Is there a perfect (or nearly so) place for preppers to live in your state? Yes, there is – even if you live in bastions of liberalism states like California and New York. This best place for preppers to live in every state series will help guide self-reliant folks to the most welcoming and beneficial region in all 50 states.
There are copious amounts of online articles about the best states for preppers to live, but not everyone can or is willing to relocate to a different state – especially one that could be halfway across the country.
Relocating to a prepper-friendly place in your own state could allow you to stay close to family, an environment you already know from a crop growing, hunting, terrain, etc. type of perspective.
Moving to the best place for preppers to live in a state where you already live also may keep you close to a career you are already trained for (but, working from home is best for preppers) or a medical care provider network.
This first article in the best places for preppers to live series will focus on Ohio. The Buckeye State as a whole provides a relatively mild climate and fairly lengthy growing season for a Midwestern state.
The best place for preppers to live in Ohio is in the southeastern region. There are multiple reasons why this bucolic section of this state could be a haven for preppers.
The following counties in this region are best for preppers:
- Vinton County
- Jackson County
- Gallia County
- Ross County
- and Hocking County.
Population density is at its lowest in this area of Ohio. There are 11,689,442 living in the Buckeye State, according to the latest United States Census figures.
The Buckeye state is the seventh most populous in the union. Residents here account for only 3.6 percent of the American nation’s population of 327,167,434.
- Vinton County Population: 13,083
- Hocking County Population: 29.274
- Gallia County Population: 29,898
- Jackson County Population: 32,413
- Ross County Population: 75,577
Cities / Villages
There is no city in the entire county. The county seat is the village of McArthur. There are a total of five villages in Vinton County: Hamden, Zaleski, and McArthur are incorporated and the village of Allensville, is not.
There is also just one traffic light in the whole beautiful rural county – and no big box stores of any kind.
There is only one school district that serves the county. In addition to a decent and safe public school, there is also an active homeschooling group that does a weekly co-op and frequent field trips.
Farming was once the mainstay economy in this natural resource-rich rural Ohio county. The big dairy farms of a glorious bygone era may have vanished, but the affordable land (and property taxes) in Vinton County are still home to successful cattle ranches, hog farms, goat homesteaders, and family farmers.
Today, Austin Powder and sawmills are the largest employers in the county. Vinton County is known as the “Hardwood Capital of America.” Although not to the degree in Hocking County, cabin rentals and eco-tourism are also thriving cottage industries in the county.
There is virtually no violent crime in Vinton County. Many folks do not even bother to lock their doors at night – perhaps because the vast majority of the population of this rural southeastern Ohio county is armed… well armed. Vinton County is a Second Amendment Sanctuary county in Ohio.
The county averages perhaps one murder a decade, at most. Crime in this area is all basically related to the self-harm from taking prescription drugs and the thieving that can accompany such illegal activity.
Logan is the only city in the entire county, and it is a very small one. Ecotourism to the Hocking Hills region generates millions of dollars in revenue for the rural county annually.
If you want to start a home-based business that caters to eco-tourism or visitors often with deep pockets from around the country who want to take home unique gifts, furniture, etc. this Ohio region just might be a dream come true.
Villages in Hocking County include: Carbon Hill, Haydenville, Laurelville, Logan, Murray City, · Rockbridge, and South Bloomingville.
Old Man’s Cave State Park brings in millions of visitors each year to the area and a host of small businesses have sprung up around the park to serve the thriving influx of visitors to the area such as a wineries, moonshine distillery, pottery, yoga, miniature golf, and canoe – kayak liveries.
Both the cost of living and real estate are highest in Hocking County by comparison to the other regionally adjacent counties on this list.
This is a very safe place in the Buckeye State, as well. If you live in Hocking County, your chances of being a victim of a violent crime is approximately 1 in 293.
Murders are nearly unheard of in Hocking County just like they are in Vinton and Gallia Counties. Property crimes make up the bulk of law enforcement calls in this county.
The county seat of Gallia County is the city of Gallipolis. Villages is this southeastern region of Ohio. Villages in Gallia County include: Vinton, Rio Grande, Crown City, Cheshire, and Centerville.
This area is also home of Bob Evans farm and is where the University of Rio Grande. Along with the college, hospitals and healthcare providers are the largest employers in this Ohio county.
The crime rates in this county, like Vinton County, are far under the national norm in violent crime. Property crimes and unlawful prescription drug use and trafficking make up the vast majority criminal complaints in Gallia County.
The city of Jackson is the county seat. Other small towns and villages in Jackson County include: Oak Hill, Wellston, and Coalton.
While Jackson is one of the largest cities in this southeastern Ohio best places for preppers list, there are ample rural unincorporated villages and townships that are ideal for survival homesteading and prepper retreats.
As with Vinton and Gallia County, Jackson county also offers good quality farmland and natural water sources. Manufacturing, transportation and warehouse careers, anad healthcare are the largest economic drivers in this county.
The violent crime rate in Jackson County is 12.0 – the United States average is 22.7. Property crime makes up the majority of law enforcement reports in this county. The property crime rate in the county is about 10 percent higher than the national average.
As with most counties in Appalachia, prescription drug use is a strong motivator in property crime calls. Jackson County is also a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.
Chillicothe is a city and the county seat. It was the first capital of the state of Ohio. Villages in this best place for preppers county include: Adelphi, Londonderry, Kingston, Clarksburg, Bainbridge, and South Salem.
It is also the largest city in the rural counties included in this best places for preppers to live in Ohio list.
The main employers in Chillicothe are the state correctional system and healthcare. Retail stores come in third with ample small to chain stores and service providers operating within the city.
Residents of this southeastern Ohio county are subjected to far more violent crime than the other counties on this list. In Ross county the violent crime is 17.4 percent and the United States average is 22.7. In Ross County, the property crime rate is 67.5 percent and the national average is 35.4 percent.
Natural Resources Benefits
Hunting is superb in this county in particular and the southeastern Ohio region as a whole. Hunters come from around the Midwest to camp and hunt in especially Vinton and Hocking Counties. Deer and turkey are the most widely available and hunted wild game.
There is an abundance of state park lakes that are well stocked with fish, as well as land that often houses a natural spring or marshy areas that are well-suited to putting in a pond.
State and national forests that run through the region offer ample hunting possibilities even if you cannot purchase a large tract of land. Zaleski State Forest and the Wayne National Forest offer the best public lands hunting opportunities.
Foraging for wild edibles and herbs can occur nearly year round in the southeastern Ohio region.
Seeds can be started in heated greenhouses as early as February in this region of Ohio.
Beekeeping has become increasingly popular and successful in southeastern Ohio.
Once thought to be highly unreliable in this region, solar power has become nearly quite popular with self-reliant and earth-friendly folks alike in these Appalachian counties.
Rules, Laws, and Such
Permits and Zoning
Vinton County is one of the most free locales in the Midwest. There is absolutely no zoning and no government permit office.
If you want to walk onto your land and build your own house, garage, barn, and workshop with your own two hands, you can do that without paying the government a single dime or having to pass any type of inspection.
But, you will have to get a well and septic permit to put in those utilities. You can also do your own plumbing, heating, and cooling, etc. for your home or business in Vinton County.
Growing Prepper Community
You will definitely be able to “find your people” in southeastern Ohio, in Vinton and Jackson Counties in particular.
The largest self-reliance gathering in the Midwest where attendees engage in hands-on training, takes place in Vinton County each May – the Old School Survival Boot Camp. The On Guard Defense Gun Range and Training Center serves hundreds of people from around the state weekly teaching them far more than standard handgun safety and CCW Classes.
At On Guard you can train with military veterans in advanced rifle techniques, night shooting, Krav Maga, shoot at moving targets and so much more while being surrounded by like-minded folks.
In Jackson County you will find Dave Canterbury of Dual Survival fame, at one of his PathFinder Schools. Canterbury will be hosting his annual bushcraft gathering at the Vinton County Fairgrounds each July.
There is a large and active homeschooling community in Vinton, Gallia, and to a lesser degree also in the adjacent Hocking and Jackson Counties. Folks in these four counties often gather for field trips, co-ops, and resource sharing events.
In Vinton, Gallia, and Jackson Counties especially your children will not be bombarded with liberal talking points masquerading as academic lessons during their school day.
One must be careful when carrying a knife in the state of Ohio. While there are no restrictions to the type of knife you can have, it can be pretty difficult to actually carry it outside your home.
Trespassing laws in Ohio are pretty clear, and favor the property owner, so rest assured people are less likely to wander on your property willy-nilly even if you don’t have any signing warning them they’re about to enter private property.
While knife laws may not allow you to carry one to confidently defend yourself from a potential attacker, pepper spray laws are quite the opposite. You can carry pretty much anything type and size of pepper spray you want.
Cost of Living
You would find it impossible or nearly so to find a less expensive place to live in the state than Vinton County and perhaps Gallia County, as well.
While the land cost per acre in Vinton County has grown in recent years in response to the increased purchase of retirement and vacation cabins and homes purchased in the Hocking Hills, folks relocating from suburban and urban areas still view the home and land values to be substantially less than their pay at their current digs.
$85,000 can purchase you a nice large house in town in most of these counties. You can also find five to 10 acre plots (if you are only looking for a small parcel of land) often with utilities or a basic cabin on them for $150,000 or less.
The median household income for these southeastern Ohio counties is roughly $45,000 for a couple and around $25,000 to $28,000 for a single person.
If you live in Ohio or even northern Kentucky and West Virginia and are looking for a prepper paradise to move to, these southeastern counties of Ohio should be at the top of your consideration list.
The only drawbacks to living in this region of the Buckeye State for preparedness minded folks involve the distance to drive for specialized medical care – although that is improving.
There is no hospital in Vinton County so, in cases of a severe accident or major emergency medical condition, the patient is typically transported in about 15 minutes to a Columbus area medical center.
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.