Best Rural Places to Live ~ Escape to the Country ~ Best Places to Live in USA

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If you want to escape to the country, check out this list of best rural places to live. Living in the country is so different than living in the city or even in suburbia. Dreaming of a different way of life? Many people seek solitude or just more of a back-to-the-basics type of lifestyle.

Whether you plan to relocate from a large city or suburbs, you will find country life very different. I’ve had the opportunity to live in many suburbs, downtown in a major city, and… at long last… a rural community. There’s no going back for me! Learn about living in the country and best rural places to live. 

There is nothing more breathtaking than living in the country with its lush greenery, minimal pollution, and natural beauty. You won’t need a lot of land to change your way of life. Also, you won’t need to do everything right away. That’s what rural living is all about — learning to live at a slower pace — but it is worth considering adopting modern homesteading practices.

There are many advantages to living a quieter life and leaving the city. Perhaps you will pursue more self-sustaining habits, including composting, gardens and orchards, beekeeping, or a hydroponics system.

Best places to escape to the country for homesteading

The cost of building a sustainable home is often much higher in urban areas due to the stricter building codes, zoning and other housing regulations. Many readers dream of a simpler, healthier life in rural areas where there are few or no building codes and costs are far lower. A place where they can homestead and become homesteaders.

But what are the best rural places to live in? Keep reading to learn where to go for a rural lifestyle along with the pros and cons of living in a rural area and if it will be for you.

Best rural places to live in the USA

The United States is experiencing a rural resurgence as families are leaving urban areas and seeking out communities where crime is lower, good schools are present, and life is simpler overall.

Homesteading is also becoming more and more popular among people with the charm of living a life close to nature. We’re seeing a definite trend of people choosing to live in the country rather than in urban areas,” says Jack Odle, editor-in-chief of Progressive Farmer.

“And we wanted to celebrate that. We’ve come up with a unique list of some great areas that may be somewhat under the radar.”

Below are some of the best rural places to live in United Sates of America. All of these places have the common values of providing land at a good value and having vibrant local communities which have a flourishing local commerce scene.

  1. Fauquier County, VA
  2. Oconee County, GA
  3. McPherson County, KS
  4. Callaway County, MO
  5. Grafton County, NH
  6. Gillespie County, TX
  7. Sauk County, WI
  8. Wilson County, TN
  9. Eagle County, CO
  10. Rankin County, MI

These areas are good places for someone to raise a family as the crime rates are low, there is plenty of fresh air to breathe in, and vast areas available to run around. There are good schools in all the localities that have been listed.

It is important to have the availability of good schools and hospitals in the area where you want to settle in as these add a lot to the value of the community and provide social comfort as well.

The trend to move out of crowded cities and live in rural areas is becoming more and more widespread. You’ll find that once you’ve made the decision to leave the city, things will fall into place. You’ll start to learn what appeals to you and what kind of life you can have. 

Best places to live in USA include

  • Vail, Arizona for affordable housing and (almost) year round schools
  • Cassopolis, Michigan
  • Jerome, Arizona
  • Ellsworth, Kansas
  • Retired? Check out Anna, Illinois and it’s nearby neighbor, Cobden, IL are filled with wine trails

According to, there are rural areas that will entice you to move there.

Consider Ellsworth, Kansas. With a population under 3,000 people, it’s one of ten Kansas towns which offers free land for retirees and others to move there. Remember, on many publicized lists, there are small towns that feel more like large cities. Or you can go out a ways and get some acreage, perhaps in an unincorporated area, but still be part of a mid-sized suburb with all the amenities.

If you are truly looking for a rural existence, you will want to note the difference. Consider if you want to move to a rural city, town, or rural village. 

Living in the country could be for you

Learn 10 things to love about rural living. There are many advantages to rural living in the country:

You are automatically integrated into the community

While some young families that have moved into the countryside may feel that long-time residents take awhile to get to know them, there are things you can do to help you assimilate faster.

There are local events which bring the community together

Nothing is more effective at helping one join the community than volunteering at the many local events which take place there. Get involved and meet your neighbors.

Maybe you will consider raising backyard chickens. And if that isn’t all exciting enough, some venture into raising miniature cattle or pygmy goats complete with a livestock guardian animal. The opportunities for learning and new hobbies are endless! You may even come up with additional income streams.

Peace and quiet in rural towns

Moving to a small town and rural living is much sought after by senior citizens, retired couples, and others who seek solace. The lack of traffic and other city activity is welcome. In addition to a less stressful environment, you will probably have some beautiful views and wide open spaces. You will see more stars at night as the city lights won’t interfere.

Going at a slower pace, with less bustle and stress, you can take time to watch the sunset and be up early to enjoy the sunrise. You may find you are able to enjoy more time outside as you garden, care for livestock, or set up an irrigation system.

You will be able to enjoy the quiet and be more in tune with your surroundings, even as you are doing work around your homestead. 

Limited entertainment options in country places

While major shopping, tourist attractions and entertainment venues may be a big drive away, you are likely to find fun and entertainment closer to home, in simpler activities.

There’s a ‘We are all in this together’ idea. School, sports, church, local craft fairs, perhaps some car groups and crafting clubs are often popular in smaller communities.

You will likely see a fish fry, weekend barbecue and festivals. If there’s a high school in town, the community may come out to support the football games on Friday evenings. There is a tremendous sense of community, especially when someone needs assistance.

Using less resources

Moving to a rural area could be a boon for the environment as well. A number of studies have found that people who are living in rural areas are utilizing much lesser of the resources per capita and living a much easier sustainable lifestyle.

There are also a number of people who find that they are more suited to the hands-on approach to the rural lifestyle. You will have more opportunities to use your skills in different ways, especially when you live off the land and from your talents and hard work.

The above mentioned list is by no means comprehensive and only serves to provide a starting point for which to begin your search for good rural places to live in.

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Disadvantages to living in the country

Even though you may want to spend more time outdoors and live a slower and simpler life, you likely will want to ensure there is internet access. Many remote areas lack a strong signal. Other aspects of living in the country may pose a problem at the initial stages for people.

Some of these include power outages, the presence of wildlife and insects, and the transition it may take for those not used to living amid rural surroundings.  You may need to “rough it” more than you did before.

Also, depending on where you moved from, you may have downsized or may have moved into a home that needs repairs. Or maybe you aren’t used to having to maintain land. It may take awhile to get used to being more isolated from neighbors.

During natural disasters or storms, it is common for those living in the country to be technically and geographically cut off from the world due to power outages, no internet, fallen trees and other issues. The time taken to restore functionality will be greater since they are away from service outlets and have less homes and population to restore. Electrical companies and other service providers generally go to the denser areas first.

In exchange for a more relaxed lifestyle, your country home may be a great distance away from healthcare providers, hospitals and urgent-care facilities. This might be a problem in the event that you require medical attention.

Something different you may experience is the need for a septic system. This isn’t hard to deal with but it is different than you may be accustomed to.

Ways to Secure Your New Home in the Country from Household Burglaries

Best rural places to live
Best rural places to live

Declaration of Homestead

The homesteading movement is spreading all across our nation. There are a variety of reasons for which people are taking the decision to live a rural life off the land giving up their city lives.

These reasons vary from wanting to move to an area with lower crime, taxes and better schools to making the environmentally conscious decision to utilize less resources and try to be self sustaining in lifestyle.

Whatever the motivation to set up your homestead may be, it is important that you fill up the legal form for the declaration of homestead. This is necessary as the law provides certain privileges to your homestead that can protect it from foreclosure because of debts to creditors under certain conditions.

declaration of homestead
Declaration of Homestead

A Declaration of Homestead requires you to prove that the homestead is your primary place of dwelling. In certain states, just proving the homestead as your primary place of dwelling is enough to provide you with the same legal protection. These laws vary by state and make sure you are aware of your legal responsibilities before taking the decision to set up your own homestead.

Declaration of Homestead form

Filling the form is fairly straightforward. You can do it without any legal help. You can download them online. The form has to be notarized before submission, for which the legal fees have been capped by the government to a maximum of $25.

Escape to the Country

The homesteading lifestyle is not for everyone, and it is advisable you look into what you are taking on closely before you commit. There may be options where you can attend hands-on workshops at functioning homesteads. You can also seek out community outreach and conservation centers, nurseries, nature and special-interest clubs, libraries and community colleges.

They often offer classes on specific topics throughout the year. These places can be great resources to learn about living off-the-grid.

Many teach about may teach about rainwater harvesting, attracting pollinators, planting native plants, preserving food, growing fruits and vegetables, wind and solar production, composting, prepping, and much more.

This will allow you to get an idea of the activities that you can do. You may well find some new hobbies and friends. You can learn skills that will help you earn a living as well.

Even if you don’t plan to earn money from your venture, you may save money and/or live healthier by growing or doing it yourself. It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the life you are considering.

Choosing to Escape to the Country

Be sure you are making an informed decision and not just following a trend when you decide to set up your own homestead. The environmental benefits are a draw as the resources that you consume and the strain you put on the environment is much less than those people who live in the cities.

Be sure you to follow all your legal responsibilities when you are setting up your homestead. This includes building your homestead to code and filing your declaration of homestead to avail of the legal protection that the law gives you.

Restoring an Old Abandoned Rural Backyard

Earning a living homesteading

Being a homesteader is rewarding but not easy. Can the homesteading lifestyle provide an income too? We think it can. So the question we are attempting to answer is what are the homesteading skills that will help you survive and even earn a living?

Number of ways homesteaders can earn a living off your homestead

Grow fruits and vegetables and sell them at the local farmers market. You can preserve food by home canning and dehydrating. You can raise bees and sell honey.

Grow Potatoes in 5 Gallon Buckets

Make money from timber

If you have purchased a piece of land that is heavily wooded, that in itself is a huge opportunity to earn money. Timber companies will pay you good money to come and clear your land for you.

All you need to do is inform them that you have standing timber which you are ready to sell. This sale can be either to large companies or individuals. There are always people looking to purchase firewood and you can cater to these people.

Earn money selling rocks

If your land has a lot of rocks then that can too be a source of income as there are people who are interested in buying all kinds of rocks. People use them for landscaping, diverting rainwater, for defining spaces on their property, and more.

You can set up a simple website to advertise the rocks you have to sell. You may see a surprising amount of interest in what most people see no value in.

Raising livestock for a living

Again, you can raise livestock for meat and cows for milk. There are auctions in most small towns for livestock of good breed. You can raise them and then sell them for profit. 

Depending on your space, you can also consider small cows instead of full-size.

You can have ducks and chickens on homesteads. Chicken and duck eggs are always in demand wherever your homestead may be. This can be for food as well as income.

You may be able to raise quail along with chicken and ducks. You can sell quail eggs for more money than chicken eggs.

Rent out equipment

Often you will have equipment you aren’t using regularly. You can rent out tools, a generator, tractors, or heavy equipment to make extra money.

Earn money from your skills

Once you are skilled in these various jobs, you can earn money for them. You can offer classes and workshops in town teaching any number of things. Multiple Income Streams to Making Money Farming

From there, you may want to hire yourself as a consultant, helping people get started in a new hobby, craft or trade.

You can be the expert in rainwater harvesting, planning a rain garden, milking cows and preserving milk, bird watching or making birdhouses, becoming a beekeeper, cultivating organic seeds, spreading mulch, making cheese and butter, and growing berries and making jam.

Another option is to build furniture, garden beds, chicken coops, and anything else people may need.

There are endless opportunities when you are living in the country. With your skills, you can help others get started and grow your business. There are lots of ways to make money living in the country.


Homesteading is spreading across the United States. More and more people are interested in acquiring the necessary skills that will let them live off the land in a wholesome and self-reliant manner. Consider these best states for homesteading along with what to know about free land in certain areas of the United States.

There are homesteading schools in certain parts of the country. Taking a class can often be easier than trial and error, and you will often find success faster.

All kinds of people attend these homesteading schools and workshops, not necessarily beginners. A number of people took the plunge into homesteading and then realized that there are some skills that they needed to polish or learn from scratch.

These schools have started receiving help in the form of fiscal support as well as access to facilities by corporate players in the field.

Modern homesteading skills
homesteading skills

What to know before moving to the country

Before moving to the country, it will be important to know about the area’s infrastructure.

  1. What are the taxes?
  2. Will you have city water or be on a well?
  3. Are you in a floodplain?
  4. Is there internet access?
  5. Will you be working from home? How strong is the internet connection?
  6. How are the schools? Even if you don’t have children, an area’s school system still impacts the area and residents. 
  7. How close will you be to first responders such as the fire department? Also consider how close you will be to doctors, any specialists you need, and a hospital. 
  8. If you are religious, visit the place of worship you would attend.
  9. Do you plan to have certain animals? If so, you will want to be sure there aren’t restrictions.

Recognize that no area is perfect. Choose important things for you and your family to research in advance. As far as the other things, you will enjoy learning the lay of the land as you settle in.

But remember why you wanted to move to the country and be sure to focus on that. If you wanted to raise sheep or cattle, be sure you can do that before moving.

Escape to the Country

When people think about setting up a rural lifestyle, it usually means moving to a neighboring town or state. Uprooting and moving is difficult even if it’s a town away, much less several states away. However, many people consider moving to a new country.

You will need to consider which is the safest, affordable country as well as which one will get you closer to your goals of living a quieter, rural lifestyle. 

US News & World Report ranks Switzerland as the best country to live in.

Living in the country

Making the decision to move from a busy and bustling city life to the comparatively quiet and peaceful country and rural area might seem like a radical decision. However, once you start living in the country, it will hard to imagine anything different. You will likely thrive living a rural existence.

When you start thinking of homesteading and rural activities that will interest you, you will like it that much more.

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Life in the country – consider options

When people think of starting a life in the country, it can seem like a big move. However, if it is too intimidating to move out of state, consider options closer to where you are now. Many major metropolitan areas have outlying areas several hours away that are very rural. 

Think of areas with mid-sized cities, such as Dayton, Ohio or Indianapolis, Indiana. Consider towns and unincorporated areas outside these regions — even two or more hours away. 

Perhaps you get acreage outside of the county limits. Consider your options and make it happen.

There are so many benefits to living in the country and setting up a homestead.

You will enjoy a slower pace and be more in touch with the outdoors. In addition, you will likely get more exercise just in keeping up with a garden, chickens, and other rural pursuits.

You will have more freedom and privacy and a sense of purpose — a reason to go outside more.

Having lived in a major metropolitan city, in homes in several suburbs across the country, and then finally in a more rural home in an unincorporated area, there is no comparison to the country life. 

There is a sense of privacy that gives such peace. There are homes around us that we can see but we see nature first. There’s just this freedom we have as we walk around our two acres that we didn’t experience in the suburbs with homes everywhere we looked.

We have room here to fulfill our dreams of self-sustainability. There’s things you can do in a rural setting you can’t always do anywhere else. Prepping Is for Everyone: What to Consider When Preparing

When living in the country, you will want to consider homesteading, including declaration of homestead and modern homesteading skills to be successful. Keep reading as you learn more about finding the best rural places to live and how to make it a reality.

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10 thoughts on “Best Rural Places to Live ~ Escape to the Country ~ Best Places to Live in USA”

  1. Argenteuil county Quebec Canada is a wonderful rural area. We have a cottage in the Laurentian foothills in the north part of the county. It’s about 1300 sq. k. with a population of about 32.5 thousand people. 12.5 live in the county seat Lachute, 7.5th in the next largest town Brownsburg-Chatham and aprox. 1.5 th in Grenville, on the Ottawa river. The county is divided politically into 9 townships of varying size and population. Geographically, it is divided between farmland in the south and southwest along the Ottawa river, and cottage country or lake country in the north, north east and north west in foothill country. The population is 32th + white with aprox. 45o – non whites. There are excellent schools in both English and French. I invite you to go onto images for Argenteuil (ar jean toy) Quebec and see for yourself. We get tons of American tourists and many families who come yearly.

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  4. Is there anyone looking for a simpler life – quiet, one of the safest places in the state (#7) –
    Our kids are grown- time for us to downsize- if you believe all the stereotypes about Mississippi- this state is not for you

  5. This was a good read which I bookmarked.

    Who can I get in touch with about how to do RESEARCH for finding a specific rural location? I am trying to limit costs of driving and flying all over the country, renting cars, and staying in hotels or bnb’s.

    Looking at Google maps is fun, but it doesn’t tell me about the places themselves. Yes, at some point I will need to actually go there, but I want to limit the choices based on:

    no state income tax;
    welcoming community who don’t judge you based on the state you are exiting;
    rural but still close to a GOOD hospital;
    lots of water;
    little fear of being robbed by drug users in rural areas;
    limited retirement income.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  6. Great blog, good information.
    It is getting harder and harder to find nice rural communities because developers are buying them out and putting up things like “planned retirement communities” (Think the 2020 version of Sun City), assisted living properties and “mixed use” developments which are a combination residential/retail/hotel complex. In my area, we’ve lost a lot of farms in rural places because the owners are selling out (the real estate here is hot right now, and ridiculously priced) and in their place, McMansions.
    I gave up livestock because I have nowhere to keep them locally and am looking to move to other areas.
    “Retired” made a good point when he/she mentions “not being judged by the state you’re exiting.” People often don’t think about that, but it can be a big issue. When moving anywhere, it is up to us to integrate into the new community; the new community doesn’t have to change a thing, to accommodate the newcomers. As this article points out, rural life will have its own nuances like insects, smells from livestock and fresh mowed hay, maybe the sound of a saw cutting up firewood, a crowing rooster and an occasional loose cow that may wander onto your property. Further, the blog points out that during disasters, help may be slow in coming when you live far out, and you may very well lose phone/cell service. Downed trees can block your road.
    I love rural life and can’t wait to find a new place to relocate.
    Keep this blog going, and add any other places people should check out! Thank you!

  7. very informative all around! being a New Englander–where urban sprawl & city expansion is so common place. AND seeing the destruction of lush ope space, woodlands,marshes,fields, I yearn for a rural life where I can raise my dogs,cats & probably stable/board horses ! ( AS IT WAS WHEN i GREW UP IN A RURAL AREA THAT TURNED TO CONCRETE CANYONS,CONDOS,URBAN SPRAWL,DECAY. ALL IN THE NAME OF “PROGRESS”….)- sorry ’bout the caps…

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