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Bella Vista, Arkansas
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Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Bella Vista

Fishing, hiking and sightseeing in a carefree Ozark community

Established in 1965, Bella Vista is a recreational community of about 24,000 people that offers a picturesque, activity-based lifestyle. Bella Vista has over $35 million in recreational amenities — including 12 lighted tennis courts, eight lakes, three swimming pools, paved nature trails and playgrounds. Golf is a big draw with eight championship-quality courses available. In addition, there are two putt-putt golf courses, gun range, two workout facilities, a dog park and a ballpark. Country clubs and theater are also popular.

Located in the Ozark Mountains, the City of Bella Vista enjoys a primarily temperate climate, yet it has four distinct seasons and offers an array of wildlife and beautiful scenery.

Indeed, Bella Vista was recently ranked one of America’s Top 10 Best Healthy Places to Retire by U.S. News & World Report and one of the Top 25 best places for affordable homes by CNNMoney.com and Money Magazine.

Marc F. Henning Photography

Discovering Bella Vista’s History

Travel back in time to explore the fascinating lives of the region’s famous residents.

Are you curious about the history of your favorite big box store? Sam Walton, along with his brother, Bud, began their retail conglomerate in 1945 with a variety store located in nearby Bentonville. Today, this is the Walmart Visitor Center and traces the origin and growth of Walmart stores.

A visit to Walton’s 5&10, also known as the Walmart Museum, is like stepping back in time. Visitors can experience a piece of Sam Walton’s history in a real, functional storefront setting. The store boasts original floor tiles and original tin ceiling, as well as toys, candy and books straight out of an earlier era. The Spark Café is an old-fashioned soda fountain where visitors can enjoy ice cream, sweet treats and beverages while taking in the beautiful and Bentonville’s historic City Square. The music, movies and ice cream floats will take you back to a simpler time.

Get a broader view of the past at the Bella Vista Historical Museum, which recounts the 100-year history of Bella Vista, starting with the summer resort established in the early 1900s and leading to the present-day incorporated city.

Equally fascinating is the 1875 Peel Mansion and Heritage Gardens, which were built by Colonel Samuel West Peel. His Italianate mansion has been preserved as a museum of authentic interior design. Its outdoor museum of historic roses, perennials and native plants was once surrounded by 180 acres of apple trees.

Go even farther into the past at the Museum of Native American Artifacts, where visitors can walk through pre-historic time dating back more than 14,000 years ago. The display includes artifacts uncovered throughout North America.

Dazzling Destinations

Spend time at some of the area’s cultural treasure troves.

Created by renowned Arkansas architect Euine Fay Jones, the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel stands as a landmark. In 1991, Fay Jones was awarded the American Institute of Architecture’s highest award, the AIA Gold Medal. Fay was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright where he was first introduced to the principle of organic architecture (designing to fit the environment). The chapel contains large glass windows, bringing light, shadows and the beauty of each season into the space.

Honor our heroes at the Bella Vista Veterans Wall of Honor, established in 2004 by the Veterans Council of Northwest Arkansas on a 1.7-acre site that connects to the Lake Bella Vista walking trail. The monument features 25 walls set in a circular pattern that contain more than 4,100 granite tribute tablets inscribed with the names of service people from 23 states who served in the military from 1776 to 2006.

In nearby Bentonville, the Scott Family Amazeum, a family-learning center that will open soon, will serve to educate people in the best ways possible for whatever lies ahead and to engage the entire family in exploration, learning and fun.

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art complex, opened in 2011, encompasses approximately 100,000 square feet of gallery, library, meeting and office space, a 250-seat indoor auditorium, and areas for outdoor concerts and public events, as well as sculpture gardens and walking trails. The museum was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Walking and bicycle trails connect the museum directly to Bella Vista.

The Arend Arts Center has become a hub for school and community arts in Northwest Arkansas. It has featured performances by the Bentonville County Symphony, Classical Ballet Academy, Ozark Mountain British Brass Band, Vladimir Zaitsev, Rosario Andino and Jars of Clay.

Back to Nature

Get in touch with the great outdoors at some of the following places.

The Tanyard Creek Nature Trail features a 2½-mile loop complete with a swinging bridge and a view from above of the Lake Windsor waterfall.

Fishing is a major pastime for many visitors and residents in Bella Vista. From the novice to the experienced angler, fishing on the area’s scenic lakes has proven to be a prized experience for many of our lakes’ visitors.

The marked, paved 1.75-mile Lake Bella Vista Trail features benches, picnic tables, a playground and a Disc Golf Course. The lake covers 22 acres and is approximately eight feet deep. Located adjacent to Highway 71, it’s perfect for bikers, hikers and dog walkers!

The Crystal Bridges Trail, a paved bike and pedestrian trail, begins at beautiful Compton Gardens and winds north through lush tree-covered paths. Continue on the path and connect to the North Bentonville Trail.

Feel like kicking up your heels and enjoying nine innings under the sky? The Northwest Arkansas Naturals, a Texas League Royals affiliate AA baseball club, plays ball in nearby Springdale at Arvest Ballpark.

For More Information

Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce



Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism