Going off the grid is a bold decision, and there are a lot of things to take into consideration before cutting the chord and dropping off.
The first thing to take into consideration is where you will move, it is not only about water sources and weather, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding off-grid living because of the implementation of state laws that make it practically illegal to live off the grid properly.
What to Take Into Account When Planning to Live Off the Grid
Before choosing a place to build your off-grid homestead here are a few things to take into account:
Water: Think carefully about your access to water. Are water resources limited? Will you need to drill a well? Build a pond? Is this legal or feasible?
Cost: Consider the cost of land where you plan to move. This varies a lot between cities and states.
Off Grid Community: This point is a little controversial since a lot of people looking to drop off-grid are looking for solitude; it is always useful to have like-minded people around you as a support system if TSHTF.
Low Property Taxes: Some states have extremely high property taxes, while others have very low or even no property taxes. If you’re looking to escape high taxes, make sure to look for a state with low or no property taxes.
Long Growing Season: If you plan on growing your own food while living off-grid, then make sure you choose a state with a long growing season.
Availability of Renewable Energy: Some states may not offer easy access to these types of energy sources, others may provide incentives or programs that make it easier for residents to install renewable energy systems in their homes or businesses.
Capabilities for Raising Livestock: Some states have strict regulations when it comes to raising animals such as chickens or goats in residential areas.
Likelihood of Natural Disasters:
Floods, hurricanes, and wildfires can have devastating effects on a homesteader. Be mindful of these issues before buying a property.
When you’re researching states to move to when living off the grid, it is important to take into consideration a variety of aspects such as legality. In some states, it may not be legal for you to set up rainwater collection systems, for example.
In others, thereby be restrictions about raising chickens or installing outbuildings. Look up any and all laws related to homesteading in your state before you do a thing.
Taking those elements and the laws of the land into consideration here are the best U.S States to live off the grid (in no particular order):
This is probably the most popular state to go off the grid. It is large, filled with natural beauty and isolated. A dream comes true! There are some downsides to living off the grid in Alaska, which need to be discussed before moving there.
First, we need to talk about the weather. It is not news that Alaska is exceptionally cold, but if you’re used to the mild weather, then it is likely that you are unable to grasp just how cold Alaska can get.
In certain areas of Alaska, namely the north, the temperature can get below -65°F, the average temperature is 37°F though which is still quite manageable.
You have to be able to adjust yourself, your lifestyle, your garden and your livestock to this kind of weather. Average annual snowfall is 74 inches, and precipitation is 16.57 inches, so water is not an issue here.
If you do have kids then you’ll be glad to know that Alaska has no homeschooling laws. It does not require parents to give them notice if they are homeschooling their kids and there are no inspectors or standardized tests to take.
Taxation, which factors into our cost consideration, is not a problem in Alaska as it has the lowest tax burden in the U.S, this means that it does not have a sales tax, income tax, inheritance tax or estate tax; only 25 municipalities impose a property tax. It is one of many reasons it is such a popular off the grid destination.
Alaska’s laws are so good to people who want to live off the grid that it is like it was designed that way.
There are no prohibitions against gardening, and you can raise farm animals as long as you can provide warm housing and fenced pastures, there are no prohibitions against gardening, and there are no restrictions on gun ownership.
While it is not as popular as Alaska, Tennessee has a lot going for it due to the mild weather and having once been voted the “freest state”.
It is not the perfect state to go off the grid, but it does come close thanks to their laws on raising farm animals and their status as the 5th wettest state in the US, no water worries!
The weather in Tennessee is mild year-round and, unlike Alaska, it has four distinct seasons. July is the fiercest month with an average high temperature of 89°F and January the colder month with an average of 27°F.
Because of the high precipitation, Tennessee is quite humid which is something to take into account during the summer if you were not planning to add a house-cooling system to your plans.
A downside is that Tennessee is quite susceptible to tornadoes and if you choose to move to the mountainous regions then you will get your fair share of snow during the winter months.
In terms of homeschooling laws, Tennessee is considered a medium-regulation state, meaning that the state requires the parents to notify them that they are homeschooling their kids as well as test scores and professional evaluation of student progress. It is not as great as Alaska, but it is far more permissive than the average state.
There are no laws regarding rainwater harvesting, so you will be able to make use of the intense precipitation in the state by installing a water catchment system.
While we are on the subject of harvesting, there are no regulations against having a garden in your front yard, and you may have your farm animals grazing all year round. All in all these points make it quite cheap to go off the grid in Tennessee.
The cost of living is inexpensive compared to other parts of the U.S since the houses themselves are quite cheap and transportation, health, and utility costs are also below the national average.
Compared to states like Florida (where it is very hard to live off the grid), Missouri encourages off-grid living.
There are areas where no zoning codes or building codes exist, and even though the state authority will want to make sure that you have a safe well and septic system, there is no real intervention.
The weather in Missouri is not quite as mild as that of Tennessee but is not nearly as extreme as that of Alaska. The average temperature is 50°F, and the lowest-ever recorded temperature was -40°F, though the winter months tend to be quite mild.
In terms of precipitation, it gets 41 inches of rain and 25 inches of snow yearly, and rainwater harvesting is not illegal, so there will be no worries regarding water. The summers tend to be hot and humid so you might want to factor that into your plans.
Missouri is quite a free state. There are hardly any regulations regarding homeschooling since there is no need to notify the state that you are homeschooling your kids.
Taxation is quite low and it has lax gun laws (only asking for a permit to carry handguns)- Farm animals can graze all year in Missouri, and certain areas allow for the growing of grain for feed and cultivation of livestock.
Even though the price of utilities is a little higher than average, the cost of living in Missouri is quite low, when compared to the national average. Missouri has rules about septic systems and wells.
If you stick to the rural areas you will find that there are no building or zoning codes to be found. All of the points above make Missouri a dream destination for preppers.
The temperate climates and the abundance of natural resources in Washington make for an incredibly attractive place to build your off the grid homestead.
There are a few things that may cause you to hesitate about living off the grid in Washington, but it is still quite a good place to settle down in.
The weather in Washington can be described as wet. It rains a lot, averaging 38.4 inches of water and in the Cascade mountain ranges, you may get over 200 inches of annual snowfall.
Water will not be a concern if you decide to move to Washington. Rainwater harvesting is not only permitted, it is encouraged!
This means that you will be able to make use of this natural resource without legal worries. The winter months are the harshest, but the temperature rarely goes bellow 46°F.
Homeschooling laws in Washington are the same as in Tennessee. Parents are not only required to notify the state authorities about homeschooling their kids, but they are required to send in test scores and sometimes professional evaluations of the child’s progress.
The state regulation is considered to be moderate, meaning it’s not difficult to comply with such laws.
One point that might make you hesitate to move to Washington is the fact that building codes are quite strict, and residential land use regulations are not that great.
The cost of living is also higher than average but living in the rural areas is much cheaper (the high numbers are due to the high cost of living in a city). There is also regulation regarding selling eggs at a retail outlet, as the state requires you to get an egg handler’s license.
Raw milk is legal in Washington. Farm animals are allowed to graze all year round, though if you move to the northern and eastern areas, you will need to supplement their feed as it gets quite snowy.
Laws regarding farm animals vary wildly so you will have to check your city to make sure what you are allowed. Gun laws are surprisingly lax in Washington, and they only ask for a permit to carry handguns, though there are strict regulations regarding where and how you can store ammunition and firearms.
Wyoming is the least populated state so if you are looking for isolation but do not want to go to Alaska; Wyoming might be the better choice. It is known for the abundance of natural resources and the sheer beauty of the entire state.
Though the weather might make you hesitate, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to living off the grid in Wyoming.
The weather in Wyoming is typically described as semi-arid with desert conditions in certain areas. It has a long winter season and a short summer.
In the winter months, the lowest temperature is around 15°F and the highest goes up to 38°F, while during the summer months it goes anywhere from 55°F and all the way up to 82°F.
All in all, it is a pretty pleasant climate though there is a water problem since the normal yearly precipitation is 12.9 inches and snowfall varies wildly, the lack of easy access to water means that rainwater harvesting is restricted in certain areas and in others you must prove that you are putting the water to good use.
Homeschooling laws are quite lax, there is no need for parents to inform the state of their decision to homeschool their kids, and they are not required to send in scores or professional evaluation of the child’s progress.
This, coupled with the lax gun laws, make Wyoming quite a free state, a lot like Missouri in that way.
Though the cost of living in Wyoming is higher than average, there are exceptionally lax construction laws in the countryside and the state is widely considered a tax-friendly state, it has no income tax, and sales tax is only 4%.
Property tax is high but considering how low the rest of the taxes are this does not tilt the balance towards the negative side.
Montana is never far from the top in any list of the best places to live off the grid. It is a beautiful state with wide spaces and open skies that make it an attractive prospect.
The weather is quite variable, so you will be able to choose whichever fits you best, and the abundance of natural resources make it a prime spot for someone looking to start a self-sustaining life in the countryside.
The weather in Montana is quite changeable, though there are a few things that can be said for certain: It doesn’t get too hot (unless you are hit by a heatwave) and it is mercifully dry.
The winter is quite harsh, and the entire state can be covered in snow for the duration of winter, it may average 100 inches of snow. It is mostly dry except for the rainy season (spring) where precipitation averages 13.26 inches. Montana is stunningly beautiful in the summer.
Homeschooling laws are exceedingly lax, unlike in Tennessee; the state does require that the parents notify the authorities of their decision to homeschool their kids.
It does not ask for professional evaluation or test scores, so it is not as regulated as in Washington. It is quite the free state, and their liberal gun laws exemplify this, Montana is an open carry and conceal carry state so you can tick ‘gun permit’ off your to-do list if you wish to relocate to Montana.
Laws surrounding farm animals are also quite lax, though you will have to provide extra feed for them since the growing season is quite short.
It is, unfortunately, strictly forbidden to sell raw milk; Montana has a strict raw milk law that makes it practically illegal to drink your own raw milk.
The state requires a permit for keeping chickens but there is no maximum amount permitted, the permits are quite cheap, averaging $20 for 1-6 chickens which is not expensive at all considering chickens are the most sustainable farm animal for the weather conditions. Rainwater harvesting is perfectly legal in Montana.
Although Montana has quite high property prices and taxes; it has liberal building code laws, so you will not need to jump through a thousand hoops to get your off the grid homestead started.
The Bluegrass State has plenty to offer folks who want to live off the grid. Not only are there plenty of rural areas with gorgeous rolling hills, but there is also no state income tax in Kentucky. That means more money in your pocket!
Property taxes can be relatively high, however, so it’s important to keep that in mind when searching for land. Weather-wise, Kentucky does experience occasional tornadoes but is generally milder than other states in this region of the country.
The Peach State is another great option for those seeking a life off the grid. Georgia has some of the most affordable property taxes in America and also boasts one of the lowest cost-of-living indices among all 50 states.
As far as weather goes, there are occasional hurricanes and tropical storms during certain times of year but not much else in terms of severe weather threats.
Similar to Kentucky, West Virginia has no state income tax. This is uncommon and is incredibly beneficial if you’re working remotely or relying solely on investments while living off the grid. You’ll be able to keep all of your hard-earned money in your pocket or put it back into building your dream homestead!
And while crime rates are higher than average here, property crime rates are lower than average (something worth keeping in mind).
Plus, West Virginia experiences fewer natural disasters than other states making it an ideal location for those who don’t want to worry about getting caught up in any major storms or flooding events.
Louisiana is an ideal place for off-grid living thanks to its low property taxes (the fifth lowest of any US state!) and affordable real estate prices. Plus, it has plenty of natural resources like forests and wetlands that are perfect for those looking to live self-sufficiently.
However, it’s important to note that there are some restrictions in place; Louisiana does not allow residents to construct permanent homes on land that isn’t owned by them. Additionally, if you decide to build a new home or structure in any part of the state, you will need building permits from county or local governments.
Although Pennsylvania does have some zoning regulations in place (e.g., no permanent structures can be built on certain types of land), it’s generally easier than other states when it comes to construction permits and regulations.
On top of that, Pennsylvania is home to beautiful landscapes and plenty of outdoor activities (like fishing and hiking). You’ll just need to be prepared for some cold and snowy weather!
Oklahoma rounds out our list due to its generous property tax rates and lack of zoning regulations—meaning you can build whatever type of home you want without needing special permits or approvals from local government agencies.
Additionally, Oklahoma enjoys mild winters and hot summers—a great climate for those who don’t want extreme weather conditions interfering with their off-grid lifestyle.
There are certain states that make homesteading more difficult than others.
New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, California, Connecticut, Nevada, and Hawaii, for example, all present unfavorable conditions for homesteaders due largely to their less than ideal climates; with limitations on crop selection and unfavorable temperatures for grazing livestock.
Plus, there are laws in these states that may hinder or prohibit homesteading activities and land may be costly to purchase in many cases. Urbanization can also make it more difficult to settle in these areas without being disturbed by the everyday bustle of city life.
Other states such as South Dakota, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Arizona offer much better climates and autonomy when it comes to living off the grid, though they may still have some additional policies or costs associated with settlement in certain locations.
These states rank as “so-so” in terms of our list of the best places to live off the grid…
The same goes for states like Florida and Indiana – these are great cost-effective options as they don’t come with any hefty fees – however, be wary of their varying climate conditions which may impact what activities you can partake in while off the grid.
My name is Teresa Fikes. I am a Homesteader, survivalist, prepper, historian, and writer plus much more all in one package deal. I was raised on a small family farm were I was taught at an early age to survive off the land without the help of modern conveniences. I am a writer by profession and a Homesteader by Blood, Sweat, and Tears.