August 4, 2020

Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, MO- Where to stay, What to eat & What to do!

This post is LONG overdue because every time we go to Big Cedar, I get so many messages on my Instagram asking all the questions! We are clearly in love with BC, as we go twice a year. Once in the summer, and once at Christmas. We truly love both seasons there and feel there is plenty to do both times. Before we get into all the deets, I want to answer the questions you all left on my Instagram about Big Cedar:

Your questions answered!

1. How far in advance do you book your visits?

If we are staying on the big cedar side (I’ll clarify this more below), we book at least a half a year in advance. If we are staying on the timeshare side, we book as close to 2 weeks out from the trip.

2. Do you recommend the spa?

YES I DO!!! It is pricey, but what spa isn’t. It’s totally worth the money, in my opinion. If you book any spa service, the spa amenities are included for free for the entire day. Which is the sauna, grotto (an amazing heated pool area with lounge chairs to sit and relax, and many more. I recently got a 90 minute massage on our last trip and paid $250, but there is less expensive treatments to choose from. They do a great job of making you feel pampered from beginning to end.

3. Is it worth checking out going if I don’t have kids?

YES! There are a wide range of guests there. It is a great pace for couples, singles, girls trip, and families!

4. Top of the rock, do you need reservations? Is it worth taking smaller children?

Yes and no to this one. I would recommend reservations to eat, but you can also walk in and sit at the bar without a reservation. The only restaurants that are open at Top of the rock right now are both pricey. Expect to pay about 20-50 per entree and drinks are around 20 each! There are plenty of kids that go, but if you want to get out cheaper, maybe leave them with grandma ๐Ÿ˜‰ As for other things to do at Top of the Rock, I will answer that below, because there is other things that are great to do with kids!

5. Is this a good trip with teenagers? Or just bring hubby?

It’s a great place for teenagers!! There are 5 pools on property and lots of places in the resort for them to go off and be teenagers lol. There’s also lots of outdoor activities that are free. Not to mention renting a boat! I would definitely bring my teens, but also a trip alone with the hubs would be great too ๐Ÿ˜‰

6. How do you book a rental there? Do you have to have a timeshare?

All this info is below under “How to Book” and no, you don’t need a timeshare!

 

Okay, let’s dive into all the details!!

 

How To Book

There are 2 ways to visit Big Cedar: Staying in a Big Cedar cabin, cottage, lodge, or staying on the timeshare side of the property in The Wilderness Club. Both come with all the same amenities and there really is no difference, other than price. We stay on the Wilderness side majority of the time, due to price. One plus to the Wilderness side is that they have laundry machines in all their units. The Big Cedar side does not. When we go in the summer, having the laundry is very needed! The cabins look the same on either side of the resort, so there is no difference there.

Big Cedar Side:

To find out about renting on the Big Cedar side, head HERE. If they don’t have any dates listed on their website, you will have to call and their number is (800) 225-6343. A rep can help you further. The lodges on the Big Cedar side are the most reasonable, and the prices go up from there if you’d like a cabin or a cottage. It also depends what time of year you go. The high season gets very pricey, where as the off season has more deals. We have stayed in THIS lodge before and it was very nice and doable! If you’re booking on the Big Cedar side, and are wanting a cabin or a cottage, I would book at least a few months in advance (unless price is no option), but they usually have lodge rooms pretty readily open. We have booked a lodge room a few days ahead of time with no problem. We even got a deal because Sunday nights are discounted!

The Wilderness Club:

This one is more detailed, but definitely worth a small hassle! To rent on the timeshare side, you have to rent it from an individual timeshare owner. To do that you either have to rent from a referral, Craigslist, or Ebay. Owners will rent out their units on those sites and you can find some great deals. We typically pay anywhere from $75-250 a night. We have stayed in both a cabin and a 2 bedroom lodge, and prefer the lodge for our family (and also for the view!) To search on Ebay or Craigslist, just search “Big Cedar Wilderness Club” and dates and units will pop up. It can be a little strange sending a random person money for a rental without knowing them, but if you send it through PayPal, you’re protected against fraud. We have rented 6 times now doing it this way, and have never had an issue. It’s a VERY common way to rent there. You can also talk to the person on the phone, which I’ve done many times, before sending the money. Once you send the money, the owner will set up your dates and you will get an email through Bluegreen Vacations with your rental info. Once you get that email, you won’t hear anything again from Bluegreen until you show up, so don’t be alarmed by that. You can always call (417) 348-4085 and verify your reservation, if you’re concerned.

If you are renting a lodge through the Wilderness side, call about a week in advance and ask to have a top floor unit with a view of the lake. You won’t regret it ๐Ÿ™‚ They will do their best to accommodate that. Booking on the Wilderness side is great because you can find great deals if you’re flexible and can go within a few weeks of booking. Most of the time the owners will discount their unit the closer it gets to the date, so that is a bonus for you! You can also try and negotiate the rate with the owner. We have had luck doing that twice. It can be more difficult to negotiate rates if you’re going in the summer, since it’s such a popular time, and they have no problem renting out units.

Below is the view from Viney Creek Lodge in Wilderness Club.

What To Do

There is so much offered on the resort, that we generally don’t ever leave, unless we are going to Silver Dollar City. When you are in the resort, there are free shuttles that will take you anywhere you want to go within Big Cedar. You just call the front desk and a shuttle will appear! If you have strollers, that will add a level of inconvenience , but everything is pretty walk-able, as well.

Pools

Lets start with the pools. There are 5 pools on the property and each have their own pluses and minuses. Our 2 favorite pools are Devil’s Pool and the Falls pool. Devil’s pool is attached to the Buzzard Bar and it’s a great place to people watch. It’s a smaller pool but the view is amazing and it has food + drink service, which is right up our alley ๐Ÿ™‚ Give us a pina colada poolside, and we are some happy campers! The Falls pool is on the Wilderness side and is great because it has a nice baby pool and has a pretty waterfall that separates an upper pool from a lower pool. It’s big, so there’s lot of space for people. There is no food or drink service at the Falls pool, so you will need to bring your own. They also have a lazy river that is really popular with a lot of people! We decided we aren’t lazy river people lol, but people seem to love it.

Spa

As I mentioned above, I highly suggest the spa! It’s worth saving up for. Its absolutely gorgeous inside, and every service I have gotten has been top notch. They make you feel pampered from the second you walk in, till the second you leave. If you don’t want to shell out for a treatment, you can always just pay for a day pass, and that gets you access to the saunas and grotto. That alone would be worth it!

Below is the grotto area.

Outdoor activities

There is a lot of free things to do around the property. One of them is mini golf, and my girls live for that. You can find a list of all the free things offered around the property HERE. They always have free events at night year round, that we absolutely love. They have bonfires, outdoor movie nights, and so much more!! There is always something going on ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls love doing the paddle boats! There is also a little beach near the paddle boats and the kids love playing in the lake and swimming. There is also a great 5K trail that we love to run on every time we go and is very scenic!

Fun mountain

Fun mountain is fun for kids… and parents hear dollar signs LOL, but it is great because they have a bowling alley, obstacle course, arcade, lazer tag, go karts, bumper cars and a restaurant/bar. Be prepared to hear daily “Can we go to fun mountain?!” ๐Ÿ™‚

One thing I highly recommend taking advantage of at Fun Mountain is Adventure Club!!! Its for kids 4 and up, and is essentially a babysitting service, but the kids have SO MUCH FUN! They have different activities every day and it’s for a 4 hour span, so it gives mom and dad some much needed time away ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls absolutely love doing this! They get to play in their fun room that has a jungle gym, they eat a meal there, they get to do their build-a-bear activity, they also do whatever activity is planned for that day. Last trip they did fishing, and also camping. They learned how to build a tent + fire and roasted marshmallows! It really is so fun for them!

Boat rental

This is hands down our favorite thing to do here. It is always our favorite day, and we rent the boat for 8 hours and a spend a full day on the water. You can rent from Bent Hook Marina if youโ€™re staying on property, or Long Creek Marina and State Park Marina if you are staying somewhere else. You will pay a premium at Bent Hook, but we love the convenience of it. You can also rent a tube or skis for the boat! Make sure to bring food and drink on board! They will supply you towels and life jackets. We always rent the Regency pontoon boat, and it’s perfect for our needs. You can also rent jet skis, which we did this past time and our girls LOVED it!

Top of The Rock

This is a two part one because I feel differently about the food at top of the rock, versus activities. I would highly recommend going there with or without kids! They have a museum which you can check out HERE, they have a really fun golf cart tour that we highly recommend, and just walking around the grounds is a must! The view is incredible and can’t be missed. You can go take some pics at the restaurant, even if you don’t eat there. As I mentioned above, the restaurants are very pricey, so plan for that if you decide to eat there. There is a church on the property and is beautiful, so be sure to walk in there. You can get there from the basement of Buffalo Bar, and there is also a really cool wine cellar down there! There is also a golf course that is supposed to be one of the best in the country! We don’t golf, so I can’t personally attest to that ๐Ÿ™‚

When you arrive at Top of the Rock, you will have to pay a $10 entrance fee and then you park at the gift shop/welcome area and a shuttle will take you over to the restaurant area, where the amazing view is. The golf cart activity is right where you park and it takes about an hour or longer to go through. There is amazing waterfalls and lookout points along the way. They also offer a shuttle from Big Cedar grounds to Top of the Rock.

Below is the view from Top of the Rock. It was a cloudy day when we last went, but still beautiful!

Where to Eat

This would be our only complaint about coming here: the food. It’s not the greatest, in our opinion. It’s also pricey everywhere you go. We joke that we can’t get out of a restaurant without spending a hundred dollars every time. On property they have Truman, which is a cafe and it’s great for coffee and breakfast + lunch and opens as a custard shop at night! There’s Devil’s Pool + Buzzard Bar in the same building and we typically eat at Buzzard Bar if we are eating out. Then there’s Uncle Bucks in Fun Mountain. The food is good, but it’s not great. We typically bring food and make meals in our room. We will take lunches to the pool or on the boat, makeย  breakfast and dinners in the room, and maybe eat out a a few times a week

 

That’s a Wrap!

That pretty much sums up all the info! It really is hard to explain how special it is, but once you get there, you will totally get it! The grounds are so beautiful and there is so many cute little nooks to explore. I will be doing a seperate post about Christmas time at Big Cedar, because that is the most magical time to go!! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! You can always DM me on Insta, or email me mary@missmarypowers.com

Thanks for reading!!

 

Comments

  1. We are 2x a year to Big Cedar, always Wilderness Club as we have our vacation club through them. Love it, thanks for the post, we didn’t go this summer with everything going on but fingers crossed for Christmas.

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