South Dakota (SD)

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE FLAG

The area that would become South Dakota was added to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The first permanent American settlement was established at Fort Pierre by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804.

White settlement of the area in the 19th century led to clashes with the Sioux, as some of the land had been granted to the tribe by an earlier treaty. Nevertheless, on November 2, 1889, the territory was incorporated into the union along with North Dakota.

Due to a controversy over which state would be admitted to the union first, President Benjamin Harrison shuffled the papers and signed one at random, not including the choice, although North Dakota is traditionally listed first.

Today, much of South Dakota’s economy is fueled by tourism – visitors flock to the state to see Mt. Rushmore, featuring 200-foot sculptures of the faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.

Famous South Dakotans include newscaster Tom Brokaw, Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and model-actress Cheryl Ladd.

Geography

South Dakota lies in the Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by North Dakota to the north, Minnesota to the east, Iowa to the southeast, Nebraska to the south, and Wyoming and Montana to the west. The state is composed of two major land regions—the Missouri Plateau in the east and the Great Plains in the west. It is home to a variety of diverse landscapes ranging from rolling hills and prairies to badlands and rocky mountains.

The Missouri Plateau covers most of eastern South Dakota, extending from its border with North Dakota southward into Nebraska. This region is characterized by rolling hills and fertile soil—perfect for agriculture. The Missouri River serves as a natural boundary between this area and other parts of South Dakota. It also provides recreational opportunities like fishing, boating, and swimming.

The Great Plains make up most of western South Dakota. This region is made up mostly of flat grasslands with occasional patches of rolling hills or rocky outcroppings. It is much drier than other parts of South Dakota due to its location in an area known as “the Great American Desert” which includes parts of five states including South Dakota. Despite its dryness, it still contains several rivers including the Cheyenne River and White River that provide water for irrigation purposes as well as recreational activities like canoeing or kayaking on their white-water rapids.

Other areas worth mentioning are Badlands National Park located in southwestern South Dakota near Rapid City; Wind Cave National Park located near Hot Springs; Bear Butte State Park located near Sturgis; Black Hills National Forest located across western South Dakota; Custer State Park located near Custer; Lake Oahe along the Missouri River; Lewis & Clark Lake along the border with Nebraska; Devil’s Tower National Monument located in northeastern Wyoming but visible from much of western South Dakota; Mount Rushmore National Memorial carved into a granite face near Keystone; Jewel Cave National Monument located near Custer; Harney Peak—the highest point in South Dakota at 7242 feet above sea level—located within Black Hills National Forest near Keystone; Black Elk Peak—formerly known as Harney Peak—located within Black Hills National Forest near Custer; plus many more parks, monuments, lakes, rivers, creeks, caves and other attractions that make up this unique state’s geography!.

Cities in South Dakota

Below are the top 15 cities by population in South Dakota. For all cities and towns in the state, please see South Dakota cities list.

Rapid City, South Dakota is the second largest city in the state and it is known as the “Gateway to the Black Hills”. This city offers a variety of attractions for visitors, including Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park. Rapid City is also home to many popular restaurants and shops, as well as a vibrant nightlife. The downtown area has a variety of museums and galleries, while the surrounding area provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, biking and camping. The city also hosts several festivals throughout the year that celebrate its unique culture.

Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota with a population of around 180 thousand people. It is known for its picturesque falls located in Falls Park on the Big Sioux River which draws thousands of visitors each year. Sioux Falls also boasts an impressive array of shopping opportunities from downtown boutiques to large shopping malls like The Empire Mall. Additionally, this city offers plenty of recreational activities such as golf courses and parks for visitors to enjoy. For those looking for an entertaining night out, Sioux Falls has a wide selection of bars and nightclubs that offer live music and dancing throughout the week.

Rank City Population
1 Sioux Falls 189,258
2 Rapid City 73,942
3 Aberdeen 28,500
4 Brookings 23,432
5 Watertown 22,577
6 Mitchell 15,677
7 Yankton 15,332
8 Pierre 14,126
9 Huron 14,060
10 Spearfish 12,031
11 Box Elder 11,527
12 Vermillion 11,506
13 Brandon 10,745
14 Rapid Valley 7,875
15 Sturgis 7,088

Counties in South Dakota

The State of South Dakota consists of 66 counties. They are:

  1. Aurora County, South Dakota
  2. Beadle County, South Dakota
  3. Bennett County, South Dakota
  4. Bon Homme County, South Dakota
  5. Brookings County, South Dakota
  6. Brown County, South Dakota
  7. Brule County, South Dakota
  8. Buffalo County, South Dakota
  9. Butte County, South Dakota
  10. Campbell County, South Dakota
  11. Charles Mix County, South Dakota
  12. Clark County, South Dakota
  13. Clay County, South Dakota
  14. Codington County, South Dakota
  15. Corson County, South Dakota
  16. Custer County, South Dakota
  17. Davison County, South Dakota
  18. Day County, South Dakota
  19. Deuel County, South Dakota
  20. Dewey County, South Dakota
  21. Douglas County, South Dakota
  22. Edmunds County, South Dakota
  23. Fall River County, South Dakota
  24. Faulk County, South Dakota
  25. Grant County, South Dakota
  26. Gregory County, South Dakota
  27. Haakon County, South Dakota
  28. Hamlin County, South Dakota
  29. Hand County, South Dakota
  30. Hanson County, South Dakota
  31. Harding County, South Dakota
  32. Hughes County, South Dakota
  33. Hutchinson County, South Dakota
  34. Hyde County, South Dakota
  35. Jackson County, South Dakota
  36. Jerauld County, South Dakota
  37. Jones County, South Dakota
  38. Kingsbury County, South Dakota
  39. Lake County, South Dakota
  40. Lawrence County, South Dakota
  41. Lincoln County, South Dakota
  42. Lyman County, South Dakota
  43. Marshall County, South Dakota
  44. McCook County, South Dakota
  45. McPherson County, South Dakota
  46. Meade County, South Dakota
  47. Mellette County, South Dakota
  48. Miner County, South Dakota
  49. Minnehaha County, South Dakota
  50. Moody County, South Dakota
  51. Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota
  52. Pennington County, South Dakota
  53. Perkins County, South Dakota
  54. Potter County, South Dakota
  55. Roberts County, South Dakota
  56. Sanborn County, South Dakota
  57. Spink County, South Dakota
  58. Stanley County, South Dakota
  59. Sully County, South Dakota
  60. Todd County, South Dakota
  61. Tripp County, South Dakota
  62. Turner County, South Dakota
  63. Union County, South Dakota
  64. Walworth County, South Dakota
  65. Yankton County, South Dakota
  66. Ziebach County, South Dakota

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE FLAG