Like many things, the best states to homestead in are in the eye of the homesteader.
Modern homesteading is a booming trend right now, and masses of people are migrating from cities to the rural areas, or building urban homesteads throughout our nation's cities. And it's not just about free land, which actually is a lot harder to come by than people have been led to think.
While people homestead for a variety of reasons, most share a common desire for simplicity and self-reliance. Homesteads take on the personality of the homesteader, and come in a variety of sizes and scope, with different goals in mind. The best states to homestead really depend on the goals of the homesteader.
In a nation as diverse in its geography as the United States is, every homesteader can find the right fit for them. Maybe you're interested in a place where homeschooling your kids is easy, or where property taxes don't shoot through the roof. It may take some looking, and it may take some moving, but somewhere out there is the perfect spot for each family.
Here are the best states to homestead in when considering five popular factors for modern homesteaders.
For the Farmer
When some folks step into the homesteading world, they are looking for one thing: food. These homesteaders are looking to live in an area where conditions are right for growing crops and their harvests will be healthy.
The best states to homestead in for farmers must have a few things. For starters, they must have a a generous amount of rainfall and good soil for growing crops. In addition the temperatures must be ideal for growing all varieties of crops. An abundant growing season is vital.
For the farming homesteader, the best state to homestead in is Virginia. This state was founded on farming and its productive soils and life giving rains will make growing crops an easy proposition for homesteaders.
Homesteaders in Virginia won't have to worry about large tracts of land there. Small gardens and creativity can allow people to produce a lot of food in a small area.
Best state for a homestead garden: Virginia
Runners up: Iowa, Maine
Now when determining the best state to homestead in for sheer abundance, modern homesteaders need to look for an area where natural resources are more giving than elsewhere. Our nation is in fact home to one of the most abundant places on earth, and history proves that.
Prior to the intervention of Europeans to America, this continent was home to a diverse, vast, and complex array of societies. Some people were farmers, some were nomadic hunters, and others practiced both. The easiest way to identify a tribe's lifestyle was to look at their homes. If the home was easy to move, say a tipi for example, the tribe was nomadic and wandered for food. If the homes were permanent the people typically farmed to some extent. The exception comes on our Northwest coast.
The tribes of the Northwest coast were the only people on this continent who had permanent shelters that did not farm. The land they lived on was that abundant. Both on water and land, this land proved the most abundant in America. For a homesteader looking for an area where the natural abundance is the highest, the best states to homestead in are in the northwest coast; particularly coastal Oregon.
Most abundant state to homestead: Oregon
Runner up: Washington
Cheapest Cost of Living
For some aspiring homesteaders out there, the best states to homestead in are the ones that allow the cheapest acquisition of land. Cheap land affords the homesteader the opportunity to get up and running in a self-sufficient way, with a smaller degree of financial risk.
On the flip side however, the cheaper lands tend to be the least productive lands in America so creating a self-reliant homestead requires creativity.
The cheapest land typically is found in the Great Basin, or the lands of Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. The arid climate here makes growing food challenging, but buying land an affordable possibility. One exception is the state of Arkansas that offers buyers a variety of cheap land options.
Cheapest state to homestead: Arizona
Runner up: New Mexico
Honorable mention: Arkansas
Many folks who go down the homesteading path do so out of a desire to get closer to nature. Our nation houses many beautiful areas and if you look hard there are still a few nooks and crannies to get away to.
Homesteading oftentimes requires much labor outdoors, and while you are outside you might as well have the most majestic backdrop you can. Plenty of ranching goes on in Montana
If the best states to homestead in were decided by scenic beauty, Montana would have to come in first place.
Montana's big skies and beautiful landscapes make it an ideal location for folks who like to get out and explore. Not only does it offer majestic mountains, but the broken Missouri Breaks country is a hidden gem of America.
Most scenic homesteads: Montana
Runner up: Colorado
Finally, some may believe the best states to homestead in are the states that offer the most remote locations in America. Many state laws have helped keep it that way.
The original settlers and homesteaders often lived miles from the nearest neighbor and were forced into off the grid self-sufficiency. For those individuals who truly want an off-grid experience the last truly wild place in America has to be Alaska.
Some people believe Alaska currently has a homesteading program, but these reports are untrue. However, due to tough geographic conditions, much of Alaska remains unsettled. There's no state income tax, and far less businesses than anywhere in a southern state or the Midwest.
With seemingly endless mountains and forests, anyone who wants to disappear can do just that in the Alaskan bush.
In fact, Alaska is home to many self-reliant people and families, such as the Collins Twins. If you are a hard core off-grid homesteading enthusiast, the small towns of Alaska just might be the place for you.
Most remote homesteads: Alaska
Runner up: Nevada, Wyoming
There you have it, the best states to homestead depending on what you are specifically looking for. For those interested, the simpleness of homesteading can be a great break from the fast paced world around us.