Arkansas is a surprisingly great place for those looking to retire to an area with mild weather, friendly tax laws, and a lower cost of living. Arkansas’s cost of living is significantly lower than the national average allowing your retirement money to stretch farther and there are some interesting places to retire in Arkansas.
Arkansas is one of the lowest states for property taxes in the country since there are only local property taxes. Also, there is no tax on social security, military retirement funds, or railroad retirement income. Additionally, Arkansas also allows for a $6,000 deductible on IRAs and pensions.
Additionally, Arkansas does not have estate or inheritance taxes either, making it a very tax-friendly state for retirees. However, Arkansas does have a higher than average sales tax, but even with that, Arkansas is still one of the most inexpensive states to retire. Other tax-friendly states include Wyoming and West Virginia.
Most outsiders are impressed when they learn more about all that this state offers. There are larger cities like Little Rock that are the typical urban areas with all of the conveniences of entertainment venues, high-end restaurants, and fantastic shopping opportunities.
Active retirees will find Arkansas quite appealing as it is full of lakes, mountains, and waterfalls, with plenty of hiking, biking, fishing, and camping. Plus, many of the towns and cities are home to multiple golf courses allowing residents to hit the greens almost all year round.
And though Arkansas may not be the place you associate with wine, it has its fair share of family-owned and operated vineyards. If wine is not your thing, Arkansas is also home to several craft breweries and distilleries.
Arkansas has numerous towns and cities that are excellent places to retire, with some communities working to make their cities more appealing to retirees. For example, there are several planned and gated communities with all the amenities you could want, like medical facilities, golf courses, rec centers, and more.
If you are looking for a state that you can make the most of your retirement fund while enjoying the great outdoors, excellent restaurants, and a fast-growing retirement community, then Arkansas might be the ideal place for you.
Places to Retire in Arkansas
- Hot Springs
- Hot Springs Village
- Cherokee Village
- Holiday Island
- Percent of Senior Population: 7.9%
- Overall Population: 54,909
Bentonville, located in the northwest area of the state near the border of Missouri and Oklahoma, is the city with the highest population on the list but has the lowest population of seniors. Bentonville is best known for Walmart’s headquarters, with the giant company calling it home.
The Walmart headquarters are not the only attraction in this city; Bentonville is also home to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The museum, founded by Alice Walton, opened in 2011. The museum is free to the public and features millions of dollars worth of art in their 50,000 square foot exhibition space.
The Frank Lloyd Wright House is also found in Bentonville. It was moved from its home in New Jersey to the less flood-prone city of Bentonville in 2014. The house now sits on 120-acres of lush greenery sharing the Crystal Bridge Museum campus.
Also, active retirees will enjoy the Razorback Greenway, which offers 36 miles of trails for pedestrians and bicyclists. The route runs not just through Bentonville, but also Fayetteville and Springdale. The trail takes you by the University of Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas Mall, and the Crystal Bridge Museum.
And even though Bentonville is home to several large attractions and is home to more than 50,000 people, it has a lower than average crime rate. Plus, it is home to a full-service hospital, along with several other medical facilities all within the city limits of Bentonville.
- Percent of Senior Population: 20.3%
- Overall Population: 38,797
Hot Springs is the outdoor enthusiast retirement dream spot. It is located between the Ouachita Mountains and three different lakes, making this city quite picturesque. The city is named after the hot springs that are cherished by residents and visitors alike.
One of the most popular attractions in Hot Springs is Bathhouse Row, where people go to relax and be pampered while enjoying the naturally warm waters from the city’s namesake. Hot Springs has long been a favorite tourist destination. The state has even hosted infamous guests such as Al Capone.
Because Hot Springs attracts more than its share of visitors, the downtown area is full of boutiques, restaurants, plus fun museums such as the Gangster Museum of America, Mid-America Science Museum, and the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum.
Hot Springs also hosts Oaklawn Racing and Gaming, where you can try your hand at cards, dice, or slot machines. Plus, you can enjoy watching horse racing from January to April.
Hot Springs always has something fun to do for everyone, so retirees will never get bored here. Unfortunately, Hot Springs has a higher than average crime rate. However, the good news is that there is a multitude of medical centers, including the Levi Hospital, St. Joseph’s Regional Health Center, and the National Park Medical Center.
Hot Springs Village
- Percent of Senior Population: 60.4%
- Overall Population: 12,807
Hot Springs Village sits on 26,000 acres tucked into the Ouachita Mountains and is the largest gated community in the country. Retirees looking for a little quieter life with easy access to the Hot Springs area will enjoy the convenience and placidity of Hot Springs Village.
Hot Springs Village has everything an active retiree could ask for including:
- 11 lakes
- 9 golf courses
- 13 tennis ball courts
- Fitness center
- 2 full-service marinas
- 8 pickleball courts
- Performing arts center
- 26 miles of paved trails
- Private medical facilities
- 200+ clubs
With all of these amenities, residents of Hot Springs Village enjoy a higher quality of life.
As most would expect, the housing prices are a bit higher in Hot Springs Village than other cities of Arkansas, yet surprisingly it is still lower than the national average. Hot Springs Village has a large population of retirees, which grows every year.
In addition to the many amenities, Hot Springs Village also hosts multiple festivals and outdoor concerts throughout the warmer months. Hot Springs Village enjoys all four seasons, yet the temperatures rarely hit extreme heat or cold, making it the ideal place to live year-round.
And when you are ready to head out, there is much to see outside of the village. Just a short drive away is the Hot Springs National Park, where visitors can enjoy a dip in the naturally warm, healing waters. Or residents can head over to the neighboring city of Hot Springs and check out Bathhouse Row, shop their downtown area, or visit one of the many fun museums.
Best of all, Hot Springs Village has its own police force, and as a gated community, enjoys a greater sense of safety and a near non-existent crime rate. And, since there are various medical facilities on campus, the residents never have to leave to see physical therapists, specialty physicians, chiropractors, optometrists, and dentists. Plus, Hot Springs Village has several senior-friendly services such as senior apartments, assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, and home healthcare.
- Percent of Senior Population: 33%
- Overall Population: 4,702
Cherokee Village began as the first recreational and retirement community, back in 1954. Settled in the Ozark mountains, it is an affordable community that enjoys the land’s natural beauty.
Today Cherokee Village covers 15,000 acres with outstanding amenities such as:
- 2 golf courses
- 6 swimming pools
- Private beach
- Tennis courts
- Recreation centers
- Fitness center
- Senior center
- Horseshoe pits
- Two nature trails
- 7 lakes for boating or fishing
- 100+ clubs
- 24 churches
In addition to the Ozarks, Cherokee Village also has the Spring River and the South Fork River nearby, adding to the natural beauty of the area.
Cherokee Village is a more isolated community sitting in the Ozark Mountains, which is appealing to some and a turn-off to others. Often those who find Cherokee Village welcoming are those from the local southern region. However, due to its isolation, Cherokee Village is a very affordable place to live. According to Zillow, the median house price $70,858, which is pretty fantastic considering all of the local amenities.
Though there is no hospital directly in Cherokee Village, there is one just over in Salem, a short 12 miles away. And like most gated communities, Cherokee Village is a very safe place to retire.
- Percent of Senior Population: 54%
- Overall Population: 2,108
Those looking to retire to a quiet town on the water with an affordable cost of living will find Holiday Island much to their liking. Though not a gated community, instead, Holiday Island is a planned community sitting on Table Rock Lake, near the Missouri Arkansas border and the Ozark Mountains.
Holiday Island is located on 4,500 acres with 5,000 planned lots and several convenient amenities similar to a gated community such as:
- Golf courses
- A rec center complete with pools, tennis courts, and mini-golf
- Shopping center
Additionally, Holiday Island hosts several weekly events such as the farmers and flea market, exercise classes, games, and art classes. Plus, there are several clubs to help residents stay active in their community, like the readers/writers guild, card club, photo club, and garden club.
Unlike other communities in the Ozark area, Holiday Island is not as isolated and is near Eureka Springs, which is ideal for shopping and visiting local art galleries. And it is just an hour west is Bentonville, where residents can take advantage of the comforts of the larger city, such as restaurants, museums, and live entertainment venues.