Homesteading in Arkansas | The Facts and My Experience

by Becky
Published: Updated:

Recently I’ve been asked more and more, what is homesteading in Arkansas like? What are the good points and bad points? Many are searching out for the ideal place to homestead, or perhaps the place that is the right fit for them.

There are many points to discuss like taxes, homeschooling laws, average weather, politics, people, and terrain. I’ll share the facts and then share my personal experience. I hope this information gives you some insight as to what homesteading in Arkansas is like and specifically, the Northwest Arkansas region which is where we homestead.

Having lived in a few other places like Idaho, Utah, Oregon, and upstate New York where I grew up, I have a little bit of personal insight as to how Arkansas compares and things that make it unique to other places.

But first, the facts:

Arkansas Taxes

  • Arkansas ranks among the top 5 states with the highest average combined state and local sales tax rates are Louisiana (9.55 percent), Tennessee (9.547 percent), Arkansas (9.48 percent), Washington (9.29 percent), and Alabama (9.22 percent). source
  • Arkansas has a graduated rate income tax. Arkansas’s top individual income tax rate is 5.5 percent. Many states have multiple tax brackets, but Arkansas is unique in having entirely different tax rate schedules that vary according to income level. Source
  • Arkansas effective tax rates on owner-occupied housing is 0.61%. This is the average amount of residential property taxes actually paid, expressed as a percentage of home value. Arkansas is among the lowest property taxes in the United States. source

Arkansas Homeschool Laws and Regulations

A common question I get in conjunction with what is it like homesteading in Arkansas is what are the homeschool laws? Not every homesteader also homeschools their children, but for those who do, here is the facts and my personal experience.

  • In Arkansas, all that is required for homeschooling your children is filling out the application of notice of intent to homeschool. This can be found HERE. That’s it. Seriously!
  •  Full freedom is given to the parent to choose curriculum and there are no portfolio reviews or testing required. 
  • Homeschool students are able to participate in public school sponsored sports, but only in the area they are zoned for. A loophole to this is to fill out a School of Choice form, and if accepted to a different school district they can participate in sports there.
  • Speaking from personal experience, once a child gets to the older grades, 7th+, if they want to participate in public school sponsored sports competitions, the child needs to take a standardized test like Standford 10 or Iowa Assements Form E to show that their grade point average is high enough to participate.

Arkansas Weather

A big part of homesteading in Arkansas or homesteading anywhere is weather. So much is done outdoors it plays a huge role in how your homestead functions and adaptations that need to be made.

Like any state with a wide geographical area, the weather can vary fairly significantly from one end to the other or from north to south. Again, I add my experience here but encourage you to look up a specific city’s weather to help you decide and gain some insight. Here in Northwest Arkansas here is what we experience on average:

Arkansas is very green and lush in the spring and summer (for the most part).
  • Summers are hot and muggy, with high humidity. From June to September average daily high temperatures range from 80ºF-90ºF. Humidity is around 70%. Be prepared to shower multiple times a day and have three different outfits ready if you’re working outside. Nighttime temperatures are 60º-70ºF.
  • Winters are short, cold and wet. From November to February the averages highs are 45-55ºF. The average lows are 25-35ºF. 
  • Fall and Spring are mild and beautiful! Even though the average temperature range is much wider, the weather is generally in that sweet spot of 60ºF-80ºF of high temperatures. It is lovely.
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas gets 47 inches of rain, on average, per year.


Winter in Arkansas. We get very few snowfall episodes and they are generally light at 1-3 inches. Ice and freezing rain are more common. However, in the years we have lived here we have had two separate occasions of 14 inches of snow!


This does play a role where you may want to live so I’ll just say briefly, the Arkansas state population as of this current time is strongly conservative. In the 2020 presidential election, 62.4% voted republican, while 34.78% voted democratic. Source

Rainwater Catchment

Thanks to Amy showing a great rainwater catchment setup!

According to the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, YES!  It’s legal to collect rainwater in Arkansas. There are no restrictions or laws prohibiting or limiting collecting rainwater in a barrel for any use. Source

Water Rights

In general since we get on average 47 inches of rain per year, water rights and restrictions are less stringent than western states. This is a big bonus of homesteading in Arkansas! You don’t have to worry much about running out of water.

Here is more information from the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service on water rights:

The following uses of water are permitted without allocation: 

  • annual diversions of less than 1 acre-foot
  • irrigation tailwater
  • exclusively owned water
  • diffused surface water
  • captured water (ex: rainwater collected in a barrel)
  • water for non-consumptive usage

“Domestic use—a right of the riparian landowner—is usually limited to the quantity of water needed for a family, a garden, and in some cases grazing animals. Domestic use by riparian landowners is usually protected without issuance of a permit.”

There is so much more that goes into water rights than can be explained here, so if you want to know more please go straight to the source found HERE.

Personal Experience

Arkansas is fairly large, and I can only speak to the area we’ve lived in, which is Northwest Arkansas. Cam and I moved here thirteen years ago, straight out of college.

We told ourselves it would be a five year stint and then we would move on. Turns out we loved the area so much we never wanted to leave. We met many people and have created friendships. For years, we had no family living around us and these friends became as close as family.

When we first moved here, it was the perfect balance of small town feel but all still had all the necessary stores. Now the area has grown so much, it’s not as small as I’d like but we still feel this is home. The people are mostly kind and friendly. There is a strong Christian community, which we really love. It’s a sharp contrast from where I grew up in upstate NY.

We have made dear friends here, and truthfully, it’s all about a good community of like minded individuals and we have found that here!

We really love it here, and have no intentions of ever moving. 

Here is some additional information in what to look for before purchasing land for homestead that may be useful. Find it HERE.

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Monica Moore December 11, 2022 - 7:33 pm

I’m in the northwest Arkansas area, Bella Vista, we’ve recently bought 20 acres and want to start homesteading. Would love to be able to get some tips from you.

theseasonalhomestead December 13, 2022 - 5:07 pm

Hi Monica! I used to live in Bella Vista, so I’m very familiar! All my tips, my favorite seeds (all work great for our area), and pretty much everything I know is here on the blog! Is there something particular you’d like to know about?

Josh March 8, 2024 - 4:58 pm

Hey Becky, my wife and I just started considering this after having our first child. Your areas and community sound right up our alley. I’m an arborist, she is an online fitness coach for a large company, but we also have some passive income that we could live off of. We are very capable, but neither of us are super familiar with the process. I know this post is 2 years old but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to reach out. We would like to go somewhere with like minded people that we can maybe help out while learning .

Becky March 30, 2024 - 8:46 pm

Hi Josh,
Come and check the area out! That is the best way to get a feel for if it’s right for you. We have a lot of resources in the area for homesteading. You can check them out at our local extension service here:

Lynne March 25, 2024 - 12:46 pm

Hey Josh! I am 59 yrs old and single but sounds like we have the same plans and concerns. Getting started late in life I don’t want anything huge but I want that life style. Did you get a reply from this lady? If you have any informative resources that seem to be most helpful, I would appreciate the share. [email protected].
Thank you much!

Becky March 30, 2024 - 8:54 pm

Hi Lynne, you can start homesteading at any age! It is such a good thing to do as you age too! If you are looking to make a living off of it, that requires a lot more work but could be done, given the correct approach. If you are wanting to learn skills to save money and work towards healthy living that is totally possible. Here are is a link to my local extension service that has homesteading events.

Eyvonne April 15, 2024 - 9:46 pm

Wow. Howdy neighbor! My husband and I have lived in the Ft Smith area for over 20 years and I really had no idea that so many Arkansans are homesteading! We raised (and homeschooled) our 5 kids on a small farm but when they grew up, we moved to town. It didn’t last long! The two of us are “back to the land” now and it’s a brand new adventure! Thanks for sharing your world!


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