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The Best Places to Live in South Dakota in 2024

By Alex Moretti


Updated on

There are plenty of reasons as to why you’d want to move to South Dakota, and that’s a fact. You have Rapid City, Custer State Park and the Wind Cave National Park and that’s just naming a few of the many attractions that you’ll find right outside your doorstep.

In fact, there are so many places to see and visit here that you’ll find it hard to keep up with the abundance of charming little towns, wonderful cities and super friendly rural communities.

This is why for today we decided to bring you a list of the top 20 best places you could live in the beautiful state of South Dakota. So, let’s not waste any time and instead just hop right into our first pick of the day:

20. Spearfish

Spearfish, South Dakota

While the crime rate is anything but desirable here, we can still say that Spearfish is worth checking out if you want to raise a family in it after asking the locals what they thought about it.

Everybody that we questioned said that it is a peaceful and charming little place to live in, one that keeps track of the old traditional ways of thinking and keeps those traditions alive every passing year.

On top of that, renting a place here in Spearfish is quite acceptable, as you can actually get your hands on a pretty good place for around $632 a month, which is why so many of the locals here are renting their places as opposed to buying them.

19. Rapid City

Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City is hidden deep below Route 90, on the eastern side of the Black Hills National Forest. It has a total population of roughly 75,000 people as we speak, a lot of amazing schools, more than enough commuter routes and access to plenty of wonderful sights to see and outdoor activities you can partake in.

Do keep in mind that it is the complete antithesis of the rural area, so if that’s what you’re looking for then look again because Rapid City is not the one for you.

But if you do choose to move in Rapid City, you will still be happy to see just how much bang you’re getting for your buck. Our favorite part is definitely the wide range of job opportunities alongside the overall hospitality of the locals.

18. Summerset

Somerset, South Dakota

Summerset is the perfect example of what a family-friendly location should look like, as most of the people living here have moved in recently in order to start a family of their own.

That is because most families bring home around $80,139 per year in income, which in itself is great, and on top of that as a resident of Summerset you also get to take advantage of the wide range of job opportunities, shops and diners that can be found around every corner.

This little town is also a great place to live in if you are an outdoor lover, as there are just so many outdoor recreational activities you can partake in.

17. Blackhawk

Blackhawk, South Dakota

Blackhawk takes the lead for now though thanks to its overall affordability. The cost of living here is way lower than you’d think, and on top of that most three-bedroom homes will cost you as little as $145,000 per year, which is not too shabby.

Part of the Rapid City metropolitan area, this place has quite a lot of public schools for you to choose from and the crime and unemployment rates here are very low as well.

The Black Hills are also pretty close to you, so you can check them out in your spare time, and we can’t forget about the footlong list of other such attractions that you shouldn’t miss out on, including the Spearfish Canyon, the Prairie Edge, and so on and so forth.

16. Fort Pierre

Fort Pierre, South Dakota
Photo by Alanscottwalker / Wikipedia.org

For around $157,600 or so, you could become a proud homeowner in Fort Pierre, alongside 2,162 other happy residents of this little slice of heaven on earth.

But what can you expect from that investment? Well, how about a very low crime rate, a diverse community of friendly neighbors, a very acceptable median income of $68,237 per year, and a decent selection of amenities that will make sure that you never run out of stuff to spend your money on.

Besides all of that, Fort Pierre is also great in that it is only a short drive away from many different larger cities around it, which you can commute to if you ever want a better job or just access to better amenities.

15. Harrisburg

Harrisburg, South Dakota

Taking up our 15th spot we have Harrisburg. While not the most economically or ethnically diverse place in the state, Harrisburg is still worth checking out simply due to how much it really has to offer in terms of schooling and housing.

The homes here are very cheap and they all look stunning to behold, and at the same time there have been a lot of education developments in Harrisburg lately, as more and more schools have been built in order to make sure that your children’s future is set.

14. Aberdeen

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Aberdeen is known for having a very powerful job market, a lot of amazing sights, more than enough restaurants and bars to go around and no shortage of shops everywhere you look.

On top of that, it is also home to the esteemed Northern State University, and even though a lot of its population is made up of youngsters, it is still considered to be a family-oriented community, where you can either start your own or raise your children in.

Most people also earn around $55,322 per year, which is a tad bit over the national average of $47,506, and the cost of living is quite low to say the least.

You can also get your hands on a pretty good property for around $144,000 or so too, which is around $40,000 less than the US average.

13. Tea

Tea, South Dakota

The community here in Tea is very friendly and active, which is why there is no shortage of events that are organized here all year round.

Besides that, the median property price here stands at a reasonable $196,000 mark, a sum that most people can scrounge up, especially thanks to the median income of $79,978.

The streets are also very safe and the job market is no slouch either, especially since you can easily commute into Sioux Falls if you ever need more work opportunities.

12. Watertown

Watertown, South Dakota

Getting quick and easy access to the Watertown Airport might just be the best part about living here in Watertown, especially when you consider the fact that you can easily fly to Philadelphia in less than an hour or so every day to commute to work.

But that’s not all, as Watertown also doubles down as the fifth largest city in the state, with a total population of around 22,700 people right now.

The schools here are also quite amazing, but do keep in mind that living here is not going to be cheap. The housing prices are deceivingly low, but the cost of living is quite up there.

11. Yankton

Yankton, South Dakota

Yankton can be found on the banks of the Missouri River, having some of the best schooling options in the state alongside a very friendly and diverse community.

The four top schools here are some of the most accomplished in South Dakota, so if you want to finish your studies or better yet, if you want to ensure your child’s future, you should definitely consider Yankton.

The history of the place is also worth noting and we can’t forget about the fact that there are so many bars for you to check out whenever you feel like socializing with your neighbors.

10. Mobridge


The locals here may not have the highest incomes in the state, in fact, they barely earn around $43,243 per year, which is not exactly what we’d call great, but if you do choose to move in here you will see that money isn’t the only reason worth living for.

Mobridge is also known for being a lakeside location, which in itself makes it a great place if you love to go hiking, fishing and try out any other outdoor activities you can think of.

While the incomes may be small, the cost of living is just as low as you can expect to find a pretty good home for around $86,800 or so.

9. Madison

Madison, SD
Madison, SD / facebook.com

Madison also makes for a great option to consider if you’re primarily looking for affordable housing, since most properties here will cost you as little as $113,700 or so.

That in itself is great, but when coupled with the first-class range of amenities, attractions and community events, you can quickly see why it ranks up so high on our list.

The streets are also quite safe and the education system is really good too, making this a great place to raise a family in.

8. Vermillion

Vermillion, South Dakota
Photo by University of South Dakota / Facebook.com

Vermillion has a total population of 11,802 people as we speak, but that number seems to be growing every single year. Both the housing and job market here are highly sought after and the crime is practically unheard of, on top of also having a very diverse and friendly community.

Commuters will also be happy to hear that since it is set very close to Highway 50, you can easily make it onto Route 29 and go to Sioux Falls, and eventually Kansas for your ideal job.

Most of the population here is also made up of students, which in itself should tell you that the nightlife might be amazing to say the least.

7. Pierre

Pierre, South Dakota

The housing market in Pierre is simply incredible as you have so many excellent properties to choose from, and the prices range from very affordable to insanely luxurious, so depending on your needs you can easily find the perfect home for you and your family.

The median rent is also very low, making this a great place to live in temporarily, but the public schools leave much to be desired. Since you live so close to the river though, you can also take full advantage of it by going camping, fishing and boating, so you’ll never run out of stuff to do.

If you didn’t know this yet, Pierre is actually the capital city of South Dakota, even though it has only around 14,000 residents currently living here. We wish we could say more about it but the fact of the matter is that while it is a great place to live in, it also doesn’t really excel in much. It is more of a jack of all trades for that matter.

6. Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The biggest city from this state, Sioux Falls serves as the home of around 200,000 people, making it one of the most densely populated parts of South Dakota you could move to.

Properties are actually quite affordable here though, with the median home value coming up to $157,800 or so, but do keep in mind that you can still find yourself 4-bedroo family homes for as little as $129,500 too.

The top 5 public schools in Sioux Falls are also quite amazing, with all of them scoring consistently above the rest.

5. Brookings

Brookings, South Dakota

Brookings is up next for us, having a total population of around 23,500 people and a very impressive median income of $169,400 per year.

That in itself is amazing, especially when you take into consideration that moving here also means taking full advantage of the extremely low crime rate, the first-rate schools, and the wide range of amenities that you’ll never grow tired of.

Here you will also find the South Dakota State University for instance, the state’s largest institution of higher education.

You also get to live very close to Sioux Falls, which means that whenever you feel bored you can always just check up on Sioux Falls and make your way to one of the many attractions there.

4. Winner

Winner, South Dakota
Photo by Ammodramus / Wikipedia.org

Winner takes us closer and closer to the number one spot, being one of the best places you could live in South Dakota if you love the idea of living off of the land.

That is because most of the residents here rely on agriculture and farming to cover their bills and needs, and considering the fact that only 2,852 people live here, it’s no wonder that everyone knows one another, and there are little to no crimes happening either.

Buying a home is also quite affordable here in Winner, with most of them costing you around $86,000 or so in total, and let’s not forget about the fact that Winner has that small-town feel to it that so many of us are looking for nowadays.

3. De Smet

De Smet, South Dakota

De Smet can be found in the Kingsbury County of South Dakota, being a very small city that has that sparse suburban feel to it. Maybe that’s why some people call it the Little Town on the Prairie.

Most of the people here live in owned properties due to the housing prices being very low, and on top of that the public schools here are well worth investing your time and money into.

There are also many bars and restaurants for you to check into while you’re here, and the community itself, despite being so small (with just above 1,000 residents), is very diverse and friendly.

2. Brandon

Brandon, South Dakota
City of Brandon South Dakota / Facebook.com

The quaint little town of Brandon makes its way up on our list for a lot of reasons, including the fact that it has one of the lowest crime rates in the state, with the numbers indicating that it is 91% lower than the US average, which in itself is more than enough of a reason to consider moving in here.

On top of that, the unemployment rate stands at a really acceptable 2%, and let’s not forget about the fact that the median income here is of around $75,424, which is around 36% higher than the US average.

Most homes here cost you around $183,000 per property, and renting a place will cost you 12% less than the US average.

The schools are also amazing and the community is very diverse and accepting, making Brandon one of the best places you could live in while in South Dakota.

1. Hot Springs

Hot Springs, South Dakota

But regardless of how good Brandon is, Hot Springs takes the cake for us, being the absolute best place that you could live in, if you decide to move in the beautiful state of South Dakota.

The main reason for this is the fact that it has some of the most affordable properties on this list, with most 4-bedroom homes costing you as little as $85,400 or so.

On top of that the weather is great and most of the population is made up of veterans and elders, making this a very safe environment to raise your child in.

And did we mention the stunning scenery around this little town? It has hot springs too, numerous attractions and a charming small town atmosphere.


Best places to live in South Dakota
Photo by Kevin Wenning / unsplash.com

South Dakota is becoming increasingly popular as the years roll on by, especially so thanks to the fact that it offers some amazing views of Mount Rushmore, alongside plenty of economically strong places to relocate to.

There are more than enough job opportunities to go around here in South Dakota and the housing prices are amongst the most affordable in the country right now. So, if you want to move somewhere cheap that you won’t regret anytime soon, definitely consider one of these places from South Dakota.

For more interesting places to live in, check out South Dakota’s neighboring states: North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana.

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About Alex Moretti

Adventure junkie, content creator and storyteller, Alex left his nine-to-five career lifestyle to become a full time world traveler. He started his journey to the unknown 5 years ago and visited more than 30 countries and 400 cities ever since. Learn more about Placeaholic's Editorial Process.

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