In 1861, Yankton was designated as territorial capital and the county was organized around the same time. Local Native Americans called the area “E-Hank-Ton-Wan” meaning “people of the end village”, which shortened over the years to Yankton. The county is home to Gayville (17 minutes to Yankton), Irene (30 minutes), and the eponymous Yankton. Yankton borders Nebraska to the south across the Missouri River. Recreational opportunities abound at Chief White Crane Recreation Area, Cottonwood Recreation Area, Pierson Ranch Recreation Area, and Lewis & Clark Lake Recreation Area surrounding Lewis & Clark Lake. Access the Missouri National Recreational River to the south. Major industries in the county include agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing.
Yankton School District offers quality public education from preschool to high school. Gayville-Volin School District offers elementary through high school education. Missouri Valley Christian Academy and Sacred Heart School provide private options for pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. Yankton is home to Mount Marty College, a four-year liberal arts college that also offers post-graduate nursing programs.