Sylvan Lake in Black Hills, South Dakota. Courtesy of reddit user antiapathetic
9. Rapid City, SD
Located between Black Hills National Forest and Badlands National Park, Rapid City, S.D., offers a rugged retirement destination to those looking for new adventures, affordable housing and a sense of seclusion. A high concentration of residents age 60 and older, clean air, pristine parks and low health-care costs make Rapid City one of the Best Cities to Retire In. The city experiences all four seasons, with somewhat long summers and cold but mostly dry winters, although cross-country skiing courses are just a short drive away.
A low mountain ridge divides Rapid City into two parts and provides areas to hike and bike. The city’s location near some of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations, like Mount Rushmore, the town of Deadwood and the Badlands, makes it an ideal spot for retirees who enjoy getting out and exploring or hosting out-of-town family and friends who want to experience the West. Sports fans have several teams to cheer on in Rapid City, from a highly successful American Legion baseball team to youth hockey teams and the Rapid City Rush, a minor league hockey team.
Places like the Art Alley Gallery, the Dahl Arts Center, The Performing Arts Center of Rapid City and the Black Hills Playhouse offer plenty of entertainment options. Among the many artistic touches found in Rapid City is a collection of life-sized bronze statues representing each of the American presidents, which are found on street corners in the downtown area. A variety of independent restaurants and nationally recognized chains present Rapid City residents with a wide array of dining options. Nearby wineries and local pubs offer delicious drinks and warm, inviting atmospheres.
Ellsworth Air Force Base, located just east of the city, is a major employer and helps shape the economy. Health-care facilities like Rapid City Regional Hospital and the Black Hills Surgery Center service the needs of not only Rapid City residents but also those in the surrounding region. Housing options in Rapid City range from condos and homes in suburban settings to houses surrounded by pastures or tucked in the mountains. The city also includes a pair of retirement communities with excellent amenities.