Walmart Museum downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. Image credit shuttersv via Shutterstock

7 Best Towns In Arkansas For Retirees

Arkansas, a southern state full of charm and hospitality, is an ideal place for all stages of life, with some of the most affordable housing options in the country and many of its natural wonders at the doorstep. Being the Nature State, after all, it sees many being born and through their golden years while attracting countless others from all around for affordable housing, a good income, and a low poverty rate.

The median age in Bella Vista is 50.2 and in Holiday Island is 63.4 years, where it is incredibly easy to make friends, host dinner parties, and find active companions for the outdoors. Bentonville is home to the original Walmart, while Paragould delights the eye with Beaux-Arts and Spanish Revival architecture. Read along to see how the state does the impossible of combining altruistic beauty with some of the most affordable housing in the state and a larger population for an invigorating life.


Mitchell House, Batesville, Arkansas
Mitchell House, Batesville, Arkansas. Image credit Valis55, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Home to 11,213, Batesville is a unique little town and the county seat of Independence County. Its big personality, with a state-of-the-art 112,000-square-foot Community Center and Aquatics Parks, encompasses being both the Christmas Capital of Arkansas and the dirt-racing capital of the South. Offering an average household income of $70,095 but a higher poverty rate of 20.99%, the median age in Batesville is 35.5 years. As the former home of NASCAR legend Mark Martin, the vibrant college town of the present day is perfect for the retirement age, where the golden years promise to be fun and diverse. Lyon College, a Presbyterian school, lends a quaint feel, where the summers in town are particularly quiet.

Located in the north-central part of the state, the town is key to Arkansas' routes, thanks to its historic role as a commercial traffic center on the White River. Finding outdoor pursuits is easy for adventurous retirees, from hiking, canoeing, caving, and climbing to scenic photography and fishing. Don't miss the stately Garrott House from the 1840s on the National Register of Historic Places, the Cook-Morrow House from the early 20th century, and find your own house for under $230,000. There are also a good half-dozen retirement and senior centers, including very budget-friendly ones! Locals enjoy gathering for the Ozark Foothills Film Festival and the annual Arkansas Scottish Festival in the fall.

Bella Vista

Family with kids biking on bike trail in Bella Vista, Northwest Arkansas
Family with kids biking on bike trail in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

Home to 30,297, with a median age of 50.2, Bella Vista, translating symphonically as a beautiful view, is a great location for retirees seeking breathtaking vistas of the distant Ozark Mountains. The town offers a vibrant atmosphere for those who enjoy an invigorating life well into the golden years, complemented by the lovely nature in the tranquil northwest part of the state. From exciting outdoor adventures to leisure activities, there are countless ponds and streams throughout, like the favorite Lake Ann to Loch Lomond for boaters and anglers. With a $117,175 median household income and a poverty rate of a mere 3.19%, the retirees who live in Bella Vista tend to lean conservative.

Bella Vista features a grand layout with picturesque walkways and conveniences around each corner to get groceries or sit in a cafe with a friend. Don't miss the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail, perfect for a relaxing stroll, or enjoy the top-notch golf courses and the opportunity to become a member of the Bella Vista Country Club. Snatch a deal of a home with a median home value of $300,000 or rent at $1,119. With a ton of parks, thanks to all the water and the rural feel, most (88%) of residents own a home.


Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas
Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. Image credit RozenskiP via Shutterstock

Home to just under 60,000 people, Bentonville, the county seat of Benton County, has grown by 8.98% since 2020, with a median age of 32.2 years old. Boasting a high median household income of $133,835 and a low poverty rate of 6.19%, it is not a cheap place to own. The median home listing price is $565,000, but the median home sold price is more reasonable at $398,00. Perhaps best known as the birthplace of Walmart, the town is an intriguing blend of southern charm and modern amenities, which makes it a second-to-none place to live out the golden years in style and comfort. It is easy to access the outdoors from the doorstep with two resplendent parks, Compton Gardens or Lawrence Plaza Park, equipped with picnic sites and activities if coming for leisure with your family, like basketball courts, playgrounds, and a great walking path with retirees in mind.

Locals enjoy the bustling downtown feel and quiet suburbs, with three distinct retirement communities throughout, thought out and designed with personality rather than mundanity. For a new home, look no further than the Parks at Brighton, with a variety of amenities for 55+ residents. It's easy to make friends in this welcoming town and find like-minded people to stay active or enjoy going out for coffee or drinks in the evening. The popular attractions for every age include the Peel Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The downtown square is a lively affair with pretty streets, regular events, and art shows, as well as farmers markets to shop at with your friends and concerts to attend.

Holiday Island

Holiday Island gated community in the Ozark Mountains, Arkansas
Holiday Island gated community in the Ozark Mountains, Arkansas.

Home to 2,358, Holiday Island is a real hidden gem for the golden years, offering a serene feel with a median income of $60,540 and a poverty rate of only 4.71%. No wonder it is a destination for retirees with a median age of 63.4 years, where it is incredibly easy to make friends, host dinner parties, and find active companions for the outdoors. Currently building more retirement communities than ever before, Holiday Island is a 5,000-home master-planned town catered to a healthy lifestyle. Offering something for everyone when the family visits, there are excellent athletic facilities and the outdoors, from the nearby Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge for exciting sightseeing opportunities to Beaver Lake.

Find a two-bedroom or a full-sized family home easily, with the median price to own at $330,000 on the listing but a very manageable $225,000 selling price. The quality builders in the area include B-Squared Construction and the reputable Ozark Mountain & Lake Log Homes. Naturally, there are many shopping and amenities, some with an Arkansas theme, all within a stroll from your place. Eureka Springs is also a short drive south, offering great healthcare facilities, like Eureka Springs Hospital.


City hall in Lowell, Arkansas
City hall in Lowell, Arkansas. Image credit Brandonrush, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lowell is a small city in Benton County, Arkansas, with a rapidly growing population that has increased by nearly 30% since 2020 to its current total of 12,830 happy residents. With a median age of 34.2, Lowell enjoys a high median household income of $96,879 and a poverty rate of only 8.96%, where the median house costs $389,900 as of January 2024. It is a great city to retire in, bustling a little more every day with expanding businesses and attractions for the whole family, like the spanking new 100-acre Kathleen Johnson Memorial Park with a shiny playground. With a trend toward an improving economic atmosphere, other newer additions to the area include FedEx.

In times of need, the highly reputable Northwest Arkansas’s major hospitals are within a short drive of the city, while the 36-mile Razorback Regional Greenway is a wonderful trail to stay healthy. Adapted for all ages via walking, jogging, and biking, you can go as far as Bella Vista, another great town to retire, or even Fayetteville. The city boasts two fantastic attractions for seniors, JB Hunt Senior Center and First Tee, which features a scenic nine-hole golf course, both within Lowell's splendid 72-acre Ward Nail Park.

Mammoth Spring

Water flowing in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Water flowing in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas.

Mammoth Spring, a tiny city of around 1,000 in Fulton County, is the best place to retire with a true sense of community. Slowly growing, with a 4% increase in population since 2020, it is highly open to newcomers of all ages, with its own median age of 38.7 years. What is most epic when it comes to senior living is its extreme safety and spectacular housing options, where the median home value is $199,900 as opposed to the national average of over $400,000. You can grow in the suburban-rural mix, home to many retirees, where most (79% of residents) own their homes.

It is easy to make friends where most tend to be conservative as well as part of a family with kids, as the public schools in Mammoth Spring are above average. It is normal to be unsure about a place you want to dedicate your golden years to, but Mammoth Spring makes it easy to experiment and see if you and the city are a good fit, with its median rental cost of only $525 for a month, as compared to the national median of $1,268. Mammoth Spring State Park is a National Natural Landmark and one of the world’s largest springs. Flowing into a 10-acre lake, it continues its southward journey as the famous Spring River in the Ozark as trout and float streams. The park, home to the 1886 Frisco train depot and museum and the Arkansas Welcome Center, offers a playground and picnic areas, a baseball field, a walking path, and a gift shop.


The Historic Greene County Courthouse, Paragould, Arkansas.
The Historic Greene County Courthouse, Paragould, Arkansas. Image credit Roberto Galan via

Paragould, a small city and the county seat of Greene County, is for retirees who like to bustle through their golden years in an invigorating environment for the mind, body, and soul! Offering a median household income of $66,436 and a poverty rate of 17.44%, the median age in Paragould is 35.9 years old, but it is the super affordable housing that truly stands out in the larger town. With a median price to own at $198,500, Paragould is a fantastic place to settle, make friends easily, host dinner parties, or go out on town.

The fantastic downtown area offers something for all ages, with seniors in mind, including historic touchstones and cultural landmarks. It lends a community feel and a sense of pride to live in a downtown area on the National Register of Historic Places. Don't miss the Collins Theatre, with a century of performances, plays, and shows in its pocket, while the Beisel-Mitchell House is a fine example of 1930s Spanish Revival architecture. Paragould is known for flamboyant designs, its diverse styles include the Greene County Courthouse from 1888, a true Beaux-Arts building housing the Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Living your whole life in the Nature State is not uncommon, as its small towns attract retirees from all over. Currently building more retirement communities than ever before, Arkansas is a destination for the golden years, full of warmth, from the welcome to the weather for newcomers. Spend the best golden years at a relaxed pace, with amenities at hand and access to outdoor recreation lakeside or with beautiful views of the Ozarks in these seven towns, suited best for retirement.

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