Moving to Arkansas
If the thought of moving to Arkansas has recently been playing a delightful dance in your mind, then hold on tight as we whisk you away on a captivating journey to explore The Natural State. Our comprehensive Arkansas relocation guide is expertly crafted to illuminate your path with engaging information, playful insight, and professional advice. Prepare to dive headfirst into the wonders of enchanting landscapes, delightful Southern charm, and all the opportunities Arkansas has to offer to those who dare to embrace the adventure of a lifetime!
What to Know Before Moving to Arkansas
1. It's Affordable
One of the first things people should know about moving to Arkansas is how affordable it is. With a cost of living well below the national average, your dollar goes further in the Natural State. Housing, in particular, is quite affordable, and you'll find that both renting and buying property are within reach for just about anyone. Of course, you'll still want to be strategic about where you live, as some parts of the state are more expensive than others, but overall, Arkansas is a relatively low-cost place to call home.
2. Nature is Your Playground
Arkansas is known for its natural beauty, and it doesn't disappoint. Moving to Arkansas means you'll have easy access to stunning landscapes, national parks, unusual rock formations, and fun outdoor activities. Spend a day hiking on the Ozark Highland Trail, float down the Buffalo National River, or explore the unique Blanchard Springs Caverns. With over 9,700 miles of rivers, 2,000 miles of trails, and 52 state parks, you'll never run out of places to explore, ensuring a lifetime of adventure and memories.
3. Hot Springs is More Than a Name
When you move to Arkansas, you might be intrigued by the city of Hot Springs, but did you know that the name is quite literal? Hot Springs has numerous thermal springs that people have been using for therapeutic purposes for centuries. The town even has Bathhouse Row, a National Historic Landmark District featuring eight historic bathhouses where you can enjoy the warm, soothing waters. While some of the bathhouses are no longer in operation, a few still offer restorative services, allowing you to experience a delightful bit of Arkansas history.
4. It's a Sportsman's Paradise
If you're a sports enthusiast, Arkansas is an ideal spot for you. The state is especially well-known for its hunting and fishing opportunities, with a diverse range of wildlife and beautiful landscapes. Arkansas is home to deer, turkey, duck, and even black bear, so hunters will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy their sport. On the other hand, anglers will be thrilled to test their skills in the abundant rivers and lakes, teeming with various species of fish like bass, catfish, and trout. Plus, since nature pervades throughout the state, it won't be hard to find an idyllic sportsman's retreat nearby.
5. The Birthplace of Cheese Dip
Get ready for this lesser-known fact: Arkansas is the birthplace of cheese dip. Yes, that's right – that gooey, delicious appetizer that steals the show at every party can trace its roots back to the Natural State. In 1935, a man named Blackie Donnelly first introduced cheese dip to the world at his Little Rock restaurant, Mexico Chiquito. There's even an annual World Cheese Dip Championship held in Little Rock to celebrate this tasty treat. So be prepared to indulge in some cheesy goodness when you move to Arkansas.
6. Crater of Diamonds State Park
Who needs a treasure map when you have the Crater of Diamonds State Park? This unique and somewhat unknown attraction in Murfreesboro allows visitors to dig for diamonds in an eroded volcanic pipe. Yes, you read that right – you can dig for actual diamonds. And the best part is, it operates on a "finders, keepers" policy: anything you find while searching, you're allowed to keep. Whether you're an experienced gem hunter or just want to try your luck, a visit to the Crater of Diamonds State Park is a must for anyone moving to Arkansas.
Pros and Cons of Living in Arkansas
Pros of Living in Arkansas
Low Cost of Living
Arkansas has a comparatively low cost of living, making it an attractive destination for those on a budget. Housing, utilities, and groceries are among the essentials that generally cost less in the state. This can mean more financial freedom for residents.
Beautiful Natural Scenery
Known as the "Natural State," Arkansas is home to a diverse array of natural landmarks and attractions that attract nature-lovers. Sites like the Ozark National Forest, Hot Springs National Park, and Buffalo National River offer stunning vistas and ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping.
Residents of Arkansas enjoy relatively mild winters, with infrequent snow and ice. This can lead to a more pleasant experience for those who prefer to avoid harsh winter weather, as well as reduced heating costs and less stress on your vehicle from cold temperatures and road treatments.
Arkansas is known for its friendly, welcoming Southern charm. Many newcomers to the state find that they quickly form connections with neighbors and feel a sense of belonging. This sense of community can make living in Arkansas more enjoyable and help create a strong support system of friends and acquaintances.
Cultural Attractions and Festivities
From the renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to the annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ motorcycle rally, cultural attractions and events can be found throughout the state. Living in Arkansas means having access to an array of festivals, museums, performing arts venues, and other attractions that showcase the state's rich heritage and unique character.
Cons of Living in Arkansas
High Crime Rates
Although crime rates can vary widely depending on the specific local area, Arkansas, as a whole, has a higher crime rate than the national average. Before moving to any new location, it’s important to research its specific crime statistics and consider how this might impact your overall quality of life in that area.
Workforce Opportunities and Growth
While Arkansas has a diverse economy, the state's overall workforce growth and job opportunities can be limited compared to other regions. It's vital to research and secure a stable job before moving to the state to avoid difficulty in finding suitable work.
Heat and Humidity
Arkansas is known for its hot, humid summers, which may be uncomfortable for those accustomed to different climates. Humidity can exacerbate heat and make it feel hotter than the actual temperature, causing discomfort for some residents and potentially impacting outdoor activities or events.
As part of the US "Tornado Alley," Arkansas does experience frequent, and sometimes severe, tornadoes through the year. This weather risk can lead to higher insurance rates for property owners and the potential need to invest in storm shelters or additional safety measures.
While some may enjoy the slower pace and rural lifestyle of Arkansas, those accustomed to the excitement of more urban environments may find it too quiet or lacking in amenities. Before moving, it's crucial to consider whether the Arkansas lifestyle aligns with what you're seeking. If it doesn't, this could lead to dissatisfaction with your living situation.
Is Arkansas a Good State to Live In?
Arkansas is a great place to live because of its affordable housing, diverse outdoor recreational opportunities, and friendly communities. The state's natural beauty, coupled with its rich cultural and historical attractions, make it an ideal place for families and individuals looking for an enjoyable quality of life.
What Is Arkansas Famous For?
Hot Springs National Park
Named "The American Spa", Hot Springs National Park is famous for its thermal waters that have been a popular destination for relaxation and healing since the early 1800s. The park offers visitors the chance to hike, camp, and bathe in these magical thermal springs.
Arkansas’s Diamond Mine
Crater of Diamonds State Park offers visitors a unique experience: the opportunity to hunt for real diamonds in the only public diamond mine in the world. Located in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, visitors can keep any gems they find, making the quest for a sparkling treasure all the more exciting.
As the birthplace of the world's largest retailer, it's no wonder that the Wal-Mart headquarters is located in Bentonville, Arkansas. Town square features the former working space of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and now serves as a visitors' center and museum showcasing the company's history.
Arkansas's Talimena Scenic Drive
A breathtaking journey through the Ouachita Mountains, the Talimena Scenic Drive offers lush greenery and incredible viewpoints. Spanning 54 miles in length, the drive provides gorgeous mountain vistas, hiking opportunities, and a chance to connect with nature in all its glory.
Overview of Tax Rates
Residents of Arkansas, as of 2023, pay a property tax rate of roughly 0.63% of the estimated assessed value of their real estate annually. This rate is considered one of the lowest property tax rates in the United States, ranking as the 9th lowest among states.
Arkansas residents pay a combined sales tax rate of 9.51% as of 2023, which includes both state and local sales taxes. This rate ranks as the third-highest combined sales tax rate among U.S. states and is above the median for all states.
Arkansas has a progressive income tax system, with rates ranging from 2% to 6.6% for tax year 2023. These rates are considered fairly moderate compared to other states' income tax rates, falling roughly in the middle of the range among the 50 states.
In Arkansas, the housing market is relatively affordable compared to other states, with a median home value of $126,700 compared to the national median of $248,857. The state sees a higher homeownership rate of 65.2%, compared to 64% nationwide. For renters, the average rent price in Arkansas hovers around $849 per month, significantly lower than the national average of $1,062. Consequently, both homebuyers and renters can find greater affordability in the Arkansas housing market than in much of the United States.
Cost of Living
Arkansas consistently ranks among the states with the lowest cost of living in the United States. With lower housing, utilities, and transportation costs compared to most states, residents enjoy a more affordable lifestyle. Furthermore, the state's median home value is significantly lower than the national median, providing ample opportunities for homebuyers and renters alike. However, it is important to note that Arkansas also has a lower median income than the national average, which may balance out the cost of living advantages. Overall, Arkansas offers a budget-friendly and attractive option for people seeking a lower cost of living while maintaining a quality lifestyle.
Weather & Natural Disasters
The climate in Arkansas can be characterized as humid-subtropical, with long, hot summers and short, mild winters. Rainfall is abundant and fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, averaging around 50 inches annually. The state experiences four distinct seasons, making it a place of diverse weather conditions that range from cold and snowy winters to hot, humid summers with occasional thunderstorms. Arkansas experiences severe weather in the form of thunderstorms, which can bring heavy rain, hail, and strong winds, and occasionally result in flash floods. The state is also prone to tornadoes, particularly during the spring and fall months. Despite not being on a major fault line, Arkansas is at risk of experiencing low-intensity earthquakes, with most occurring in the northeastern region near the New Madrid Seismic Zone. While not as severe as other natural disasters, drought can also impact the state, especially during the hot summer months.
Economy & Job Market
Agriculture and Forestry
Food and Beverage Processing
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Historically, Arkansas's economy relied heavily on agriculture, particularly cotton, rice, and livestock production. In fact, the state has been nicknamed the "Land of Opportunity" or "The Natural State" due to its diverse and lucrative agricultural landscape. Today, although agriculture and forestry continue to play a significant role in the state's economy, other industries have gained prominence as well. These include food and beverage processing, manufacturing, retail trade, and healthcare. Food and beverage processing is mostly centered around poultry production, with Tyson Foods being the state’s largest private employer, while the manufacturing sector includes transportation equipment, aerospace, and metals production.
If you're planning on relocating to Arkansas and looking for a job, it's essential to know that the state typically boasts a lower unemployment rate compared to the national average, creating a relatively stable job market for job seekers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of October 2021, the unemployment rate in Arkansas stood at 3.7% compared to the national average of 4.6%. The best areas to look for jobs in Arkansas are generally found in larger metropolitan areas such as Little Rock, Fayetteville, and Fort Smith, where a higher concentration of employers across various industries can be found. Regardless of your field of expertise or industry preference, the diverse economy of Arkansas offers numerous opportunities for those willing to explore and seize them.
Traffic and Transportation
Welcome to Arkansas, where we know a thing or two about keeping folks moving in style! You know what they say, life is a highway, and around these parts, we like to keep it rolling smoothly. In our big ol' cities, Little Rock and Fayetteville, you can expect decent average commute times of around 20-25 minutes. How's that for a leisurely daily drive to work?
Now, if you're more into that urban lifestyle, we've got some pretty dang good public transportation options for you in the larger cities. Try hopping on the Rock Region Metro in Little Rock, or the Ozark Regional Transit in Northwest Arkansas, to wipe that road-weary smile back onto your face.
And for those high-flyers among you, Arkansas has got your back with some top-notch air travel options, including the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. So buckle up, enjoy the ride, and remember, in Arkansas, the journey is just as important as the destination!
Things to Do
Arkansas, the Natural State, is brimming with bountiful activities, stunning scenery, and delightful experiences that are just waiting to be explored! To give you a taste of what awaits you in this beautiful state, here are seven of the top things to do in Arkansas.
1. Crater of Diamonds State Park
This unique experience is definitely not your average day at the park! Crater of Diamonds is the world's only diamond-producing site open to the public, allowing you to search for real diamonds in the rough. With over 37 acres of plowed diamond-bearing soil, you can dig, sift, and take home any precious finds. Channel your inner treasure hunter and maybe, if you're lucky, stumble upon a gem worth thousands!
2. Hot Springs National Park
Being the oldest national park in the United States, Hot Springs offers a diverse experience ranging from the natural to the historical. Explore the park's 26 miles of hiking trails that take you through lush forests, beautiful vistas, and of course, the park's famous hot springs. While in the area, take a soak in the mineral-rich waters of one of the bathhouses, like the luxurious Buckstaff Baths, and feel your stress melt away.
3. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton, this world-class museum's permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterpieces and is home to works by renowned artists such as Norman Rockwell, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Andy Warhol. Besides the impressive art collection, visitors can enjoy a stroll through the museum's picturesque grounds, which includes trails, ponds, and sculptures integrated with the natural landscape.
4. Eureka Springs
This quirky 19th-century village nestled in the Ozark Mountains offers a delightful mix of Victorian-era charm and modern, artistic flair. Its charming downtown streets are perfect for a leisurely stroll, where you’ll discover unique shops, galleries, and culinary delights around every corner. Don't miss visiting the stunning Thorncrown Chapel, a modern architectural marvel made of glass and wood.
5. Ozark National Forest
With over a million acres of breathtaking wilderness, the Ozark National Forest offers endless possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts. Embark on epic hiking, fishing, or canoeing adventures, and marvel at the beautiful foliage, sparkling waterfalls, and deep canyons. One of the forest's best-kept secrets is Blanchard Springs Caverns, a living cave system that's open for guided tours and is recognized as one of the most beautiful in North America.
6. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Get up close and personal with big cats and other rescued exotic animals at this incredible sanctuary in Eureka Springs. Founded in 1992, Turpentine Creek provides a safe haven for lions, tigers, leopards, and more, saved from abuse, neglect, or abandonment. During a guided tour, you’ll learn about each animal's story and how Turpentine Creek strives to promote conservation and protect these magnificent creatures.
7. Dyess Colony
For a lesser-known historic experience, visit the restored boyhood home of music legend Johnny Cash and the nearby Dyess Colony for a step back in time. Established during the Great Depression as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal, the colony aimed to help impoverished families regain economic self-sufficiency by providing them with land and modern homes. Today, you can explore the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, Administration Building, and the Dyess Colony visitor center, which includes exhibits on the Cash family and the history of the colony.
Arkansas truly offers an abundance of one-of-a-kind experiences, and these seven destinations merely scratch the surface. With a world of adventure that awaits, it’s time to grab your bag and explore the great sights and sounds of the Natural State!
Find Movers for Your Arkansas Relocation
Now that you're well-equipped with all the essential information you need to kickstart your move to Arkansas, let's take the leap and make your relocation a seamless and stress-free experience. Great Guys Moving is here to assist you in connecting with the most reputable movers in the industry, ensuring a hassle-free experience with licensed and insured companies. Don't leave such an important process to chance; trust Great Guys Moving to find you the best options and secure a free moving quote for your upcoming move to the Natural State. Start today and discover how simple relocating to Arkansas can be!
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