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When determining the best place in the US to go off-grid, it’s not just about where it is legal to live off-grid – you have to look at all the essential factors that are involved, too. Are you allowed to collect rainwater? What about building temporary structures or solar energy? 

There are many aspects to consider in order to successfully go off-grid. To make it easy for you, I’ve compiled a list of the best states in the US to go off grid so that you can choose the right one for you.


Related: Going off grid is a big topic. One that can potentially take years to know all the little ins and outs. Why not have all of that knowledge in one place? Well, Iʻve finally found the book that delivers, The Homestead Handbook. It goes over everything, from how to choose where to live to how to process your harvest. Youʻll want to add this one to your library.

The Homestead Handbook


My Grading Scale

I created a scale based on essential factors for living off grid to determine which state is the best. The essentials I ranked for starting and maintaining an off-grid homestead are:

  • Renewable Energy Sources
  • Water Sources and Availability
  • Ability to Grow Food
  • Freedom to be off-grid (how restrictive the government is)
  • Taxation and Living Costs

As you can probably assess from this list, some states, like California, may have renewable energy options, but incredibly high taxation and cost of living, making them less than ideal for going off-grid. 

To make it even easier for readers, I’ve made four separate charts: the Cheapest State for going Off Grid, the Most Feasible State for going Off Grid, and the Most Free State to go Off-Grid (or, the state with the least government restrictions).

Cheapest State for going Off Grid

For this list, I kept it very simple and to the point: which states have low property taxes, a low cost of living, and inexpensive plots of land? I followed the World Population Review’s cost of living index to determine the cost of living in each state, which is based on cost of housing and basic needs per person.

StateCost of Land (per acre)Property TaxesCost of Living
Wyoming$1,5580.61%89.3
Montana$2,2830.84%106.9
Alabama$12,3560.41%89.3
Hawai’iVaries widely
$7000 – 1.2M
0.28%192.9
North Dakota$2,5170.98%98.8
Missouri$7,2330.97%87.1
Texas$7,5421.80%91.5

Wyoming is the clear winner for “Cheapest State” to go off-grid. They have the lowest cost per-acre of land, low property taxes and a generally low cost of living, too. 

That doesn’t necessarily make Wyoming the best overall state to go off-grid, however, because you have to consider building a homestead and using renewable energy, too. That’s why I also ranked the best states based on feasibility.

Most Feasible State for going Off Grid

The factors I considered for ‘feasible’ included the length of growing season for growing your own food, hunting or fishing legalities, access to water and/or annual rainfall, as well as renewable energy.

I based scores out of a maximum score of 5.

StateAgricultureHunting/FishingWater/RainEnergy
1. Hawaii5
Excellent – year round
5
 Fishing is permitted.Some areas (nature reserves or harbors) do not allow fishing.
Hunting permitted with a license, certain times of the year
5
Over 48 – 150 inches annual rainfall
Ideal for rainwater collection
5
Renewable energy widely used, year-round sun for solar energy
2.Missouri
Approx 7 months
5
Legal with a permit or license – lots of places to fish in the lakes
5
41 inches annual rainfall
Rainwater Collection unrestricted
5
Solar or other renewable energy sources are legal and for the most part unrestricted.
3.Alabama5
Excellent – 8/9 months
5
Legal with a permit or license

56 inches annual rainfall
Rainwater collection is legal, and a great option.Regular flooding can disrupt other water sources
3
Legal and solar is widely available, but some permits are required.
You may need an electrician to install your system and still be charged/metered for your solar power.
4. North Dakota
 (140 Days) short growing season
5
Legal, with permits or license, is popular in the state
5
15+ inches annual rainfall 
Law of appropriation, Very relaxed water regulations

Solar energy rebates available from the state
5. Montana3
(116 days)Short growing season
5
Legal, with permits or license, is popular in the state
3
15 inches annual rainfall, with some areas regularly experiencing drought
Strict laws regarding water, especially in times of drought.
4
Wind power is a popular choice, you may need permits for systems like solar.
6. Wyoming2

(50 to 110 Days, depending on location) short growing season
5
Legal, with permits or licenseExcellent fishing in rivers, hunting is popular in the state
3
13 inches annual rainfall
Drought conditions may be an issue
No Riparian Rights, Follow Prior Appropriation Rights throughout the state
5
Renewable energy is legal and encouraged. You can qualify for tax rebates based off of your system or solar panels.
6. Alaska
(105 days)Short Growing Season, but additional sunlight in the summer
5
Legal, with permits or license, with excellent sources of game and fish (like salmon) readily available
3
31 inches annual rainfall
May need a permit to collect water from your property
4
Solar energy is legal, Wind power is restricted.
6. Florida5
Excellent – year round
4
Legal with a license, but more restrictive than other locations (limited number of animals)
2
53.7 inches annual rainfall
Some locations restrict use of rainwater as a source of indoor or consumed water.
Water rights can be tricky, based on riparian rights and permits will most likely be required.
3
Legal and encouraged, but permit required for some systems.
Law may require a contractor set up your solar system.

With plenty of rainfall, warm weather and lots of freedom for renewable energy, is it any wonder Hawaii ranked the top for ‘Most Feasible State to go Off Grid’? But is it legal to go off grid in Hawaii? Check out this post to learn more about it.

Were you surprised by Missouri’s second-place slot on this list? Here’s one reason why: Missouri has a large Amish population, which means that a lot of the laws around renewable energy and water use have been established for a long time. Locations like Florida, although they highly encourage renewable energy, are more strict regarding permits and installation.

Most Free State for going Off Grid

Going off-grid is about more than being separate from the state-supplied utilities; it is about the freedoms that come with living off of your own land. I looked at which states support off-grid living in terms of legalities, water and building codes.

Here are the winners: 

Most freeLeast Free
StateLegal FactorsWasteOff-Grid WaterZoning/Building
Hawai’iLegal to live off grid.
Solar power is an ideal option, you need approval but that is very easy and some permits are issued free by the county.
Composting toilets allowed, but must be an approved-type
Recycling water is legal, but kitchen water is not included in the definition of ‘grey water’ for the state.
Rainwater collection is legal and plentiful!Generally you need permits to build, but the process is simple and straight-forrward.
Yurts, tiny homes and container homes are legal.
“No Permits Needed” laws for building additional structures on property with existing residential building. 
WyomingLegal to live off-grid
Solar can be self-installed
Wind power encouraged, but with some legal requirements
Outhouses and composting toilets legal
Recycling water is encouraged by the state
Droughts are common – rainwater harvesting is legal, but you should have a back-up option.
Water rights – State-owned  You must apply for a permit to use water, even on your own property 
Consider drilling a well for a long-term solution
Almost no building codes
Some locations you can build without a permit
Few zoning regulations
FloridaLegal to live off-grid, given you have an appropriate sewer system
Solar and wind power are encouraged, and tax rebates are available
Outhouses are illegal
Compost toilets allowed, under strict regulations
Water recycling is permitted
Rainwater collection is legal, abundant and encouraged.
Water usage on your land is highly regulated, look into the laws regarding lakes, ponds, streams and bays.A permit will likely be required.
Zoning rules vary widely by county. 
Agriculture options may be favorable with a designated minimum amount of land
Tiny homes may be legal.
MontanaState laws permit off-grid living, most relaxed laws for wind-power.
Solar power is legal
Outhouses and compost toilets are legal.
Water recycling is allowed, but you need to have a permit 
Droughts are common, do not depend on rainwater collection.
Water is owned by the state. You must apply to use water (even on your own property)
If you drill your own well, you must notify the state within 60 days to avoid a penalty.
Some counties do not require building/construction permits.
Relaxed zoning regulations 
MissouriOff-grid living is legal
Several well-established off-grid communities
Qualify for rebates with solar-power
Compost toilets and outhouses are generally illegal.
Water recycling is allowed, but there are stipulations about putting greywater into the ground.
Land owners have ‘reasonable use’ for water on their land.
Water diversion is permitted. 
Rainwater collection is legal.
A permit is required to dig a well on your own property.
Many areas without zoning regulations
Very few building requirements.
Easy to live in a mobile home, or tiny home.

Best Overall States for going Off Grid

To determine the “Best Overall States” for going off-grid, I looked at all the factors; government laws and taxes, cost of land and general cost of living, environment, climate and weather, and ability to grow your own food and supply your own water.

My top three states for going off-grid are Wyoming, Missouri and Hawai’i. Each one has its unique draws: 

WYOMING

Land and living is cheap in Wyoming and there is an abundance of hunting and fishing to meet your needs. However, you will have to plan a long-term solution for water not only because of droughts, but also strict government regulations.

Wyoming has long, hard winters that will make some types of home options more difficult to maintain, as you will have to think about heating for severe cold weather.


MISSOURI

Missouri is the top-pick for the continental USA, because it has rebates and incentives for off-grid living, and some well-established off-grid communities.

This state has a long growing season and favorable weather, but you may have a hard time with natural disasters (storms and tornadoes) and high property taxes.


HAWAII

Call me biased, but I say the overall best place to live off-grid is Hawai’i! Hawai’i’s weather, sunlight and regular rain make it ideal for living off-grid; however purchasing land can be difficult and the cost of living is the highest in the United States. Some of that cost goes with being an island.

Island life is not for everyone, in fact most people would be better off choosing a location in the lower 48, but if you go off-grid in Hawai’i you will be living in paradise without the hefty price tag.

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