South Dakota retirement offers some climate challenges to those who are not big fans of cold winters, but it offers many wonders as well, both natural and artificial, and grand in scale. The Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Region of South Dakota are 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”. A seemingly endless grass prairie hosts wildlife including bison, elk, mule deer and prairie dogs.
The gateway to the Black Hills and the Badlands is Rapid City. History buffs have heard of Deadwood which was the home of Calamity Jane and the scene of Wild Bill Hickok’s gunfight death. Casinos were brought back to this town in 1989, so it has reclaimed its historical reputation as a gambling town.
Rapid City is literally divided by a mountain range that splits the western and eastern parts of the city into two. But the party really got started here with the discovery of gold in 1874. The second largest city in the state, Rapid City has a population of 67,956.
Climate: Although winters are cold, retirees seeking a dry climate will like Rapid City’s long arid summers and short but distinct spring and autumn seasons.
Cost of living: Rapid City’s cost of living is roughly equal to the national average. Housing costs are expensive by South Dakota standards, but retirees can find some value here with the median price of a home at 19.1% less than the national average.
Colleges and Universities: Black Hills State University offers several classes in Rapid City, and the main campus is located in nearby Spearfish.
Transportation: Rapid City Regional Airport gives retirees access to the hub cities of Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa and Chicago.
Travel and tourism: Although Rapid City is probably most famous for Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial and Badlands National Park are also notable attractions. Rapid’s central location in the Black Hills of South Dakota offers a variety of shopping, dining, attractions and other outdoor recreation as well.
South Dakota Retirement Summary: Retirement in South Dakota offers a lifestyle that is affordable and low key. Retirees will enjoy the many natural scenic wonders of this state. South Dakota has often been referred to as the land of infinite variety, which is reflected in everything from the weather to the scenery. South Dakota made the #5 ranking on MoneyRates.com’s top ten list of best states for retirement. For a complete list of the ten best and worst states, read Mark’s blog http://retireusa.net/blog/best-and-worse-states-for-retirement.