(BPT) - Natural beauty. Endless adventure. Southern cuisine. Economical living. Whether searching for a place to retire or simply looking for the perfect setting for a new home, Arkansas has it all. The Natural State offers quality of life with a diverse array of things to do and see.
The six regions of Arkansas contain their own beauty, history and activities - Northwest, North Central, Upper Delta, Lower Delta, Southwest and Central. And the state's overall unemployment rate, currently at 3.8 percent, typically falls at or below the national average while the population has seen a 2.5 percent increase since 2010. While agriculture continues to be the state's number one industry, steel, high-tech and tourism have emerged as major job creators and economic drivers for the state. Six Fortune 500 companies are located in Arkansas, including the world's largest company - Walmart.
Arkansas residents frequently cite natural beauty, endless adventure, southern cuisine and a lower cost of living as favorite attributes of their state:
Natural beauty: Arkansas is called 'The Natural State' for a reason. Residents enjoy four distinct seasons and year-round scenery in the mountains, fields, forests and metropolitan areas. Arkansas has 52 state parks, seven national parks and many national wildlife areas. More than half of the state is covered in forestland, including 2,648,825 acres of three national forests (Ozark, St. Francis and Ouachita).
Endless adventure: The Natural State offers its residents numerous places to hike, bike, fish, geocache, camp and hunt. You can even dig for diamonds and keep what you find! Residents enjoy new museums, flourishing arts districts and ever-expanding bike trails across the state. Golfers swing on more than 200 courses; runners enjoy marathons in Little Rock; bikers ride the EPIC mountain trails around Bentonville and Hot Springs; hikers climb to the top of Mount Nebo; outdoorsmen fly fish in the Ozarks' clear mountain waters; foodies savor juicy Hope watermelons and hunters scour the rice fields of the Upper or Lower Delta for winter ducks.
Southern cuisine: Some of the nation's best Southern food - barbecue, pie, crawfish and fried catfish - is found in Arkansas. Noted chefs at many of the state's restaurants create worldly dishes with down-home flair. Natives love the bounty of local, farm-fresh foods from a very agrarian state.
Lower cost of living: From slow-paced small towns to bustling resort communities to metropolitan settings, Arkansas offers affordable living. When considering housing, taxes, utilities and daily living expenses, the cost of living in Arkansas is considerably lower than most states. Bella Vista was recognized in 2017 as one of the 25 Best Places to Retire by Forbes. The community's cost of living is 13 percent below the national average.
Military retirement:Earlier this year, Arkansas eliminated the state income tax on military retirement pay. With the average military retiree falling between the ages of 38 and 44, Arkansas is a great place to start a second career.
Additionally, Arkansas is home to one of the nation's premier teaching hospitals as well as a nationally recognized children's hospital. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) offers the world-renowned Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, which is on the cutting edge of cancer research and treatment. Arkansas Children's Hospital, with locations in Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas, is one of the world's leading nonprofit medical centers for kids.
The Natural State and its six regions offer something for everyone. If you're retiring, relocating or simply looking for a vacation home, there's a city or small town in Arkansas that's perfect for you. For more information about retiring or relocating to Arkansas, visit www.Arkansas.com/relocate.