Serenity, Fun and Romance in a Small Midwestern City
You might not think of Branson, MO as offering the essence of romance—the town is better known as a destination for the whole family. But if the kids are with grandma for the weekend, and you and your partner are considering trip options for just the two of you, keep Branson in mind. This small Missouri city has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to unique, affordable, romantic weekends.
Dinner and a Fountain Show
A boardwalk stretches for 1.5 miles along the Taneycomo Lakefront at Branson Landing (100 Branson Landing Blvd., Branson, MO), featuring scenic views and a water fountain show. Geysers reach heights of 120 feet, choreographed with music and fire cannons to create a dance of water, fire, light and music. The show was designed by the creators of world-class fountain shows in Downtown Disney in Orlando, Universal City Walk in Los Angeles and the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Enjoy the show from the boardwalk, or make dinner reservations on a patio at one of Branson Landing's restaurants. Cantina Laredo (1001 Branson Landing Blvd., Branson, MO) and Texas Land and Cattle steakhouse (915 Branson Landing Blvd., Branson, MO) offer fountain views.
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
If you and your partner prefer hiking trails to boardwalks and waterfalls to fountain shows, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park (2038 MO-86, Lampe, MO) might be right up your alley. The park, located just south of Branson, is the perfect spot to seek out peaceful time alone.
Explore waterfalls, ancient burial caves or blue-green pools, or spend an afternoon fishing or horseback riding. For something a little different, sign up for the two-day fly fishing school.
The park sometimes rents cabins to guests, but even when cabins are unavailable, the best activities are located only 20 minutes from accommodations in Branson.
Big Cedar Lodge
Big Cedar Lodge sits on a luxury resort among Missouri's Ozark Mountains, just 10 miles south of Branson. The lodge features access to Dogwood Canyon and the Top of the Rock heritage preserve.
The lodge also offers a two-night romance package, which includes a specialized wine bottle and a $50 credit toward a local restaurant of your choice.
Hitting the wine trail is a surefire way to ensure romance for you and your partner—good wine, beautiful views and a day outdoors to catch up and revel in each other's company. Branson has a small but solid wine industry, thanks to Missouri's ideal grape-growing summer climate. The region's most common grape varietal is the Norton, Missouri's official state grape, but local wineries also specialize in Native American-cultivated grapes (including the Concord and Catawba) and French-American hybrids (such as the Vignoles and Seyval ).
Mount Pleasant Winery (3125 Green Mountain Dr., Branson, MO) as a must-see. It offers 12 grape varieties grown on nearly 80 acres in Augusta, MO, so if you're interested in Missouri wines specifically, Mount Pleasant Winery is the place to stop. If you and your partner don't know much about wines, try the winery's Wine 101 class, which teaches visitors how to taste wine for $15 per person.
Curling Vine Winery (601 MO-165 Branson, MO) features a collection of white wine varieties and the winery's own Twisted varietals, which offer complex flavors.
Lindwedel Winery (3158 MO-265 Branson, MO) offers free tastings in its wine garden, among scenic views and live music in the summer. The winery's signature wine is the frontenac, made with a dark red grape known for its cherry aroma and plum, berry and wild black cherry notes.
If wine's not your thing, check out Branson's Smith Creek Moonshine or the Copper Run Distillery instead.
Bed and Breakfast at Red Bud Cove
Red Bud Cove's bed and breakfast suites offer a plethora of romantic vacation packages, but your best bet for a perfect couple's weekend away might be its "Romance/Dining/Theater Package"—which, as the name implies, has it all. The getaway includes two nights in a honeymoon suite with a fireplace and two-person whirlpool tub, dinner for two at one of Branson's top five restaurants (yours to choose) and two theater tickets to one of 20 live entertainment options.