Learn and compare the differences between these two very popular resorts for families in Branson - Big Cedar Lodge vs Still Water Lakefront Resort. These are two of the most family friendly resorts to stay at in Brason and offer a list of amenities that are amazing. I'm going to list those out and share with you the best tips for these Branson Table Rock resorts on the lake.
Branson is only a 3 hour drive from Kansas City and about 5 hours from St. Louis. It's a midwest version of the Las Vegas strip, but a little more family friendly.
Having been to Branson more times than I can count, we've been to two of the most popular resorts in Branson and have some tips on choosing the best resort for your trip. I want to give you an overview as I compare Big Cedar (which is absolutely breathtaking and beautiful) to Still Water Resort (which is really fun and convenient).
Difference Between Big Cedar Lodge and Still Waters Resort
Both Big Cedar Lodge and Still Waters Resort are more expensive than the average hotel in Branson. However, the grounds offer experiences that are exclusive to those resorts. Big Cedar creates it's unique ambiance due to the amazing architecture, grounds, and the activity center. Still Waters offers amazing pools with water slides for the kids and included lake activities that are walking distance without needing to travel by car.
Big Cedar Lodge is on the expensive side, whereas Still Water Resort is a more affordable option among the two resorts.
In peak season, the lowest average price you'll find for rooms at either of these resorts would be around $500 a night and upwards of $1,500 a night.
To give you an idea on pricing, I know this isn't apples to apples comparison, but our 4 night stay at Wilderness Lodge (when purchased off of eBay) was $529 for 4 nights. Had I booked direct, it would have been over $1,500. For Still Waters, our stay was $684.76 booked direct with the resort for 2 nights during low season.
Ease of Access
Big Cedar is a larger resort and has many of the pools and activities pretty spaced out on their grounds. While the grounds are very spectacular in their own right, the problems with shuffling all the kids to get into the car and finding a place to park for that one area you wanted to go to did not make sense to me.
Still Water Resort is a smaller resort in comparison to Big Cedar, but everything is so close. It's within a 5 minute walk to anywhere you wanted to be. For our family, this was really important and worked out perfectly during our stay.
My kids LOVED the Oasis Pool at Still Water. They had a slide, waterfall, and bridge. They had an absolute blast going down the slide (which does not dump into a pool).
Pools at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson
My kids LOVED the lazy river at Big Cedar. It was a beautiful pool area, and the kids had a blast there. There were two other pools that were available as well. However, they were so far away and not in walking distance, so we never actually visited those pools.
There was also a small separate pool for little ones close to the lazy river in the event you wanted something more appropriate for toddlers.
There was an indoor pool with a slide, but this one popped you out into 4 feet deep water. For my kids not knowing to swim, they had to wear life jackets and have us catch them.
There was also another pool that had a restaurant overlook above it. I'm not sure how I feel about people watching me swim while they eat, so we never went to that pool.
With our family's experience with our 4, 6, 8, and 10 year old, we would rate the pool at Still Waters as our favorite. Followed closely behind the lazy river at Big Cedar.
Pools at Still Waters Resort in Branson
Still Waters resort had more fun pools for kids under 14 years old. While it didn't have an amazing lazy river, the kids absolutely all enjoyed the slides. Still Waters has 3 pools (and are adding an additional indoor one later). The main one that everyone goes to has the main slide you see in all the photos, but also a shallow end for little ones, bridge, deep end (4 feet), hot tub, and a bar.
There's no question here, Big Cedar wins hands down with the multiple places it offers delicious food including: Osage Restaurant, Wine Cellar, Lady Liberty Brunch and Dinner Cruise, The Worman House Bistro, Buffalo Bar, Arnie's Barn, and Room Service.
Still Water had the Taco Truck and the Pizza World which was inside the convenience store onsite. While there weren't any sit down restaurants, they did hit the mark in terms of meals. There was also a convenience store up the road that also made pizza, which was also delicious.
In comparison, Big Cedar has more dining options for guests than Still Waters resort.
Free Activities for the Family Comparison
Big Cedar has a lot of included activities for their guests as well, which include all of these for free:
Canoes or Kayaks
Big Cedar also has what's known as "Fun Mountain", which most of the attractions are paid. There are A TON of activities including ridge ropes course, bowling, laser tag, and go carts.
Still Water has lots of amenities for their guests, which include activities at the marina. This includes all of these things for free:
Cane Fishing Poles
Lodging and Room Comparison
We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge at Big Cedar, so this comparison is based off of that point.
I would say that I preferred Still Water because it had a lighter, airy ambiance in the room as compared to Big Cedar, which were obviously themed around woodsy nature. The room that we got at Big Cedar wasn't anything to write home about (nor was Still Waters). I also may be biased because Big Cedar, we had a studio vs our Still Water stay gave us ample space for our family of 6.
Wilderness Lodge at Big Cedar Lodge
Here are the photos of the studio room that we crammed all six of us in.
Still Waters Resort Two Bedroom Room
Here is the space that Still Waters had. Again, the room was well appointed, but nothing to write home about.
Location to Other Activities in Branson
Still Water Resort wins handsdown on this. With Silver Dollar City being 2 miles away and Branson Strip being 7 miles away, Still Water wins hands down in regards to location.
I just remembered on our last trip to Branson that driving from Still Water Resort to Top of the Rock to ride on their golf carts took 20 minutes.
Summary of Comparing Big Cedar Lodge to Still Waters Lakefront Resort
Both are great places for families with lots of kid-friendly activities. Again, I may be biased because I had a larger room at our stay at Still Waters, but I prefer Still Waters while my kids are still enjoying the slides.
When the youngest turns 13, that's when we'll probably start staying at Big Cedar again.