market will probably overwhelm you, and that's a very good thing. Whether it's duck meat, dog chews, smoothies, egg rolls, fresh and organic vegetables, kettle korn, banana bread, T-shirts or all flavors of honey, among many other options, you most certainly will give in.
The Farmer's Market of the Ozarks is open Saturdays from 8am until 1pm. In the winter, January through March, they are open 9am until 1pm. How great is it that Springfield, Missouri has a year around farmer's market? Really great!
If you are in the Branson area, they have a market there 3pm until 7pm on Tuesdays from April through October. We haven't visited that one yet, but we plan on it very soon!
For more information about Farmer's Market of the Ozarks, visit their website at www.loveyourfarmer.com.
Have you visited Farmer's Market of the Ozarks? Leave some comments and share your experience!
Silver Dollar City New Year | Last Day of the Season!
Silver Dollar City's last day of the year is TODAY! John and Amy take you on a tour through the cold and snow as they enjoy a new show and ride the steam train, the Flooded Mine and Fire in the Hole!
You'll see the beautiful Christmas lights, the spectacular Christmas tree as they take you just about up to park closing. We'll see you again from Silver Dollar City in a few months!
Branson, Missouri Aquarium at the Boardwalk FULL TOUR!
It's OPENING DAY at Branson's newest attraction, the Aquarium at the Boardwalk!
John and Amy give you the full tour including a thrilling 4D movie, a Submarine Adventure, a Journey through the Waters Tunnel, Mermaid Palace, the Touch Tank and SO MUCH MORE!
You'll see incredible sharks, rays, jelly fish and other amazing sea life in a beautifully themed environment!
Branson 2020 | Is Branson Missouri Open
John and Amy take a hike through the beautiful Buffalo River region of Northwest Arkansas as they talk about what's open in Branson, Missouri
Attractions, shows, restaurants, lodging and shopping all look a little different this year, but many are asking just what's open. Is it worth it to visit Branson this year?
They talk about all of this and more!