Moving to South Dakota

It's time to embark on a thrilling adventure to the land of wide-open spaces, breathtaking landscapes, and Mount Rushmore, as you consider making the charming state of South Dakota your new home. Our comprehensive South Dakota relocation guide will provide you with all the essential information to make your move enjoyable and hassle-free. From the rich history to the warm-hearted communities and the thriving urban centers, South Dakota's allure is waiting to captivate your heart. So let's dive into exploring the wonders that this hidden gem of the Great Plains has in store for you!

Moving to South Dakota landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to South Dakota

1. Embrace the Outdoors

South Dakota may not be the first state to spring to mind when you think of an outdoor paradise, but boy does it pack a punch in the nature department! With a range of state and national parks like Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, and Badlands National Park, South Dakota offers endless opportunities for hiking, cycling, and camping. More of a water baby? The Missouri River provides plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating, and water sports. The vast prairies and rolling hills are perfect for nature lovers and explorers, giving you endless reasons to get outside.

2. Sioux Falls: The Little City That Could

Sioux Falls, South Dakota's largest city, is rapidly growing and evolving, becoming a cultural hotspot in the heart of the Midwest. With a burgeoning art scene, a diverse array of dining options, and a historic downtown area, Sioux Falls holds much more than people give it credit for. It's also home to the vibrant yearly SculptureWalk, creating an open-air gallery for all to enjoy. So forget the notion of a sleepy small city - Sioux Falls is alive and kicking, and ready to be explored.

3. Tourism season is real

You might think that South Dakota is low key when it comes to tourists, but don't be fooled! The state sees an influx of visitors come summertime, drawn in by the allure of sights like Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and the Corn Palace. Be prepared to embrace the crowds and the role of host to out-of-staters, who will be downright envious of your gorgeous new home. Sharing your favorite hiking trails and eateries with a visiting friend can be a great way to rediscover your love for the state!

4. Don't Forget About Winter

If you're considering a move to South Dakota, you'll want to be prepared for some real winter weather. Winters in this northern state can be long and cold, with snowy conditions sometimes lasting from October into April. But don't let that scare you off! Embrace the seasonal shift and indulge in some winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling to make the most of it. Plus, you'll find it a good excuse to hunker down with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy the cozy confines of your South Dakota home.

5. The Hi from SD Challenge

Here's one of those lesser-known facts: the state of South Dakota challenges its residents (and visitors) to say "Hi" to people from all 50 states and as many countries as possible. The "Hi from SD Challenge" isn't a formal contest, nor are there any real prizes, but it's a unique and endearing way to make connections in South Dakota. Residents take on the challenge informally, and it's not uncommon to see cars with a map of the US on the side, marking off the states they've "collected" a greeting from. Imagine the interesting conversations and friendships that can arise just from saying "Hi"!

6. A Tradition of Pheasant Hunting

A quintessentially South Dakota experience, pheasant hunting is a time-honored tradition in the state. Every year, hunters flock to South Dakota from all over the US and beyond to partake in this outdoor activity, which dates back to the early 1900s. Even if you're not traditionally a hunter, you may find yourself drawn into the local culture and camaraderie surrounding the pheasant hunting season. Plus, it's an excellent way to make new friends and immerse yourself in South Dakotan traditions.

In conclusion, South Dakota is a hidden jewel in the United States, offering a blend of natural beauty, unique traditions, and a growing cultural scene. From the outdoor adventures to the friendly atmosphere, there's so much to love and explore about your new home. So say "Hi" to South Dakota, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!

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Pros and Cons of Living in South Dakota

Pros of Living in South Dakota

Affordable cost of living

South Dakota is known for its low cost of living, making it an affordable place to live for singles, families, and retirees. Housing, utilities, groceries, and transportation costs are all lower than the national average. This allows residents to save money and enjoy a higher quality of life.

Low unemployment rate

The state boasts a low unemployment rate, with a strong job market in various industries, including healthcare, finance, agriculture, and manufacturing. This offers better job prospects and opportunities for career growth for those who choose to live in South Dakota.

Natural beauty and outdoor activities

South Dakota is home to many national and state parks, like the Black Hills, Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park that offer stunning natural beauty. Residents have access to a wide variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping, making it a perfect location for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Friendly communities and low crime rates

South Dakota prides itself on its tight-knit, friendly communities where neighbors help one another. The low crime rate in the state adds to the feeling of safety in its cities and small towns, making it an ideal environment for raising a family or enjoying a quiet life.

No state income tax

Residents of South Dakota enjoy the benefit of no state income tax, which means more money in their pockets. This financial advantage is particularly attractive to retirees, entrepreneurs, and professionals, as they can better plan and save for the future.

Cons of Living in South Dakota

Cold winters and extreme weather

South Dakota experiences cold, snowy winters, with temperatures sometimes dropping below zero degrees Fahrenheit. These harsh weather conditions can be a challenge for those who are not used to such climates, as driving, heating costs, and outdoor activities may be significantly affected.

Less diverse culture and entertainment options

While the small-town atmosphere in South Dakota can be charming, it may also mean that there are fewer cultural events, restaurants, and entertainment options compared to larger cities. For someone who enjoys a more diverse and urban lifestyle, this may be a drawback.

Remote location and limited public transportation

Many areas in South Dakota are located in remote locations, and the state's public transportation is limited or non-existent, especially outside of larger cities. This can make traveling and commuting more challenging for residents without access to personal vehicles.

Lower wages in some industries

Despite the low unemployment rate, some industries in South Dakota may still have lower wages compared to bigger cities and states. This can be a disadvantage for professionals in certain fields who may not see as much growth or earning potential in their careers as they might elsewhere.

Limited access to healthcare facilities

Some rural areas of South Dakota have limited access to healthcare facilities, making it difficult for residents to receive medical care. This could be a disadvantage for people with chronic health conditions or those who require regular medical services, as they may have to travel long distances for care.

Nighttime picture of South Dakota highlighting pros and cons of living in South Dakota

Is South Dakota a Good State to Live In?

South Dakota is a great place to live because of its affordable housing, low cost of living, and beautiful natural scenery. Additionally, residents can enjoy a strong sense of community, excellent outdoor recreational opportunities, and a growing job market.

What Is South Dakota Famous For?

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Carved into the granite of the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Memorial features the 60-foot-tall faces of four iconic U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. This impressive monument is a must-see for visitors and serves as a symbol for American freedom and democracy.

Badlands National Park

With its striking landscapes of colorful layered rocks and deep canyons, Badlands National Park is a geological wonder. The park is home to one of the world's richest fossil beds, making it a paradise for paleontology enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Each year in August, motorcycle enthusiasts from around the globe gather in the small town of Sturgis for the world-renowned Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This ten-day event features concerts, races, and scenic rides through the stunning South Dakota countryside.

Crazy Horse Memorial

Honoring the Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, the Crazy Horse Memorial is an awe-inspiring mountain carving depicting the legendary figure on horseback. Although still under construction, this monumental project is already an extraordinary sight and a testament to the rich Native American heritage of South Dakota.

Capital building of South Dakota in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

South Dakota has an average property tax rate of 1.20%, putting it near the middle in comparison to other states. The actual amount paid depends on the assessed value of the property and the local tax rate.

Sales Tax

South Dakota has a state sales tax rate of 4.5%, and local rates can add up to an additional 4.5%, making the combined sales tax as high as 9%. This places South Dakota in the mid-to-high range for sales tax rates in the US.

Income Tax

Residents of South Dakota enjoy the benefit of no state income tax, making it one of the few states in the country without this tax. This can lead to significant savings for individuals and families when compared to other states with income tax rates.

Housing Market

South Dakota's housing market offers attractive options for both buyers and renters when compared to other states. Median home values have shown considerable growth, averaging around $214,000 while still remaining significantly more affordable than the national median. Rental rates remain competitive, with a median of $995 for a 2-bedroom apartment. These factors, coupled with low property taxes, cost of living, and unemployment rates, make South Dakota's market an appealing choice for both renters and buyers in search of high-quality living spaces at an affordable price.

Housing market analysis of South Dakota

Cost of Living

South Dakota's cost of living is relatively low compared to other states, making it an attractive option for individuals and families looking for affordability. Housing, groceries, healthcare and utilities are all below the national average, allowing residents to stretch their budget further. Lower taxes and a stable job market also contribute to South Dakota's favorable living conditions. While it may not provide the urban amenities present in larger states, South Dakota offers a comfortable lifestyle for those seeking a cost-effective, low-stress environment.

Weather & Natural Disasters

South Dakota experiences a continental climate characterized by hot summers and cold winters, with significant temperature variations across the state. The eastern part of South Dakota typically sees more precipitation, resulting in higher humidity, while the western regions tend to be drier. Average temperatures during summer months range from high 70s to mid-90s Fahrenheit, while winter temperatures average from the low teens to mid-20s Fahrenheit. The state also endures severe weather events such as thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes, mostly from late spring to early fall.

South Dakota is vulnerable to several natural disasters including flooding, droughts, and wildfires. Flooding along rivers and streams is common during the snowmelt and spring rains, affecting low-lying areas and agriculture. Droughts, particularly in the western regions, can result in water shortages and negatively impact agriculture. Wildfires are another risk, posing threats to ecosystems, property, and human lives.

Economy & Job Market


Agriculture and farming


Manufacturing and Construction

Financial Services Industry

Tourism and Hospitality

Historically, South Dakota has been known for its agriculture and farming industry, which has remained a vital contributor to the state's economy. The state is a major producer of corn, soybeans, wheat, and more recently, sunflowers. In addition to agricultural and farm-related industries, South Dakota has expanded its economic base over the years. The healthcare industry has grown significantly, becoming one of the main employers in the state. Other major industries include manufacturing and construction, financial services, and the ever-important tourism and hospitality sector, which benefits from iconic attractions such as Mount Rushmore and the Badlands National Park.

For someone moving to South Dakota and planning to look for a job, you're in luck! South Dakota boasts a low unemployment rate compared to the national average, indicating a healthy job market. Jobs in the healthcare industry are particularly abundant, with consistent demand and good opportunities for career growth. Manufacturing and construction, as well as finance, are also strong sectors with ample job opportunities. If you're considering a move to the state, make sure to explore potential jobs in Sioux Falls—the state's largest city; or Rapid City, the second largest. The Black Hills region is another option, and offers a more tourism-focused job market, with a range of hospitality positions available. So keep your options wide open, and welcome to South Dakota—where the job market is as diverse as the landscape!


Traffic and Transportation

Oh, South Dakota! The land of the Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and endless prairies. Travel lovers, buckle up! Let's dive into the adventurous world of traffic and transportation in this amazing state. In big cities like Sioux Falls and Rapid City, the average commute time sits around a breezy 17-20 minutes. The drivers here have plenty of time to enjoy the beauty around them without getting stuck in hours of soul-crushing traffic.

But wait, there's more! Public transportation in these bustling cities is quite convenient with options like Sioux Area Metro or RapidRide for those who prefer to sit back and let someone else take the wheel. Need a lift to the next stop on your South Dakota adventure? No problem! Sioux Falls even offers a trolley service in summer, talk about fun!

Oh, and did we mention air travel? Of course, there's South Dakota's own Sioux Falls Regional Airport and Rapid City Regional Airport, connecting you to adventures nationwide! So, whether you're traveling by car, bus or plane – sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, South Dakota style!

What is the traffic like in South Dakota?

Things to Do

South Dakota is known for its picturesque landscapes, natural beauty, and historical sites. From Mount Rushmore to the bustling streets of Sioux Falls, there's no shortage of adventures waiting for you in this Midwest gem. Whether you're a lifelong resident or a recent transplant, here are seven must-visit South Dakota attractions that should be on everyone's bucket list.

1. Marvel at Mount Rushmore

No trip to South Dakota is complete without a visit to Mount Rushmore. This iconic national monument features the 60-foot high faces of four US presidents sculpted right into the mountainside. Take a tour, hike around the Presidential Trail, and soak in the majestic views of the Black Hills. Stay for the evening lighting ceremony, or even partake in a ranger-led program for a truly educational experience.

2. Explore the Depths of Jewel Cave

Hidden below the ponderosa pines and rolling prairies, Jewel Cave is the third-longest cave system in the world. Put on a hard hat and venture into the depths of the earth on a guided tour. You can choose from several options, including a scenic tour or the more adventurous wild caving tour. Either way, prepare to be wowed by the stunning calcite crystals and underground formations.

3. Stroll Through Downtown Sioux Falls

Get a taste of the urban side of South Dakota in downtown Sioux Falls. With over 30 locally-owned shops and eateries, there's always something new and exciting happening in the heart of the city. Take a leisurely stroll along the Big Sioux River, explore the hip Art Alley, or catch a show at the Washington Pavilion. If you're visiting in the summer, don't miss the weekly SculptureWalk, an outdoor display of unique sculptures from local and international artists.

4. Immerse Yourself in Native American Culture at the Akta Lakota Museum

Located on the campus of St. Joseph's Indian School in Chamberlain, the Akta Lakota Museum is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of the Northern Plains Indian tribes. The museum features captivating artwork, artifacts, and exhibits that narrate their stories and traditions. Make sure to visit the Circle of Tipis, an outdoor exhibit showcasing traditional structures and cultural demonstrations.

5. Get Lost in the World's Largest Petrified Wood Park

Step back in time at the striking Petrified Wood Park in Lemmon. This quirky roadside attraction may be lesser-known, but it's definitely worth a visit. With over 100 structures crafted from ancient petrified wood and local stones, the park is truly a geological wonder. Wander through the labyrinth of towers, tunnels, and sculptures, and let your imagination run wild.

6. Visit the Land of Stone and Light at Badlands National Park

Experience the rugged beauty of Badlands National Park as you traverse its unique terrain, consisting of eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires. Known for its striking geologic formations and fossil beds, the park offers hiking trails, scenic drives, and opportunities to spot bison, bighorn sheep, and black-footed ferrets. Sunrise and sunset are not to be missed, as the landscape takes on an otherworldly glow.

7. Reach for the Skies at Stratobowl

This little-known gem nestled in the Black Hills was once the launch site for high-altitude balloons in the 1930s. Today, the serene Stratobowl offers a level of tranquility that's hard to find elsewhere. Make the pleasant hike down to the bowl, set up a picnic, and watch as hot air balloons grace the skies during one of the annual balloon launch events.

These are just a few of the many unique adventures South Dakota has to offer. With a blend of natural beauty, history, and culture, there's something for everyone in this Midwest destination. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to explore the wonders of South Dakota.

Things to do in South Dakota?

Find Movers for Your South Dakota Relocation

Now that you're equipped with essential knowledge about relocating to South Dakota, it's time to take action and plan your move efficiently. Great Guys Moving can help streamline this process for you. Our trusted network of licensed and insured movers are dedicated to providing quality service and affordable pricing. To get started on your exciting journey to South Dakota, simply provide basic information about your move, and we'll connect you with the most reputable movers tailored to your needs. Request your free moving quote today and embark on a smooth transition to your new home.

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