Off grid living in North Carolina ( Old North State )

North Carolina is located on the east coast, and many people consider this state to be in the sweet spot geographically speaking. North Carolina has access both to the ocean and to mountains, on clear days you can see the ocean from some mountains. Currently, North Carolina’s population is slightly above 10 million, and this number is rising for the past couple of decades. The state’s biggest city is Charlotte with over 800k population, followed by Raleigh with over 450k population, and Greensboro which has around 300k population.

Living off the grid in North Carolina is legal, this state is probably one of the best states for off grid living. The price of land is fairly low, the cost of living and the property taxes are also below the national average. You will have no problem growing plenty of crops and harvesting rainwater in North Carolina which is a must for anybody wanting to live off the grid,

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In total there are around 10 cities that have a population of over 100k people, and a lot of smaller towns and cities. North Carolina has 10 national parks in total, which is a fairly big number compared to the size of the state. When it comes to off-grid living, North Carolina can be a good state, although as with all states there are both some pros and cons for off-grid living. Due to its unique geographical position, North Carolina has a fairly diverse flora and fauna.

The problem is that if you are suffering from allergies then you have a fairly hard time in North Carolina, especially during the springtime. North Carolina is one of the worst states to live in if you have allergies, although it might be a paradise if you do not suffer from any allergies. During the springtime, you will see a thin coat of yellow pollen almost everywhere, from the top of your car to the furniture in your home. If you are wondering about Illinois then check out my recent article Off grid living in Illinois ( High taxes and Crime rate ).

North Carolina climate

If you are not used to the weather changing from one minute to another, then you will be in shock. Due to its close proximity to the ocean and also having mountains that block some of the clouds, the weather can turn very abruptly. While most people think for some reason that the weather is fairly cold all year round in North Carolina, the truth is that for the most part, this state has a humid subtropical climate.

As you go towards the western part of the state, closer to the mountains you will notice a significant change in the local climate, this is because this area has a subtropical highland climate. Basically, this means that summers and winters will be a little bit colder than in the rest of the state. In general, the average temperature during the summertime is around 80°F, and during the wintertime, it is somewhere around 20°F. During the wintertime the closer you get to the coast the colder it gets, this is due to the windchill effect. If you want to take a look at the neighboring state then check out my recent article Off grid living in South Carolina ( The Palmetto State ).

Best crops to grow in North Carolina

When it comes to growing crops in this state you will not have a lot of options, especially if you are growing crops to feed yourself and your family. The land in North Carolina is well suited for growing sweet potatoes, corn, cotton, and soybeans. In addition to this, you will see a lot of farms growing tobacco, although if you plan to live off the grid you probably will not be able to grow enough to make a significant profit. When it comes to crops you will have a lot more options in other states like Utah, for more information check out my recent article Off grid living in Utah ( Cheap Land & Low Property Tax ).

Freshwater availability in North Carolina

North Carolina has a lot of water, from rivers to lakes, and a fairly high volume of rainfall. The groundwater availability is also fairly high and most of the groundwater is not polluted, although it would be a good idea to test it before buying a piece of land

North Carolina wildlife

If you love hunting then North Carolina is a good state to settle as there are plenty of both small and large wild animals. You can find black bears, white-tailed deers, rabbits, and raccoons among other animals. As North Carolina is a coastal state you have plenty of options for fishing as well both for freshwater and saltwater fish. The regulations regarding fishing and hunting are fairly relaxed, although you will need a permit

Generating power off the grid in North Carolina

  • Solar power: One of your best options for generating power in North Carolina is with solar power, the sun shines through the year, and setting up a solar power system will be fairly cheap. There is a federal tax credit that applies to the entire country, usually, this is around 26-30%. In addition to his, in North Carolina, you also have the option to use Duke Energy solar panel rebates and revolving loan options. If you combine all of them you can easily get the entire setup around 50-60% cheaper.
  • Wind power: Using wind power in this state is fairly situational, there are some areas where the wind blows through the year constantly, like at the coast and next to the mountains. There are a couple of incentives also both at the local and the federal level although these differ wildly from one county to another.

North Carolina off grid laws

The first thing you will need for living off the grid in a homestead is a housing permit, which will take a while depending on the county. The good news is that there is no law prohibiting you to live off the grid, although you should always get a housing permit and inform yourself about the homeschooling laws, as most often these are the ones that will cause you problems in the long run.

North Carolina road access

During the wintertime, you might have some problems with road access due to the snowfall. In certain areas, the roads tend to have black ice formed on them so you should be extra careful when driving during the wintertime, especially during the night. Some areas have a lot more precipitation than others, and if the access to your homestead is by a dirt road which is also used by heavy logging vehicles then you might find the dirt road to be unusable for several days after a rain.

North Carolina price of land

When it comes to the price of land, North Carolina has got you covered, you can basically find land for every budget. Generally speaking, land near the coast is higher than in the rest of the state, although setting up your homestead next to the coast is not ideal. In areas with mountains, the land tends to be a lot cheaper, as long as it is not an area frequented by a lot of tourists. If you search well enough you will have no problem finding cheap land although most likely it will be in a fairly remote area.

North Carolina property tax

The property tax in North Carolina is 0.83% which is below the national average. The property tax will fluctuate from one county to another, although in general, it is around the 0.90% mark.

North Carolina cost of living

The cost of living in North Carolina is around 10% cheaper than in the rest of the country. Most notably the price for housing is around 19% cheaper, and the cost of transportation is around 17% cheaper. Groceries are also cheaper than in the surrounding states, although this depends on the county. On the other hand, you will pay around 8% more for health-related services, and as this state is prone to having a lot of people suffering from allergies you might find it somewhat expensive.

North Carolina jobs

The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25/hour, and this is exactly at the national average, not a penny more. The unemployment rate is at 4% which also is right at the level of the national average. The major industries are aerospace and defense, pharmaceutical, automotive, and the energy industry. Although North Carolina produces a lot of tobacco, but not a lot of people do work in the agricultural industry.

North Carolina crime rate

The crime rate in North Carolina is slightly below the national average, it is at 3.78 crimes per 1000 people and the national average is at 4 crimes per 1000 people. Generally speaking, the counties with the lowest crime rate are right next to the coast, although you will find plenty of counties that have a low crime rate in the western part of the state also.

North Carolina natural disasters

Although North Carolina looks like a very tempting state for off-grid living, although it has a big drawback when it comes to natural disasters. North Carolina can have anything from earthquakes, droughts, storms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, sinkholes, and even riots. Now you might think that these happen rarely, but the truth is that all of the above-mentioned disasters did occur in 2016.

In conclusion

North Carolina is a good state for off-grid living, housing is cheap, and the costs of living are below the national average. The two main things which do not make the best state for off grid living is the relatively high crime rate and the sheer number of natural disasters. That being said, if you search hard enough you will find some counties which are not that prone to having natural disasters and that have a relatively low crime rate.