Howdy, buddies!
Wanted to round up highlights from our recent trip to Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, MO to use as a reference for ya!  We’ve been vacationing as a family at Big Cedar for years, and, while this time was a sponsored trip, it doesn’t take much to get me going on why I love this place.  It’s become “our place,” if that makes any sense…so see why below!

The vibe of this resort is like fancy-rustic: you feel like you’re out in nature the whole time and really getting that rustic vibe…but this place is NICE.  Everything is immaculate, I never see any bugs (what is their secret?!?!), and each choice in decor, styling and layout is just so lovely while still feeling, well, rustic!



table rock lake views

Our favorite accommodations are the family cottages with views of Table Rock Lake, and they come in all shapes and sizes.  We were given a large two bedroom cottage, complete with soaker tubs, adorable kitchen, cozy fireplace…and a back porch with the BEST view!!  There are lots of different types of accommodations to fit different family sizes, and each one we’ve used has been amazing and oh so cozy.  We like to pack or buy a few breakfast/snack goodies to keep in the fridge and kitchen for quick bites, and then we usually eat at the restaurants on the grounds the rest of the time.

Tip: The resort provides shuttle service, so you really can just park your car and lose yourself in this magical family spot during your entire stay!


Cedar Creek Spa:

spa day white beams

modern farmhouse ceiling beams spa

Big Cedar has by far my favorite spa ever, and you can see why just from these small glimpses!  Stunning facility offering everything from massages to facials to mani/pedis, and you should see the stunning grotto and ice room for after your appointment…AMAZING.

Tip: Bring your swimsuit with you to the spa so you can enjoy all of the stunner amenities once your massage is done!


Fun Mountain:

You could spend an entire day at Fun Mountain (and we have!): a huge arcade with games for all ages, “underwater” bowling (a favorite of ours), bumper cars, rock climbing, and a yummy restaurant for when you need a break from all the fun!  We like to plan Fun Mountain for rainy days or maybe extra toasty/chilly days during our stay, because almost all the fun is indoors.  This is by far the kiddos’ favorite spot at Big Cedar…and the parents sure have fun here too!

Tip: Make sure the kiddos wear closed-toe shoes so they can participate in all the games and activities!


Where to eat:

Big Cedar offers a selection of places to grab a cold treat or a full meal, and one of our favorite stops this trip was the newly renovated Truman Sweet Shop!  So many yummy sweet goodies, plus the little cottage is beyond adorable.  Sit outside and catch views of the lake, too!

Other places to chow down include the Devil’s Pool restaurant, The Worman House, Uncle Buck’s at Fun Mountain along with room service, pool-side dining, and lots of fun little seasonal pop-ups like hot chocolate from an airstream at Christmas time!

Tip: on your way home, check out and then stop at Devil’s Pool for their huge brunch buffet…delish!  And it fills up all the bellies for the drive home.


Worth the drive – Dogwood Canyon:

dogwood canyon

dogwood canyon

Many visits, we never leave the Big Cedar Lodge grounds, but this time, we were treated to a day at Dogwood Canyon, the most magical nature preserve area about a 20 minute drive from Big Cedar.  Waterfalls on waterfalls on waterfalls, an amazing two-hour open air tram tour (huuuuuge bison right next to our tram!  And a baby bison!), exploring the stunning grounds, feeding fish and playing in the nature center, too.  There is a lovely spot to eat overlooking one of the main waterfalls, and the girls (and their parents…) were absolutely in awe of all the beauty surrounding us at Dogwood Canyon.

Tip: save time after or go early before your tour so the kiddos can explore the huge nature center and the amazing tree house!  SO much to see and do!  And, if you eat lunch at the restaurant, I recommend the trout cake BLT…YUM.

Explore the Big Cedar grounds:


Truly, you never even have to leave Big Cedar to have a blast.  There’s so much to do and see on campus: gorgeous chapel on a hill, countless water views and waterfalls, numerous swimming pools, putt putt, playgrounds and indoor activity center, hiking trails, and so much more!  In the evenings, you can view a family movie camped out on the lawn complete with s’mores, and at Christmastime, they bring in a faux iceskating rink for the kids with hot chocolate and twinkle lights!  So.  Much.  Fun.  All in one place!

Tip: pack your walking shoes to hike the grounds and explore, and don’t miss some of our favorite spots: putt putt with the giant fish, the chapel, and the huge playground!


This was by far one of the best trips we’ve ever taken as a family, and we have Big Cedar Lodge to thank!!  They treated us so well…but they always have.  That’s the kicker.  Long before I had @cottonstem, they treated us just as well, and I think that speaks volumes.  ❤  I hope you can visit with your family or your special someone soon!  Maybe we’ll see ya there…..😉

share this post on



leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Tisha says:

    This place looks fantastic. We are a traveling family and haven’t been to MO. This was very informative. Pics are beautiful and it looks like paradise!

  2. Amy says:

    My family was planning a trip to Branson last Christmas and we were searching for a place to stay when you posted about being at Big Cedar. I immediately called and we got one of the last rooms available. It was soooo magical at Christmas with all the lights. My then 1 and 2 year olds LOVED the “elf tuck-in!” Thank you for sharing such a wonderful place! Everyone in my family enjoyed it.


  3. Christy says:

    I love all your posts and stories. You have a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I love all your home decor and the colors you use. Your girls are the cutest!

  4. Melissa says:

    We visited Big Cedar for our Anniversary per your stories and fabulous reviews of their property . Let me say that they did not disappoint ! We stayed in a cottage and were greeted with a lovely basket of goodies and a personalized anniversary card ! They even gave us a little cake ! It was so very sweet ! So happy they treated you and Mr. CS to a fun filled adventure with the little ladies ! 💗

  5. Katie says:

    I live inSt. Louis and never really considered Branson, but now I am!! What time of year would you recommend, fall or winter/Christmas? I have a 3 year old and almost 1 year old…this looks like a totally doable family vacation!!

  6. Amber says:

    We are at Big Cedar now. It was a sweet gift from one of our church members. I’ve looked at your blog several times for reference! Thank you!

  7. Jenni says:

    This place looks so magical every time you share it! I wish we’d have known about when we lived in South Dakota, now we’re 20 hours away! But we’d love to see it someday, who knows, we have family in St Louis, so it could happen. It’s so beautiful and peaceful!

  8. Sher Wetzel says:

    your photos are stunning as are the children <3

close menu



browse by topic


My home

learn how to make a DIY embroidery wreath

Erin's Guide 


vintage love




browse by topic



Baking with kids

Erin's Guide 


close menu



browse by topic

wardrobe capsules

style favorites

wardrobe capsules

Erin's Guide 

style try ons

close menu



browse by topic

beauty capsules


Beauty capsules

Erin's Guide 

close menu



browse by topic

on motherhood

kid projects

on finding rest in the midst of motherhood

Erin's Guide