Best States For Off The Grid Living In The US

Curious to find out the best states for off the grid living in the US? Find out the ones we selected as well as further information on off the grid living in the US.

Table of Contents

Introduction 📜

Curious about the best states for off-grid living? In this article, we'll explore the possibilities of living off the grid in the US and delve into the existence of off-grid communities across the country. What state boasts the most off-grid living? From the unique landscapes of California to the vibrant communities like the Greater World Earthship in New Mexico and the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri, we'll uncover the diverse options. Following the impacts of COVID and amid the energy transition, people are reconsidering their lifestyles, and off-grid living, though simple, presents its own set of challenges. Explore fundamental considerations for those pondering this lifestyle, and accompany us on a journey through the vibrant, challenging, and transformative realm of self-sufficiency in today's society.

1. Can You Live Off Grid In Us?

It is technically possible to live anywhere off the grid, provided you have access to a stable energy supply and resources and storage, including drinkable water, healthcare, education, and a community. It is important not to get too bogged down in deciding which state to live in, as there are plenty of places within the US and also foreign countries that fit the bill.

Best And Worse States For Living Off The Grid

Best And Worse States For Living Off The Grid (Source: Kansas City Pitch)

2. Are There Any Off-Grid Communities In The US?

After reading an inspiring article from Treehugger highlighting the flourishing trend of off-the-grid living communities in the United States, it becomes evident that the country hosts a multitude of such communities designed for individuals seeking a self-sufficient lifestyle. These communities, complete with water supply, power sources, and waste management systems, embody diverse approaches to sustainable living.

One standout example is the Greater World Earthship Community in Taos, New Mexico, where houses are constructed using natural materials and operate on solar power and self-contained sewage treatment systems. Additionally, communities like Three Rivers Recreational Area in Oregon and Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon exemplify various sustainable living methods, incorporating solar panels, wind turbines, and hydropower.

Best States To Live In The USA

Best States To Live In The USA (Source: Graphs.net)

Intentional communities such as Earthaven in North Carolina and Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri adhere to principles of social cohesion, eco-friendly construction, and off-grid energy sources. These communities provide residents with an opportunity to embrace sustainable living, focusing on communal lifestyles, renewable energy, and responsible resource management.

3. What State Has The Most Off-Grid Living?

While quantifying off-grid living in the US precisely proves challenging, and no official statistics exist to determine the most popular state, certain trends emerge from social media studies.

Determining the precise number of people living off the grid in the US is challenging, but a study conducted in 2019 provided national estimates ranging from 180,000 households to 750,000 (The Guardian).

In a notable study, HomeAdvisor has pinpointed the top 10 most favored US states for off-the-grid living, utilizing an algorithm to scrutinize Instagram posts tagged #offgridliving. California stands out as the foremost state in this movement, boasting 12.91% of relevant posts.

The analysis delves into the motivations driving individuals toward an off-grid lifestyle, spanning from a yearning to escape urban life to embracing eco-conscious practices. The ranked list includes California, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Hawaii, Florida, Alaska, Utah, New Mexico, and New York.

In a Business Insider Article the importance of checking local laws concerning off-grid living practices in each state is underlined.

Off The Grid: Houses For Escape Across North America

Off The Grid: Houses For Escape Across North America

Short Summary

To find inspiration for off-grid living, explore 'Off the Grid: Houses for Escape Across North America' by Dominic Bradbury.
This visually captivating book showcases over forty unique residences set against diverse North American landscapes.
From secluded forest retreats to desert sanctuaries and coastal havens, each home reflects a sustainable and innovative approach to off-grid living.
With 400 color illustrations, the book serves as a source of inspiration for those seeking an escape from urban life and a deeper connection to nature.
Explore the intersection of clever architecture, environmental consciousness, and the beauty of living off the grid in this concise and visually stunning collection.

For additional details, you can refer to the full article on Business Insider here.

Advice from seasoned off-gridders emphasizes thorough research using platforms like landwatch.com, checking county websites for building codes, and physically exploring potential areas. Each region has its pros and cons.

4. Living Off The Grid In The USA: Not A One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Decision Factors And The Necessity of Water

In the quest for off-grid living, the path is deeply personal and subjective, shaped by individual preferences, needs, and values. Factors such as location, climate, water availability, and community dynamics play crucial roles in the decision-making process.

For some, the goal might be a homestead nestled in the mountains, surrounded by lush trees and a pond, while others may opt for the high desert, embracing minimal building codes and a like-minded community. Politics, remote work possibilities, and proximity to amenities like grocery stores also weigh heavily in the equation.

One essential consideration is water, a lifeline for off-gridders. Visiting potential areas, engaging with locals, and understanding the water situation—well depths, water tables, and rainfall patterns—become paramount. The choice between drilling wells, water hauling, or catchwater systems depends on the region's characteristics, especially in the face of looming drought conditions.

Individual Priorities And State Regulations

Advice from seasoned off-gridders emphasizes thorough research using platforms like landwatch.com, checking county websites for building codes, and physically exploring potential areas. Each region has its pros and cons. Nevada may offer cheap land, but water scarcity looms. The Pacific Northwest provides respite from water issues but comes at a higher cost. Montana, Idaho, Utah, and New Mexico each have their unique appeal, whether in climate, land prices, or off-grid building regulations.

Ultimately, the "best" state is subjective, hinging on individual priorities. Factors like access to healthcare, political and cultural alignment, and weather preferences all contribute to the decision-making process. Some may find their ideal off-grid haven in the lush landscapes of the PNW, while others might be drawn to the arid beauty of New Mexico. As the journey unfolds, it becomes a quest for the perfect balance, a blend of personal values and the practical considerations of off-grid living.

5. Best States For Off The Grid Living

Embarking on the off-grid lifestyle, once considered extreme, is gaining popularity for its myriad benefits.

Beyond the initial daunting image, it offers self-sufficiency, a reduced carbon footprint, and the chance to dwell in untouched natural surroundings.

As the appeal grows, the choice of the right state becomes pivotal for a successful off-grid experience.

  • Abundance of cheap, undeveloped land.
  • Mild climate, allowing for year-round crop growth.
  • Presence of off-grid communities focusing on education, organic farming, and green technology.

1. Alabama

Alabama beckons off-gridders with its vast, affordable, undeveloped lands. The mild climate facilitates year-round cultivation, making it an ideal haven for those looking to build and grow their own farms. The state hosts numerous off-grid communities focusing on education, organic farming, and green technology.

Alabama Landscape

Alabama Landscape

2. Missouri

  • Affordable land prices with few building codes in rural areas.
  • Rich in natural resources, including streams, forests, and fertile land.
  • Home to off-grid communities like Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

Renowned for its affordable land prices and lack of restrictive building codes, Missouri is a hotspot for off-grid living. Homesteaders here can construct their homes without bureaucratic hurdles. The state's rich natural resources, including streams and forests, complement the off-grid lifestyle, exemplified by communities like Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

Missouri Landscape

Missouri Landscape

3. Georgia

  • Mild climate and diverse landscape suitable for various crops and livestock.
  • Presence of off-grid communities emphasizing organic farming and renewable energy.

With its diverse landscape, ranging from coastal plains to rugged mountains, Georgia offers an appealing canvas for off-gridders. The mild climate and abundance of natural resources make it an excellent choice. The state is home to communities emphasizing organic farming and renewable energy, aligning with the off-grid ethos.

Georgia Landscape

Georgia Landscape

4. Tennessee

  • Mild winters, hot summers, and picturesque countryside.
  • Affordable living with supportive legislation like the "Freedom to Farm Act."
  • Rich in natural resources such as timber, water, and fertile soil.

Tennessee's mild weather, picturesque countryside, and affordable living make it an off-grid gem. The state's commitment to renewable energy, coupled with legislation like the "Freedom to Farm Act," adds to its allure. Abundant natural resources further empower homesteaders to achieve self-sufficiency.

Tennessee Landscape

Tennessee Landscape

5. Texas

  • Second-largest state with diverse landscapes and a sunny climate.
  • Incentives like tax breaks and rebates for renewable energy users.
  • No building codes in rural areas, making it easier for off-grid homesteaders.

Texas, with its vast and diverse landscape, beckons those seeking a sunny, rural lifestyle. The warm climate is ideal for solar energy enthusiasts, and the absence of building codes in rural areas simplifies the off-grid setup. Government incentives for renewable energy users sweeten the deal for aspiring homesteaders.

Texas Landscape

Texas Landscape

6. Louisiana

  • Diverse landscape with swamps, bayous, and beaches.
  • Mild winter weather, suitable for year-round crop cultivation.
  • Tenth in the country for renewable energy production.

Known for its rich culture and humid subtropical climate, Louisiana offers a unique off-grid experience. Abundant water resources, coupled with the state's focus on renewable energy, make it a suitable choice. Mild winters enhance its appeal for year-round crop cultivation.

Louisiana Landscape

Louisiana Landscape

7. Indiana

  • Temperate climate, abundant natural resources, and low cost of living.
  • Low population density, providing ample rural areas for off-grid living.
  • No special regulations for off-grid living.

Indiana, with its temperate climate, abundant natural resources, and low living costs, is a hidden gem for off-gridders. The lack of special regulations for off-grid living makes it an ideal state. The state's water resources, including rivers and lakes, provide additional advantages for sustainable living.

Indiana Landscape

Indiana Landscape

8. Hawaii

  • Ultimate off-grid paradise with year-round warm weather.
  • Challenges due to its remote location, high cost of living, and land acquisition difficulties.
  • Emphasis on the necessity of solar power in this region.

Hawaii, a paradise with warm weather and abundant freshwater, poses challenges due to its remote location and high cost of living. Solar power becomes a necessity, but strict building codes require careful planning. Despite the hurdles, the allure of Hawaii's beauty makes it a dream destination for off-grid enthusiasts.

Hawaii Landscape

Hawaii Landscape

9. Colorado

  • Vast natural landscapes, abundant sunshine, and potential for Rockies.
  • Clear regulations and helpful resources for off-grid living.
  • Dry climate ideal for solar panels.

Colorado's vast landscapes, abundant sunshine, and clear regulations make it an attractive state for off-grid living. The dry climate favors solar panels, and the state's commitment to sustainability aligns with the off-grid ethos. Careful consideration of water availability is essential in this diverse state.

Colorado Landscape

Colorado Landscape

10. Arkansas

  • Mild, humid climate with plenty of rainfall.
  • Budget-friendly land prices with ample resources for sustainable farming.
  • Lack of zoning restrictions in many rural areas.

With a mild, humid climate and ample rainfall, Arkansas stands out for sustainable farming and homesteading. Affordable land prices and a lack of zoning restrictions in rural areas make it an off-grid haven. Abundant sunshine adds to the viability of rooftop solar systems.

Arkansas Landscape

Arkansas Landscape

Other States To Consider

States like Oregon, with a robust off-grid community, and California, known for sustainable living practices, are worth considering. Oregon's pleasant climate and California's innovative off-grid infrastructure offer unique advantages for those embracing this lifestyleAlaska could be another interesting option worth considering. 

Factors To Consider

When choosing a state for off-grid living, factors such as access to natural resources, healthcare, proximity to supplies, water availability, and state regulations should be thoroughly researched. The off-grid lifestyle, rooted in centuries-old ideology, offers not only sustainability but also a transformative and responsible way of life. The journey into self-sufficiency is a personal exploration, and each state presents its own set of opportunities and challenges for those daring to tread the off-grid path.

6. Dangers Of Living Off The Grid: How Hard Is It to Survive Off The Grid?

In a Guardian article published last year, the challenges and motivations of individuals choosing to live "off the grid" in remote areas of Colorado are explored. The narrative features stories like that of Masyn Moyer, a proponent of self-reliance, who remodeled a 19th-century mining cabin in the Rocky Mountains, and Eric Frickey, who initially lived in a beat-up recreational vehicle in the San Luis Valley.

The off-grid lifestyle involves using wood stoves for heating, relying on solar panels for power, and often staying under the radar of tax collectors. The article highlights the dangers, especially the extreme cold in the Rocky Mountains, exemplified by a tragic incident where a family of three was found dead. Contrary to romanticized depictions in popular culture, the piece underscores the harsh realities of off-grid living, emphasizing the importance of careful planning and preparation.

Living Off The Grid: Imagination vs. Reality

While the idyllic vision portrayed in Thoreau’s "Walden" or the tragic storyof Chris McCandless in "Into The Wild" appear highly appealing in an excessively materialistic society increasingly detached from nature and immersed in virtual realms, it's crucial to pause and evaluate the realistic prospects of embracing an off-the-grid lifestyle in the US or elsewhere.

The determining factors extend beyond the choice of a state and encompass considerations of suitable climate, food resources, water availability, and access to basic healthcare services.

Henry David Thoreau's “Walden” exemplifies how a connection with nature enables one to live without the technological conveniences of the time, emphasizing the significance of self-discovery and detachment from societal norms.

The hero of Into The Wild, Chris McCandless tragically passed away at the age of 24 on August 18, 1992, 112 days after venturing into the wild.

His lifeless body was discovered 19 days later, with various theories surrounding his demise, but malnutrition and hunger are believed to be the primary causes.

According to the last person who saw him alive, Chris aimed to immerse himself in nature for a few months.

For further insights into the best states for living off the grid, you can explore LawnStarter's comprehensive study here.

For a global perspective on off-the-grid living, check out TheTravel's list of 25 Places Around The World Perfect To Live Off The Grid, featuring unique locations from various countries and continents.

Closing Thoughts 💭

As you can see, the US is a thriving haven for off-grid living, with numerous states and welcoming communities. This lifestyle is not limited to the country; you can explore opportunities abroad. However, ensure you choose a location with stable energy supplies, access to food and water, and good healthcare. Just like any life adventure, thorough preparation is crucial. We hope you enjoyed exploring potential places for off-grid living in the US!

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FAQs❓

1. Why Are So Many People Going Off-Grid?

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People choose off-grid living for self-sufficiency, connection to nature, and community, embodying a sustainable lifestyle.
It involves generating electricity, collecting water, and growing food.
Motivations include disconnecting from modern pressures, privacy concerns, and embracing eco-friendly living.
Going off-grid is a deliberate choice for greater independence and a simpler, less system-dependent life.

2. Can You Legally Live Off The Grid In The US?

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Living off the grid is not explicitly illegal in any of the 50 U.S. states. However, various regions have stringent regulations or outright bans on crucial off-grid infrastructure. For instance, Mississippi mandates grid-tied systems, making disconnection illegal. For additional details on the legality of off-grid living across states, refer to this resource: World Population Review.

3. Where Is The Best Place To Go Off The Grid?

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For living off the land, choose a place with a low population to ensure abundant food sources.
Opt for a cold climate, where the ground stays below 55 degrees year-round for better food preservation. Look for areas with forests and wildlife for both food and building materials.
Consider regions like the upper Midwest for a temperate forest option, following the survival methods of early U.S. settlers.
Alternatively, go for a hot maritime climate with access to the ocean for a constant food supply, similar to how islanders live.
However, be cautious of disease and insects in warmer areas and the risk of hurricanes in coastal regions.
Overall, prioritize a temperate forest for a better life expectancy.

References 💡

  1. 8 Off-the-Grid Communities Carving a Sustainable Path
  2. 2023's Best States to Live Off the Grid
  3. ‘When it’s cold at night, it’s no longer a game’: living off the grid in Colorado