16 Pros and Cons of Living in Arkansas

Updated On October 29, 2023

Arkansas is an interesting place.

Geographically, it sits in sort of the middle of the south.

It is not really considered a state that people go out of their way to move to.

However, tourism is quite high for some amazing reasons.

If you have ever wanted to learn more about the Natural State, stay tuned!

We are going to be talking about diamonds, scenic views, and an obsession with a particular type of hog.

You know, for college reasons.

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Pros of Living in Arkansas

1. Nature

Arkansas has seven national and 52 state parks, so you can pretty much pull up to somewhere majestic without trying.

Included are things to see like the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, and the Arkansas River.

There are so many peaks and parks to visit that they might even be hard to find on the map.

One of the most beautiful spots is on the unassuming drive heading south from Sherwood into Little Rock.

When you look out into the distance, there’s a mountain that looks like a pyramid.

In other words, there is a lot to discover.

2. Little Rock, Little City

No matter where you grew up, a big city takes on a different meaning when you are in a concrete jungle filled with skyscrapers like Chicago or New York City.

If you are actually from one of those and are looking for something that’s easier to breathe in, that is Little Rock.

The capital is pretty quiet on the weekend unless you are at the farmers market downtown.

The river runs right through the middle, which comes with more fun activities. 

While construction is never-ending, the traffic is not as bad as in other major cities and housing is more affordable.

3. Hot Springs

About an hour south of the capital lies a once-unknown town called Hot Springs.

The whole area is part of Hot Springs National Park and is the most touristy place in the state.

Thanks to Lake Hamilton and Bath House Row, the population swells with visitors on holidays, weekends, and school breaks. 

Behind the fun of what it is now, there’s a darker past involving the mob.

Founded originally for the natural hot springs, history has become just as much of a draw.

4. Diamond Mine

The only diamond-producing mine in the US is located in Murfreesboro, AR. 

In the 911-acre Crater of Diamonds State Park, the whole family can gain access to finding diamonds.

This is the only place in the world where the public can just walk into a place known for diamonds.

With a policy like, “Finders, keepers,” there’s no question as to why this is such a hot spot.

5. Things To Do

No matter what part of the state you are in, there is always something exciting to do nearby.

Activities include ghosthunting in Eureka Springs, absorbing healing energy from natural hot springs, hiking up Pinnacle Mountain, looking for quarts and crystals, seeing the Arkansas Grand Canyon, and much more.

Most of what you will want to do is outside because of the opportunities to enjoy good weather and the water.

6. Affordability

Due to this being a state more people travel to as opposed to moving to, it’s more affordable than surrounding states, by comparison.

All across the state, you can get a lot more bang for your buck on a wide variety of property types.

You can live on a lake and have attainable rent or mortgage payments for more income brackets.

Arkansas is not an elite state, so pricing is more reflective of the local demographic. 

7. Presidential City

President Bill Clinton is one of the biggest things to ever come out of Arkansas.

In the cities where he was born, grew up, and held office make sure you are very aware that a president was once there.

As you drive into Hot Springs, not only is his face in multiple places, but his name is as well.

The presidential library in Little Rock is a work of art as well as extremely informative.

It is likely that because of him, the city is cleaner than you would expect.

8. Proximity

Everyone knows when it comes to real estate, the number one quality is location, location, location!

Arkansas may be landlocked, but the surrounding states have a lot to offer.

While the Natural State may not be one of the most popular kids in school, it does neighbor a few.

Bigger cities in a short driving range from Arkansas include Dallas/Fort Worth, Shreveport, Jackson, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Springfield, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

Cons of Living in Arkansas

1. Unwelcoming Behavior

The lower part of the country is known for southern hospitality.

Unfortunately, it seems Arkansas is just north enough to not employ the sentiment.

When you are new to an area and you try to chat, it is not uncommon to get cold shoulders, be scolded for your language, or not even be acknowledged when asking for help in a retail store.

Arkansans are definitely not known for being warm and friendly.

2. Bad Parts of Town

Little Rock is in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the country, as is another Arkansas city.

Beyond the top 10, there are 5 Arkansas cities in total within the top 50 most dangerous.

Aside from violent crimes, Little Rock and the surrounding area have an abnormally high amount of drug activity and arrests.

There are certain parts of town people are uncomfortable going to because of how flooded the area is with drug dealers.

3. Almost Unincorporated

There is a downside to having so many beautiful things to see in a state.

Because green spaces are in such abundance, a lot of towns are super tiny.

There really are not many cities big enough where you can function properly.

For example, most of these areas have no reception and often have no widespread internet.

Not ideal if you are a remote worker.

If you are used to that kind of living, it is no big deal, but if you are not, it is quite an adjustment.

4. State Tax on Car Sales

If you have never bought a used car in Arkansas, do not start now.

Unlike other states, the state sales tax is due when you get your car registered, as opposed to a dealership adding the cost in with the payments.

So, you would be shocked to find out a car you took out a loan on is going to cost you over $900 to get a tag.

It used to be such a burden on residents that a law was passed to ease the need for such massive payments. 

It no longer qualifies for cars under a certain amount, but it is still there.  

5. Tourist Towns as a Resident

It is all fun and games until it is home.

Because Arkansas relies so much on tourism, they throw everything into it.

So, you may be visiting thinking about how fun a particular city is.

Once the season ends, those cities that seemed so full of life practically go silent.

Local governments do not put much thought into activities unless they are geared toward travelers, which can be disappointing.

That means there are not a lot of chances to get involved in the community.

6. Government in the Past

During the beginning of the pandemic, the Arkansinian government rejected assistance for residents.

This was aid that the rest of the country was getting. A federal court ruled against that choice and re-enrolled the state.

There are also human rights issues that might upset someone coming from a more open area.

7. No International Airport

If you want to travel abroad, it will not be out of the capital city, as it is in most states.

The airport in Little Rock is the biggest in Arkansas for commercial flights, but the size is shocking to anyone who has flown anywhere.

Not only is it uncharacteristically small, but it’s also domestic only.

Flights out of Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport are more expensive and keep you inland.

Your best bet would be to catch a flight out from DFW, just a couple of hours from Texarkana.

8. Razorbacks

There is nothing wrong with having pride in something you love.

However, it seems like the whole state takes this college football team to the extreme.

Trash talking and brawls happen all across the state due to extreme loyalty to one team.

To be fair, there are no major league teams to cling to, so that’s what they have.

However, in a state that’s not at the forefront of higher education, it seems ironic.

Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas

Pros and Cons of Living in Arkansas – Summary Table

Pros of Living in ArkansasCons of Living in Arkansas
1. Nature1. Unwelcoming Behavior
2. Little Rock, Little City2. Bad Parts of Town
3. Hot Springs3. Almost Unincorporated
4. Diamond Mine4. State Tax on Car Sales
5. Things To Do5. Tourist Towns as a Resident
6. Affordability6. Government in the Past
7. Presidential City7. No International Airport
8. Proximity8. Razorbacks

Arkansas Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Arkansas Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get in the hot springs?

There are areas where you can get in.

Fair warning, the hot springs are called that for a reason.

They were also once believed to have healing properties.

So, that is why there is a whole city named after them.

Bath House Row is fed directly from the springs and is where you can take hot baths in public.

How does Arkansas lean politically?

The state leans conservatively, so it is worth checking into your local rules and leaders before making a move.

What's Arkansas's weather profile?

Arkansas benefits from being so green.

Unlike neighboring Louisiana and Texas, the summers are much more manageable.

You can actually wear long pants in July and live to tell the tale.

The peak of heat would be around 90 degrees.

In the winter, you can expect temperatures to drop as low as the teens.

Arkansas gets snow a few times during the winter.

The spring is probably the most beautiful with the weather in the 70s and blooms abound.

Is Arkansas diverse?

If we are being really honest, there is just not a lot of people variety in Arkansas.

You do not see many people of color along with the rest of the population very often.

But it is not hard to understand why.

Unfortunately, there can be some very open displays of negativity when it comes to race relations.

No one wants to deal with issues like that.

Is Arkansas a good place to live?

It depends on what your goals are.

Arkansas is not known for boosting high test scores, so you might not love the idea of having children in school there.

However, if you are a retiree who wants a quiet life on the lake, it would be a dream.

3 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Arkansas

  1. H
    H. Phillips says:


    Native Arkansan here! I’ve grown up in Central AR for my entire life. I just want to say you’ve hit the nail on the head in a lot of ways, but there are some notes I wanted to add. Especially in your “weather profile” area.

    Summers are terrible here, especially the farther south you go in the state. I would never ever advise to spend more than a few hours outside, especially in pants from May-Sept. The temperature isn’t typically all that bad, but the high humidity is the killer. Arkansas is a high humidity state.

    There are parts that are way nicer, up in the Boston Mountains, but that’s almost all rural countryside with no amenities whatsoever. I’m talking no internet, no cell service, and angry republicans kind of rural. It’s absolutely beautiful, sure, but can get you in all kinds of sticky situations. Also do not be of non white descent in that area. Harrison has its reputation for a reason. I am white and I don’t like even passing through that place. But you covered the unfriendliness of the state and I won’t get further into that.

    Another thing missed is our storms. Arkansas is a heavy player in Dixie Alley, the first cousin of Tornado Alley. I’ve been in MULTIPLE tornadoes in my life, and I’ve lived through all of them, but it’s not pretty. Natural disaster damage is extremely possible in the state and when it does happen it is generally completely devastating results. Little Rock just got hit with an EF-3 not a couple weeks ago, and the damage speaks for itself. Not only tornadoes do extensive damage here, flooding is also prevalent. Thunderstorms often are very dangerous here as well in general; many just have straight line winds and hail and that’s enough to be considered an issue.

    One last thing is the snow information. Snow is usually only once or twice a year, and usually quite late in the winter. Which can be ruinous to your flowerbeds and trees. Most of the time the weather is just wet, with cold rain. The winter here actually isn’t too bad unless you hit an ice storm year. Ice storms can be a huge issue because of the power infrastructure. In most places, let’s say the ones under the major power company in the state, can see weeks without power in those cases. However most of the winters you just worry about the possibility of ice storms. I saw my first true snowflakes a couple of years ago when we had a true snow dump of a foot and a half in a day. It was magical.

    Drugs are the last thing I want to touch on. Drugs are extremely present in Arkansas. Meth is a high ranking drug of choice, along with opioids and other prescriptions. Drug crimes and violence are absolutely rampant in the bigger cities. Even in the small city I live in.

    I have made a deal with my husband to finally get away from this state. I hate it here but my gripe is more to do with rural infrastructure than it is about anything else. I want to be able to live in a place that has both rural space and internet access. Here, you are always having to choose between evils; no modern comforts or no privacy with extremely high housing costs.

  2. g
    gabriel says:

    try starlink instead of moving

    1. G
      Greg Wloszczynski says:

      Starlink is not available in most of the state. We have been on a waiting list for almost two years. Elon, can you help us out?

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