In most states living off the grid might be illegal, however, there are some states with more relaxed laws where you can live off grid more or less legally. Before you go living off the grid you will have to do some research of the state’s current laws on off grid living, keep in mind that a new law might get voted any time and it is better to be prepared than getting fined or even worse end up in jail.
The off grid living legal states are, Alaska, Nevada, Montana, Texas, Tennesse, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Missouri, Ohio, Arizona, Hawaii, and Washington. While some states will encourage you to live off the grid others outright will make it impossible to do it legally. Generally speaking, states which have a lot of remote wilderness are more likely to facilitate living off the grid.
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 which has 7500 rated Watts and it is transfer switch ready Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
There is not 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 permit 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 facility. 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 than 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 and Food that last for 25 years. 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 on how to store them long term.
This 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 to 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 winter time.
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 with salting it or smoking it. Altho it has plenty of resources you will find that you 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 and having farm animals provide that you can care for them.
The off-grid community in Nevada is fairly large, laws are more relaxed but you will find it difficult growing crops and finding sufficient water. During day time the temperatures are high and during the night they are cold, sometimes even going below freezing. 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, altho not ideal for living off the grid this is is one of the states which ha relaxed laws regarding off grid living.
Similar to Alaska Montana is also a great place to live off the grid, having relaxed laws, abundant resources but higher than average property taxes. If you do not mind the cold winter 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 to drink 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 in going off grid in Montana is the abundance of wood with which you can easily build your homestead and also use it for cooking and heating.
Altho there a limited amount of fresh water 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. Living cost is 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 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 is on the eastern part of it.
Texas is also abundant in solar energy which you can use to get electricity with solar panels.
This is one of the few states which actually has all four seasons, altho 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 but on the other hand living costs are 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.
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, but 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.
The climate is fairly harsh with temperate rain forest and plenty of lakes and fresh water. Food also 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 altho 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.
It has long winter times and shorter summers, some consider it a semi-arid state where you could have some trouble finding water as there are restrictions in collecting rainwater. The cost of living in Wyoming is low, the only tax which is higher than average is the property tax, but considering how low the other taxes are you will end up paying less in the long run. Homeschooling laws are also relaxed in Wyoming as there is no need to inform the state about it.
Missouri is one of the few states where living off grid is legal, 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.
With low taxes, cheap land and a long growing season make Ohio a grate 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 in 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.
The weather is mild and the growing reason 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 longer growing season the land is cheap and the potential for generating your own electricity is high.
Hawaii 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 law there is nothing, in particular, prohibiting you from living off the grid.
Washington has a temperate climate and abundant resources, altho I have placed Washington state on the end of the list for several reasons. High population density, extremely strict building codes, expensive land, high taxes, high cost of living and most importantly in the case of a major SHTF event such an imminent war Washington will most likely be targeted.
Things to consider before choosing an off grid legal state
Ideally, you would want a more temperate climate with mild winters than the harsh winters for example in Alaska. If you are planning to live off the grid at some point you will want to grow some crops and having a larger time for crops to grow will ensure your food pantry will be full by the winter time. In addition to this, you need to take in consideration how long the actual winter lasts and what is the average temperature during winter time.
If you choose a state which has a mild winter you won’t have to worry about heating and insulation as much, but there are people who actually prefer these colder climates for its “wilderness” factor and I certainly can understand that. In case you choose a more arid climate you should keep in mind that growing crops here will be difficult and watering your crops might become a challenge.
This is often overlooked by new off gridders, but the terrain should be adequate for your off grid homestead and you should have the ability to grow at least some crops. Ease of access to water is a major concern for most off gridders, while in most cases you will have to improvise on how you get your water but in the case, the water source is miles away that will become more and more difficult.
Road access is also very important, most people want to be as far away from roads as possible but in the case of an emergency having a road miles away could end up in a disaster. In addition to this if you want to grow crops you will need to find suitable land for it, by that I do not mean that any flat land will be good as most new homesteaders will tell you that different crops need different kinds of soil.
The ability to have a freshwater source is vital, without it no matter how good you might think your off-grid location is if there is no fresh water source nearby your off grid adventure will come to an abrupt end. In the case of more arid states, water should be your number one concern here you will most likely have to get water from the ground or collect the occasional rainwater. Altho be careful as there are laws in some states which do not allow you to collect rainwater or get water from the ground without a license.
Land costs money but the more inland in the USA you go the cheaper it is. There are some states where you can claim land for free but usually, this means that you need to build a house and connect it to the grid. The main goal of living off the grid is to be self-reliant and there is no point going into debt to buy land. Keep in mind that after you buy land you will need to pay property tax, another very important question is how costly will it become to get resupplied.
In the beginning, you will probably take several trips to a local store till you become more self-reliant, make an estimated calculation on how much will cost you these shopping trips for the cost of gas to the cost of the actual supplies. However in my recent article How to live off the land with no money, you will find that there are several ways of not only living off the land for free but in some cases, you can also own land for free.
Off grid laws
Before deciding in which state you go living off the grid make some research as of how friendly the laws are for off gridders. Some states might have relaxed laws while others make it virtually impossible to live off the grid legally. Keep an eye out for past local news if off gridders have been evicted by law enforcement. Another aspect to consider is the local crime rate if you have found your perfect off-grid location but the crime rate is high then you are probably better not moving there as who knows what might happen when a career criminal finds out of your isolated off grid cabin. In my recent article How to live off the grid legally, you will find that there are several loopholes in the laws which you should definitely know.
Usually the denser the population is the harder it is to live off the grid, even if you find some isolated spot you could end up with unwanted neighbors which simply move there because it is cheap or they are hiding from law enforcement.
If you are lucky enough to get into a small off grid community your off grid experience will be much better, as you will learn a lot from older more established off gridders.
While there are a lot of grate off-grid places of which you can choose, you also need to know how safe they are in terms of natural disasters. Places with frequent earthquakes, forest fires, floods and so on are not ideal living conditions especially for living off the grid as rescue could be much more difficult here and even smaller local disasters could end up being a major one for you.
Whiles some people go off the grid without having any electricity at all, but if you are new to this you will find it very hard to go long periods of time without it. You do not have to get hooked on the local power grid to get electricity, instead, you can generate your own electricity with solar power.
No matter in which state you decide to go living off the grid you will need to make a lot of research not only about the building permits but on laws regarding farming, growing crops homeschooling and the ability to gather rainwater. Choose a climate with which you are familiar with, especially if you are planning to grow crops and do not forget to check where is the nearest available water source.