The Best (and Worst) US States For Building Off The Grid

In this article I wanted to share my findings on which were the best (and worst) US States for building off the grid.  It isn't always wise to rely on the government for everything, especially these days. That's why many people are loosening the government's grip on them (and their pocketbooks) by going off-grid. This essentially means that they produce and use most of their own needs, such as electricity, water, food, and much more.

It can be a lot of work, but it can also be very rewarding. Not only do you get to become self-reliant, but you also get to help the environment by producing clean energy and water.

Best (and Worst) US States For Building Off The Grid

If you've made the wise decision to live off-grid, you want to start your new life in an equally wise location. Different states have different advantages and disadvantages of going off-grid. After analyzing a number of different factors, these are the best (and worst) states for building off the grid.


There are a number of different things to consider when calculating what states are good for living off-grid and which ones are not. Some of the things taken into consideration in this list include:

  • cost of land
  • building freedom
  • weather
  • taxes
  • local laws
  • population
  • quality of soil
  • community

Naturally, you want to pay as little for your piece of land as possible. That means you need to find a state with a lot of cheap land available. You also want to look into the laws to ensure that you can actually live how you want without getting fined or condemned. The weather doesn't have to be perfect, but you need good enough weather to house plants and animals.

It should also allow you to grow a garden. You want as few taxes as possible, especially when you're supporting yourself.  The more people in the area, the more air pollution as well as less land, so you want to select a location with a lower population, if possible. You also want the soil to be rich in nutrients so that you can grow vegetables and herbs. Finally, it can be helpful to have a community to turn to.

All considerations are important, and, the more that a state ranks highly in, the higher it ranks as a place for people living off-grid to move. However, most states are going to score highly in one area but not as high in other areas. The idea is to prioritize and consider as many factors as possible to get a complete picture of what it's going to be like living off the grid.

Best US States For Living Off the Grid

Not all states are created equal, especially when it comes to living off-grid. When you decide to make a choice to live off the land, you want to go to a place with laws and conditions that will help you become successful. Here are the top three best states for building independently.


Building An Off Grid Home in AlabamaThis southern US state is the best state to live self sufficiently in. Land in the state is extremely inexpensive, and the taxes are low, too. There's also plenty of land to go around since there aren't too many highly populated cities in the state.

Plus, there are a number of counties without building codes, so you don't have to build your home to a particular standard you may not agree with. It also doesn't hurt that there are plenty of gorgeous, natural sites in the area.

It's perfect for people who like to go hunting for their own meat. You'll also be able to grow a lot of food in the warm weather. There isn't much of a community, but some people live off the land to avoid others anyway. There's something to say for southern hospitality, and you will be pleasantly surprised when you make friends with the people you find.

2. Maine

Living Off The Grid in MaineThe land of lobster and Stephen King may surprise you by popping up on the list. However, there are plenty of reasons people who want to live independently should head north. Like Alabama, it has very few building regulations compared to other states.

In fact, Off-Grid Permaculture gives it a score of ten when it comes to states with no building codes & fewest regulations. The state also has a lot to offer when it comes to natural resources, such as lumber. You'll also be able to hunt or catch your food in the ocean. The growing season is short, but it is bountiful.

There's plenty of space, so you won't run into too much pollution or too much noise. The land is also affordable, and there is plenty of water available. Not only will you get to experience all seasons and some delicious, inexpensive seafood, but there are plenty of beautiful sites as well.

3. Missouri

Building an Off Grid Home in MissouriMissouri is another surprise to many. However, it's very well suited for independent living. The cost of land and the cost of living is low. It is a state with very few regulations on building, making it easy to customize your home how you want and live how you want to live.

There is plenty of water, and the soil is also good for planting. While in the middle of the country, it does have an impressive growing season as the south gets quite warm. There's also a relatively large community for people who choose to live off the land.

In fact, there's a community there called Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. You can go here to learn more and meet like-minded people. Missouri is the Gateway to the West, and it can also be the gateway into your new lifestyle.

Honorable Mentions: Georgia and Texas
Georgia has areas with very low populations, so land is cheap. The weather is also great for agriculture. Texas also has a lot of open space and warm weather.

Worst Us States For Living Off the Grid

Moving to the wrong state could mean a lot of wasted money and a lot of hassle. In many cases, you may not even to create your personal oasis the way you envision due to different laws. Here are the three worst states for building independently.

1. New York

It makes sense that New York would top the list of least attractive states for people who want to live independently. Most people go self-sufficient to stay away from others. However, New York is a pretty busy place. All of these people end up taking up most of the land and the natural resources in the area. Furthermore, it's one of the most expensive states in the US.

Although upstate New York is very scenic and beautiful, the cost per acre is one of the highest in the continental US.  New York State also has a high property tax rate. If you decide to build on your land, the state has some of the lowest ratings for relaxed regulations, so you should expect to run into problems with your building not being in code.

Even everyday items like fabric or cereal are more expensive. While people have tried in the past, it's best to avoid living in New York if you want to live a self-sufficient lifestyle.

2. Hawaii

Hawaii is beautiful. However, it's not a great place to live independently. For starters, it's a very expensive state. The land and all everyday items will be very expensive. You also have to remember that there isn't very much space. You'll be able to grow plenty of fruit in the space you do have, but there isn't a lot of meat to hunt. Sure, you can catch fish.

However, so can everyone else. Similar to New York, Hawaii also has very strict rules about building on the land. While water is readily available, you need to take into consideration the hazards that come with living in a tropical climate, such as hurricanes or heavy rains. The state may be beautiful, but you are far away from many comforts and people.

3. Illinois

With a large city like Chicago, it's easy to see how Illinois could be a bad spot for people who want to live off-grid. The area is expensive, and the north is quite densely populated. There may be some rivers and lakes, but the winters get very harsh. If you want to build, there are a lot of codes and requirements.

Honorable Mention: Alaska
Alaska may seem perfect since there's a lot of open space and no taxes, but the weather makes it almost impossible to grow food successfully. Also, the laws aren't in your favor, and there's no community.

We are using up the planet's resources, and we need to do something about it. One way to help is to create food, energy, and water instead of using them up. When you support your household completely by yourself, it also gives you more freedom. You aren't forced to pay the electric company's prices or the water company's prices.

You'll also know exactly how your water and food are treated before you consume them. However, it's important to pick the right place to live. There are the three best and three worst states for living independently. Continue your research and meet people with similar ideas to learn more and make the best decision for you.

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Building and Living Off The Grid
This website is a resource dedicated to providing valuable content for people wanting to build and live off the grid.  We cover everything from finding the perfect piece of land, to construction, power generation, water and food.