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Old 05-17-2009, 05:57 AM   #1
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Smile Pigeon Forge to Branson Drive

Hello Everyone!

Late next month, we're driving from Pigeon Forge to Branson. (I'm really looking forward to this!) I understand that it's about a 725 - 750 mile trip. We're doing it over a 3 day / 2 night period so we won't be rushed.
I have the following questions:

Which is the more scenic way?
Choice 1: Interstate from Pigeon Forge / Knoxville area west passing near Nashville, Memphis and Little Rock...then north on Route 65 to Branson

Choice 2: Interstate from Pigeon Forge / Knoxville area west to Nashville then northwest passing near Clarksville, TN, Padukah, KY, Sikeston, MO...then Highway 60 through Poplar Bluff to Springfield...then Highway 65 to Branson

Also, are there any really great places to stop along the way? We have 9 year old triplets, so we're going to have to stop somewhere to preserve everyone's sanity!

Thanks for your help!
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:15 AM   #2
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Hi, Lynnda - I can't help you with the first route, but we live about 30 miles north of Sikeston, so I'm pretty familiar with the Sikeston to Branson route. From Sikeston to Poplar Bluff, the country is pretty flat, but once you hit Poplar Bluff, you are in the Ozarks. It is mostly divided highway with only one stretch of less than 50 miles (they keep opening up new parts that are divided so that stretch gets less and less).

In Sikeston is the original Lambert's, home of the throwed rolls. Expect a long wait to get in unless you are there at odd times, but the food and atmosphere are definitely worth it. There is another Lambert's in Ozark, between Springfield and Branson. Poplar Bluff has a lot of restaurants.
Hillbilly Junction is in Willow Springs and it has a restaurant and gift shop. In Van Buren is Big Springs which might be a good time to take a little side trip and stretch your legs. You will also drive through a stretch of Amish Country so watch out for carriages on the side of the road. If you have never been to Bass Pro HQ in Springfield, I think you would enjoy it. It is a huge store with everything you can imagine for the out-of-doors from pontoon boats to fishing lures, all kinds of clothing, camping equipment, hunting gear, swim stuff, archery supplies, plus there are both a nice restaurant and a McDonald's. There are huge aquariums and a stream and waterfall, and it's all free (if you can leave without buying anything!) The last time we went, there was a museum attached and a wildlife museum with live animals next door. Springfield also has a nice zoo and a minor league baseball team affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals. Outside of Springfield, there is a Civil War site, Wilson's Creek Battlefield.

If you have any other questions, please let me know. We've made this trip dozens of times.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:43 AM   #3
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I believe the McD's inside Bass Pro in Springfield is permanently closed. However, it is IMO, worth a stop, because there is literally something for everyone, jewelry, kids clothes, boats, golfing equipment, in the midst of a museum type setting.

If you drive north from Arkansas, I'd suggest HWY 7 for the scenic route. Padukah, KY is a very pretty area. I'm not sure which direction I'd take for a drive, either have some pretty areas, and some pretty IMO, boring stretches too.
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