Benton County, Arkansas
Ten years ago, Benton County was a little boating secret in the Ozark Mountains. The secret's out. Benton is the third-fastest- growing county in the United States, due in large part to the clean environment, improving economy and accessibility of 30,000 acres of boatable water.
"We're known for our smooth clear lakes around here," says Kevin Callahan, owner of Horseshoe Bend Marina on Beaver Lake. "There's always a bunch of recreational boating going on, and a little diving too."
Beaver Lake, which stretches 90 miles, is the most popular spot for boaters, and residential development has exploded there. Eagle's Bluff, for example, has recently acquired 2,355 lakefront acres on which to build houses. To top it off, the boating season is pretty much year-round, dipping only when a "blue norther" rolls in.
Scorecard (scale of 1-5)
Waterfront Availability: 5
Ease for Boaters: 5
Strong Boat-Related Business: 3
Number of Good Boating Days: 4