Six Things To Do in Bella Vista, AR in the Winter

Mildred B. Cooper Chapel ???? Amy Fulton

No matter what the winter weather may be, Bella Vista has plenty of indoor and outdoor choices for spending your time. With average temperatures in the 40-degree range, Arkansas winters are considered mild and pleasant for outdoor adventure. When temperatures do dip lower, retreat to the comfort of one of the area’s 200 vacation rentals to watch a memorable sunset over Lake Ann or curl up by the fire with your favorite author and your favorite brew. Recharging is what you need right now.

1. Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel

Designed by famed Arkansas architect E. Fay Jones, this awe-inspiring structure is built of steel, glass and wood that accentuates its natural environment. It’s an ideal place for a wedding or quiet meditation. More Info

2. 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

3. Veterans Wall of Honor

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

 

Berksdale Golf Course. Photo by Dana Johnson

4. A few rounds of golf

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 Irish coffee to celebrate beating your best score. One of them is the lovely Berksdale Golf Course on Little Sugar Creek.

Would you like to see what it looks like when golf course management transforms its ‘open space’ into a mission to make a better planet? It took a few years to make the challenging changes in water conservation, habitat restoration, and rough management demanded by Audubon, but they did it. 
 
The Berksdale Golf Course is a nine-hole course in Bella Vista, AR. It has recently been certified by Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. It is a full length, 36 par course with holes that combine water, trees, elevated greens and walkable terrain. More Info
 

"Berksdale Golf Course in Bella Vista, AR has been recognized for it's excellent environmental management."

–National Audubon Society Tweet
Lake Ann Falls. Photo by Dana Johnson

5. Run, bike, hike the trails

Mild Arkansas winters mean year-round enjoyment of Bella Vista’s trails system, popular with mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, birdwatchers, and nature enthusiasts of any kind. It’s not only the mild weather but the carefully engineered trails and the natural rock and cert surfaces, which are designed to shed water and remain rideable year ’round.

Exclusive to hikers, Tanyard Creek includes a paved portion and a well-maintained natural surface.  Branchwood Nature Trail and the Loch Lomond Walking Trail are both paved surfaces.  Whereas mountain bikers and hikers alike can enjoy the Back 40, the Blowing Springs trail system, and the newly opened Little Sugar system. 

It may snow for a few weeks in winter. If you are lucky enough to catch this change in weather, you’ll find that adds another dimension of beauty and tranquility to this corner of the Ozark Mountains. Streams are spring-fed here.

 

Redbud at Blowing Springs Trail. Photo by Cheryl Hall

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. In late February and March, before the leaves on the high forest canopy unfurl and filter the light, ephemeral wildflowers provide the opening act for the later, more showy act of nature in the late spring. 

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.

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