About Yankton

Yankton South Dakota

The Start of South Dakota’s Story

Yankton may be South Dakota’s most historic town, but the river that it created is timeless.

Life in Yankton has always revolved around the Missouri River. Native Americans followed the river’s flow to their destinations centuries ago. They named the land E-Hank-Ton-Wan, which means “people of the end village.”

Without the Missouri, Yankton might not exist. The river brought steamboats and their captains to Yankton. Steamboats brought not only color and expansion to the budding town; they also brought technology and skilled people.

Now, the river provides recreation to hundreds of thousands of people who walk its shores every year. Visit and see what the Missouri means to you.

Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about our great city – Yankton, South Dakota and the surrounding area.

Yankton Thrive – Tourism

The Yankton Convention and Visitors Bureau’s mission is to increase the economic impact and facilitate the continued development of the visitor industry in Yankton. Its staff is dedicated to promoting tourism in Yankton and helping all businesses benefit from the economic impact of visitor spending.


Jay Gravholt, Director


Jay is the Director of Tourism at Yankton Thrive. Jay has roots in Southeast South Dakota dating back to the late 1800’s and, although he went to college in Marshall, MN, and started his family in Minnesota, the Missouri River and Yankton always seemed to be calling. Jay and his family moved back to Yankton in 1998 and have been back ever since. 

Jay is tasked with promoting and marketing Yankton as the BEST tourism destination in the Midwest. Collaborating with members of the local tourism industry, he utilizes a multitude of channels to push Yankton’s tourism message above other destinations to increase the economic impact for the benefit of the entire area.

Prior to assuming his role at Yankton Thrive, Jay was the Media Relations Director for Avera Health working with both local and national media to raise the health system’s brand and profile up to the next level.

Jay and his wife, Rebecca, enjoy anything to do with the outdoors and Yankton – especially fishing, kayaking and boating. They also enjoy the expansive hiking and biking trails, great restaurants and Yankton’s growing live music scene.

Yankton Thrive – Tourism Advisory Council

The Tourism Advisory Council is made up of individuals from throughout the Yankton area that cross-represent visitor industry related businesses. The Council serves in an advisory capacity to the Tourism Director.

Ann Riley – Holiday Inn Express, General Manager
Mason Schramm – Meridian District, Board Member
Karla Zeutenhorst – United States Corps of Engineers, Park Ranger
Jeff VanMeeteren – Lewis & Clark Recreation Area – Regional Park Manager
Michael Grave – Lewis and Clark Resort – Owner/Operator
Todd Larson – City of Yankton, Director Parks and Recreation
Brittany LaCroix – City of Yankton, Events & Promotions Coordinator
Brittany Salonen – National Field Archery Association, Marketing & Trade Show Manager
Dugan Smith – National Park Service, Interpretive Park Ranger
Heidi Marsh – Fresh Produce, Account Executive
Michelle Donner – 6th Meridian Hop Farm/Counterfeit Catering, Owner/Operator
Crystal Nelson – Dakota Territorial Museum, Director
Matt & Kelsey Hunhoff –  Czecker’s Sports Bar & Grill, Owner/Operator
Micki Schievelbein – Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, Advertising Director
Bridget Benson – City of Yankton, Commissioner



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