6 of the Best Places to Retire in South Dakota

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Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Your monumental retirement comes at just a modest cost in the Mount Rushmore State.

South Dakota has no state income tax, offers property tax breaks for seniors and has a below-average cost of living.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that South Dakota’s population was about 919,000 in 2023, with 18% of residents age 65 and up. However, you’ll share the state’s abundant attractions with more than 14 million tourists a year.

The land of infinite variety” offers a seemingly infinite number of indoor and outdoor adventures suitable for all four distinct seasons. And wherever you live, you’re not far from cultural, historic and natural attractions, officials say.

If you’re into gambling, place your bets at tribal casinos, historic Deadwood gambling halls or on electronic video lottery machines with $2-per-bet limits on slots, poker, keno and blackjack games in more than 1,300 establishments around the state.

Here’s a look at several great places for the sun to shine on your South Dakota morning, as the BeeGees sang, roughly from east to west.

Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Estimated population: 202,000 as of 2022

Share of the population age 65 and older: 13.5%

South Dakota’s largest city is packed with arts and cultural attractions, recreation opportunities and, of course, waterfalls.

Explore 128-acre Falls Park, where the Big Sioux River gushes over pink quartzite slabs, and you can stroll along paths, grab a bite and climb an observation tower.

Tee up at 21 area golf courses. Take in a symphony concert. Catch a Canaries professional baseball game at the city’s Birdcage stadium. Learn history at the Battleship South Dakota Memorial dedicated to World War II’s most decorated battleship and visit local heritage and art museums. Participate year-round in Parks and Rec table games, walks, social gatherings, birding and more. And don’t miss full-scale castings of Michelangelo’s statues of David and Moses.

View imagery of planet Earth on a free tour of the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center north of town. Engage your mind at the University of South Dakota-Sioux Falls’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Medical care includes the top-ranked Sanford University of South Dakota Medical Center and flagship Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.


Yankton, South Dakota
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Estimated population: 16,000 as of 2022

Share of the population age 65 and older: 21%

Fishing, boating and other water sports will keep you busy in this former territorial capital along the Missouri River and close to Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, part of the Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail.

Walk across the river to Nebraska and back on the double-decker Meridian Bridge. Yankton’s adjacent Meridian District features shops, eateries and entertainment. Let RiverWalk sculptures entertain and inspire you, visit historical sites and galleries and learn local culture at the Mead Museum.

You can play golf at six area courses and hunt pheasant, waterfowl, wild turkey and white-tailed deer.

Get health care at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital and other medical centers.


Mitchell, South Dakota
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Estimated population: 16,000 as of 2022

Share of the population age 65 and older: 21%

Have an a-maize-ing retirement at the home of “The World’s Only Corn Palace,” which is adorned annually with murals made entirely of corn and other grains. Originally built for harvest festivals, Mitchell’s agricultural showplace also hosts exhibits, dances, stage shows and college basketball tournaments.

You can golf at three area courses; explore the area’s first people at the Prehistoric Indian Village; gain an understanding of regional history at the Dakota Discovery Museum; and see how Mitchell stays vibrant with Historic Main Street’s unique shops and eateries. Go hiking and enjoy fishing, water-skiing, canoeing and kayaking at Lake Mitchell.

Learn political history at the (Sen.) George and Eleanor McGovern Center at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Get health services at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, Sanford Health Mitchell Clinic and other medical centers.


Wylie Park in Aberdeen, South Dakota
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Estimated population: 28,000 as of 2022

Share of the population age 65 and older: 16%

Embrace small-town connections and culture that will keep you busy year-round.

Learn about the people, progress and natural history of the prairie region for free at Dacotah Prairie Museum. Get a 45% break on class tuition and participate in faculty-led world travel programs at Northern State University. Cheer Wolves teams and attend plays and concerts or even perform in some. Enjoy the annual Brown County Fair carnival rides, livestock exhibits and rodeo.

Go golfing at four area courses. Play games, exercise, party and join day trips at the senior center. Play horseshoes, swim, drive go-karts and take the grandkids to Storybook Land and Land of Oz at Wylie Park. Hunt pheasants, watch water ski shows or head over to Mina Lake Recreation Area for more water play and hiking.

Get health services at Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center and Avera St. Luke’s Hospital and other offices and clinics.


Pierre, South Dakota
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Estimated population: 14,000 as of 2022

Share of the population age 65 and older: 17%

Live large in the nation’s second-smallest state capital (behind Montpelier, Vermont).

In the center of South Dakota along the Missouri River, Pierre (pronounced “Peer”) has ample opportunities for you to go fishing, boating, swimming and hiking. Enjoy the outdoors at the LaFramboise Island Nature Area, connected to downtown by a pedestrian causeway fishing pier, or at Farm Island, city parks and nearby Lake Oahe.

Chase birdies at four area golf courses. Tour the State Capitol, follow the Trail of Governors life-size statues from the Capitol grounds to downtown Pierre. Cheer cowboy competition and learn history at the Casey Tibbs rodeo center.

The Pierre Senior Center organizes games and fitness activities and bus trips to casinos, fairs and festivals.

Across the river, visit the site of Fort Pierre Chouteau, originally a fur-trading post.

Full-service Avera St. Mary’s Hospital is the only medical center of its size within a radius of 112 miles.

Rapid City

Houses in Rapid City, South Dakota
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Estimated population: 79,000 as of 2022

Share of the population age 65 and older: 20%

Enjoy small-town charm but big-city attractions in South Dakota’s second-largest city, which is also your gateway to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Black Hills National Forest.

The winter may pass slowly in Rapid City, as Dwight Yoakam sings, but there’s always something to do. In town, find your favorite U.S. commander-in-chief’s statue as you explore the City of Presidents’ vibrant downtown area. Go through history from dinosaurs to modern times at The Journey Museum & Learning Center. Root for your favorite cowboy at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo. Listen to concerts by the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra.

Take a swing at eight area golf courses. Enjoy senior discounts as you check out snakes, gators and tortoises at Reptile Gardens or watch black bears clown around as you drive through Bear County USA south of town.

You’ll also be in easy driving range of the infamous town of Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok was shot dead while playing poker; the High Plains Western Heritage Center; Indian heritage site Crazy Horse Memorial; rugged Badlands National Park; the mineral springs soaks in Hot Springs; and the Cold War relic D-11 Minuteman Missile Launch Facility.

Monument Health Rapid City Hospital is part of the Mayo Clinic network.

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