7. Yankton, SD
What drew our attention to Yankton, SD, were three lows every city wants to have – a low crime rate, which is less than half the national average, low unemployment and low cost of living. What kept our attention was the large amount of things to do and the diverse economy.
The city's location on the Missouri River and near the Lewis & Clark Recreation Area makes it a prime destination for outdoor recreation such as fishing, hunting, hiking and sailing. The city maintains 15 parks ranging from small neighborhood playgrounds to the 78-acre Summit Activities Center, which includes trails, athletic fields, a swimming pool, basketball courts, two performing arts theaters and more. Riverside Park, which features a fishing pier, baseball stadium and amphitheater, is the site of the town's annual Riverboat Days and Summer Arts Festival, a three-day event that combines a parade, craft shows, concerts and fireworks show.
Shoppers can choose from more than 150 shops downtown and about 20 at the mall, and diners select from more than 50 local and chain restaurants. Free Wi-Fi locations can be found in many businesses and at Riverside Park and government buildings.
Manufacturing jobs make up about 16 percent of jobs in Yankton. While top employers include an aluminum extrusion company and a firm that makes electronic components, local leaders are working to lure more science-based firms to the area.
Nearest Big City: Sioux Falls – 56 miles
What Else is Here: Two hospitals, two art galleries, two movie theaters, two archery ranges, three golf courses, three disc golf courses, three skating rinks, four swimming pools, five nearby wineries, five health clubs,12 campgrounds, 14 tennis courts, 17 biking trails, 26 churches and Lake Yankton, which is 250 acres, and there are no gas boats allowed.