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Hot Springs, South Dakota
On the Southern Edge of the Black Hills National Forest, the Pretty, Unassuming Hamlet of Hot Springs is Popular with Tourists and Boasts Healing Mineral Waters
In the southwestern corner of South Dakota, on the southern edge of the Black Hills National Forest, the pretty little hamlet of Hot Springs makes its home. It is an unassuming resort town, known for its healing mineral hot springs, and it is the gateway to the Black Hills and Wind Cave National Park.
As a result, Hot Springs is a popular place with tourists. Anthropologists also come to visit wooly mammoth remains at the nearby Mammoth Site. The downtown has shops, restaurants, bookstores, galleries and government offices, many housed in century-old sandstone structures. In fact, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Hot Springs a Distinctive Destination for its numerous historic buildings. Residents enjoy several annual art events and music festivals, and wild mustangs roam freely at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. There is one golf course, and nearby Angostura Reservoir is the go-to place for hiking, fishing and boating.
Buffet-style diners and national chain restaurants are the norm. In addition to specialty shops, there are a couple of supermarkets, and Grandma's Farm and Zoo has fresh produce and eggs for sale. Housing includes historic bungalows and simple frame ranch ramblers in tidy neighborhoods, as well as cabins and custom homes on acreage outside of town limits.
Population: 4,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 57%
Cost of Living: 13% below the national average
Median Home Price: $350,000
Climate: Hot Springs has warm, dry summers with temperatures averaging in the mid- to upper-80s. Winters are cold and wet with temperatures in the low teens and 20s. The area receives approximately 35 inches of snow per season.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by the Joint Commission? Fall River Health Services is small and non-accredited, but it receives generally good patient reviews. Hot Springs also has a VA hospital.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very conservative
Is South Dakota Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: Hot Springs began losing some population in 2009, but it started to rebound in 2021. The nearest city, Rapid City (population 78,000), is 60 miles away on a two lane road. Thanks to the hot springs, Hot Springs is the warmest place in South Dakota
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the non-accredited hospital should be considered.
Fort Pierre, a way station on the Lewis and Clark expedition, became the territory's first white settlement in 1804. Tensions between the new Americans and the native Sioux broiled throughout the 1800s and became intense after gold was found in the Black Hills. South Dakota still has one of the highest populations of Native Americans with nine official tribes living within its borders. It entered the Union on November 2, 1889.
South Dakota sweeps through three major geographic regions. The eastern portion of the Mount Rushmore State has a lower elevation and higher precipitation rate than the western portion or the Black Hills. Other areas of geologic interest include the Dissected Till Plains and the Badlands.
The state enjoys four distinct seasons. Winters can be cold and dry while summers may be hot and semi-humid. Severe summer storms are a possibility. Eastern South Dakota is considered part of Tornado Alley.
Tourism is the state's biggest economic driver. The Black Hills is home to two historical monuments - Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Deadwood, the former 1875 gold rush town, draws visitors with its limited gambling and its proximity to the Black Hills National Forest. Clark is South Dakota's potato capitol and home to a long-running mashed potato wrestling contest. Sioux Falls and Augustana University offer a rich menu of theater, music, and art galleries.
Beef and honey are leading agricultural products. Pockets of gold still exist, but granite is now more important to the state's coffers.
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