At Branson Boat Club, families and friends cast off into the waters of Table Rock Lake on leisurely personal retreats. Boaters bring family members along for a 90-minute orientation in which Branson Boat Club's harbormaster imparts hands-on boating-safety instruction and raps about his favorite episodes of Gilligan's Island. Afterward, families set sail aboard their choice of the club's six boats. Plumb the lake depths for fish in the 22' Fish Series pontoon boat with two fishing seats and a 9' canopy, or kick back on the 22' Cruise Model Relax pontoon boat with a canopy, stereo system, and CD player. Boaters must pay for their own gas (around $30–$75) and bring along their own wisecracking parrot navigator.
Amid the dense woods and dramatic slopes of the Ozarks, the sun rises over an 18-hole golf course, casting 7,324 yards of Tour-worthy fairways and greens in golden hues. A mist rises up from the grass blades, a nearby bird calls out, and it becomes obvious how fitting of a memorial the setting is to the late Payne Stewart. The iconic knickers-clad Missouri native charmed the golf world and won two U.S. Opens and a PGA Championship before his untimely end in 1999. Today, the Chuck Smith–designed Payne Stewart Golf Club carries hole names such as “Payne’s Pit” and “Chelsea’s Kiss”—the latter a reference to Payne’s daughter—in tribute.
A serpentine creek gurgles between two sets of parallel holes—the 9th and 15th, and the 16th and 17th—placing a premium on confident swings and sand wedges that double as snorkels. The most difficult hole on the course, the 9th, boasts tricky shot-making challenges—the tee shot and approach must clear water—and memorable scenery as golfers traverse a footbridge to reach the green, which sits next to a waterfall. In 2012, such features helped the course top Golfweek’s list of best courses in Missouri.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 7,324 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 75.1 from the back tees * Course slope of 135 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Upon moving to Branson in the early 1990s, Don and Lawanna Stuck spent their leisure time hunting, fishing, and paddling the White River’s waterways. Drawing upon their intimate knowledge of Branson’s waterways, they opened White River Kayaking & Outdoors on July 4, 2012. Equipped with rental paddles and life jackets, their customers can navigate standard kayaks, tandem kayaks, or fishing kayaks along Lake Taneycomo, Table Rock Lake, or Bull Shoals Lake while marveling at the surrounding Ozark Mountains. Staffers drop guests off at several launch locations on each lake, and pick guests up at the conclusion of their float. White River Kayaking & Outdoors also rents out bicycles, which visitors can take around Branson’s parks and trails or pedal across the lake to combine two sports during a triathlon.
With its secluded and scenic location between sloping pasture and bluffs on the shores of Lake Taneycomo, Lilleys' Landing Resort & Marina provides a restful respite and a place to connect with the wilderness just outside of Branson's city center. In addition to offering extensive trout fishing, accessories, and licenses, a team of USGC-licensed captains lead guided spincast and fly-fishing trips with all the necessary gear included. During after-hours, clusters of rustic cabins equipped with free wireless internet welcome overnight guests. Many of these overlook the lake, where a rental fleet of 20-foot Shawnee White River jons with electric Yamaha engines enable visitors to explore the tree-lined shore and traverse the open waters.
As mobile on water as they are on land, the vehicles known as Ducks give passengers a unique sightseeing experience. Branson's fleet of Ducks disembarks from the Entertainment District, and proves its all terrain capabilities by scaling Baird Mountain on a terrestrial tour that passes Table Rock Dam and a herd of historic American military vehicles and splashes down in Table Rock Lake. Once the Ducks make it to the water, adults and kids alike can really get a feel of amphibian freedom as the captain gives them the option of taking the wheel for themselves.
Year-round, the Ozark Yacht Club provides visitors with a gateway to the 40,000-acre Lake of the Ozarks, a place to store and rent boats in premium wet slips or on-land, and prime spots for hanging out?like the lakeside caf? and sandy swimming beach, to name just two. Mariners with their own watercraft can launch boats up to 60 feet long, while boatless sailors can browse through the extensive fleet of sailboats and powerboats available for rental, sale, and privateering excursions. There's also a clubhouse with a large room that can accommodate up to 150 guests during private events and celebrations.