Retire in South Dakota’s Black Hills

Quality of Life, Cost of Living, and Other Resources for Life’s Next Adventure

As you consider different options for retirement, you're weighing all of the key factors. Affordability. Lifestyle. Accessibility. Essential resources. Use this guide to help in your search — and see why so many people choose to retire in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

Quality of life

Whether you’re seeking incredible natural beauty, small-town living, or the amenities of a big city, you’ll find it in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The area is recognized for its outdoor recreation, national monuments, entertainment venues, and cultural attractions.

Plenty of factors play into quality of life, from affordability and healthcare to resources and accessibility. We address each below.

Beyond the statistics, you also want to understand the daily experience. What will life be like when you retire in South Dakota? The answer depends on how you choose to live, but options in the Black Hills are nearly limitless.

On any given day, you might explore the Badlands; dine in an Old West Saloon; play a round of golf; go hiking, biking, or snowmobiling; or ride a motorcycle through some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes. Alternatively, you might seek the quiet company of your friends and family — all in a place that lets you live life your way.

Population demographics and density

South Dakota is a state where you can find your community without all of the crowding. As of 2020, nearly 18% of the state’s population was age 65 and older, indicating the draw that South Dakota holds for people at retirement age.

The state also ranks #5 among the least dense states in the country. You can have as much space as you want or, if you prefer, you can settle in a more urban area. (If you’re looking for something in between, see why we think Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon is the best place to live in the Black Hills.)

Affordable property and low taxes

South Dakota ranks first in the country for affordability. That’s based on factors such as average annual wage, monthly rent, and the cost of groceries and utilities.

Another important consideration is property costs. As of October 2023, the average home value was $297,041. That’s $52,000 lower than the average for the United States. It’s much easier to afford a home here than you might think.

The tax environment makes it even more attractive to retire in South Dakota:

  1. There is no state income tax, helping you save more of your retirement income.
  2. The sales tax rate as of this writing is a low 4.2%. (Cities may collect an additional 1-2%.)
  3. There is no estate tax. This allows some retirees to free up savings for other purposes.

Economic security and healthcare

South Dakota has a strong and reliable economy. It ranks second in employment and first in long-term economic stability. Combined, these factors make the state a safer investment for your future

In any place you live, a good quality of life includes access to outstanding healthcare. A 2023 report puts South Dakota at #9 in the country. The report’s methodology weighed cost, access, and outcomes.

You’ll find medical providers and facilities in towns throughout the Black Hills. For example, Rapid City has a broad range of doctor offices, walk-in clinics, and urgent care facilities. U.S. News tracks 110 individual facilities for senior care in the state.

Resources and access

Even within its wide expanses, you’ll live close to the essentials when you retire in South Dakota’s Black Hills. The Sharecare Community Well-Being Index rates the state highly for important resources, including access to grocery stores, libraries, and religious institutions.

More important than having provisions close by is staying connected to the people who matter most. Your visitors will be able to ride along an extensive map of roadways and travel via nearby airports. A quick overview:

  • Interstate 90 runs across the country from Seattle to Boston and provides an entrance less than ten minutes from Apple Springs.
  • Rapid City Regional Airport is 45 minutes away.
  • Black Hills Airport, only a twenty-minute drive, accommodates private jets.
  • Cities with other major airports include Sioux Falls, Pierre, Huron, Watertown, and Aberdeen.


South Dakota has true seasons. In the Black Hills, you can expect flawless skies and temperatures between 60 and 80 from May to September. During these months, the area is thriving with outdoor activity and events that draw visitors from across the country.

In the winter months, temperatures depend on where you live. Elevation, geological features, and proximity to water can all significantly affect your experience. For example, Rapid City is warmer all year on average than either Aberdeen or Sioux Falls. Here in Apple Springs, residents enjoy more sunshine and a lower elevation than surrounding properties.

During other months of the year, temperatures can get quite cold throughout the entire state. The chilly weather creates the opportunity for winter activities in the Black Hills, such as snow skiing, snowshoeing, and the best snowmobiling in the entire country.

Get help exploring options for your next adventure. Talk with Apple Springs about retiring in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon
20673 Wildberger Rd
Sturgis, SD 57785