In most states living off the grid might be illegal, however, there are some states with more relaxed laws where you can live off the grid more or less legally. Before you go living off the grid you will have to do some research on the state’s current laws for off grid living, keep in mind that a new law might get voted any time and it is better to ask your local authorities.
Living off the grid is legal in all states, as there are no laws prohibiting living off the grid in any state or county. However, there are some states which indirectly make living off the grid either illegal or in a gray area, mostly with laws regarding harvesting rainwater, septic systems, and zoning laws. On the other hand, there are some states where you can not only live legally off the grid but the local authorities also offer generous incentives and rebates for doing so.
By far one of the biggest issues you might face as a beginner off gridder is the lack of electricity, while most people will use solar panels for the long run, my recommendation is to also get a power generator for those emergency situations. I personally use a power generator that has 7500 rated Watts and it is transfer switch ready Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
There is no one perfect state for off-grid living, there are some which aid you in your journey and there are some states which will hinder you with high taxes, strict building codes, and so on. Your number one concern should be the availability of water, how far is it and how can you transport it to your off-grid home. Secondly is the ability to grow food especially if you have a family, living off the grid is easier alone but when someone else is relying on you for their next meal then it starts to become more challenging.
As you will be living off the grid your shopping will be limited, my recommendation is to check out my articles on Longest lasting canned foods ( Up to 30+ years ) and Food that last for 25 years ( Top 37 ). For the first couple of months or even a year, you will be mostly eating canned food, in case you get lucky and your first crops are actually successful you should start thinking of ways how to store them long-term.
Off Grid Living Legal States
Off-grid living, which involves living independently without relying on public utilities, is generally legal in many states. However, the specific regulations and requirements can vary. Some states have embraced off-grid living and have fewer restrictions, allowing individuals to freely pursue this lifestyle. These states often have favorable zoning laws, building codes, and regulations that accommodate alternative energy systems and sustainable living practices.
Examples of off-grid-friendly states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont, among others. It’s important to research and understand the specific laws and regulations of each state to ensure compliance and a smooth off-grid living experience.
Living off the grid in Maine is legal, you can legally harvest rainwater and the zoning laws are fairly relaxed. The state offers several incentives for renewable energy systems, and oftentimes you can get the entire solar power setup for around 50% cheaper. On the other hand, Maine tends to have a fairly harsh climate, and the growing season is fairly short. Although you will be limited to what you can grow due to the short growing season but there are plenty of different types of crops that do thrive in Maine. If you want to know which states are the best for preppers then check out my recent article Best states for preppers ( Top 15 ).
Living off the grid in Vermont is legal, in addition to this, the state does provide several incentives and rebates for renewable energy. On the other hand, Vermont’s climate is not ideal for living off the grid, but this is fairly subjective, if you are used to cold winters then you will have no problem living off the grid in this state. Although living off the grid in Vermont is legal, it tends to be fairly expensive due to the high taxes and the high cost of living.
Living off the grid in North Carolina is legal, and arguably this is one of the best off grid states. You can legally harvest rainwater in North Carolina and the building codes are fairly relaxed. North Carolina has plenty of natural resources, although some of the lands are not that fertile which means that you will most likely have to make your own compost to grow crops. If you want to know which are the best off grid TV shows then check out my recent article ( Top 29 ) Best off grid tv shows.
Living off the grid in Alabama is legal, although this state is mostly categorized as a poor state, but this state is ideal for living off the grid. You will have no issues with harvesting rainwater in Alabama as there is plenty of fresh water and you can legally harvest rainwater. Alabama does have its fair share of problems, but from an off grid laws stand of point, this is probably one of the most accepting states for living off the grid.
Living off the grid in Georgia is legal, you can legally harvest rainwater and the zoning laws are fairly relaxed. In addition to this Georgia has plenty of fertile lands which make it excellent for living off the grid. On the other hand from an economic stand of point, Georgia is not the greatest, but this means that you will need less money to live off the grid in this state. If you want to live off the land for free then check out my recent article How to live off the land with no money ( Free Land & Housing ).
Living off the grid in Louisiana is legal, this is one of the few states which does offer incentives and rebates for low-income housing and for renewable energy as well. Louisiana has fairly relaxed laws regarding homeschooling, zoning, and harvesting rainwater. At first glance, Louisiana is an excellent state for living off the grid and there are no laws prohibiting you from living off the grid in the middle of nowhere as long as you own the plot of land.
Living off the grid in Indiana is legal, harvesting rainwater is also legal and the state does offer several incentives and rebates for renewable energy. The zoning laws are fairly relaxed in Indiana, and there are no laws directly impacting off grid living. You have to watch out for the local laws in regard to septic system setups as some counties tend to be fairly strict.
Living off the grid is legal, but that doesn’t mean that there are no hurdles to jump across. A couple of years ago harvesting rainwater in Colorado was illegal, today however you can legally harvest rainwater. Although you can legally harvest rainwater it is still heavily regulated and restricted in some cases. Colorado has a massive water shortage, so it is fairly probably that the restrictions and regulations regarding rainwater will get stricter in the near future.
Living off the grid in Arkansas is legal, some counties do actually encourage living off the grid by providing incentives and rebates for renewable energy. Arkansas has its fair share of problems, but living off the grid is not one of them, the zoning laws are fairly relaxed and you can also harvest rainwater without any regulations or restrictions.
Living off the grid in Ohio is legal, in addition to this, Ohio has low taxes, cheap land, and a long growing season making it a great off grid state. Laws are also relaxed and some counties do not even have a permit office. There are several communities of Amish in Ohio which live off the grid for the most part. There are some risks of floods and earthquakes happening and in terms of energy, you will find it harder to generate electricity using solar panels due to the local weather.
Living off the grid in Montana is legal and similar to Alaska, Montana is also a great place to live off the grid, having relaxed laws, and abundant resources but higher than average property taxes. If you do not mind the cold winters then this state is ideal, there is plenty of water and the population density is fairly low. Homeschooling laws are also relaxed but you do have to notify the authorities if you decide to do so. As for having animals and growing crops, you will need permits for them.
There is a law in Montana that actually prohibits drinking the milk from your own cows, but other than that the laws are more relaxed. In addition to this, the gun laws are fairly relaxed. One of the great benefits of going off the grid in Montana is the abundance of wood with which you can easily build your homestead and also use it for cooking and heating.
Living off the grid in Alaska is legal and some would say that Alaska is an ideal state to live off the grid, population density is fairly low and there is an abundance of resources like wild animals, fish, wood, and plenty of rainfall. The downside of living off the grid in Alaska is the cold and long winter, you really need to get prepared for the winter. A simple shelter will not be enough here as you will have to build a well-insulated shelter so you won’t freeze during wintertime.
For food and water, you do not have to worry about much as there are a lot of lakes and freshwater streams in Alaska. You can hunt and fish in all seasons and you can also preserve the food by salting it or smoking it. Although it has plenty of resources you will find that you will have a difficult time growing crops here.
The cost of living is fairly cheap as it doesn’t have an estate tax, income tax, or inheritance tax. The laws regarding living off the grid are relaxed as it would be impossible for everyone to connect to the grid due to the large distances between houses. Another bonus for living off the grid in Alaska is that homeschooling laws are not as strict as in some of the other states. Currently, there are also no laws prohibiting you from owning a gun, gardening, or having farm animals provide that you can care for them.
Living off the grid in Nevada is legal, the off-grid community in Nevada is fairly large, laws are more relaxed but you will find it difficult to grow crops and find sufficient water. During the daytime the temperatures are high and during the night they are cold, sometimes even going below freezing. The land here is cheap but the ability to find water will make or break your off grid living experience. Nevada would not be my first pick to live off the grid but there are a lot of people who do not want to handle the problems which come with winter.
Nevada is also prone to frequent droughts and the occasional earthquake, although not ideal for living off the grid this is one of the states which has relaxed laws regarding off grid living.
Living off the grid in Texas is legal, and although there are a limited number of freshwater sources, Texas is ideal for growing crops due to the long growing season. Texas has also some of the most relaxed laws regarding living off the grid and gun ownership. The costs of living are fairly low and the population density is also low compared to other states. Food won’t be an issue in Texas as there is an abundance of wild game and you can also grow crops.
Before going off the grid in Texas you must find a suitable water source, keep in mind that you will need to store a lot of water for yourself and your crops as water evaporates quickly in this arid environment. Growing crops in Texas is also viable although you will need to find suitable land for it as not all areas of Texas are good for growing crops, usually, the more fertile part of Texas are in the eastern parts. Texas is also abundant in solar energy which you can use to generate electricity with solar panels.
Living off the grid in Tennessee is legal and it is one of the few states which actually has all four seasons, although the warmer seasons last longer than the colder ones. This makes Tennessee an ideal place to hunt, raise livestock, and grow crops. Laws are more relaxed and unlike in some other states you can legally collect and use your own rainwater. Water is also abundant here due to the local climate and numerous freshwater springs.
One of the major flaws is that it is in a Tornado area, on the other hand, the cost of living is below average compared to the other states. Homeschooling is regulated in Tennessee and not as relaxed as in some of the other states like Alaska.
Living off the grid in Oregon is legal, in addition to this Oregon has several large off-grid communities like the Three Rivers Recreational Area which is located in central Oregon. Laws are one of the most relaxed here and some laws even help you to live off the grid, on the other hand, the property tax is higher than in some of the other states mentioned here. Oregon has a mild climate with plenty of fresh water and wild game, laws regarding growing crops and raising livestock are also relaxed.
Living off the grid in Idaho is legal, although the climate in Idaho is fairly harsh with temperate rain forests and plenty of lakes and freshwater. Food will not be a big concern for you in Idaho as there is plenty of fish and wild game, for growing crops it is not an ideal state due to the relatively short growing season. The laws regarding living off the grid are not so relaxed although there are several communities living in tiny homes, just make sure to inform yourself about the local water rights as the water source which you use could be owned by someone already.
Living off the grid in Wyoming is legal, although Wyoming has long winters and shorter summers, some consider it a semi-arid state where you could have some trouble finding water as there are restrictions for collecting rainwater. The cost of living in Wyoming is low, the only tax which is higher than the national average is the property tax, but considering how low the other taxes are you will end up paying less in the long run.
Living off the grid in Missouri is legal and this is one of the few states where living off the grid is encouraged, there are no laws against collecting rainwater and almost no requirements for septic systems. Missouri is also one of the best places for farming and growing livestock, summer is fairly long, and the winter is short and mild compared to other states. Living costs are higher here but the taxes are lower than the national average. As it is a mostly mountainous region you will have no problem finding water or wild animals to hunt.
Living off the grid in Arizona is legal and the weather in Arizona is mild and the growing season is longer than average. The problem comes from the lack of water and local resources such as wood. Some people who are more accustomed to arid climates will choose Arizona as in addition to the longer growing season the land is cheap and the potential for generating your own electricity is high.
Living off the grid in Hawaii is legal, this state seems to be a dream location for anyone wanting to live off the grid, however, the land is extremely expensive, and living costs are also high as most of the day to day items are being imported. On the other hand, it is rich in local resources, mild climate, and has a good potential for generating your own electricity. In addition to the high cost of living and of the land, taxes here are also high, as for laws there is nothing, in particular, prohibiting you from living off the grid.
Living off the grid in Washington is legal, in addition to this, it has a temperate climate and abundant resources, although I have placed Washington state at the end of the list for several reasons. High population density, extremely strict building codes, expensive land, high taxes, and high cost of living.
- It’s important to thoroughly research and understand the laws and regulations surrounding off-grid living in different states. Each state has its own specific rules regarding building codes, zoning laws, renewable energy systems, water collection, waste disposal, and other off-grid living practices.
- Some states are known to be more accommodating to off-grid living than others. States like Arizona, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oregon have been considered more friendly towards off-grid living due to their lenient regulations and abundance of renewable energy resources.
- Before embarking on an off-grid living journey, it’s recommended to consult local authorities, such as county officials or zoning boards, to ensure compliance with local regulations. They can provide specific information regarding permits, restrictions, and any additional requirements for living off-grid within their jurisdiction.
What is the easiest state to live off grid?
The ease of living off the grid can vary depending on individual preferences and resources. However, some states known for their off-grid communities and favorable conditions for self-sufficiency include Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
Is it legal to live off the grid in the United States?
In the United States, the legality of living off the grid varies from state to state and is subject to local regulations. While some areas have more lenient regulations and are welcoming to off-grid living, others may have stricter requirements or zoning restrictions.
What is the cheapest state to live off the grid in?
The cost of living off the grid can depend on various factors such as land prices, access to resources, and local regulations. States like Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee are often considered more affordable for off-grid living due to lower land prices and a lower cost of living compared to other states.
What are the top 10 states for off-grid living?
The top 10 states for off-grid living can vary depending on individual preferences and needs. However, some states often mentioned for their off-grid potential and sustainable living communities include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont.