Where Are The Best Homestead Areas In The American East

Melton Lake in Tennessee

In the American East the States are smaller and it can be more difficult to locate a good Homestead area that is a safe distance away from a city, town or Military Target if there was a future war.

That said, many of the same critical aspects of finding a location for a Homestead are as valid in the American East as they are in the American Mid-West and the American West.

Check these articles I wrote, “Where Are The Best Homestead Areas In The American Mid-West”

And “Where Are The Best Homestead Areas In The American West”

The American East, for the purposes of this article, is defined as a line including the States of Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi Eastward.

Plus the States of Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Where are the best homestead areas in the American East?

The best homestead areas in the American East are Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau; Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, North Carolina and north Georgia; Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, Missouri and a portion of Oklahoma.

Although locating a parcel of land for a Homestead that has sufficient water is easier in the American East attention needs to be given to other critical aspects of a Homestead.

There are critical aspects involved in choosing land for a Homestead.

These critical aspects include soil type, presence of trees and being exposed to sunlight sufficient for raising good crops.

You can be informed of these critical aspects by reading an article I wrote, “Homestead – Critical Aspects And Important Considerations.”

These basic homestead principles vary little from State to State or area to area.

Understanding those principles and implementing them in a search for Country or Homestead Property is key to a successful search and happiness with the property purchased.

The American East is more humid than the American West.

In the south in summer it may take some getting used to the humidity which makes the temperature feel hotter than it really is.

Problems More Common To The American East

The American East is generally more densely populated than the American West and most of the American Mid-West.

This can make it a little more difficult to find suitable Homestead property in the East.

There tends to be more cities in the American East.

So locating suitable Homestead Property away from cities and their future growth patterns tends to be more difficult than in the American West.

To compare with the American West and Mid-West you can read these articles I wrote, “Where Are The Best Homestead Areas In The American Mid-West”

And “Where Are The Best Homestead Areas In The American West”

Partly because of the more dense population in the American East there are more Military Bases in the American East.

This makes locating a good Homestead location a little more difficult.

A good Homestead should be in an area that is safe from having collateral damage if there was to be a future war.

The closer a modern Homestead is to a Military base or industrial area that could be a Military Target the greater the chance of the Homestead having collateral damage in a war.

Modern Homesteading is defined as a place where a family can raise most of their food, be in control of their water and possibly their electrical power as well.

To be a Modern Homesteader also means not being dependent upon a power grid or commercial water, sewer and other services that were depended upon in city or suburban life.

Preferred Homesteading Areas In The American East

The preferred Homesteading areas in the American East are The Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Missouri.

There are other areas that may have suitable locations for Homesteading in the American East.

Those areas will be mentioned as we look at the different States or groups of States in this article.


The best area of Tennessee for Homesteading is the Cumberland Plateau.

This is an area of Tennessee also known to locals as the Cumberland Mountains which run from Monteagle Mountain on I-24 about an hour northwest of Chattanooga all the way to the Kentucky border.

This plateau is bounded on the west by US 70S and Tennessee Highway 111 and the city of Cookeville, Tennessee.

The eastern boundary is US 27 going from Chattanooga northward through Rockwood, Tennessee and up past Oneida, Tennessee to the Kentucky line.

The backbone of the Cumberland Plateau runs along US 127 from Signal Mountain, Tennessee north of Chattanooga through Crossville, Tennessee and on to the little town of Static just inside Kentucky.

Interstate 40 transects the Cumberland Plateau from east to west and goes through Cookeville, Crossville and Rockwood.

This is a portion of Tennessee that I am very familiar with.

I have lived in Oneida, Crossville and near Chattanooga and worked in Cookeville.

Many of the main roads and a lot of the back roads of the Cumberland Plateau are familiar to me.

The best areas for Homesteading in the Cumberland Plateau are along US 127.

As long as you are 30 minutes north of Chattanooga and are about 30 minutes north or south of Crossville and I-40.

On the eastern side of the Cumberland Plateau the best areas are west of US 27 and 30 minutes or more away from Chattanooga, Rockwood and I-40.

On the western side of the Cumberland Plateau the best areas are east of US 70S and north of McMinnville and east of Tennessee Hwy 111.

And 30 minutes or more away from Cookeville and I-40.

Crossville is about 1800 feet in elevation and two of the years I lived just north of there it sleeted on July 4th for a few minutes.

The Cumberland Plateau has four distinct seasons, a long growing season, good soil and ample water.

And is populated by hardy country folk who are freedom loving and friendly.

Because of the size of the Plateau, it is probably the largest single area in the American East that is suitable for Homesteading.

Tennessee has relatively low taxes.

Land on the Cumberland Plateau is reasonably priced and costs less than around the Appalachian Mountain chain.

Roan Mountain on the Tennessee North Carolina border is a 6,285 foot high mountain that has one of the largest varieties of edible wild plants in North America.

The Appalachian Mountain Chain runs along the Tennessee North Carolina border and the Appalachian Trail crosses into both States numerous times.

On the Tennessee side of the Appalachian Mountains you can find areas that make for good Homesteads.

As long as you stay away from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

And do not get too close to the larger cities in East Tennessee such as Johnson City.

Another area with decent land for Homesteading in Tennessee is south of I-40 and west of Nashville along Tennessee Hwy 13 south of Lobeville and extending down to about Collinwood.

The Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains run north and south east of the Tennessee North Carolina border.

They contain the highest mountain in the American East, Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina which is 6,684 feet high.

These mountains extend from the northeastern portion of Georgia all the way into Pennsylvania.

The portions of the Blue Ridge Mountains that are best suited for Homesteading is the southern portion in Virginia, North and South Carolina and northeast Georgia.

The areas north of Central Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains for the most part are too close to population centers, military bases and potential military targets to be safe areas to homestead.

In Virginia and the Carolina’s the land will be much more expensive if you get too close to any fair sized towns or cities.

The portion of northeast Georgia containing the Blue Ridge Mountains has few towns of any significant size.

It is always best to locate a homestead away from a main highway.


The Ozark And Ouachita Mountains

The Ozark Mountains are found in Arkansas and Missouri and also a portion of Oklahoma.

The Ouachita Mountains are in western Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma.

After the Cumberland Plateau area of Tennessee, these two mountain ranges are the best places to Homestead in the American East.

You would want to stay away from the larger towns and off of the US Highways.

Because of drug smuggling activity in the recent past in Mena, Arkansas it is a good idea to steer clear of that area.

The Ozark and Ouachita Mountains have good water, soil and a long growing season.

Many properties in these area should be reasonably priced and the property taxes in Arkansas are usually lower than in Missouri.

There will be four seasons but the winters are shorter and with less snowfall than on the Cumberland Plateau.

Alabama And Mississippi

The best areas for Homesteading in Alabama are the rural counties south of Decatur and northwest of Birmingham.

This is in the Bankhead National Forest area.

Another good area in Alabama is around the Talladega Forest between the Tombigbee River and the Alabama River and the Talladega Mountains east of Birmingham.

In Mississippi a good Homesteading area is the Holly Springs Forest area southeast of Memphis and north of Oxford and Tupelo.

The Bienville Forest area between Jackson and Meridan is a similar type of area but the proximity of these two cities makes this area less desirable.


The best area to Homestead is in the hill country east of Alexandria, south of I-20 and east to I-55 in Mississippi.

You want to stay 30 minutes away from all Interstate Highways and the city of Baton Rouge.


The areas around the Daniel Boone Forests and the northern Appalachian chain above the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee are the best areas to Homestead in Kentucky.

The closer to Tennessee you homestead the better the area.

Eastern Kentucky along or near the Virginia and West Virginia borders may be another acceptable area.

If the soil is found to be good and the water is not contaminated from Coal Mining Operations.


Because of the population density of Florida and the influx of refugees from Cuba there really isn’t an area in southern Florida that is suitable for Homesteading.

If you feel you have to homestead in Florida you might try the area north of Gainesville if you can find suitable land away from I-10 and I-75 that is not marshland, wetlands or a swamp.

Florida is one part of America that has about outgrown it’s usefulness as a good place to Homestead.

West Virginia

West Virginia is a mountainous State that has a lot of rugged terrain and is mostly covered with trees.

A portion of West Virginia is coal mining country and it is fairly poverty stricken.

The best Homestead areas are those outside of the coal mining areas and away from the Interstate Highways and larger cities.

By and large the growing season should be fairly long.

The winters can tend to be a little harsh in the higher portions of the mountains but there is plenty of wood available to keep a Homestead warm.

The North East New England Area

The New England States are generally too small in size and too crowded in population to be a good area for finding homesteading places.

It is difficult or impossible to find areas that are 30 minutes away from cities or Interstate Highways.

In the event of a future war these areas will have multiple Military Targets causing more problems than most people can imagine.

The most notable exceptions are Maine, New York and Pennsylvania.

From Washington D.C. to Boston, the east Coast is essentially one long continuous line of cities and suburbs with little country between them.

In a case of widespread civil disruption caused by rioting or a storm surge coming in from the Atlantic Ocean this area could fast become the most dangerous part of America to live in or near.

The best way for residents to escape civil disruption would be to flee west with those living in the northern portion of this continuous city area fleeing to the north and those in the southern portion fleeing to the south.

No matter how remote one thinks the chances of widespread civil disruption in this area is, the fact remains that it is wise to consider the possibility and factor that in when searching.

The size, population density and proximity to an Interstate Highway, major US highway or potential Military Target effectively removes the States of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island from any consideration for Homesteading.


The best potential area for a Safe Homestead is the North-Central Pennsylvania hill country above I-80 between Scranton and Johnstown.

Another area is the Allegheny Mountains area near Erie.

Choose the land in these areas carefully as some of it is very rugged and the land may be hard to work.

New York

Homesteading in New York is best done in the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York west of Lake Champlain.

This is the area of New York most removed from the population centers, major highways and potential Military Targets.

Land here is probably the cheapest land that can be found in New York.

There may still be a few areas in the Catskill Mountains of southeastern New York.

Land here will be more expensive due to its closeness to New York City and the fact that it is the playground of that city’s wealthy.

New York is a State where taxes are high plus there is a State Income Tax on top of high taxes.

It is not a prime State for Homesteading, even in the Adirondack Mountains.

Maine, New Hampshire And Vermont

The Appalachian Trail’s northern most point is Mt. Katahdin, Maine.

The Appalachian Mountains in Maine are the most remote point in New England from the population centers of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The best Homesteading area lies north and west of I-95 and east of US 201 in north central Maine.

This area has lots of insects in the summer and is legend for it’s cold winters.

Homesteading is possible here if you are willing to start plants indoors before the short growing season starts.

The use of a greenhouse that has a source of heat inside to prolong the growing season would be very beneficial.

The White Mountains of New Hampshire, above the town of Plymouth and east of I-93, are one of the best Homesteading areas in New England.

Remember its best to be at least 30 minutes away from any Interstate Highways which would include I-93 and the city of Berlin, New Hampshire.

Vermont is known for the Green Mountains, the home of Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, a Militia group that during the Revolutionary War captured Ft. Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain in New York by defeating the British occupying the fort.

The Green Mountains have some areas suitable for Homesteading as long as you stay away from I-89 and I-91 and the cities of Burlington and Montpelier.

Be aware of the fact that the climate here can be a little rigorous for some people.

Indiana, Michigan And Ohio

Indiana has a population density that is scattered across the State in such a way that it would be very difficult to nearly impossible to find a good area to Homestead.

When you combine the population density with the Interstate Highways, I-65, I-69, I-70 and I-74 radiating across the State from centrally located Indianapolis along with US 31 running due north from Indianapolis, there is little to no area available to have a Safe Homestead.

Ohio has a few potential locations for Homesteading along the Ohio West Virginia border in the area between Huntington, WV and Wheeling, WV.

Just be sure to stay 30 minutes away from larger towns and from major highways or Interstates.

If you are looking in a coal mining area, be sure that the water has been tested and found to be free of contaminants from the coal mining activity.

The Water Testing Laboratory recommended by the local Health Department can tell you if there are any coal mining related contaminants.

Michigan has one bright spot as far as Homesteading areas go.

It is the Upper Peninsula.

Stay at least 30 minutes away from I-75 and the larger towns.

There are several areas that can be found that should have good Homesteading locations if you don’t mind the chance of Lake Effect Snow in the winter. 

Related Questions

Do any States in the American East have free land for homesteading?

None of the States in the American East have free land for homesteading.

Some of the States in the American East have Homestead Laws which exempt a portion of the property value from Property Taxes and Court Judgements.

Which Eastern State has the cheapest land?

Some sources say Arkansas and some sources say Tennessee.

It really depends upon the condition of the land.

If the cheapest land lacks good water, good soil, trees, plenty of sunshine and has a short growing season, that land is not suitable for a homestead no matter how cheap it is.

Is it illegal to live off the grid?

Some cities may make it illegal to live off the grid.

That problem does not happen in most rural areas.

So in rural areas there is not much chance of living off grid being illegal.

John Brownlee

John is a retired Lawyer, Health Care Provider and has a certificate in Pest Management Technology. He teaches people how to locate, evaluate, and purchase Country and Homestead Property. He and his wife, Linda, share their knowledge of homesteading skills and safe pest management.

Recent Content