Like other northern states, South Dakota retirement offers some climate challenges to those who are not big fans of cold winters. But South Dakota offers many wonders as well, both natural and artificial and grand in scale. The best known of these is magnificent Mount Rushmore National Memorial with massive mountain carvings of four American presidents: Washington, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, and Jefferson. A very short 17 miles away there is another monument in progress, the Crazy Horse Memorial, a spectacular carving that will become the largest in the world when finished and is a celebration of the native American spirit and the challenges of the culture clash that came from early American western migration.
Both monuments are in the Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Region of South Dakota, also region considered sacred by the Native Americans and the site of a major gold rush.
Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park feature some rare and beautiful cave formations known as “boxwork”. South Dakota also has a grass prarie that hosts wildlife including bison, elk, mule deer and prairie dogs. Custer State Park is named after George A. Custer, a controversial historical figure who was killed in the battle of the Big Horn. East of the Black Hills lie the beautiful and stark eroded landscapes of Badlands National Park.
The largest city in South Dakota is Sioux Falls, the state’s commercial powerhouse. Second largest is Rapid City which is named after Rapid Creek. Rapid City is the gateway to the Black Hills and the Badlands. Deadwood was the home of Calamity Jane and the scene of Wild Bill Hickok’s gunfight death. It has reclaimed its historical reputation as a gambling town since casinos were brought back in 1989.