Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Popular with Vacationers and Tourists, Hot Springs, Arkansas Boasts Opulent Bath Houses, Fun Festivals and Reasonable Prices
Hot Springs (population 38,000) is a tourist and retirement destination that receives a lot of positive reviews (even gangster Al Capone enjoyed coming here). Located in central Arkansas, it is nestled among lakes and rolling hills and has a cost of living 10% below the national average.
With is renowned healing mineral waters (always at 147 degrees F) and historic bathhouses, this resort spa town is part of Hot Springs National Park, and it appeals to retirees. In fact, 48% of the population is age 45 or better. Residents lean to the right politically.
The median home price is $160,000, and homes for sale are primarily brick and wood frame ranch ramblers and raised ranches. The most well-known real estate may be inside Hot Springs Village (HSV), a gated retirement community and resort about 15 miles north of the town of Hot Springs. Billed as "America's largest gated community," HSV has 14,000 residents, nine golf courses and eleven lakes. Homes within town and HSV are for sale staring at around $100,000, although prices for luxury homes reach into the millions. Home sites are also for sale.
The jewel of Hot Springs, though, is Bathhouse Row, a part of the Hot Springs National Park, where opulent 1920s bathhouses still stand in gorgeous splendor, offering a glimpse of a bygone era. Fordyce Bathhouse is the granddaddy of all Hot Springs' bathhouses. Built in 1915, it was said to be "the most practical, complete, and luxurious bathhouse in the world." Today, it houses the Park's visitors' center and a free museum.
Only one of the eight original bathhouses, Quapaw, still offers baths and massages, but newer bathhouses are located throughout this historic downtown district and provide a wonderful, rejuvenating way to spend an afternoon. This is, after all, why people have been coming to Hot Springs for the last two centuries.
Along Central Avenue, just across the street from Bathhouse Row, nearly two dozen art galleries and museums welcome visitors. The Art Gallery Walk on the first Friday of each month is fun, as is the Magic Springs Amusement Park summer concert series. The Downtown Farmers' Market is open Saturday mornings, and live entertainment in the Arlington Hotel Big Lobby is a great way to spend a weekend evening.
The town also presents the Hot Springs Music Festival, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and the free Hot Springs Jazz Festival each year. Oaklawn is the local thoroughbred horseracing track.
This is a town that caters to retirees and has 150 volunteer organizations in which to become involved. Opportunities include helping out at Hot Springs National Park through the VIPS program (Volunteers in Parks), assisting in local hospitals, helping organize the annual Senior Olympics and giving tours at one of several local museums. There is a local AARP chapter, and the Women's Welcome Club is a volunteer group that makes newcomers feel at home. The local branch of SeniorNet offers classes and workshops, and the Hot Springs Senior Center provides a variety of services.
Located in a valley at the edge of the Ouachita National Forest, Hot Springs is surrounded by five lakes, providing plentiful opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, boating and water skiing, to name a few. There are four public golf courses and several private ones. Restaurants, in a variety of cuisines, are quite good and plentiful.
Hot Springs has four general hospitals, including award-winning St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. It is accredited by the Joint Commission, as is National Park Medical Center, and both accept Medicare patients. For military retirees, Hot Springs has a VA outpatient clinic, but the nearest VA hospital is 45 miles away in Little Rock.
The public bus system services the downtown area, the hospitals, Wal-Mart, food markets, the senior center, the Hot Springs Mall and more. Yet many suburban neighborhoods are not serviced. A para-service for the disabled is available.
Hot Springs enjoys four season weather. Summers are hot and humid with temperatures in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures in the 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives 56 inches of rain and a dusting of snow each year.
Retirement in Hot Springs has a few drawbacks. While it is generally a quiet place, tourists come during the summer, and the downtown area often becomes congested. The tornado risk is 200% higher than the national average. The poverty rate is above the national average, and the crime rate is above the national average. Most crime, though, seems to occur in certain areas that can be avoided.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, but... | Is Arkansas Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes
Residents seem to enjoy Hot Springs very much, with its healing waters, outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. Yet the above average poverty rate and the high crime rate are things to keep in mind if considering this spa town for retirement.
On June 15, 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state to enter the Union. It was the 9th to secede from the Union and enter the Confederacy on May 6, 1861. Its name comes from a French misinterpretation of the Sioux word for "downstream place" - acansa.
Officially known the Natural State, Arkansas has an abundance of mineral, gas, and petroleum resources. After mining, agriculture ranks high in the state's economy. With the exception of citrus fruits, Arkansans grow a wide variety of crops. Broilers, rice, soybeans, cattle, and cotton are some of their best selling products.
Arkansas contains mountains, caves, lakes, and 9,700 miles of streams and rivers. The state is also home to six national parks, ten scenic byways, and 50 state parks. Although late summers can be hot and humid, Arkansas has mild climate with four distinct seasons.
Arkansan Hattie Caraway became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1932. Other famous natives include Johnny Cash, Iris DeMent, and Billy Bob Thornton.
Population - 2,988,248
Persons 65 years old and over - 14%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 84%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 21%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 7%
White persons, not Hispanic - 72%
Median household income - $41,330
Median home value - $111,400
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Webwerxx, Inc. Copyright (c) 2006-2020. All rights reserved. No part of this electronic publication may be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of Webwerxx, Inc. Reproducing any original part of this publication without written permission from Webwerxx, Inc. is plagiarism. Numerous attempts were made to verify the accuracy of the information contained in this website, but some information may have changed since each article and/or report went online, and Webwerxx, Inc. is not reponsible for inaccurate information contained in its articles and/or reports.