15 Awesome Road Trip Stops From Kansas City to Branson

Last updated on September 7th, 2023 at 11:48 am.

Are you planning a road trip from Kansas City to Branson and wondering how to make the journey as memorable as the destination? Look no further! The drive from KCMO to Branson is filled with plenty of quirky roadside attractions and must-visit stops that will make your trip unforgettable.

This scenic drive is filled with plenty of unique points of interest, including wineries, cheese shops, historic sites, hidden gems and other fascinating stops that are sure to make your Missouri journey just as exciting as your destination.

Kansas City to Branson

This is one of many Missouri road trips we have on the site. If you are into wild west history you will also love our Jesse James road trip and if you love presidential history we also have a Harry Truman road trip!

The Route

My favorite road trip route from Kansas City to Branson. The 210 mile route for this trip from Kansas City to Branson starts on the I-70 and then to the I-49, MO-7, MO-13 and to US-65.

  • Travel time without stops: About 3 hours and 15 minutes
  • Driving distance without stops: 210 Miles
kansas city to branson map

Some of the towns you’ll pass through on your way to Branson include Grandview, Peculiar, Clinton, Oseola, Springfield and Ozark.

About 3/4 of the drive is on smaller highways that take you through rural Missouri, farmland, small towns and into the Ozarks.

Best stops From Kansas City to Branson

The below roadside attractions and must-visit stops are in order from Kansas City to Branson.

Don’t forget to check days and times before planning your visit to any of the below locations to ensure that your desired attractions and stops are open and available during your trip.

1. The Truman Family Farm in Grandview

Truman Farm in Grandview, MO

The Truman Farm Home is a Missouri National Historic Site and run by the National Park Service.

The Harry S Truman National Historic Site is a must-visit destination for history buffs and presidential enthusiasts alike. This site encompasses the Truman Farm home, where President Truman spent 11 years of his early life. Originally a sprawling 600-acre farm, today, the Truman Farm home and the surrounding 10 acres have been carefully preserved to honor Truman’s legacy.

Visitors to the site can step back in time and experience what life was like on the farm in the early 20th century. The farmhouse, where Truman lived with his family, had no electricity or indoor plumbing, and the family worked long, grueling days from 5 am until well after dusk. Truman left the farm to serve in the National Guard during World War I, returning only after the war ended to marry his beloved Bess Wallace.

The grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset. There are free ranger-led tours on Fridays and Saturdays from May 5, 2023-October 21,2023.

Address: 12301 Blue Ridge Blvd, Grandview, MO 64030

2. The Peculiar Winery

Peculiar Winery
Photo Credit: Peculiar Winery

If you’re looking for a unique and charming winery experience, look no further than the Peculiar Winery. Tucked away off the highway in Peculiar, Missouri (yes, that’s its real name!), this unassuming building in the rural countryside might surprise you when you step inside.

The winery boasts high vaulted ceilings and rustic decor that transports you back in time. Antique accents and a cozy stone fireplace make it the perfect spot to relax with a glass of wine or try one of their famous wine slushes. The inside is cozy and inviting, but the winery also offers a patio space outside where you can enjoy your drinks and even bring your own chairs to relax on the lawn.

If it works into your schedule, The Peculiar Winery also offers live music and food trucks on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 12pm-7pm, Friday and Saturday 12pm-8:30pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm. Closed Monday & Tuesday.

Address: 20709 Harper Rd, Peculiar, MO 64078

3. Red Fox Winery & Vineyards in Urich

Red Fox Winery & Vineyards
Photo Credit: Red Fox Winery & Vineyards

A pit stop at Red Fox Winery is perfect if you are in the mood for lunch and a wine tasting. Nestled in the picturesque hills of Urich, Missouri, this winery offers not only excellent wines from their own vineyards, but also delectable dishes inspired by their expert chefs.

Start your meal off right with their mouthwatering spanakopita appetizer, then move on to their delectable entrees like juicy chicken skewers or savory gyros. And of course, don’t forget to indulge in a glass (or bottle!) of their signature blackberry wine, perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

If you have room for dessert, their baklava is a must-try, with layers of flaky pastry, chopped nuts, and sweet syrup.

Hours: Friday and Saturday 12pm – 9pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm

Address: 1422 NW 800 Rd, Urich, MO 64788

4. The Katy Trail in Clinton

Katy Trailhead in Clinton, Missouri

If you’re looking for a great place to stretch your legs, check out Katy Trail State Park in Clinton. This sprawling 240-mile trail runs all the way to Machens, Missouri, and is the largest rails-to-trails project in the United States.

You can walk a portion of the trail, or simply stop by to admire this historic and popular Missouri attraction.

Address: 799-601 E Sedalia Ave, Clinton, MO 64735

5. Truman Lake in Deepwater/Warsaw

As you drive south on Hwy 52 from Clinton, you’ll come to Truman Lake. The bridge across the lake is quite a beautiful site. The lake spans both sides of highway with a lot of standing timber. Cooper Creek Public Use Area is a good place to exit and get a better view of the lake.

If you packed a picnic lunch, this is a great exit (weather permitting) for a pit stop with some beautiful lake views. This area is a popular spot for birding and home to hundreds of species. You are very likely to see some combination of eagles, kittiwakes, goshawk, kestrel, woodpeckers, swallows, hummingbirds, egrets, cardinals, orioles, robins, owls, martins and yellowthroats.

The rest stop open for public use from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

Address: Deepwater, MO 64740

6. Osceola Cheese Co

Osceola Cheese Co

Looking for a tasty and unique pit stop on your road trip from Kansas City to Branson? Look no further than Osceola Cheese Co! Established in 1944, this charming little cheese shop is located right off Highway 13 and is the perfect place to take a break and sample some delicious cheese.

With a selection of 275 types of cheese from the Midwest, you can try as many as you like before purchasing your favorites to take with you. They also offer a variety of summer sausages, jerky, and Missouri wines.

Address: 3700 NE Highway 13, Osceola, MO 64776-6218

7. Amish Trading Post in Osceola

Amish Friendship bread

Looking for a unique and authentic shopping experience during your road trip from Kansas City to Branson? Look no further than the Amish Trading Post in Osceola, Missouri. This family-owned store is full of handmade Amish merchandise, from furniture and gardening tools to natural remedies and homemade pies. You’ll also find local honey, Amish rugs and handmade baskets.

But the real standout is the small restaurant counter that serves up delicious burgers and home-cut fries as well as biscuits and gravy, chili and more. And don’t pass up their thick and creamy milkshakes made from real ice cream.

Address: 3649 MO-13, Osceola, MO 64776

8. Boone’s BBQ Barn in Bolivar

Kansas City to Branson

Boone’s BBQ Barn is a must-stop destination for anyone craving authentic, slow-smoked barbecue on their way from Kansas City to Branson. The family-owned joint boasts an old country store atmosphere and serves up mouthwatering burnt ends brisket and pulled pork, along with a variety of homemade sides and cold beer.

It’s always a good sign when you see lot’s of locals in a restaurant and this seems to be a local favorite for sure!

Address: 5260 S Scenic Ave, Bolivar, MO 65613

9. Hummingbird Berry Farm in Brighton

Hummingbird Berry Farm
Photo Credit: Hummingbird Berry Farm

If you’re traveling to Branson from Kansas City in June or July, make sure to stop by and grab some freshly picked blackberries or try your hand at picking them yourself.

This family-owned farm has three varieties of thornless blackberry plants trellised on an area of 2.5 acres. In addition to berry picking, visitors can enjoy watching hummingbirds visiting the feeders located throughout the farm. It’s the perfect pitstop for a taste of summer and a chance to connect with nature.

Address: 5581 S 140th Rd, Brighton, MO 65617

10. Fantastic Caverns in Springfield

Missouri is known as the Cave State, and a must-visit attraction on this route is Fantastic Caverns. This unique cave is one of the 13 caves in Missouri that offer tours, but it’s the only one in North America where visitors can ride through the caverns in a Jeep-drawn tram.

The hour-long tour takes visitors through the fascinating history of the caverns, from how they were discovered and originally explored to how the stunning stalactites and stalagmites continue to grow and change over time. You’ll also learn about the different colors and shapes of the formations, which vary depending on the minerals present.

In addition to the geological wonders, you’ll hear about the cave’s history during the Civil War and Prohibition era, and how it was once a popular gambling and dance hall. Fantastic Caverns offers a unique and educational experience that blends history, science, and natural beauty.

Open daily from 8am-8pm.

Address: 4872 N Farm Rd 125, Springfield, MO 65803

11. Route 66 in Springfield

Route 66 Springfield

If you’re a fan of Route 66, a stop in Springfield is a must. This town is known as the birthplace of the famous highway, and there are plenty of spots to explore. Make sure to visit the Route 66 Visitors Center to learn about the history of the road and pick up some souvenirs.

The Route 66 Car Museum is also worth a visit, with a collection of classic cars from the heyday of the highway. Don’t miss the colorful Route 66 mural at 701 West College Street or the quirky hubcap sculpture further down the road. And be sure to snap a photo at the original location of the Red’s Giant Hamburg plaque at the Route 66 Roadside Park.

12. Lambert’s Cafe in Ozark

Lambert’s Café is a must-visit for any foodie passing through Ozark, Missouri. This iconic restaurant has been serving up authentic Americana dishes since 1942. Once you step inside, you’ll be greeted with quirky decor and an energetic atmosphere.

And of course, there’s the famous “throwed rolls” – fresh, warm rolls are tossed across the dining room for customers to catch. But it’s not just the rolls that make Lambert’s special. The pass-around dishes, including fried okra, macaroni and tomatoes, and black-eyed peas, are all included in every meal and served family-style. You won’t leave hungry, and you’ll have a unique dining experience you won’t forget.

Address: 1800 W State Hwy J, Ozark, MO 65721

13. Smallin Civil War Cave in Ozark

Smallin Civil War Cave in Ozark

Smallin Cave is a historically significant cave in the Ozarks, and is actually the first documented cave in the region. With its entrance towering at 55-feet tall and 100-feet wide, Smallin Cave is an impressive sight to behold.

The cave is rich in Ozark history, and offers a range of tours for visitors, including wheelchair-accessible tours that feature great storytelling. During the tour, visitors will learn about the local Osage Tribe and the Civil War regiment associated with the cave. Additionally, Smallin Cave is listed on the national register as a historic district, further highlighting its importance to the area.

One-hour guided tours travel one-half mile. Civil War Lantern Tours are offered in the fall.

Address: 3575 N Smallin Rd, Ozark, MO 65721

14. J and J Cheese Factory in Highlandville

J and J Cheese Factory in Highlandville
Photo Credit: J and J Cheese Factory

Love cheese? A stop at J and J Cheese Factory (just 17 miles from Branson) is a great place to stop and stock up! They are known for their selection of cheese from Wisconsin. And if you’re a fan of cheese curds, the fresh squeaky curds shipped weekly are a must-try.

They also offer other items like snacks, local honey, jams and jellies, pickled items and candy. And if you are so inclined, you can sample Sugarlands Moonshine during your visit.

Address: 330 Burk Rd, Highlandville, MO 65669

15. National Tiger Sanctuary in Saddlebrooke

National Tiger Sanctuary
Photo Credit: National Tiger Sanctuary

The National Tiger Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to providing a safe and healthy sanctuary for tigers, lions, and other animals.

They offer a variety of different types of tours, including the awareness tour, feeding tour, riding safari tour, and behind the scenes tour, which allow visitors to learn more about the animals and their individual stories.

It’s important to note that these animals are rescues, which makes supporting the sanctuary even more meaningful. It’s always valuable to gain knowledge about animals and their environments, and the National Tiger Sanctuary is a great opportunity to do so.

Open Wednesday-Monday 8:45am- 5pm. Closed Tuesday.

Address: 518 State Hwy BB, Saddlebrooke, MO 65630

Where to Stay When you Arrive in Branson

If you’re looking for a comfortable place to stay in the heart of Branson and prefer the amenities of a hotel, the Thousand Hills Resort is a great option. This resort features a hotel with an indoor swimming pool and restaurant.

Check Thousand Hills Resort reviews on TripAdvisor and find the best rates on Hotels.com or Booking.com.

Thousand Hills also has luxury cabins that are just a few blocks away from the main strip in Branson. The 2- or 3-bedroom Cabins at Grand Mountain offer a home-away-from-home experience with a cozy cabin feel, while still providing easy access to all the attractions in town.

Check Cabins at Grand Mountain reviews on TripAdvisor and find the best rates on Hotels.com or Booking.com as well as VRBO.

Book Your Trip

If you’re planning a Missouri trip, there are several tools and services that can help you find the best deals, experiences, and protect yourself from unexpected events. Here are some recommendations to consider:

Book Your Accommodation
If you’re looking for a comfortable and affordable place to stay during your travels, I love VRBO for vacation rentals. My favorite hotel booking sites are Hotels.com and Booking.com. I love that Hotels.com gives you one free hotel stay for every 10 you book.

Rent a Car
Missouri is a big place and renting a car is the best way to explore and enjoy off-the-beaten path recommendations. I’ve used RentalCars.com for more than a decade to find the best rental car rates—it’s an aggregator that scours the web for the most competitive prices.

Find Interesting Things to Do
Viator, a TripAdvisor property, offers a wide range of tours and activities in Missouri, from city tours of St. Louis and Kansas City to outdoor adventures in the Ozark Mountains.
GetYourGuide is another great option, with a variety of tours and experiences in popular Missouri destinations like Branson and Springfield. Whether you’re interested in exploring historic sites, enjoying the outdoors, or trying local cuisine, these companies can help you find the perfect activities to make your trip to Missouri unforgettable.

Protect Yourself With Travel Insurance
It’s never fun to think about what could go wrong on a trip. A good plan can ensure that emergencies that may come up – medical trouble, stolen items, damage to your belongings, etc. – are easier to handle, and at little to no extra expense to you.

I highly recommend checking out World Nomads before you travel. World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover trip essentials and is very reasonable.

I recommend Travelex for family travel insurance. Not only does this company offer ‘cancel for any reason’ policies, Travelex also includes coverage for children under 17 when traveling with an adult at no additional cost. (Be sure to read all terms and conditions.)

Pin it!

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment