When a person or family choose to move off the grid, finding an appropriate location can be a daunting task. Some areas may be very off-grid friendly, but most areas have regulations in place that make it difficult to be self-sustaining, while some are actually hostile to the whole idea. Knowing which sort of attitude and stipulations a place has toward living off-grid is important when choosing a place to be.
Some of the factors that will play into the decision include climate, crime, electricity options, land availability, natural disaster likelihood, and population density, along with the aforementioned regulations. One of the biggest factors, however, is going to be what is actually needed for the household. An individual or family that are high maintenance are going to have a difficult time living off-grid in an area where there are not many conveniences available. The things that are definitely needed to survive should be on top of the list when considering a location. Some of these will be universal, such as water and land for growing food. Others may be less so, such as central heat and air, which may be difficult to arrange in an off-grid lifestyle.
Because there are so many factors to consider, a “perfect off-grid location” is not the same for everyone who is looking for a place to live off grid. Each person or family will have a different perfect location than every other one. Keeping goals in mind, consider all the factors that are important to the family or household before settling on a specific location.
Some of the states that come up often in discussions about off-grid living include the following:
Alabama is one of the better options for off-grid living. It has a mild winter (but gets very hot in the other seasons) which extends the growing season. Its cost of living is relatively low. Property and land taxes are lower than most other states and land costs are affordable. There are natural resources readily available in most areas due to its many rivers and lakes.
Alaska has a lot of cold weather, but is beautiful, has low (and in some places no) taxes, and a low cost of living. Gardening and livestock are unregulated (other than requiring a fenced area and warm shelter for animals) and the only downside is the weather. There is a very short growing season unless one uses a greenhouse and insulation will be required to maintain a comfortable temperature in the winter months. However, fish and wood are abundant and other wild game are also available. The cold weather allows for easy food preservation most of the year.
Arkansas has low prices on property and low property taxes, along with rich soil and many resources. While the weather is mild, it is not uncommon to have thunderstorms. Setting up an off-grid haven in Arkansas is likely to be quite cost-effective.
Florida is surprisingly good for homesteading. For living off grid, Florida has good weather and plenty of water and natural resources but does tend to be more expensive when it comes to cost of living and taxes. For someone who is self-sufficient, this aspect of Florida may be less of a problem.
Louisiana’s north and central areas abound with water and good soil. Hunting and fishing are excellent resources, and the weather is warm and humid. The land is affordable and there is plenty of sunshine for solar power. The southern areas tend to flood, making them less desirable for homesteading.
Maine’s remote regions are great for off-grid living, because land prices are relatively low and the population is not dense. Zoning laws are less strict, allowing landowners to build shelters from natural resources. Water, rock, and wood are all plentiful. The only potential downside is the climate, which is cold much of the year; however, greenhouses are a good option for extending the growing season.
Mississippi has many rural areas where living off-grid is not uncommon. This may be partially due to the plentiful natural resources such as wildlife, its longer growing season, and its mild temperatures (though it does tend to be humid, as most of the southern United States). Its property tax laws are reasonable and property costs are lower than average.
Missouri has fewer building restrictions in some rural areas and low land prices, making it a great place to locate an off-grid home. The climate is mild and the growing season is long; this, along with plentiful natural resources (including wild game), add to the appeal. It has an average of 200 sunshiny days a year, making solar energy easily obtainable. Taxes and cost of living are lower than many states.
This may be part of the reason that Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage was established. This community in the northeast part of the state consists of tiny homes whose owners live as “green” as possible. The homes are built in an ecologically friendly manner and the people of the village live a sustainable lifestyle.
Montana has a lot of open area, along with a lot of trees for building and burning. While it does get very cold, it is much less likely to get uncomfortably hot in the summer. It is full of natural beauty and while there is less time to grow things, livestock is a great option for feeding the family – however, drinking and selling raw milk is illegal. The state has higher property taxes, but fewer laws about how and where to build.
North Carolina’s non-coastal areas offer high quality land that is affordable. Homesteaders are discovering the beauty and livability of the Black Mountain and Saluda areas of the state.
Ohio is known for its manufacturers and big cities, but it is also an excellent place to live off grid. Its land costs, low property taxes, low crime rates, and low cost of living pair well with its abundant natural resources to make it a great off-grid location, especially the southern part. The state is quite friendly to off-grid dwellers, as there are no zoning laws. This may be, in part, due to the many Amish communities in the state. Flooding can be a risk in certain areas, and there are some times when the sun is rarely seen, making solar power a challenge, but overall, the state has great off-grid potential.
Oregon is both a great option for property ownership for off-grid use and a good option for living in a community that shares utilities such as water and solar energy. One of the communities is Three Rivers Recreation Area, which is in the state’s center. Water, wood, and game are abundant resources, and the cost of property is relatively low.
Tennessee has a mild climate in general while still having four distinct seasons. However, the longer warmer weather provides a longer growing season, making it great for self-sufficiency. It does get below freezing occasionally, but not for long. Severe weather is relatively common in the form of thunderstorms and even tornadoes, which can be a problem. Freshwater is plentiful and catching rainwater is permissible; it has a low cost of living and property taxes that are lower than average.
Texas is one of the largest states in the USA and has a lot of remote property. Its climate allows for a long growing season. There are dry areas that are not suitable for off-grid living, but there are many fertile areas; however, finding a reliable water source should be a primary goal. Solar energy is abundant, making it a great source for using electricity off-grid. The cost of living is reasonable in the state, as well.
Most states have some potential for off-grid living, but they are definitely not all equal. Before choosing a location, consider personal requirements and preferences and check the state’s regulations and laws to be sure it will work for personal off grid living.