9 Best Lakes in South Dakota to Live on in 2024

9 Best Lakes in South Dakota to Live on in 2024

South Dakota has unique landscapes from the Badlands and Wind Cave to Sioux Falls, running rivers, and blue lakes. If you’re looking for a home in South Dakota with easy access to lakeside opportunities, there are plenty of places to explore.

At Redfin, we’ve put together a list of the best lakes in South Dakota to live on this year. South Dakota has a range of options from quaint, tight-knit communities to bustling lake towns with all the amenities. Let’s jump in and see what seven lakes made the list.

shores of Big Stone Lake in South Dakota

1. Big Stone Lake (Big Stone City)

Nearest city: Big Stone City, SD
Median home sale price: $125,000
Population: 450
Homes for sale in Big Stone City, SD
Apartments for rent in Big Stone City, SD

Taking the first spot on our list of lakes in South Dakota to live on is Big Stone Lake. Located on the South Dakota-Minnesota border, Big Stone Lake offers a serene lifestyle with its breathtaking views and peaceful environment. This lake is great for both anglers and nature lovers, with a variety of fish species like walleye, pike, and bass. Surrounded by lush parks and scenic trails, residents can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities. The nearest city is Big Stone City, home to just about 450 people, making it a charming small town to call home.

2. Lake Francis Case (Chamberlain)

Nearest city: Chamberlain, SD
Median home sale price: $263,000
Population: 2,400
Homes for sale in Chamberlain, SD
Apartments for rent in Chamberlain, SD

Lake Francis Case is a gem in the city of Chamberlain, known for its expansive waters and recreational opportunities. This lake is a paradise for boating and fishing enthusiasts, with its abundant fish populations and clear waters. The surrounding area is rich in history and culture, offering museums and historical sites for exploration, like the Dignity of Earth and Sky landmark and the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. Chamberlain provides a cozy small-town feel while still having the amenities for lakeside living. The stunning views of the Missouri River and the proximity to Lake Francis Case make Chamberlain an awesome choice.

3-4. Lake Herman and Lake Madison (Madison)

Nearest city: Madison, SD
Median home sale price: $304,000
Population: 7,500
Homes for sale in Madison, SD
Apartments for rent in Madison, SD

Lake Herman and Lake Madison are surrounded by natural beauty and recreational facilities. These lakes offer a perfect setting for a variety of water sports, hiking, and leisurely picnics in the numerous parks dotting their shores. Lake Herman is home to the Lake Herman State Park, where you can enjoy the lakefront views, camp, or have a picnic. Lake Madison has plenty of waterfront restaurants, clear waters for swimming, kayaking, and canoeing, and bird-watching some of the local species. Situated between the two lakes is Madison, a charming community with its downtown area and college campuses.

lake kampeska with city underneath

5-6. Lake Kampeska and Pelican Lake (Watertown)

Nearest city: Watertown, SD
Median home sale price: $262,500
Population: 22,000
Homes for sale in Watertown, SD
Apartments for rent in Watertown, SD

Watertown’s Lake Kampeska and Pelican Lake are havens for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for a fun day out on the water. These lakes are ideal for swimming, fishing, and boating, with several public access points and amenities. At Lake Kampeska, you can enjoy a day golfing at one of the lakefront courses, camp, or explore the Sandy Shore State Recreation Area. Pelican Lake is a peaceful spot with plenty of parks like Pelican Lake State Recreation Area and Thompson’s Point. Watertown itself is a bustling city with a rich cultural scene, including art galleries, theaters, and a zoo. The lakes’ presence offers picturesque landscapes and countless recreational activities right at your doorstep

7. Lake Oahe (Mobridge)

Nearest city: Mobridge, SD
Median home sale price: $66,250
Population: 3,400
Homes for sale in Mobridge, SD
Apartments for rent in Mobridge, SD

Lake Oahe, stretching beyond the horizon near Mobridge, is a vast reservoir known for its excellent fishing and boating opportunities. The lake’s expansive waters are home to a diverse range of fish species, like Chinook salmon, walleye, and northern pike, making it a popular destination for anglers. There are plenty of small towns around the lake, but you can find Mobridge in the lake’s central area. The city’s rich history and cultural heritage, like The Klein Museum, make it a unique place to live. Lake Oahe’s natural beauty and the area’s serene lifestyle are perfect for those looking for lakes to live on in South Dakota.

lewis and clark lake at sunset with birds

8. Lake Sharpe (Pierre)

Nearest city: Pierre, SD
Median home sale price: $287,000
Population: 14,000
Homes for sale in Pierre, SD
Apartments for rent in Pierre, SD

Located near South Dakota’s capital city, Pierre, Lake Sharpe is a reservoir that offers a plethora of water-based activities and scenic beauty. Its shores are a favorite among locals for fishing, swimming, camping, and boating. Pierre has a variety of governmental and historical sites, alongside parks and recreational areas that create the community. For example, you can explore the South Dakota Discovery Center, check out the charming downtown, or visit one of the numerous historic landmarks.

9. Lewis and Clark Lake (Yankton)

Nearest city: Yankton, SD
Median home sale price: $270,000
Average 1-bedroom rent: $719
Population: 15,000
Homes for sale in Yankton, SD
Apartments for rent in Yankton, SD

Lewis and Clark Lake, adjacent to Yankton, is a sprawling body of water that draws people with its stunning vistas and recreational opportunities. The lake is perfect for sailing, kayaking, and fishing, with ample public access points and marinas, since it spans both South Dakota and Nebraska. Yankton, known as the “Mother City of the Dakotas,” combines historical charm with modern living. The downtown area is home to local breweries, restaurants, and cafes, as well as Riverside Park where you can find the Dakota Territorial Capitol Replica Building.

Note, this list is not comprehensive of all the lakes in the South Dakota. Median home sale price data from the Redfin Data Center during April 2024. Average rental data from Rent.com April 2024. Population data sourced from the United States Census Bureau.

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