Off Grid Living In Minnesota ( Land Of 10,000 Lakes )

The state of Minnesota is also known as the land of the 10,000 lakes, the truth is that it has even more lakes, somewhere around 11,000. In addition to this, there are numerous smaller bodies of water that are not big enough to be considered lakes, if you would take these also into consideration then Minnesota would have over 20,000 lakes. The state has over 4.6 million population, and most of them live in urban areas.

Living off the grid in Minnesota is permitted by law, although it involves adhering to specific restrictions. This lifestyle generally entails residing in areas without access to conventional utilities like electricity, gas, and water.

There are a couple of bigger cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul which is the state capital, although you might think that the vast majority of people live here, but the truth is that Minneapolis has a population of around 430k and St. Paul around 300k. The rest of the population lives in smaller towns and cities which are fairly close to one of the above-mentioned cities. Minnesota has been voted to be the second-best state to raise a family, the crime rate is fairly low, and the standard of living is fairly high.

From an off grid or homesteading perspective, this is a great state to live in, although it will cost you a little bit more to do so. One important factor that you will have to take into consideration if you want to live off the grid in this state is the winters, although Minnesota does have all 4 seasons, the winter season can last a fairly long time. People who live in Minnesota often say that there are only two seasons, 3 months of summer and 9 months of winter, this is because spring and fall are extremely short and they can start and end in a matter of weeks.

One thing you probably didn’t know about Minnesota is that it has a mosquito season, although you shouldn’t be surprised as with so many lakes every year at the beginning of the summer there is a massive population boom of insects. The good news is that when you compare Minnesota to other states in the south the mosquito problem is almost inexistent if you want more information about one of the best southern states and if it is a good place to live off the grid, then check out my recent article Off grid living in Louisiana ( Great food way too Humid? ).

Is Off Grid Living Legal In Minnesota?

Living off the grid in Minnesota is generally allowed, but it is important to be aware of specific restrictions and considerations. Off-grid living typically entails residing in an area that lacks access to conventional utilities like electricity, gas, and water services. However, it is essential to research and understand any local zoning restrictions, building codes, or regulations that may apply to off-grid living in specific areas of Minnesota.

Minnesota Climate

Minnesota has a continental climate, which means that summers are short and hot, and the winters are cold and long. The average temperature during the summer is around 90°F, during the winter it can drop off even below -40°F.  From an off grid living perspective, this will make two significant problems for you, it will limit the time of growing crops, and most of the summertime you will be working to be able to survive during the winter.

The temperature difference between day and night can be high on some days, when summer is starting everything starts to bloom at once and in a matter of days, everything will be green. On the other hand, when winter comes it comes fast, in just a couple of weeks from having everything green you will get everything covered with snow.

If you want to know the best places for off grid living in this state then check out my recent article Best Places To Live Off The Grid In Minnesota ( Top 7 Counties ).

Best Crops To Grow Off The Grid In Minnesota

Most people who live off the grid do also grow some crops, even if they do not rely on them as a food source. In Minnesota, you will have no problem growing potatoes, oats, wheat, and even sugar beet. Generally speaking, the best land to grow crops in Minnesota is in the southern parts of the state, I am not saying that you can not grow crops in the northern part of the state but in the southern part, you will have some extra days of summer which can make a big difference.

One thing to watch out for with crops is that even during the summertime, the nighttime temperatures can drop off significantly. If you want to live off the grid then you have to grow your own food and know how to can them, for more information check out my recent article Best vegetables to can ( Top 13 ).

Freshwater Availability In Minnesota

It is fairly safe to say that you will have no problem finding fresh water in the state of 10,000 lakes. Currently, there are no laws prohibiting you from harvesting rainwater and you can easily find clean groundwater in addition to using water from numerous streams and lakes. Even the mighty Mississippi River has its origins in the state of Minnesota. Your best option will be to get water from a local stream, as there will be a lot of bacteria, parasites, and bugs in lake water.

One thing you should keep in mind is that if you get water from a stream or lake that these will probably freeze over during the wintertime and if you use plastic pipes to collect them then these will probably be damaged.

Minnesota Wildlife

Minnesota has a rich wildlife, you will find anything from, bison, black bears to wolves and beavers. In the local rivers and lakes, you will have plenty of fish like bluegill, crappies, yellow perch, and so on. Hunting and fishing are regulated and you will have a license both for hunting and fishing, although the licenses are fairly cheap and easy to get. A lot of people even fish during the wintertime with ice fishing, and you will often see something which looks like a tent on lake ice.

Generating Power Off The Grid In Minnesota

  • Solar power: During the summertime, you will have no problem generating power with solar panels, on the other hand, they will be almost useless during the wintertime. During wintertime, the days get shorter, and as the winters tend to last a lot longer than in other states you will probably not be able to use solar panels during the wintertime. On the other hand, the state also gives a federal tax credit of around 26% for solar panels, just keep in mind that this tax credit will get lower every year.
  • Wind power: Currently around 18% of the electricity in the state is generated by wind power, in fact, Minnesota is one of the best states for generating power with wind turbines in the entire country. Minnesota has also one of the most generous incentives when it comes to wind power, when you combine the state and the federal incentives your total costs can be 60% lower.
  • Hydroelectric power: Due to the numerous rivers and streams you will have no problem generating power with water, some companies even offer rebates.

Minnesota Road Access

The road access in Minnesota is a two-edged sword, the further you go into the wilderness the worse the roads become and in a lot of areas there will be no road access at all. The big problem with road access is during wintertime, as Minnesota has the number 1 accidental death occurring due to car accidents. During wintertime, it snows so much that the authorities simply can not keep up with the cleaning of the roads, even the ones connecting one city to another.

People who live off the grid often use ATV’s during the summertime and snowmobiles during the wintertime, you can simply not rely on always having access to roads in this state.

Minnesota Price Of Off Grid Land

A lot of people will tell you not to move to Minnesota as the price of land is fairly high, this is true if you buy farmland or land which is fairly close to the city. The truth is that people who live off the grid, often settle in a remote area, not too close to the city but not so deep in the wilderness that they would run into serious trouble if something goes wrong. Generally speaking, the further up north you go the cheaper the land will be, although land which has a natural spring or a lake will be somewhat more expensive.

Minnesota Property Tax

Minnesota’s property tax is 1.15% which is slightly above the countrywide median average of 1.08%. A lot of people consider that Minnesota has a high property tax although some of its neighboring states have even higher taxes without all the benefits of Minnesota. South Dakota has a property tax of 1.32%, and when it comes to off grid living every dollar matters, for more information about South Dakota check out my recent article Off grid living in South Dakota ( Easy Living? ).

Minnesota Cost Of Living

The cost of living in Minnesota is fairly average when compared to other states in the country. With one exception, the housing market is somewhat more expensive than the median average of the country, although this most likely refers to houses in urban areas, and if you are looking for a house you will notice that there is a big difference when it comes to the price between the counties. On the other hand when you compare Minnesota to the other neighboring states then you will find that it also has a fairly high standard of living.

Minnesota Job Availability

The unemployment rate is around 3.2%, which is way below the national average of 3.9%. One of the major industries in which a big part of the population works is the education industry, followed by trade, transportation, and manufacturing. Although agriculture also plays a big part in the local economy, but only around 1% of the population works in this industry.

Minnesota Crime Rate

Minnesota has one of the lowest crime rates in the country, this is one of the reasons why it has been voted to be the second-best state in which to raise a family. The low crime rate, high standard of living, and one of the best educational systems make Minnesota stand out from the other states not only when it comes to off grid living but also as a great place to live in general.

Minnesota Natural Disasters

Minnesota has several natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, hail storms, blizzards, landslides, heat waves, and forest fires. Floods often occur at the beginning of the summer, as the high temperatures melt the snow and overflow some streams and rivers. Some summers are extremely hot and heatwaves can occur, at that point, forest fires can also occur.

In conclusion

Minnesota is probably one of the best states to live off the grid, although not perfect but it is fairly close. The one major problem which might put off some people is how long and cold the winters can be, but for someone like me coming from Alaska, this would not be a problem. If you come from the southern part of the country and you are not used to hard work in below-freezing temperatures then Minnesota is probably not for you.