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.
Before choosing a place to build your off-grid homestead here are a few things to take into account:
- Homesteading: It is fine to want your dream off-the-grid home, just don’t spend your time, energy, and resources on building it immediately.
- Water: It is the most important thing to consider. While living off the grid in the desert is perfectly doable, you will need to be clear on what you will need to ensure your access to water all year round. You also need to think about what you’ll do when some of these water sources will get cut off… so the more water sources the better.
- Cost: The main goal of living off-grid is to be independent. This means you don’t want to go into debt. Finding the right land at the right cost is essential for a successful off-grid life and it being cost effective will put you a step ahead of everyone else in an SHTF situation.
- 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.
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 then 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 practically illegal 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 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 tests 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 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.
This is by no way is an all-inclusive list; it does hope to give you an idea of what going off the grid in these states might be like.
With the state authorities cracking down on off-grid lifestyles, it has become increasingly hard to find good places to settle but the ones listed above are quite liberal with respects to rainwater harvesting and harvesting solar power.
There is no such a thing as the perfect place to live but you can get pretty close to perfect if you relocate to either of the states listed above, in the end if you have the skill and the right mindset you can drop off the grid practically anywhere.
Off the grid living is the best way to ensure your survival in an SHTF scenario, as you will be sufficiently isolated and already self-sufficient.
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.