When most people think of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills typically come to mind. Tourism is big here, no doubt, but it’s far from the only thing that the state has to offer. From its unspoiled landscape and natural wonder to its low-cost living expenses and not-too-crowded cities, South Dakota offers a spacious, inspiring, and adventurous lifestyle for anyone captured by its magic.

Thinking about moving to South Dakota? We’re here to help. Great Guys Moving has put together this handy SD moving guide, which goes over the following sections:

  1. Things to Consider Before Moving to SD
  2. Top Places to Live in the North-Central State
  3. Convenient Interstate Moving Checklist
  4. Great Guys Quality, Affordable Moving Services

Made up your mind to move here? Great! Let us help you find reputable South Dakota movers at unbeatable rates. It only takes a few minutes. It’s that easy!

Find out how much your move costs!

Living in South Dakota: What to Know Before Moving to South Dakota

Headed to the Mount Rushmore State? If so, be sure to consider a few facts about America’s 17th largest state by total size (77,117 square miles) and the 5th smallest state by population (882,235).

Pros and Cons of Living in South Dakota


  • Low cost of living: According to HomeSnack’s 10 Cheapest States in America to Live In, South Dakota lands at the #5 spot. This ranking is due to several factors, including taxes (more on that below).
  • Spacious surroundings: Fewer than a million people live here. And with a state size of over 77,000 square miles, that means less light/noise pollution and more space for everyone.
  • No income tax: Yep, that’s not a typo. No income taxes! Along with this pleasant lack of taxation, the base sales tax is only 4.5%. That’s good enough to be the 13th lowest in the United States.
  • Unspoiled nature: The Missouri River splits the stay into two regions. From the Black Hills in the west to the rolling prairies in the east, the scenery is both wild and wondrous.
  • Small town vibe: Regardless of whether you’re in a tiny town in West River or the bustling city of Sioux Falls, the state feels like an old friend, offering comfort, friendliness, and community.
  • Booming business: This is especially true for small businesses. The state of South Dakota is a great place for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to capitalize on the state’s low taxes and other perks.
  • Job opportunities: According to CNBC’s Best Places in America to Land Your Dream Job, South Dakota ranks #9, with opportunities in finance, special trades, mechanics, nursing, and more.


  • Extreme seasons: From unbelievably hot to teeth-chattering cold, the midwestern state has intense summers and winters. If moving here, be prepared for crazy temperature changes.
  • Unpredictable weather: The word ‘wild’ encapsulates South Dakota’s landscape, but it also refers to the fickle weather. Temps can change abruptly from day to day, even hour to hour.
  • Lower median salaries: Even though the state offers a low cost of living and attractive housing costs, South Dakota currently ranks #30 on the list of median household incomes by state.
  • Small town vibe: We’ve listed this in both the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ sections for a reason. With the strong sense of community comes everyone knowing everyone else’s business, good or bad.
  • Sparse population: If you’re moving here for the spaciousness, you’ll love it. But remember that the state is also sparsely populated, and there can be a great distance from town to town.
  • Weird statutes: Now for some wacky laws. For example, you can be arrested for lying down and taking a nap in a cheese factory. Also, horses must wear pants when entering the Fountain Inn.

Is South Dakota a Good Place to Live?

South Dakota is a wonderful place to live because it doesn’t collect state income tax, offers many perks for small businesses, and has a very low population density. South Dakota is home to the famous Mount Rushmore, but that’s not why it’s one of the happiest states in the country. South Dakota boasts one of the strongest state economies which is another great advantage for small businesses.

Tax Rates

  • Property Tax: 1.32%. The effective real-estate tax rate is #35 lowest in the US.
  • Sales Tax: South Dakota’s base state sales tax rate is currently 4.5%.
  • Income Tax: The state does not currently collect personal income tax.

Housing Market

To Rent or Buy? Overall, it is a much cheaper option to rent rather than buy a home in South Dakota. The median monthly mortgage is $1,255, while the median monthly rent is only $696. That comes out to a difference of almost $560 per month, or more than $6,700 per year.

Despite this, homeownership is still pretty affordable, especially compared to many other states.

  • Median Home Value: $205,567
  • Median Rental Expense: $565 (1BR), $723 (2BR)

Cheapest Places to Live in South Dakota:

  1. Britton
  2. Tyndall
  3. De Smet
  4. Freeman
  5. Clear Lake
  6. Gettysburg
  7. Lemmon
  8. Salem
  9. Redfield
  10. Winner

Cost of Living

According to the Cost of Living in South Dakota by BestPlaces, South Dakota has a cost of living index of 88.3. This index is much lower than the national average of 100.

Using EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, we can compare the average monthly costs in three South Dakota cities. We’ll use a family of four for these examples (2 adults + 2 kids).

Pierre (Hughes County):

  1. Housing = $702
  2. Food = $774
  3. Childcare = $937
  4. Transportation = $1,212
  5. Healthcare = $1,290
  6. Other necessities = $596
  7. Taxes = $599
  8. Grand total = $6,110 per month or $73,318 per year

Sioux Falls Metro Area:

  1. Housing = $806
  2. Food = $707
  3. Childcare = $1,164
  4. Transportation = $1,195
  5. Healthcare = $1,212
  6. Other necessities = $610
  7. Taxes = $883
  8. Grand total = $6,578 per month or $78,935 per year

Rapid City Metro Area:

  1. Housing = $899
  2. Food = $784
  3. Childcare = $1,233
  4. Transportation = $1,166
  5. Healthcare = $1,348
  6. Other necessities = $ 679
  7. Taxes = $744
  8. Grand total = $6,853 per month or $82,240 per year

Weather & Natural Disasters

South Dakota can be split into two zones: West River and East River. Separated by the Missouri River, these two regions have their own distinct climates. Both zones experience high winds, with extremely cold winters and hot summer months. Weather can vary wildly and unpredictably, too.

The eastern portion of the state has a humid continental climate. This climate results in a moderate amount of precipitation and humidity, which delivered equally throughout the four seasons. The western region sees a semiarid steppe climate, which means lower rainfall and more sunny days.

Climate Statistics:

  1. Average rainfall – 23 inches
  2. Average snowfall – 39 inches
  3. Sunshine – 213 sunny days
  4. Summer high – 85°F (July)
  5. Winter low – 7°F (January)

Natural Disaster – Threats & Risks:

  1. Flooding
  2. Tornadoes
  3. Wildfires
  4. Blizzards
  5. Ice Storms
  6. Earthquakes

Economy & Job Market

According to Economy Rankings by US News & World Report, South Dakota is currently ranked #27 in the United States. This score is based on three subcategories: the business environment (#45), employment (#12), and growth (#33). Its GDP is approximately $49.81 billion, and the median income is $29,611.

Top Industries:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Fishing
  3. Forestry
  4. Tourism
  5. Bioscience
  6. Cybersecurity
  7. Mining & Power
  8. Manufacturing
  9. Services & Labor
  10. Transportation

Top Employers:

  1. Highmark (Piedmont, 35,000 employees)
  2. Sanford Health (Sioux Falls, 28,400 employees)
  3. The Good Samaritan Hospital (Sioux Falls, 24,000 employees)
  4. Rapid City Regional Hospital (Rapid City, 4,200 employees)
  5. Black Hills (Rapid City, 2,800+ employees)
  6. Daktronics (Brookings, 2,550+ employees)
  7. First Premier Bank (Sioux Falls, approximately 2,100 employees)
  8. State of South Dakota (Pierre, 1,800+ employees)
  9. University of South Dakota (Vermillion, 1,770 employees)
  10. Great Western Bank (Sioux Falls, 1,560+ employees)
  11. NorthWestern Energy (Sioux Falls, 1,550+ employees)
  12. Avera St. Luke’s Hospital (Aberdeen, 1,200+ employees)
  13. National American University (Rapid City, 1,080 employees)
  14. Lewis Drug (Sioux Falls, 1,000 employees)
  15. Concordance Healthcare Solutions (Sioux Falls, 1,000 employees)
  16. South Dakota Dept. of Transportation (Pierre, nearly 1,000 employees)
  17. Raven Industries (Sioux Falls, 940+ employees)
  18. City of Sioux Falls (Sioux Falls, 930 employees)
  19. Anza Textile (Watertown, 900 employees)
  20. Dakota Provisions (Huron, 840+ employees)

Looking for work in South Dakota? Here are some helpful resources:

  1. SD.gov page: Employment – State of South Dakota
  2. Job search: Indeed, LinkedIn, CollegeRecruiter, CareerBuilder
  3. Resume help: Monster, TopResume, ResumeRobin

Traffic and Transportation

Because of the sheer size and sparseness of the state, residents must have access to their own transportation. Most of South Dakota is undeveloped, with lots of space between towns and cities. It is also one of only a handful of states that doesn’t offer Amtrak service.

Major Forms of Transportation:

  1. Interstate Highways and Roads
  2. Air Travel (including Rapid City Regional Airport)
  3. Coach (Greyhound, Jefferson Lines, Powder River Lines)
  4. Personal car, truck, van or SUV
  5. Carpool / Vanpool
  6. Taxi service (Rapid Taxi and Quicksilver Taxi)
  7. Car Rental (at airports and downtown districts)
  8. Ridesharing – Uber, Lyft, etc. (select areas)

Primary Interstate Highways:

  • Interstate 29: At 252.5 miles long, I-29 is the second-longest interstate highway in South Dakota. It runs from the Iowa state line in Dakota Dunes to the North Dakota state line near Victor.
  • Interstate 90: This is the longest SD interstate highway at over 412 miles long. I-90 travels from the Wyoming state line near North Spearfish to the Minnesota state line near Valley Springs.
  • Interstate 190: At 1.72 miles in length, I-190 is the shortest one here. The auxiliary interstate highway runs concurrent with US 16 and connects I-90 to downtown Rapid City.
  • Interstate 229: This 11-mile section of interstate highway is mostly within the city limits of Sioux Falls. I-229 goes from I-29 in the southern portion of the city to I-90 just north of the city.

According to Best and Worst States to Drive In by WalletHub, South Dakota comes in at #24 in the country. This ranking is based on four subcategories: cost of ownership & maintenance (#17), traffic & infrastructure (#9), safety (#45), and access to vehicles & maintenance (#42).

Things to Do

Looking for fun in South Dakota? Whether you’re a family, history buff, or lover of the odd & unique, there’s something for everyone in the Mount Rushmore State!

Tourist Destinations:

The midwestern state is home to rich American history and natural attractions.

  • Mount Rushmore National Monument: How could we make a list without the top tourist attraction? Stare in awe at the carved heads of four of the most celebrated US presidents.
  • Badlands National Park: Filled with dramatic pinnacles and rugged rock formations (along with a herd of bison), the oddly scenic landscape of this National Park was created by the erosion of sand and clay.
  • Crazy Horse Memorial: Started in 1947, this ongoing project includes a mountain carving of Chief Standing Bear, Indian Museum of North America, and buses to the base of the memorial.
  • Wind Cave National Park: This park is home to one of the largest karstic cave systems in the world. Enjoy a guided tour with a park ranger and see the structure known as “box work.”
  • Mammoth Site: With over 60 Columbian mammoths (including three woolly mammoths) discovered at the site, visitors can marvel at the remains in a climate-controlled building.

Food & Drink:

South Dakota has great eats, bars, family-friendly stops, and more! Here are the top picks:

  • Top All-You-Can-Eat: Sanaa’s Gourmet (Sioux Falls)
  • Top Bar: Full Throttle Saloon (Sturgis)
  • Top Beer: Pile O’ Dirt Porter, Crow Peak Brewing Company (Spearfish)
  • Top Brunch: Phillips Avenue Diner (Sioux Falls)
  • Top Burger: JL Beers (Various Locations)
  • Top Farmers Market: Black Hills Farmers Market, Rapid City
  • Top Chocolate Shop: Chubby Chipmunk Hand-Dipped Chocolates (Deadwood)
  • Top Coffee Shop: Pure Bean (Rapid City)
  • Top Donuts: Jerry’s Cakes and Donuts (Rapid City)
  • Top Food Truck: Backyard BBQ (Sioux Falls)

State Parks:

Want to explore South Dakota’s diverse natural beauty? Consider these popular state parks:

  • Custer State Park: Arguably the most popular state park in South Dakota, it is home to 73,000 acres of awe-inspiring nature. Perfect for hunting, fishing, and camping. Located in Custer.
  • Roughlock Falls State Nature Center: The center in Lead is home to one of the most beautiful falls in the entire state. The trail to the falls is well-maintained and safe for all levels.
  • Palisades State Park: Looking for a great spot to camp, particularly RV camping? The big draw to this Garretson location is the interesting collection of rock formations and great hiking trails.
  • Roughlock Falls Nature Area: After a hike of about one mile from the lodge (or drive up a gravel road), visitors gain an awesome view of the falls and picnic spot. You’ll find this nature area in Savoy.
  • Bear Butte State Park: Take a nearly two-mile-long hike to this sacred summit in Sturgis, which is primarily used by Native Americans as a place for prayer or vision quest.


The Midwest state is home to several popular museums. Here are the top picks:

  • Akta Lakota Museum: Experience the past and present way of life of the Northern Plains Indian Tribes through cultural, historical, and artistic works at this site in Chamberlain.
  • Redlin Art Center: Created as a gift to artist Terry Redlin’s hometown of Watertown, the self-guided center is home to more than 160 original oil paintings by the popular artist.
  • National Music Museum: Found at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, this museum houses one of the most prized collections of the finest instruments in the world.
  • Cultural Heritage Center: Built into the side of a mountain and mainly underground, the center in Pierre has exhibits of rare Native American (mainly Sioux) and pioneer artifacts.
  • Wades Gold Mill: Ever wanted to learn how to pan for gold? Enjoy a tour of antique mining equipment and try your hand at panning for the precious metal in Hill City.

Cool & Unusual:

Looking for something different to explore in South Dakota? Check out:

  • Wall Drug: There are iconic tourist traps, and then there’s Wall Drug. The king of kitsch has been around for over 80 years, home to an 80-foot tall dinosaur, mounted jackalopes, and more.
  • Hotel Alex Johnson: Built in 1927, it’s considered one of the oldest and eeriest hotels in the US. Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant took up residence here during the Filming of North by Northwest.
  • Crazy Horse Memorial: In reaction to the carving of Mount Rushmore, Chief Henry Standing Bear commissioned Korczak Ziolkowski to help create the world’s largest mountain carving.
  • Porter Sculpture Park: Found along Interstate 90, these large iron sculptures will captivate your imagination. The most prominent one is a 60-foot tall bull’s head jutting out of the ground.
  • Skeleton Man Walking Skeleton Dinosaur: Striking and whimsical, drivers in Midland get a view of a skeleton walking ahead of his leashed T-Rex pet in a grassy field. Totally normal.

Schools and Universities

Ranked #38 among states with the best schools by USA Today, South Dakota has the 19th lowest public-school funding in the US ($11,133 per pupil). It also has the 23rd lowest high-school grad rate at nearly 84%. As for higher education, the state is home to several midsized universities and small colleges.

Top SD Colleges:

  1. Augustana University (Sioux Falls)
  2. University of South Dakota (Vermillion)
  3. South Dakota State University (Brookings)
  4. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (Rapid City)
  5. Northern State University (Aberdeen)
  6. University of Sioux Falls (Sioux Falls)
  7. Dakota Wesleyan University (Mitchell)
  8. Mount Marty College (Yankton)
  9. Northern State University (Aberdeen)
  10. Dakota State University (Madison)

Top SD Public School Districts:

  1. Brandon Valley School District (Brandon)
  2. Dakota Valley School District (North Sioux City)
  3. Warner School District (Warner)
  4. South Central School District (Bonesteel)
  5. Sioux Falls School District (Sioux Falls)
  6. Brookings School District (Brookings)
  7. Parkston School District (Parkston)
  8. Frederick Area School District (Frederick)
  9. Deubrook Area Schools (White)
  10. Wall School District (Wall)

How to Become a South Dakota Resident

Being recognized as an official resident of South Dakota comes with many perks, including no state income tax and lower in-state college tuition fees. There are a few steps to establish residency:

  1. Get a physical address in South Dakota (and have the ability to receive mail from that address)
  2. Obtain South Dakota driver’s license (must apply in person and show proof, in the form of a receipt, of staying at least one night in an SD hotel, motel, campground, Airbnb, etc.)
  3. Title and register vehicle(s) in the state
  4. Apply for and receive insurance coverage (medical, auto, etc.)
  5. Register to vote in your county
  6. Vote (this is not required, but it helps show the intent of becoming a permanent resident)
  7. Pay state and local taxes
  8. Set up a bank account in the state

For tuition purposes, please refer to the particular requirements of every college or university on your list. Each institution typically has its own set of criteria when determining eligibility.

Moving to South Dakota DMV

Acquiring a new driver’s license:

If you live in the state for longer than 90 days, you are required to obtain an SD driver’s license.

Steps to getting an SDDL (if you have a valid out-of-state driver’s license):

  1. Establish South Dakota mailing address
  2. Must stay one night in a campground, motel, hotel, Airbnb in the state and prove it with a receipt
  3. Visit a Driver Licensing location
  4. Complete license application form
  5. Provide required documents: ID, lawful status in US (birth certificate, US passport, etc.); social security card, W-2, 1099, or pay stub (must be an original document); two documents proving SD residential/physical address (must be less than one year old)
  6. If the name has changed, provide proof of name change
  7. Pass a vision test
  8. Have photo taken
  9. Pay applicable fees
  10. Receive new South Dakota driver’s license

Vehicle registration:

Local county treasurer’s offices handle vehicle titling and registration in South Dakota.

To start the process, you must get an SD driver’s license. Next, complete and sign a State of South Dakota Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration. Provide a current title, proof of vehicle insurance coverage, tax payment verification, lienholder’s info (if applicable), forms for a new vehicle(s) owned less than 6 months (if applicable), and payment (cash, cashier’s check, or money order).

Upon successful completion, you will receive new plates. The state will mail the new title to you within six weeks. The state does not require a vehicle inspection, and vehicle tax is only 4%.

To qualify to vote, you must be:

  1. A United States citizen
  2. A resident of South Dakota
  3. 18 years or older on election day
  4. Mentally competent
  5. Not under felony conviction or sentence

South Dakota does not currently offer online voter registration. You can submit a South Dakota Voter Registration Form to the county auditor or register in person (county auditor’s office, public assistance offices, military recruitment offices, or driver’s license stations). The state permits early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. South Dakota voters must provide photo ID on election day.

NOTE: A felon regains eligibility to register to vote once he or she has fully completed the sentence. Completion includes probation, parole, and restitution.

See the 10 Best Movers Nearest You
(Unbiased) Ranking of the top movers in every city.

Best Movers in South Dakota


Sioux Falls, SD

Fabulous! based on 750+ data points.
Brouwer Relocation, Inc. is a third-generation family-owned and operated company providing residential, commercial, and specialized moving services since 1969. Brouwer Relocation added a location in... Continue Reading

Rapid City, SD

Fabulous! based on 100+ data points.
Located in Rapid City, Thomas & Sons Moving Company is a family-owned and operated business providing local and out-of-state moves to residential and commercial clients.... Continue Reading

Sioux Falls, SD

Fabulous! based on 250+ data points.
Launched in the 1980s, Two Men and a Truck serves residential and commercial customers all over the country. The company opened its Sioux Falls office... Continue Reading

Best Places to Live in South Dakota

Hot Springs

Population: 3,700
Median Home Value: $142,200
Region: Western South Dakota (West River)

We start our adventure in Hot Springs. The small city of less than 4,000 is the #1 place to retire in South Dakota. Here, 63% of residents own their homes, and the public schools are above average.

Located in Fall River County (the southwesternmost county of the state), Hot Springs is known as “Veteran’s Town.” It offers several benefits: friendly community (with a midwestern feel), affordable cost of living, low crime, VA hospital, outdoor activities (located along Fall River and on the southern edge of the Black Hills), and a nice selection of restaurants, antique shops, and stores.

Top public schools serving the Hot Springs area include Hot Springs Middle School, Hot Springs Elementary School, Hot Springs High School, and Batesland Elementary School. As for private education, Hot Springs is also home to Bethesda Lutheran School.

Are you looking to enjoy your golden years in South Dakota? Hot Springs should be #1 on your list.

Rapid City

Population: 74,000
Median Home Value: $215,800
Region: Western South Dakota (West River)

Rapid City, the second-largest city in South Dakota, is located in Pennington County on the eastern portion of the Black Hills. 61% of residents are homeowners, and the public schools are above average.

Dubbed the “Gateway to Mount Rushmore,” Rapid City offers a nice blend of city amenities and access to endless outdoor adventures – it’s close to the Black Hills National Forest, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and much more. Couple that with affordable living costs, good schools, and plenty of job opportunities, and you can see why Rapid City is popular with both tourists and transplants.

Top public schools in Rapid City include Stevens High School, Corral Drive Elementary School, Southwest Middle School, Southwest Middle School, and Meadowbrook Elementary School. Local private schools include Rapid City Catholic System, St. Elizabeth Seton School, Calvary Christian School, and Zion Lutheran School. Top colleges in town are South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Headlines Academy, National American University – Rapid City, Western Dakota Technical Institute, and Black Hills Beauty College.

Has the beauty of West River and the Black Hills captured your heart? Want to live in an urban setting? Rapid City checks both of those boxes and much more.


Population: 3,500
Median Home Value: $86,800
Region: Central South Dakota

Next, we visit the small town of Mobridge. It is another great place to retire in the state. 64% of residents own their homes, and the public schools rate above average.

Ranked as the #4 place to retire in South Dakota, Mobridge is a friendly, lakeside town situated by the Missouri River in Walworth County. Housing is extremely affordable (with a median home value of just under $87K), and plenty of activities (like the Sitting Bull Stampede Rodeo). Despite its reputation as a retiree town, many younger folks find the close-knit community a great place to raise kids, too.

Top public schools serving the Mobridge area include Mobridge Middle School, Mobridge Upper Elementary School, Mobridge High School, and Freeman Davis Elementary School.

Are you looking for a beautiful town that offers camping, fishing, and other great lake activities amongst the pristine nature of South Dakota? Mobridge might just be the place you’ve had in mind.


Population: 14,000
Median Home Value: $168,700
Region: Central South Dakota

As the eighth-largest city in the state (and the capital of SD), Pierre is also the #8 best place to live in South Dakota. 61% of residents are homeowners, and the public schools rank as above average.

As the principal city of the Pierre metro area, Pierre is the second least populated city in the United States (just behind Montpelier, VT). It sits in the Missouri River Valley, offering awe-inspiring scenery and access to many outdoor adventures (as well as being close to LaFramboise Island and Farm Island in the Missouri River). In 2018, USA Today listed Pierre as one of America’s 50 best cities to live.

Top public schools serving the Pierre area include T.F. Riggs High School, Georgia Morse Middle School, Buchanan Elementary School, Kennedy Elementary – 08, and Jefferson Elementary School. As for private education, Pierre is home to St. Joseph Elementary School.

Offering the charm of a small town with the amenities of a city, Pierre is a great place for young professionals building their careers or families looking for affordability and stellar outdoor living.


Population: 10,000
Median Home Value: $246,200
Region: Eastern South Dakota (East River)

Moving on to the eastern portion of South Dakota, also known as East River, we land in Brandon. 73% of residents own their homes, and public schools are highly rated.

Known as the #1 place to raise a family in the state, Brandon also holds the title of #1 safest city in South Dakota. It offers just the right combo of close-knit community and amenities. It has some of the best schools in SD, along with awesome outdoor activities (as it sits along the Big Sioux River), and easy commuting to Sioux Falls (less than 20 minutes away) and other areas for work and recreation.

Top public schools serving Brandon include Brandon Valley Middle School, Brandon Elementary School, Robert Bennis Elementary School, Brandon Valley Intermediate School, and Brandon Valley High School.

In search of one of the best small towns to raise kids in the Midwest? Brandon is a wonderful choice, offering a host of perks that include friendly folks, super low crime, and affordable housing.


Population: 24,000
Median Home Value: $206,600
Region: Eastern South Dakota (East River)

Next, we visit Brookings. The city of less than 25,000 is found in Brookings County. It is about an hour north of Sioux Falls. Fifty-one percent of residents rent their homes, and the public schools are highly ranked.

As the fourth largest city in the state, Brookings is considered the 2nd best place to live in the state. It is the home of South Dakota State University, which is the largest university in SD. The university’s presence adds to the city being a vibrant and inclusive community, perfect for everyone from families to students to professionals.

Top public schools serving the Brookings area include Hillcrest Elementary School, Brookings High School, Medary Elementary School, Camelot Intermediate School, and Sioux Valley Elementary School. Brookings is also home to South Dakota State University.

Whether you’re a college student or young professional, Brookings offers just the right mix of amenities, stellar education, and a plethora of opportunities to sure to put a smile on your face.

Dakota Dunes

Population: 2,900
Median Home Value: $266,400
Region: Eastern South Dakota (East River)

Next, we have arguably the #1 place to live in SD: Dakota Dunes. It is in Union County in the southeastern tip of the state. Some 59% of residents are homeowners, and the public schools are highly rated.

Nestled between the Missouri River and Big Sioux River, Dakota Dunes is an unincorporated community. The attractive housing market, low crime, and great amenities draw people to this area. The town also provides plenty of commuting options, including being only five miles west of Sioux City, Iowa.

Top public schools serving the Dakota Dunes area include Dakota Valley High School, Dakota Valley Elementary School, Dakota Valley Upper Elementary School, and Dakota Valley Junior High School.

Welcoming folks, family-friendly atmosphere, little crime, a strong sense of community, reasonable cost of living… what’s not to love about Dakota Dunes?

Sioux Falls

Population: 180,000
Median Home Value: $194,600
Region: Eastern South Dakota (East River)

Last but not least, we visit Sioux Falls. With a population of about 180,000, it is the largest city in South Dakota. 61% of residents own their homes, and the public schools are ranked high.

Dubbed the “Gateway to the Plains,” Sioux Falls serves as the county seat of Minnehaha County, close to the Minnesota state line and Iowa state line. Fun and affordable, the city offers low cost of living (more than 20% lower than the US average), stellar education, fantastic job opportunities, year-round outdoor activities (including the Big Sioux River Greenway and Great Bear Recreation Park), highly-acclaimed restaurants (including Parker’s Bistro), shopping, historic Downtown Sioux Falls, and much more.

Top public schools in Sioux Falls include Fred Assam Elementary School, Brandon Valley Middle School, Challenge Center School, All City Elementary School, and Edison Middle School. For those interested in private schools, check out O’Gorman High School, Sioux Falls Christian Schools, Holy Spirit School, St. Mary School, and O’Gorman Junior High School. Top colleges in the area are Augustana University, Southeast Technical Institute, Stewart School, University of Sioux Falls, and Avera McKennan Hospital School of Radiologic Technology.

Looking for the top bustling city in South Dakota? Look no further than Sioux Falls.

How to Move to South Dakota

Moving to or from South Dakota can be challenging. That’s why it pays to plan. Follow this interstate moving checklist for a smooth relocation to the Mount Rushmore State.

Start in Advance:

  • Moving soon? Congrats! Make sure to give yourself at least 2–3 months to plan everything.
  • First, create a list of logistics and timeline. Grab a folder for moving receipts and documents.
  • Got helpers? Great! Schedule a meeting to go over your moving plans and delegate duties.
  • Next, make a weekly to-do list. Put on the fridge or another visible place. Update accordingly.
  • If it’s doable, plan a trip to your new area. Explore everything it has to offer and have fun!

Notify All Parties:

  • Rent your place? Give the landlord a heads up to avoid issues with reference or deposit.
  • Own your place? Lean on the services of a real estate pro for successfully sale or rental.
  • Give employees or service providers at least one month’s notice before moving.
  • Remember to notify family, friends, neighbors, etc. Don’t be that person who forgets.

Hire SD Moving Company:

  • To start, compare at least 3–5 dependable and experienced SD moving companies.
  • Be sure that each company is fully licensed and insured for your South Dakota move.
  • To help secure the best rates and availability, book your moving services ASAP.
  • For a cheaper move, consider relocating during the non-peak season (fall/winter).
  • Great Guys finds you affordable, top-rated SD interstate movers. Contact us today!

Book a Storage Service:

  • Renovating, relocating, or traveling the world? You probably require a storage option.
  • Our South Dakota moving partners provide short-term and long-term storage services.
  • Need some help finding the best fit? We can help you secure a great storage solution.

Declutter Your Household:

  • Decluttering (aka purging or downsizing) can free up a ton of space and money.
  • To start, tour every space in your home. Take inventory of your household goods.
  • As you take a tour of each room, ask yourself what you want to keep or toss.
  • Are you done with the inventory process? Begin sorting through stuff, one room at a time.
  • Decide which items to pack or discard — label, bag, or place in piles accordingly.
  • Done sorting? Sell online, donate, or recycle items you no longer need or want.
  • Reminder: properly dispose of hazardous materials like aerosol cans, gas, oil, etc.

Begin Packing Process:

  • Packing yourself? If so, set aside a few weeks to organize and properly pack.
  • To begin, grab some quality moving supplies: boxes, tape, packing peanuts, etc.
  • Packing tips: Place heavier items at the bottom of the box. Pair items of similar size, too.
  • Another tip: Place really heavy items in smaller boxes for less stressful handling.
  • Once you’ve packed a box, fill spaces with peanuts or another packing material.
  • Okay, have you finished filling a moving box? Securely tape and clearly label it.
  • Need a few helpers with expert packing skills? Our pro packers are here to help.

Arrange for Travel:

  • Driving? Professional inspection and service can save you a lot of headaches.
  • Flying? Purchase airfare as soon as possible to lock in the best rates and times.
  • If it fits the schedule, plan to arrive at your new home before the movers do.
  • Reminder: apply for a South Dakota driver’s license if you plan on driving here.

Prepare Kids, Pets, and Yourself:

  • Moving, particularly for the first time, can be pretty disruptive for kids.
  • Use playtime or a story to explain the change and upcoming move clearly.
  • Be fully present during the conversation. Be kind, patient, and positive.
  • Try to maintain a child’s normal routines during the moving process.
  • Schedule and keep appointments with dentists, physicians, pediatricians, etc.
  • Transfer important records: school transcripts, medical records, and so on.
  • Also, research new job leads, schools, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and tutors.
  • Have a pet? Take furry friends to the vet. Don’t forget to check SD pet laws.
  • Protect your little ones on moving day. Book babysitting and/or pet care.

Handle Utilities and Services:

  • If possible, have current services and utilities turned off the day after you move out.
  • Have new services like internet turned on by the time you get to your new home.
  • Remember to change your mailing address at a local post office or online at USPS.com.
  • Oh, and don’t forget to update info for online services, box subscriptions, and so on.

Hire Cleaning Services:

  • Rent? Having your place deep cleaned can safeguard your reference and deposits.
  • Own? Hire a real estate professional to boost sales price or find the perfect tenants.
  • Deep cleaning only goes so far. Consider other services: paint, repairs, refinishing, etc.
  • If possible, schedule for the cleaning crew to arrive right after movers have cleared out.

Commemorate Your Move:

  • Even though it may be a hectic time, make sure to celebrate with those closest to you.
  • Emotions can run high, so keep that in mind. Be kind, considerate, and have some fun!
  • Need ideas? Throw a party, plan a group outing, schedule one-on-one luncheons, etc.
  • Whatever you do, you can plan out your activities over a few weeks or on a single day.

Moving Week Has Arrived:

  • Moving week’s here! Be sure to contact movers. Go over arrival time and other details.
  • Create a ‘first-night’ box. Fill with meds, toiletries, bedding, snacks, hand tools, toys, etc.
  • While you’re at it, this is a great time to back up important data on all of your devices.
  • Have a pantry or fridge filled with food? Donate or give to friends, family, or neighbors.
  • Are your appliances empty? Now, take the time to fully clean and sanitize for a mold-free transit.
  • Try to stay home, relax, eat well, hydrate, and get enough sleep the night before moving.
  • Moving day has arrived! If doable, meet up with movers for crystal clear communication.
  • Once the moving crew has finished up, take one last walkthrough of your old place.
  • Last but not least, try to enjoy yourself! Make some fond memories during your move.

Quality Moving Services from South Dakota Movers

Need cheap, reliable moving services? Great Guys Moving finds you the best in SD.

Long Distance Moves

With the right moving services, you can enjoy your relocation. The long-distance moving companies we work with come prepared with the right equipment, experience, and attitude.

Intrastate & Local Moves

Moving to Sioux Falls? Headed to Rapid City? No problem! Our local moving partners know the state like the back of their hands. Sit back and relax while our local movers cover all of your relocation needs.

International Moves

Moving to another country? This transition is an exciting time, but it’s also filled with a lot of complicated planning and logistics. Our overseas relocation service is here help you navigate every step with confidence.

Small Load Moves

Big households aren’t the only ones that deserve convenient moving services. Fortunately, we make it super easy and cheap to book small-load moving service for your 1BR apartment, dorm, or studio.

Furniture Shipments

Do you want to risk injury or damage? Instead of DIY, leave bulky or fragile sofas, desks, and cabinets to the pros. Our furniture movers make easy work of handling and shipping your furniture.

Piano Transport

Whether you have a vintage organ or concert piano, you need someone you can trust with your beloved instrument. The piano moving specialists in our network ensure a secure, harm-free delivery every time.

Art Shipping & Transport

Need to relocate fine art, antiques, or collectibles? Don’t leave it in amateurish hands. We work with specialized art handlers that take every precaution when transporting any prized collection.


Renovating, moving, or traveling? Whatever the circumstances, you probably need storage. Our moving partners also offer clean, secure short-term and long-term storage solutions. Contact us today!

Last Minute & Short Notice Moves

Whether you’re facing eviction or just landed a new job, moving at the last minute can take its toll. That’s why we make it super quick and easy to hire a short-notice moving service in your local area.

Residential Moves

Moving your whole household can be daunting, what with all the logistics and life getting in the way. Save yourself the trouble and book one of our dependable residential movers. You’ll be happy you did.

Packing Services

Don’t have the time, patience, or capability to pack everything? You’ve got options. Whether you need partial packing or a full-packing service, our group of pro packers is ready to lend their helping hands.

Commercial and Office Moves

Relocating your office or expanding your business? Congratulations! Now, the fun part. No businessperson wants delays. Hire our highly qualified commercial movers for a smooth transition.

* * *

Ready to move to South Dakota? Click below for your free SD moving quotes!

Get price estimates for your move right now.

Devin Barroga

Ever been bitten by the wanderlust bug? It's a powerful force, one which has captivated Devin for his entire life.... Read More

Related South Dakota Moving Guides