Fitness Friday | Branson, Missouri

Festiva destinations are located near some of the best natural areas in the country. The ocean, the mountains, the lakes and rivers of this great country are all nearby and yours for exploring. That’s why we’ve selected these beautiful places as vacation spots.

And while it may be obvious that time off is good for your health, did you know that timeshares themselves make it easy to stay current with your fitness routine while on vacation?

A recent survey from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and conducted by research group Leger, found that more than half (54%) of Americans enjoy fitness activities while on vacation, and timeshare owners are leading this group with nine out of 10 stating they perform fitness activities on vacation. In addition to their proximity to fitness-friendly activities, which we’ll discuss shortly, timeshares offer fully equipped kitchens for healthy, local, fresh meals, the square footage needed for a quick in room workout without disturbing others, and longer stays with which to try different fitness activities.

On this Fitness Friday, let’s shine a spotlight on some of the fun family activities near our resort locations that you can do to stay active on your next vacation.

The Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area

Branson is a fun little town in the Ozark Mountains. Google shows the elevation at 778 feet, so don’t expect the challenge of Rocky Mountain National Park, but there are some natural hiking trails right near downtown where you can get some peace and quiet, and some good exercise on the hilly terrain.

The high ground of the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area is on the west side of Branson and less than a mile from Cabins at Green Mountain. Most of it was donated by Ruth and Paul Henning- you may recognize Paul as the creator of the Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction television series.

The forest, woodland, and glade habitat that bears his and his wife’s name includes a .4 mile out and back paved forest trail to the top of Dewey Bald. Hikers can then climb an observation tower to see an unobstructed view of Branson. The grade of this trail is moderate and appropriate for young children, and smooth enough for those in a wheelchair.

From the west side of Branson, take Highway 76 west 0.75 mile from the Highway 376/Highway 76 intersection. For more information, call 417-895-6880.

Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area

Step into the woods right off the strip at the Lakeside Forest Wilderness area, 140 acres of wooded and rugged hill country with a quiet, shaded picnic area and 4.4 miles of trails showcasing the forests and unique rock formations of the area.

We recommend the Bluff Trail- you’ll traverse 338 hand laid stone steps leading down toward Lake Taneycomo. This is a more advanced hike that will challenge you with its elevation changes and ruggedness. Near the bottom is the Grotto, a large rock cutout that forms a nice waterfall when it rains. Down the trail, you’ll find two caves, one of which is about 35 feet by 20 feet, tall enough to stand up in, and was used as a soldier’s hideout during the Civil War.

Lakeside Forest is located just south of Highway 76 and Fall Creek Road, near Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater. For more information, call 417-335-2368.

Pat Barcas

Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for Festiva, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family, and of course, traveling!

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