Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from any number of U.S. states that offer well-preserved forests and plenty of opportunities to commune with nature. Unfortunately, many of these states also have such a high cost of living that it's hard for residents to find enough free time to enjoy themselves outside of work.
Instead of struggling to find affordable housing in places like Colorado or Hawaii, consider Arkansas. With a median salary of about $40,000, and housing prices averaging just more than $100,000, you'll be able to maintain a high standard of living and still have time to relax. The state's 51 parks and spectacular Ozark Mountains have earned it the nickname "The Natural State." Best of all, you'll get to enjoy the beauty of four distinct seasons with a relatively mild climate year-round.
When you're ready to take a break from the great outdoors, Arkansas' larger cities offer a focus on the arts, as well as a unique cultural history and sense of Southern hospitality. With fewer than 200,000 residents, the capital city of Little Rock still remains fairly small compared to other major U.S. cities. In Little Rock, single-family homes cost $127,500 on average, and median family income hovers around $59,000. Small towns such as Springdale and Rogers give you a chance to know your neighbors, but they still offer affordable housing and excellent prospects for job growth.