Spring is glorious in the Ozarks.
If what you need right now is recharging, a weekend in Bella Vista is just the place: long, gently warm days, mild evenings, clear star studded skies, and colorful sunrises. Find a vacation rental that is perfect place to chill for a few days. On the other hand, if what you need is re-energizing, cut loose on 100 miles of trail engineered to make you grin. Here are seven reasons to visit Bella Vista in the spring.
1. Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel
Photograph by Dana Johnson
Designed by renowned Arkansas architects E. Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings, the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel sits on a wooded hilltop overlooking Lake Norwood. The chapel’s transparent structure allows an ever changing interior of light and shadow depending on season and time of day. Catching the light as it filters through the trees with new young leaves is a reason to visit Bella Vista this spring.
The walk from the parking lot is a short a 0.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail that is good for all skill levels. The trail is paved and most of it is gentle. There are a few steeper parts where a wheelchair or stroller user may need some assistance. Dogs must be kept on leash.
2. Veterans Wall of Honor
“Are we there yet?” Yes. Time for a treat.
The Veterans Wall of Honor is one of the first things you’ll see coming into Bella Vista from the south on Hwy 71. It is right across the highway from the Bella Vista Rest Area and Tourist Information Center. You might want to stop there first. Well maintained public restrooms and a staffed center with maps, information, and answers to questions. What’s not to love at this point?
The wall itself is across the highway in a grassy park. Set around a fountain in the center of the monument, granite tablets display 4,500-plus names of veterans. This historic timeline on bronze plaques chronicling significant military events from the Revolutionary War to present conflicts. More Info
Need a bit of a bribe to coax the younger travelers to appreciate history after a long, to them, ride in the car. Crazy Willie’s Ice Cream Food Truck is located in the park. Crazy Willie’s opens for the season on May 1. Serving the same Dole Whipped cones you find at Disneyland, the break is guaranteed to restore enthusiasm and energy for your Bella Vista vacation.
3. Enjoy a private lake for a week.
A room with a view.
You will not find a motel chain with a view of a parking lot in Bella Vista. Many of the over 200 vacation rentals in Bella Vista are located at one of the seven lakes with a view of the lake and the sky. The lakes are private. As a guest, you are welcome to enjoy them during your stay. The only party you’ll have to deal with is your party of two, or four, or six family and friends.
Relax with a steak on the grill and a glass of merlot in your hand as the sun sets into the water. Gather around a campfire in the mild spring night, sharing stories or song long after the sun has set and the sky has filled with stars. It’s like camping, only better. No need to deal with a deflated mattress or that troublesome stone all night. You are feet from a comfortable cozy bed–and real coffee and a view in the morning.
4. Play a different course every day.
108 chances for a hole in 1.
Bella Vista has five regulation, 18-hole courses and two nine hole courses, which are maintained year round. Three of them have club houses where you can end up with an ice cold brew to celebrate beating your best score. Bella Vista golf courses are open year ’round., but the grass is green, the sun is shining, and the birds are singing to each other. Weather in the Ozarks is certainly a reason to plan your visit Bella Vista in the spring.
5. Walk, bike, hike the trails.
Running is okay too.
Every season shows off differently on Bella Vista’s 100 miles of trails. The trails were designed and engineered not just to get from here to there, but with to enhance user experience. Bella Vista trails, with the exception of the Tanyard Loop are multiuse and range from green to black diamond for bikes and easy to strenuous for hikers.
Bella Vista Trails rank high with mountain bikers of all levels because of the challenges and thrill. Mountain bikers and hikers alike can enjoy the Back 40, the Blowing Springs trail system, and the newly opened Little Sugar system.
Exclusive to hikers, Tanyard Creek includes a paved portion and a well-maintained natural surface. All other trails are multi-use trails. Branchwood Nature Trail and the Loch Lomond Walking Trail are both paved surfaces. There are a lot of choices. Where to Walk in Bella Vista is a great source of detailed information about finding and hiking the trails.
6. Appreciate nature.
Whether you are adding to your lifetime birding list, eager for a little spring color, or anxious to try out the new lens you got for Christmas, you will not be disappointed with your visit to the Ozarks. It’s show time in Bella Vista. City streets and suburban lots are filled with redbud and dogwood blossoms but rarely are they shown in a setting as dramatic as the natural forest.
Located in between two north-south bird migration paths, Bella Vista is a destination point for birders. What you will find here, depends on the time of year and where you are hiking. If you are ambitious, you can watch bald-eagles fish. If you prefer your nature to be more of an amble, you can see nest building starting for the season in the great blue heron rookery at the end of Berksdale Golf Course. Approach from the Allen’s parking lot side and you can pick up the makings of a steak dinner on your way back to your vacation rental. Whether its the warmer, spring-fed lakes stocked with fish, miles of forest and meadow habitat, or a preponderance of enthusiastic Bella Vista residents who heat their bird baths in the winter and fill bird feeders year round, Bella Vista is home to a wide range of birds. They seem to be reluctant to leave. We hope you will feel the same way.
7. Bella Vista Historical Museum
The museum features Bella Vista’s history from its inception as a summer resort destination area in the days of 1915-1952 through the present. Learn how a summer resort with only 370 private family cottages became a family recreation area, development of 40,000 acres with golf courses and lakes, and then a city with 30,000 residents. The museum is staffed with volunteer docents and has reduced it’s hours due to Covid 19. It is open on weekend afternoons. Check its website for the latest information. More Info