Traveling with the kids, or the entire family? Think Branson; it’s a real family-friendly town, as well as America’s "live music show capital."  It combines live show entertainment with traditional family fun including amusement rides, water parks, ziplines, mini-golf, go-carts and much more.

Here are just a few suggestions to make a family vacation really come alive:

Experience some of the shows in Branson. With over a hundred shows Branson visitors can experience a virtual smorgasbord of singing, dancing, comedy, and more. The variety of musical experiences includes pop, country, rock-n-roll, gospel, Motown, western, Broadway, blues, swing, big band, music from every era from today's favorites to the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and more.  The family friendly shows offer comedy, magic, acrobats, dancing, theatrical dramas, ventriloquists, exotic animals, a diversity of cultural performances, and more. From classic stars to touring headliners to the homegrown shows the quality and variety of shows available in Branson is truly amazing.  From the youngest child dreaming of being a star on stage to grandpa and grandma Branson's shows are fun for everyone. Seeing shows together is actually a family tradition for many visitors in Branson and it's very cool that many of the stars on stage are also families themselves.  Families entertaining families - like the Hughes Brothers Show, the Dutton Family, and quite a few more. Even Righteous Brothers' Bill Medley has daughter McKenna on stage with him.

The show that started it all, over 50 years ago, was the Baldknobbers Comedy Jamboree.  Following was the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama based on the novel by Harold Bell Wright that brought recognition and tourism to the Ozarks region. Today your family can still enjoy these shows and international shows like the Acrobats of China featuring the New Shanghai Circus. Nationally known entertainers like Jim Stafford, Yakov, Andy Williams, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and more call Branson home as do country legends Mickey Gilley and Mel Tillis. Kids and parents both have a good time with magican Kirby VanBurch and his big cats and enjoy the comedy and magic of the Hamner Barber Variety Show

In the same year that Shepherd of the Hill opened, Branson's now largest-attraction and award-winning theme park, Silver Dollar City opened.  Silver Dollar City offers more than 30 fun-filled rides and attractions plus six different festivals. Visitors can meet more than 100 craftspeople who get to show off their talents, ranging from basket making and blacksmith demonstrations to glass blowing and furniture making. It’s both educational and fun at the same time! Marvel Cave was the first main attraction at the park. Tours are given all throughout the day. You can also enjoy the delicious down home cooking and see it made right before your eyes! The Candy Confectionary is a must see if you have children. Samples are given 'round the clock. Also enjoy the enormous skillets of succotash being made daily. It's a real treat if you've never had this kind of food before.

Get soaked and have a wild time at White Water, Branson’s premier water park. From surfing wave pools and speed slides to water-blasters and super-soakers, the whole family can enjoy an abundant variety of cool attractions. There are also indoor waterparks located at Grand Country Inn, Welk Resort, and Castlerock Inn.

Another great way to cool off is to take a canopy tour above the trees, seriously...above the treees! Branson Zipline and Canopy Tours at Wolfe Creek Preserve offers several different lengths of canopy tours.  These guided tours travel along a series of zip lines, sky bridges, and platforms and help visitors enjoy the pristine Ozark Mountains.

Ladies! Did you think you'd go on a trip without shopping? Worry no more. The Outlet malls all over town will keep you occupied on those hot summer days. Check out three HUGE malls and go home with tons of amazing deals (www.bransonshows.com/articles).

For a relaxing evening after a hectic day of sightseeing, take a scenic cruise on Table Rock Lake on board the Showboat Branson Belle , a great way for the family to enjoy the lovely scenery of the Ozarks along with a dinner and live entertainment. If you prefer land over sea, then try the Branson Scenic Railway. Located in the heart of Downtown Branson, it's the ultimate throwback to the heydays of locomotives. Go on a breakfast, lunch or dinner ride and see the beautiful Ozark landscape.

If rowdy fun is more your style, spend the evening at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede , a lively romp featuring 32 horses, trick riding exhibitions, ostrich races and, of course, a delicious four-course dinner. Fun for the whole family! (Utensils not included.)

Of course some kids would say the main attractions in town are all the go-cart establishments. Sure there are tons of places to race your family members, but none are better than the Lumberjack. It's a three story, all wood, JUMBO sized racetrack for the go-cart lovers in the bunch. Look for huge lines all throughout the day. If you don't get to check out the Lumberjack, rest assured there are plenty of tracks for you to get your race on.

And don't forget mini golf! Like the race tracks, there are also plenty of places to do a little putt putt anytime of the day. Whatever theme you're most into—whether it be pirates, animals, mining or whatever—it's in town. And whether it's raining or not, rest assured there's even INDOOR mini-golf. Be sure to check out the 36 air-conditioned holes at the Grand Country Inn.

Interested in some museum hopping along with some spooky fun? Visit the Hollywood Wax Museum, featuring more than 170 life-size figures of Tinsel Town’s past and current celebrities, or  Ripley’s Believe It or Not! , featuring more than 400 fascinating and “unbelievable” exhibits. The Veterans Memorial Museum is an excellent educational experience offering an opportunity to learn both about the wars of the 20th Century and how these wars and veterans have helped preserve liberties.

For a little bit of nostalgia  visit the World’s Largest Toy Museum, featuring room after room of toys dating from the early 19th century to present day. If music nostalgia is more your thing, check out the #1 Hits of the 60's Show. It's a trip down memory lane, showcasing the songs, dances and fads of the 60's.  FUN, FUN, FUN, for everyone.

Attention movie buffs! If you're thinking they don't show the latest blockbusters in Ozark country, you're wrong. Check out the enormous IMAX theater, where SUPERsized and 35mm movies are shown. Inside the building you can also enjoy a few eateries and some shopping while you wait for your matinee. It's nice to visit on a rainy day, cause what's better than a movie? (An eight story high screen!)

The all new Titanic Museum offers something for everyone. It takes you on a wonderful journey to see how the Titanic was built, how it was launched and what brought it to the floor of the Atlantic. It has many artifacts, life-size replicas of rooms and even activities to participate in. Of course the exterior of the building is a sight to see in itself. The authenticity of the crew in costumes makes it well worth the coin (www.titanicbranson.com).

If you're on a tight budget and/or you don't really want to visit all the tourist traps, just sit along the strip and watch the cars roll by on the infamous Highway 76 Strip. Sit back at an ice cream parlor, swim in your hotel pool or just play mini golf to see the vibrant city before your eyes. Seniors, newlyweds, families with young kids or just about anyone will enjoy the Ozark mountains and country feel. It should definitely be something you see before you kick the can.

Hotel selection is endless as are the shows, restaurants and attractions.

Whether it's summer or winter, spring or fall, Branson is always open.

Visit www.explorebranson.com or or www.ShowsInBranson.com or  http://www.branson.com for the latest on what's happening in the Ozark region.