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Top 10 States for Living Off the Grid

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Top 10 States for Living Off the Grid

You can live off the grid just about anywhere, but some locales are more suited for a self-reliant lifestyle than others.

There are many “best places to live off grid” lists floating around on the internet, but the majority of them focus on just one key aspect of setting up an off-grid homestead: weather.

Yes, weather and climate are very important if you plan to use alternative energy to power an off-grid homestead or survival retreat. But only considering how much the sun shines or the wind blows is a recipe for an epic off-grid living fail.

For example, Hawaii tops many lists based upon weather alone. If you are going solar on your off-grid homestead, Hawaii might seem like the perfect choice. But it only takes a slightly closer look at the state to grasp how many negatives living in the state will bring.

In addition to an abundance of year-round sunshine, Hawaii also has a high cost of living, well above average land prices, high population density in most areas because of tourists, and it is under a frequent threat of destructive natural disasters.

Each of the locations in my list of best states to live off the grid are blessed in the following essential categories:

• Land Prices – The cheaper the land, the more you can purchase – or the more money you can save to fund a house or barn building project and/or purchase necessary equipment.

• Off Grid Friendly Laws – All the sunshine in the world won’t help you live off grid if state laws are too strict. There could stringent building codes and required building materials, regulations against disconnecting from the electrical grid and sewage system, or penalties for refusing to connect to those systems when constructing a new home. Typically, you will find far fewer regulations when purchasing property in a rural area.

• Property Taxes – The cost of annual property taxes can greatly impact not only how much land you can buy, but if living on the land long term will be affordable, especially if you have to build a home or make other improvements.

Off Grid Land & Sunset

• Weather and Climate – For an off the grid homestead to be successful and sustainable, you will need adequate growing seasons.

• Crime Rate – Protecting your investment will be far easier if you live in a low-crime area as well as a place that readily permits you to protect the land yourself if need be.

• Population Density – Important if your homestead is also going to function as a survival retreat or bugout location.

• Land Quality – Agricultural grade land and natural resources, especially the ready availability of water year round, is necessary. Desert and clear-cut land is exceptionally cheap for good reason…the vast reduction or complete absence of vital natural resources.

• Low percentage of Natural Disasters – A state with a high percentage or likely chance of hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, tsunami, drought, or even volcanic eruption, are not prime locations for an off-grid homestead, even if land prices and property taxes are low.

• Cost of living – Being an off-grid homesteader means you will provide the bulk of what you need yourself, but there almost certainly will be things that have to be purchased, especially during the first several years. The state’s cost of living is important to consider so you can avoid busting your budget long before the first harvest.

• Like-minded or Self-Reliant Neighbors – When living amongst your own, or at least in an agricultural community, you will not only make new friends and contacts, you will likely be able to barter goods and services and garner useful knowledge and skills.

Some states strictly prohibit off-grid living via laws that do not permit residents to live on a piece of property not connected to the electrical grid or sanitary sewage and water system – or both. These types of law can vary not only state-by-state but within local jurisdictions in a state.

Top 10 States For Living Off The Grid

1. Maine

Zoning and state laws are agreeable to off-grid living. In non-tourist and remote areas of the state, the land is inexpensive and the population density and crime rate are low.

Natural resources such as timber, water, and rock are typically in great abundance. The growing season is short compared to some midwestern and southern states, but crop production could be increased via greenhouse and indoor growing.

2. Texas

The affordability of land in remote regions of the state is just one great reason to choose Texas for your off-grid homestead. The state boasts a long growing season in most regions, with ample timber and rock to use as building materials.

Avoid purchasing land in desert areas or you will likely struggle with water availability and experience a decrease in hunting and fishing opportunities.

3. Montana

If you do not mind the cold, Montana can be a perfect location for off the grid living. The land is affordable, population density is definitely not an issue, and state laws are agreeable with the self-reliant lifestyle. The cost of living and crime rate for the state are also favorable.

The growing season is not as long as many of the other best off-grid living states, but it possesses prime grasslands and prairies for raising livestock. Building a greenhouse to expand the growing season is highly recommended. The windy nature of the states should make it ideal for using wind turbines as an alternative power source.

Except for the grasslands region of the state, you should be able to find enough standing timber on the property for structure building, furniture making, and firewood.

4. Ohio

For some baffling reason, the Buckeye State is often completely omitted from “best off the grid living” lists. The southern part of the state boasts incredibly low land prices, low property taxes, low crime rates, an incredibly low cost of living, and an abundance of natural resources

Some counties do not even have a permit office (outside of septic tank laws governed by the local health department) or any zoning laws at all. The growing season ranges from late May through the end of October for most crops.

5. Tennessee

Property taxes are incredibly low in Tennessee. The cost of living in rural regions is decidedly budget-friendly. Hunting and fishing opportunities abound and natural resources are plentiful.

A sufficient growing season (about 260 days a year) exists in all regions of the state and the temperatures are generally mild year round. The state has some of the least-stringent raw milk herd-sharing and rainwater collection laws in the country.

6. Arizona

The climate is mild and trees not quite so scarce in the northern regions of the state. Land prices in the same region are affordable, but water availability is still likely going to be an issue.

Drilling a well, buying property with a natural spring that can be dug into a sustainable pond, or hauling water to your property will be necessary. The growing season is long and their should be ample sunshine year around to power a solar energy system.

7. Vermont

Vermont is another great state to live off the grid. Land is plentiful and affordable. Water is available and not hard to come by as well as timber and rock for building. Resources are available and zoning is open to living off the grid in most counties.

Again, stay away from the larger cities and towns to find counties which are more open to living off the grid.

8. Missouri

Not only is off-grid living completely legal without a bunch of hurdles to jump through, the State of Missouri actually encourages the self-reliant lifestyle. Residents can collect rainwater without interference, and septic systems are not required to be present at homes within the state.

Natural resources for building a home and other structures are readily available on most plots of land in Missouri. The land in the state, by-and-large, is equally good for both ranching and farming.

9. Oregon

The Cascade Mountain region and the western area of the state offer quality and readily available natural resources. Plenty of hunting and fishing is available in the region. Property prices and taxes are affordable to low. Quality timber exists on many parcels of land in the Cascade Mountain region, as well.

The state appears to be welcoming to people who want to live off the grid. Two of the largest off-grid communities in the state are in the Three Rivers Recreation Area–which operates solar energy and water supply shared systems–and Breitenbush Hot Springs, which is now rapidly becoming a tourist attraction.

10. North Carolina

The non-coastal regions of the state boast quality land at an affordable price. A preparedness and homesteading community of significant size is growing in the Saluda and Black Mountain area. Each year, Prepper Camp, which is a 3-day hands-on homesteading and survival experience, takes place in September.

Regardless of where you choose to establish an off the grid homestead, do your homework and visit (at least once) the area so you truly get a feel for the overall environment – both governmental and natural.

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42 Comments

  1. Timothy Papantony on July 2, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Confusion in the 8.Missouri part…you typoed Montana there. Great summary of possibilities, thanks!!!

    • Angela on July 3, 2018 at 7:34 am

      Yep I caught that too!

    • Heidi on July 3, 2018 at 8:55 am

      oops! Thanks for the pointing that out. Article has been updated.

  2. Tedd Smith on October 20, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Can you tell me how Illinois ranks in regard to oelectric and plumbing codes?

    • Anthony Kilman on December 29, 2019 at 12:12 pm

      Sucks, I’m living off grid private lifestyle, government officials truspassed my land, and ae demanding to know what happis to human manure, outhouse is ileagal. Thing is they said my neibors complained, but I don’t think they did. I think they are fishing. They knew my name, they when to my crediter, got my name, and said they would contact my crediter if I did not comply. I am buying contract for deed and they will probably throw me out soon. I came out here to be left alone, no escape tyranny from this comminest state.

      • Ashley Rowell on April 21, 2020 at 7:41 pm

        What state are you in so I don’t come there

        • vance peck on April 26, 2020 at 1:05 am

          yeah id like to know as well. my dream is to travel and off crid live somewhere.

  3. Evan on November 18, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Funny you put Maine on the list, I live here. Several things to note. Land is cheap, and the further North you go (towards Canada) usually the cheaper it gets especially the further away from any towns. More than likely it will be a heavily treed area which is good and bad. If you are lucky you can get an area that is in tree growth which will keep you taxes down but allows about 1 acre of it for you to build/clear. The other plus is many areas have water close to the surface. The building of a “camp” versus home will keep the taxes lower. Camp has no permanent foundation. If you decide to buy, check the taxes, some areas are low and others can get high. The real negatives are that Spring brings lots of bugs most the biting kind. Winter weather can start end of Oct. and may still see snow in April. Many months during the winter the temp is in the negative degrees which may go on for several months. The cold is something you want to pay attention too if you plan to have outdoor animals. The older you get the cold will make you want to go to Florida for the winter as many do. The biggest natural disaster here would be forest fire which are far between. Maine has four wheeler/ snowmobile trails that go from one end of the state to the other so you will want to get both and own a good all wheel drive if you want to live in the boonies. You will need that heated greenhouse for year round items but folks grow corn and potatoes and most everything else.

    • Richard on October 16, 2019 at 4:56 am

      Thanks for the helpful information im thinking about moving to Maine

      • Prepperjack on October 24, 2019 at 8:37 pm

        You might want to think of moving to a warmer state. I lived in Maine for 23 years and let me tell you the winters are really tough and the last place to see Spring in the U.S. Then when it finally gets warmer, the black flies and mosquitoes are vicious. Even the month of June is usually cool and damp, some days only in the 50’s for highs. Basically, there are 4 good months out of the year. You might consider Tennessee or North Carolina, where land is still affordable and where the growing season is much longer. In those states, the hot weather doesn’t last too long either, especially in the uplands. So, you get 8 months of terrific weather each year.

  4. Rob on December 27, 2018 at 1:15 am

    You spoke of property taxes if you own your property clear there is such a thing as not having to pay those taxes contact me privately

    • JANE CERNEK on February 4, 2019 at 12:21 am

      I would like to know about this Rob, how do I contact you privately?

    • Sharmaine on June 30, 2019 at 8:50 pm

      I have been researching for years on the topic of being off the grid and buying the ideal
      piece of land. Your article is by far the most knowledgeable and comprehensive I’ve come across so far. I’m interested in your advice about the land taxes. Please contact me I’d really like to know more about this before buying. Thank you.

    • Lisa on July 5, 2019 at 10:59 pm

      Is that in all states?

    • Chris on April 6, 2020 at 10:40 am

      I would also like to know in Ky I pay every year and have owned my land free and clear for over 20 years

  5. Sherry on March 5, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    Will be buying land in the next year. Did not see Arkansas on the list. Do you know anything a out it? And thanks for your article , there is much to consider.

    • Memaw on October 26, 2019 at 9:59 am

      In my research I found that Arkansas is not off grid friendly. They have strict rules about septic systems. You can’t even live on the land until your house is built and hooked up. I’m looking in the Ozarks and I jumped the border into Missouri, very Homestead friendly.

      • Will @ Karina on January 15, 2020 at 7:04 am

        Hello Memaw,

        My wife and i are looking at Arkansas and Missouri, we appriciate your feedback where were you in Arkansas before you left and where about in Missouri / Ozarks did you select, what is the nearest city/town to you.. and how are you doing since you moved?

        thanks for the feedback..

  6. Tyra on March 22, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Well I’m from Vermont EXTREMELY HIGH LAND TAXES AN RESTRICTIVE
    Montana , Maine expensive
    Horrible weather for year round crops ???
    Who made this list
    What about Indiana Kansas Iowa states that have no restrictions or low taxes ???

    • Steve on November 26, 2019 at 8:34 am

      Or warmer places such as Alabama and Mississippi with low cost of living, cheap land, low crime, good weather, very few natural disasters, good laws, and low population density but hell if you wanna freeze and have snow on the ground for 6 months out of the year then sure , have fun in Montana and maine.

      • Keith on May 7, 2020 at 4:37 am

        Yeah- and you have fun with the alligators-flying cockroaches-giant mosquitoes-tornadoes

        • R on June 16, 2020 at 11:44 am

          I have lived in Al over 30 years I live half a mile from the bay actually and on several rivers throughout that time, I’ve seen 3 alligators the whole time. I’ve never been in any danger from a tornado cockroaches only come out late at night and its not like there are swarms or they are aggressive. However, those mosquitos will pick you up and carry you off like a damn vampire

      • Maz on July 31, 2020 at 4:18 pm

        Depends on which part of Alabama you call “low crime”…find yourself in the Black Belt region, and get ready to have non-stop trouble with break-ins, vandalism, etc. Grows big deer for the state, but…

  7. Al on April 10, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    We just bought a place in upstate SC and in the Western part there is affordable land.

  8. Dean on April 30, 2019 at 11:21 am

    I’ve heard horror stories about Arizona charging an ‘off grid tax’ to people who aren’t on the electrical grid. Does anyone who knows about this have any thing to say about it?

  9. Kristi Timm on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Oregon is not the place to live off-grid. We have very high property taxes, and they are not friendly to companies who decide to break from the grid. In fact, they go so far as to fine such companies. Hunting and fishing are plentiful, and the west side of state has very mild winter. I’ve lived here for 40 years, and am looking to relocate. Also, I should note we have very high state income taxes.

  10. jim on July 18, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    A few of the states mention have laws that are not off grid friendly including Oregon.
    How old is this article? And why does it only seem to focus on land price, property tax and climate?
    Times are changing and it’s more difficult to find something like this outside of certain areas of certain states.

    • Kim on September 2, 2019 at 2:42 am

      I’m wondering the same exact thing! I thought the whole point of living off-grid was exactly that..LIVIN OFF-GRID which I thought there was no such thing as buying anything..no laws if any kind..??
      Of corse iam new to all this and just started research recently and as you,I wanna know the exact same thing. This irratates me to no end..but I guess since so many people are starting to do this they gonna find some way to make that dollar..

  11. Joe on August 12, 2019 at 3:35 am

    I’ve been wanting to go off-grid lately. I just don’t think I have all the necessities needed for survival.. aside from that, I wouldn’t know exactly where to go. I live in the State of New York.. the Hudson Valley area to be more precise. It has it’s moments of beautiful scenery but aside from living expenses, I will be truly honest when I say this and just note that I am not saying this to gain some sort of attention or sympathy. I just want to explain as brief as I can to give a better insight and maybe get some off grid related advice.. I have no family or anyone reliable to turn to and my current living situation is not an ideal one. I lost everything at some point.. I never had a lot to begin with but these passed two years alone have costed me greatly. I do not trust the system. I know enough on how it works. My only income consists of being paid $11.40 hourly for a full time job. I live in a small town and business here has been depressing.. Very limited oppurtunity and I don’t have my own means of transportation so with that in mind, if it weren’t for this job, I’d be nowhere. Unfortunately though, the people I live with are facing foreclosure on the building of where I reside.. I only pay rent here. I won’t disclose my expenses to anyone as that’s personal but I’ve been stuck and it seems I’ve been around the wrong people for too long. It’s been time for a change. This will be an ongoing problem because those I live with are unreliable, irresponsible, inconsiderate, immature and I don’t need to in that kind of environment. I refuse to go back to a shelter, I refuse to trust the system, I believe there are better things out there.. I never beg and I know we’re always going to put in more than we get in return in this life but I am out of giving and I am depleted .. I want to live a healthier lifestyle away from those who are trying to stand in my way.. so I will ask.. what can I do?

    • Ann on September 2, 2019 at 9:14 am

      Hello,
      Don’t give up! don’t lose hope!
      Continue pursuing your dream!
      There are countless ways, such as finding other people,GOOD RELIABLE, RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE
      that are living on homesteads, farms, or off the grid, that are willing to help out in exchange for extra helping heands.

      God bless!
      Take care.

    • Ivy on October 25, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      Joe I know how you feel! I lived in NY for many years. You can connect with like minded people in NY and create a co-sharing community even in the city and live a frutiful life. I linked up with 7 Moms and we share the costs of internet, streaming services, buy & divide in bulk, car and equipment sharing, childcare, prep meals together 3x a week, and so much more.
      We are also working on creating wealth for our children, and a lot more.
      So our 8 small salaries are a bit larger and void of living a life collecting things and creating healthy moments, makes life much easier and enjoyable.
      If you want to live a life more on your own you can limit the co-sharing life.
      But I know for sure if you can make it in NY you can make it anywhere.
      God Bless You Richly

    • Nature Girl on January 2, 2020 at 1:03 am

      We all fall on hard times and you have to decide what is best for you and there can be no excuses to hold you back if that means give up your job jump on a bus and start somew6new and create the life you want.! I know this because I lose everything I worked very hard for in my life and went from 6 figures to zero figures and it took me a while but I sucked it up and started over with nothing and turned it into a whole new life. If you want to learn about true off grid living look up midwest permaculture, earthship homes in Taos NM the institute is there you could learn to build these homes, you can also look at earth bag homes and there are several others. Mine by far is earthship homes I’m going to take earthship design with hempcrete or aircrete to build and live by a water source to power everything along with wind and solar power. The opportunities are endless!

    • Wayne on September 6, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      Hi unfortunately I am in the same boat as you. I live in a very bigoted state and all my family is gone. I have absolutely no one! I would say you could come live with me but I’m on disability, so I guess that would make that deal off the table?

  12. Mike on August 12, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Joe you need a small cheap trailer or learn to build a teepee move to the West there’s more wilderness and still less law. I personally went to Alaska for a year it’s nice there but they make it tough to get I.d for permanent residence and dividend

  13. Mike on August 12, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Best advice I can give is to give up money if everyone did that 1 simple thing the system would have to stop to head the people’s needs and people would work together (again)for one goal and that’s to survive rather than succumb to more greed and collapse when oil runs out that fantasy world will end anyway

  14. J O on December 24, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    I have to say Arkansas is the state we picked and it’s amazing. Total freedom with no permits or restrictive laws, low cost of living, cheap land…and it’s known as the natural state for a reason. Water is easy to get and the growing season is long. I also want to add that there are distinct seasons, pretty good cottage laws, etc. It’s breathtaking and beautiful here.

    • William & Karina on January 15, 2020 at 6:53 am

      Hello J O,

      My wife and I are looking at Arkansas, which part of the state you guys are at and what is the closest city/town to you..

      Please advise.. thanks

    • Florence Ellison on April 16, 2020 at 9:18 am

      I’m looking at that state as well. I’m wanting to build a in ground passive solar home. I have a bunkhouse camper to live in till its built. Wondering about unrestricted land and codes

  15. David Hotaling on March 10, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Arizona is not as friendly as people may thing for off grid. I love here and find that property owner associations abound and say you can have fence or you can’t grow live stock, drill your own well or use hauled water for livestock. 9.9 percent state is all that is available for private use. That’s 90 percent of state you cant touch and most larger parcels are divided aourd state or BLM land. If you can deal with only ha ing cattle or horse then yes Arizona maybe only but a lot areas prohibit it an Apache county has very high crime rate with frequent home invasions. Also about the only county you canlegall build tiny home in at 200 sq minimum and no less than 7 feet in any direction you also have to have bedroom separate from the rest of space. Zoning is harsh in most of state.

  16. SN on March 31, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    DIdn’t put Hawaii, on the Big island at least, land can still be bought for $5000-$10000, many people here live in “unpermitted structures” a little away from the urban area and are not bothered by anyone. Most have composting toilets, rain catchment for water and solar power. I live on the east side where we have the most rainfall in the country which comes down in tropical torrents so never a lack of water, still we do a lot of sun too so solar is easy and everything grows here, its like living in a greenhouse, really don’t even need to water, just cut stuff back, fruit trees of every kind grow wild and also wild pigs and chickens running all over the place, so its pretty good for off gridding here if you don’t mind living in a jungle, which is not everyones cup of tea and it is a bit boring and island bound here too.

  17. Tandi on April 10, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Hi from SW Oklahoma
    Think my tiny home and I will stay in Oklahoma, except for the occasional tornado, the land prices aren’t too bad and I haven’t had any problems with the little community that I’m in,as far as putting in my tiny house (no permits, yea!); I’ll be hooking up to their water n sewer but will have solar power.
    I’m really surprised that with the cheaper land prices, plentiful sun & wind for power options that Oklahoma didn’t make your list.

  18. Toni Chat on July 22, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Does anyone have experience with Idaho?

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