Finding the Right Retirement Fit in Northwest Arkansas


Posted: January 25, 2011 at 10:33 p.m.

When searching for a retirement community, retirees often place an emphasis on fun. And that's perfectly understandable, as retirees have worked their entire lives and earned the right to relax and enjoy themselves however they may choose. Bella Vista, Arkansas is a community that has put $35 million into golf courses, parks, lakes and other recreational facilities; landing it a spot in U.S. News and World Report’s 2011 “Best Places” list.

Located in the Ozark mountains just minutes from the larger towns of Bentonville, Rogers and Fayetteville; Bella Vista has much more to offer than just recreation, including a median home price of just $125,000 and a lower than average cost of living.

Health services Fellowship-trained geriatricians and staff who specialize in primary care for older adults provide medical services at Northwest Senior Health’s locations in Bella Vista. Diagnostic and specialty services related to the aging process are offered along with additional help with medication management, strong family and caregiver involvement, rush-free appointments and a memory disorder specialist. Although there are no hospitals in Bella Vista, there are several private practice clinics and branches of nearby hospitals, which include Bentonville’s Northwest Medical Center and Mercy Health Center. Just 15 minutes away, Northwest Medical Center is one of the region’s newest and most modern hospitals. This 128-bed acute care facility has more than 220 physicians on its medical staff representing a wide range of medical specialties and subspecialties. Services include a 24/7 emergency department, a comprehensive cardiovascular program including an open heart surgery program, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology and cardiac rehabilitation. Also located in nearby Bentonville is Mercy of Northwest Arkansas, a state-of-the-art hospital that brings the best in care to Northwest Arkansas and allows patients to stay close to home for their health care needs. Construction is currently underway on a new Heart and Vascular Center inside Mercy. The new center is designed to offer patients needing cardiac care one central location inside the hospital where they can come for outpatient procedures.

Accessibility When choosing a retirement community, most retirees are interested in whether the chosen city/county is accessible to family and friends. Oftentimes, this means within close proximity to a major city and an airport. When searching for your ideal location, look for one that offers the peace and quiet of a small to medium town but has the accouterments of city life as well. Bella Vista is located 10 miles from Bentonville, 36 miles from Fayetteville and 22 miles from Highfill where Northwest Arkansas’ Regional airport is located.

Culture/Entertainment Most retirees find that retirement life takes an adjustment. In fact, after a lifetime spent working, retirees might find retirement a bit boring. In 2011, the Bella Vista/Bentonville area is expecting several new cultural, educational and entertainment venues that will make the area even more attractive. The opening of American art museum Crystal Bridges, the Walton Arts Center’s second campus and the continuing growth of the Bentonville square are just some of the exciting additions. On Bentonville’s town square, residents can participate in more than 350 hours of free programming a year, including the farmer’s market, First Friday, various holiday events and a variety of other special events. Parking downtown is always free, and 290 spaces were recently added.

The Great Outdoors After a life spent working, indoors or outdoors, many retirees look for a community that allows them to "play outdoors." Bella Vista features six 18-hole golf courses designed for every skill level with multiple sets of tees. With seven lakes to choose from, there is ample opportunity for water sports of all kinds including fishing and boating. Bella Vista also offers 13 parks with 10 pavilions located throughout the city. Two of the parks have pools and miniature golf courses, and Branchwood Recreation Center offers indoor swimming as well as outdoor tennis, a nine-hole walking golf course and much more. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the two-part Tanyard Creek Nature Trail, which provides both level walking trails as well as natural surface trails that stretch through woods, along creeks and past a breathtaking waterfall.

Venture outside of the city limits and find treasures such as Hobbs State Park in Rogers, the Wild Wilderness Drive-through Safari in Gentry, Devil’s Den State Park in West Fork and Beaver Lake. Popular with boaters, fishers and campers alike, Beaver Lake features paved access roads that wind through 12 developed parks. Amenities include 650 individual campsites, restrooms, picnic sites, swimming beaches, hiking trails, boat launching ramps, picnic shelters, amphitheaters and 28,370 acres of water surface to enjoy.

To learn more about Bella Vista, AR, visit

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