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The best state for homesteading depends on many things and may not be the same for everyone. Every state has pros and cons, so which is best for you will depend on how you rank the individual pros and cons. For example, I would never consider homesteading in Alaska; it is far too cold for me. My son, however, loves it there and many people successfully homestead in the state.

So to determine the best states for homesteading, I decided to look first at the factors I am looking for in a homesteading location. You may not agree with my ranking; that is fine. We don’t want to be bidding against each other for the one ideal piece of property. Here are some of the factors that I consider to be most important in choosing your homestead location.



Good Soil and Easy Access to Water

This seems obvious, but I once tried to build a homestead on hard Texas clay. I had chosen a house with land, without considering the quality of the land. It was hard digging for that garden and my vegetables were small and sometimes misshapen. Check the soil in many different places around the property and consider whether water is available near the garden spot and where you might want animals. Also check the quality of the water and consider having it tested.

Another thing to check is the history of the land. An environmental assessment will tell you whether it has any environmental risks associated with former use. You don’t want to be gardening on a former hazardous waste site. This may seem rare to you, but it happens more often than you might think.

Related – Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Moderate Temperatures

If you want to grow all your food, you need moderate weather and a long growing season. I consider USDA Hardiness Zone 7 to be a good cutoff for me. Lower zones can still be farmed, but you will need more land because of the shorter growing season.

I live in zone 9b where I have a long growing season. We grow two crops a year, planting in the early spring and in the late summer. Most plants die back at mid-summer because of the heat, but even then many plants thrive. While the garden produces well, people and animals may find the heat unbearable.

Southern states get more sun and are warmer, while coastal land benefits from the moderating effects of ocean breezes, but have higher humidity in general.

Remote Location or a Low Population Density

It is possible to homestead in the suburbs of a big city; however, most prepping homesteaders are looking for a more remote location. A remote location insulates you from many societal problems should SHTF, however it also might limit your access to emergency care or help when you need it. If you choose a remote location, take care to develop a good relationship with your neighbors, you will be relying on their skills as well as your own.

Instead of a remote location, you might choose a location in a state with low population density. Living near a small town has many of the advantages of the city, while still offering you insulation from the desperate masses.



Find a Community of Like-Minded People

Probably most important is choosing a place where you feel you belong. You belong because you love the area, but also because you have much in common with the community. If you don’t share similar values and ideologies with your neighbors, you may end up being the odd-man out.

To survive in a SHTF situation, you will need to band together with your neighbors. If they don’t trust you or feel that you aren’t their “type,” you may never be able to establish that connection. You could be shunned because of your politics or your beliefs on any particular issue. Get to know the neighbors before you buy.

Related –4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

My Thoughts on The Best States for Homesteading

The best state for homesteading is fairly personal and depends on our personal likes and dislikes. However, I am going to discuss the pros and cons of several states from my point of view. Perhaps you will have other areas of concern or reasons to choose a particular state. If so, leave me a comment below telling me why you like your state or don’t like mine.

States with Fertile Land, Easy Access to Water, and Moderate Temperatures

Oregon and Washington have fertile land, plenty of rain and moderate temperatures, putting them high on the list for farmers and some homesteaders. However, I would think carefully before locating in these states due to their high concentration of liberal voters. It is probably only a matter of time before these states pass laws against rainwater collection or other laws that may not be friendly to homesteaders. Unless you are like-minded, this may not be your community.

Virginia, Iowa, and Tennessee also have moderate temperatures, fertile land, and plenty of rain. Most homesteaders are able to grow good crops and raise animals. Land is moderately priced and the population density is favorable to homesteaders. You’ll find other homesteaders as well as experienced farmers here.

States with Warm Winters and Long Growing Seasons

The southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and eastern parts of Oklahoma enjoy mild winters, fertile land and generous rain fall. However, The summers can be hot, hot, hot. You’ll enjoy a long growing season, if you can work in the heat and humidity.

Choose your land carefully because some areas are prone to flooding and others are swampy during some months of the year.

Related –The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Moderate Temperatures, Good Soil and Rainfall

The summers are a little more comfortable in South Carolina and Georgia than in the steamier states of the south. It is still hot in the summer, however, the moderate humidity (inland) makes a world of difference. First frost is usually around October or November, so you’ll enjoy a long growing season with a mild winter. Some areas have rich black soil, while others have rocky clay, and still others are sandy, so check your soil before buying. South Carolina and Georgia land prices and taxes are very reasonable in most areas.

Make Sure You Have the Basics

New Mexico and Arizona show up on many homestead lists, however, I do not agree. For me, the lack of easily available water is a deal breaker.

They enjoy cheap land and warm weather, but it is tough to grow your own food without water. Many people truck in their water, but in a SHTF situation, it may not be as easy.

Which State is On Your List?

If your favorite state is not on the list, don’t worry. This list is colored by my own preferences for warm weather and inexpensive land, however there is no reason you can’t homestead anywhere.

Every state has its own challenges and advantages, so a lot depends on your skill level and how much land you can afford. Let me know your preferences in the comments below.

Other Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

You may not agree with my ranking; that is fine. We don’t want to be bidding against each other for the one ideal piece of property.

One of the most fascinating subjects I had to study for a captain’s license was weather forecasting. Back in the late 70s there was no Weather Channel with satellite photos or live radar images to rely on. We had to learn to forecast weather by observing the sky, our surroundings, and recording the change in the barometric pressure. Wind speed is deduced by how it affects objects around us. Offshore, we could look at the wave tops to judge the wind velocity. On land we observe tree branches, weeds, or grass.

When I first started studying weather forecasting, I had several good books on the subject with a pocket weather guide the easiest reference to carry around. A guide helps with determining the different cloud formations and the type weather that would be associated them. Periodically logging, every ½ to 1 hour, the changing barometric pressure in association with the clouds added another layer to the forecast. Next was the direction and speed of the wind. Subsequently, by recording the rise or fall of the barometric pressure over time, the wind direction and speed, and the cloud formations, a forecast would come together. It is important to note that low pressure systems will produce much more wind with unstable weather conditions, where high pressure systems produce milder, more unchanging conditions.

C. Crane CC Pocket AM FM and NOAA Weather Radio with Clock and Sleep Timer

When I first started watching the Weather Channel, in the mid-90s, they focused totally on reporting the weather. If and when some storm or weather event was happening, then they sent people out into the field to cover it. Back in the studio, a meteorologist would analyze the conditions as the weather progressed. That was great for me, because I seeing what I had been studying for the past 20 years and witnessing just how far weather forecasting had advanced.

Today, as I begin my studies on prepping, I realize the importance of knowing some basic weather forecasting. After all, the worst natural disasters in America are weather related. Therefore, understanding what effects weather will have on most any disaster is of a primary concern.

Observing a wildfire, we predict how the wind and humidity affects the speed at which the fire spreads. When a chemical spill or explosion occurs, the weather will determine areas in danger from the fallout. Understanding basic weather principles helps when considering how heavy rainfall may affect a local dam or roadways. Other factors help us predict foggy conditions, hail, ice, or snow. A summer stable high pressure area tends to produce heat waves, which are the number one cause of weather related fatalities in the U.S. Here in Texas, we know all about heatwaves and droughts.

The worst disasters in America are weather related.
The worst disasters in America are weather related.

Predicting the effects of the changing weather around us, gives us the ability to prepare for it. Once the SHTF and we are left to our own instincts, the weather will be a major factor affecting our survival. Subsequently, here are some questions to think about.

  • The Weather Channel will be able help until the electricity goes out, then what?
  • Do you have an emergency weather radio; one with a hand crank or solar cells?
  • What about weather (wx) broadcast on Short Wave, AM, or HAM radio?
  • Where do you find the frequencies that broadcast weather info and at what time they transmit?
  • What about a small handheld anemometer that also displays barometric pressure?
  • A pocket guide to weather forecasting stored in your prepping gear?

All these questions are easily solvable.

As an example of local awareness, here along the Gulf Coast of Texas, we get tropical fronts in the Spring and Summer. The warm, humid Gulf air is drawn inland to the mid-Atlantic states. Cool fronts descend on this area as the jet stream comes south and the cool dry air meets the warm humid air and a front develops. Low pressure systems have a counter-clockwise rotation and high pressure rotate clockwise. Low pressure systems tend to move rapidly where high pressure will remain stationary for some extended period of time. High pressure tends to steer low pressure. Lifelong residents on the Gulf Coast know all about hurricanes and flooding and they both are associated with high and low pressure systems.

Topography also plays a huge part in how weather will affect a geographic location. Learn the local weather patterns for the different seasons of the year where you live or plan on heading when bugging out. Knowing the local weather patterns and having a basic understanding of the weather, you will be surprised at how easy you can forecast the weather. Discerning the wind speed and direction, cloud formations, and barometric pressure, you will have all the data you need at your figure tips. The data is not that difficult to collect.

Use your field guide to classify the clouds and for a reference. Purchase a small, portable, digital weather station to obtain wind speed and pressure data called an anemometer, which are readily available at a nominal price. Also, a compass to record wind direction, a good mechanical pencil, and a waterproof note pad to log readings every hour or 1/2 hour, depending on the situation. Thus, for a small investment, you can have the tools for forecasting the weather in your bug out bag. What I use cost less than a good hunting knife and takes up about the same space. I carry them when I go out shooting pictures or go to the beach just to practice. If you fish, a small weather station would be an excellent tool to forecast the quality of fishing and a good excuse to buy one.

Having some basic weather forecasting knowledge could be the difference in knowing when to seek shelter from a rapidly approaching front, or getting caught off guard trying to shelter after it hits. Weather related incidents cause the worst disasters in the U.S. Many times, just by having a basic understanding of the weather, how it is going to affect your community, and what you need to do for shelter, could save a lot of lives. Make the investment in inexpensive, easy to understanding weather forecasting tools and learn how to use them. It is an enjoyable way to gain one more step toward being better prepared when the grid goes down.

When I first started studying weather forecasting, I had several good books on the subject with a pocket weather guide the easiest reference to carry around. A guide helps with