Big Cedar Lodge is one of the best places to take your family if you are looking for a midwest getaway for a weekend. I'm sharing you my tips with my family of six on our amazing stay on these beautiful grounds!
We've always heard that Big Cedar Lodge is one of the best places to stay as a family. It was up there with a few other resorts, but I had heard from coworkers that Big Cedar was one of the most beautiful grounds in the area.
We call Kansas City home, so Branson is a quick 3 hour jaunt to Branson. During the summer, pretty much everyone we know typically heads towards the Lake of the Ozarks and Branson to spend their summer days. We got a lot of amazing advice, so we stayed at Big Cedar Lodge and it did not disappointment.
I'm sharing with you my best tips and tricks to making the most of your stay at Big Cedar! If you are looking for anything about golfing here, I'm not going to cover that! I'm not a golfer 🙂
Essential Tips on Making the Most of Your Stay at Big Cedar Wilderness Lodge
When To Book a Stay at Big Cedar Lodge
You need to at least the season before coming. If you are planning a stay, you should definitely book during the winter season (November through December). When we went to check-in, the front desk guy said that they pretty much had every single room booked up, which included the "emergency units". Summers are definitely a very busy time for Big Cedar Lodge. So book early!
Where to Book for Big Cedar Wilderness Lodge
Here is a HUGE money saving tip. Big Cedar Lodge actually has a time share section called Wilderness Lodge. And people are dying to get rid of their timeshare points and stays, so they'll sell their "time" there on eBay. This is an amazing way to save a LOT of money. When I called Big Cedar Lodge directly to book reservations for a 4 day stay over a weekend, it was going to be over $1,500 for the resort stay. I found an eBay timeshare for under $500 for the same nights. It was an INCREDIBLE savings. Check out this link that takes you to what I searched for when booking a stay.
You get the same amenities that a Big Cedar Lodge visitor would get. The grounds for both resorts are blended so that you can't tell which is Big Cedar and which is Wilderness Lodge. Literally, THE SAME amenities. So unless you want to spend four times more, book on the Wilderness Lodge.
Heading into Big Cedar Lodge
When you get to the turn where you see the Big Cedar Lodge sign, GO THAT WAY! It is much more scenic than going straight. While both roads will take you the same place, I feel like if you go through the entry on the right as you turn from the highway will give you an amazing first impression of the grounds. Make sure you take the left entry, as the right will take you to the Top of the Rock, which is a separate attraction.
Rooms at Big Cedar Wilderness Club
Here's a photo of our room (after getting acclimated) at one of the lodges. It was a studio that had basically everything. Yes, we did cram our family of six into the room!
It has a queen size bed and a sofa sleeper. Three of our kids (ages 3, 6 and 8) slept on the sofa sleeper. We brought a pack and play for our two year old, and the setup worked great!
The room had a fully functioning kitchen which included a stove top, microwave/oven combination, plates, silverware, pots, pans, cups and most importantly, a coffee maker with coffee and sugar/creamer.
If you stay using a timeshare, note that you will not have housekeeping service every day, so that means you'll have to request towels. We actually loved that we didn't get housekeeping because our things would just stay in the same place and we wouldn't have to worry about tidying up. Here's a view of it.
Brushey Creek is where you check into Wilderness Club, and it has a convenient store if you forget anything at all!
Best Pools at Big Cedar Lodge
There are 4 pools at Big Cedar Lodge. The one that we frequented the most was actually at the Brushey Creek Clubhouse.
The reason we stayed primarily at the Brushey Creek Clubhouse on the Wilderness Lodge side was because there is an indoor pool (for rainy days), Lazy river that is about 36 inches all around with tubes, a children's pool with zero entry, a separate outdoor water slide with a 4 foot catch pool and a hot tub.
There is a pool near the Devil's Pool restaurant, but diner's eating outdoors at the Devil's Pool restaurant have an overlook to the pool, and that just makes me feel uncomfortable.
There is the Swimmin' Hole pool which also has shuffleboard and a play park across the street! This is also the area where they do smore's and outdoor movies. We didn't actually go over there because the kids weren't interested because they didn't see a water slide there.
Fun Mountain Activities for Kids
Fun Mountain is the entertainment center within the Big Cedar resort area.
The theming is INCREDIBLE inside and outside. You literally cannot miss the rope course that stands out on the hill.
There is so much TO DO inside of Fun Mountain. The downside is each activity does cost money per person (it is kind of a money grab). Activities include:
- an arcade
- rope course
- kids/toddler rope course
- laser tag
- flipping bumper car ride
- spin zone bumper car ride
- climbing rock wall
- golf simulator
- nature discovery center
- kids adventure club
Our kids absolutely loved Fun Mountain! Fun Mountain actually has a restaurant inside which is actually one of the better "family friendly" restaurants on resort (and had more family friendly meal options).
Our family only did the kids/toddler rope course and the spin zone bumper cars. They absolutely loved both! The staff was super friendly there and made sure our kids had a blast!
Breakfast Onsite at Big Cedar Lodge - Truman Cafe & Custard
This is an onsite bakery and coffee cafe. The cinnamon rolls are the size of your head and is absolutely delicious. I can't honestly recommend the sandwiches or the egg plates because we didn't care for them.
The view is absolutely beautiful in the back where you are seated, so make sure you go outside for this as well!
Dinner Onsite at Big Cedar Lodge - Devil's Pool Restaurant
This restaurant has an amazing view if you are seated outside (which I would recommend). The bread includes rolls and this delicious seeded flat bread which is absolutely amazing.
The food I would rate a 7/10 - I had the prime rib and the hubs had a shrimp dish. The kids at mac and cheese, and they ate it all!
Big Cedar Lodge Stay Inclusions
There was so much we wanted to do, but we couldn't do it all. That includes miniature golf, bonfires, shuffleboard and going on the walking trail!
I really wanted to rent a pontoon boat, but we just didn't have the time between all the activities we had planned. If you are planning on staying here, I would recommend having a resort day where you are able to take advantage of what the resort has to offer outside of your Silver Dollar City, White Water Days, and shows in Branson!
Is Big Cedar Lodge worth the stay?
I would highly recommend booking a stay at Big Cedar Wilderness Club because it's less expensive and you can use ALL of the Big Cedar amenities.
I totally underestimated all the activities that would be available. Our kids absolutely LOVED the pools (indoor, Lazy River, hot tub and children's pool) at Brushey Creek. We couldn't have had a better stay!
I hope you found this review helpful! If you are looking for another family friendly vacation in the midwest, check out my 3 day weekend itinerary for families with littles in Kansas City!
Other Branson Vacation Ideas
If you loved this Big Cedar Lodge Review for families with kids, below are other posts you might love:
- Silver Dollar City Reviews
- Top of the Rock Golf Cart Tour
- Midwest Family Vacations
- Still Waters Lake Front Resort Review