Best Bug Out Locations in America
Americans have some of the best bug out locations in the world. When you factor in the relative ease of acquiring weapons and the ability to freely move from state to state, it gets even better.
What is a Bug Out Location?
People have many different ideas of what a bug out location should be. For some, it’s a relatives house that lives outside the city. For others, it’s a fully loaded retreat in the woods with enough supplies to last 100 years.
All bug out locations have something in common. They are a place that is located away from your home that you can go to in the event that your home becomes uninhabitable for some reason.
Thanks for supporting Ready Lifestyle! We participate in the Amazon associates program and other affiliate programs. We earn a small commission on qualifying orders at no expense to you.
Why Bug Out?
We discuss some of the reasons to bug out at length in other articles. For our purposes here it can be anything. A natural disaster, a man-made disaster or anything else for that matter.
When something happens that makes it impossible or too dangerous to stay in your house, it’s time to bug out. Even though this article is all about bug out locations, you shouldn’t be bugging out as your first plan. Under almost any circumstance, bugging in is the better choice!
Is it better to bug in or bug out?
Bugging out requires a lot of preplanning for it to be a good idea. It also means leaving most of your things behind and puts you into situations that aren’t always easy to predict. Even great bug out plans can lead to disaster if things don’t turn out how you planned!
This is why bugging in is such a good idea. You have all of your supplies in your house, a warm place to sleep, and your friends and family know where you are! Don’t underestimate the power of staying put.
What should you look for in a good bug out location?
Ideally, you’re going to want to go somewhere with a low population, that can support you and your family. This means trees, wildlife, water, and shelter.
The weather is important as well. Moderate weather throughout the year is excellent if you can find it. If an area typically has seasons with extreme weather like tornados, floods, or draughts, then you’re better off selecting somewhere else.
Mild winters and summers are ideal. Long growing seasons and not having to contend with extreme temperatures are both a big plus.
You should also be thinking about defensibility when you’re making your decision. This isn’t really related to the part of the country as much as it is the particular terrain in the area you want to bug out to.
Does the area stand out on the landscape or is it hidden from view? Either way will work but if you can be seen from the road, you may have to deal with people looking for a place to stay or supplies. Make sure you have a plan if people are likely to see you from a distance and stop in unannounced.
Is the area close enough to where you live in order for you to get there in the event of a disaster? When the time to bug out comes, you’re going to want to get to safety in a relatively short amount of time. Anything more than a couple of hours is too much for me. You’re going to have to decide how long that time is for you and your family.
Are there alternate ways for you to get there if the roads are jammed full of traffic? Are there train tracks that you could use to access the area? Are there powerlines nearby that may have a right of way cleared under them? Thinking outside the box is key when you’re in a disaster situation. Look up maps of the area online and make note of any natural or man-made routes you could use for travel.
Do you need a vehicle to get there? What happens if your vehicle breaks down or can’t be used for one reason or another? If you’re a three-hour drive away what happens if you need to walk that distance? These are all things that we need to plan for ahead of time. Having a solid bug out bag is going to be key if you need to take the family on a multi-day march!
Which Areas Are The Best?
We want to stay away from large population centers so that rules out a lot of the northeastern coastline, most of Florida and a lot of California. It also rules out any major city like Chicago, Atlanta and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Looking at this map we can see the average summer temperatures for each state. If we want to stay out of the hottest areas of the U.S. we’re going to have to avoid Florida, Lousiana, and Texas.
Other areas to avoid area the southwestern U.S. which has vast amounts of desert and little water.
Places to Look at First for a Bug Out Location
Some of the best areas to bug out:
The pacific northwest which typically has decent amounts of vegetation, animals and natural water supplies.
The Appalachian mountains are another area that would be good.
Much of the central plains states are also a good choice.
Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and southern Georgia would also be high on my list.
How far should your bug out location be?
Choosing how far away your bug out location should be will depend on a few things.
If you’re bugging out to get away from a city or other population area, you need to move far enough away that the people in that area aren’t likely to go to the area that you’re bugging out to. If you live close to a military installation, it would probably be a good idea to have a bug out location that is far enough away from it so you wouldn’t be affected by any potential attacks on the installation.
Overall, a bug out location at least a couple hundred miles from major population centers and military installations should be your goal. It also needs to be far enough away from your original location that you’d wouldn’t be affected by whatever it was that caused you to bug out in the first place!
Living Off the Grid
Are you going to be living off-grid at your bug out location? For a lot of people, the answer is going to be yes. Even if you aren’t specifically planning to live without power at your bug out location, there’s a good chance that you may not have power there when you get there.
What states is it legal to live off the grid?
Technically, it isn’t illegal to live off the grid in any state. Living off-grid just means that you’re not going to use or rely on power produced from the power grid. There’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s when you start building things like greenhouses, gardens, chicken coops and putting up solar panels that you start to get into different legalities and local ordnances. Of course, in a disaster, this isn’t going to matter much, but if you plan to build up your bug out location beforehand, you could run into issues.
What is the best state to live off the grid?
Choosing the best state to live off-grid is just about as cut and dry as choosing the perfect bug out location…it isn’t.
We chose this list of states based on these factors:
- Land Prices
- Population Density
- Zoning Laws
- Political Climate
These are the best states to live off-grid:
- North Carolina
Can You Keep a Bug Out Cache at the Location
Bug out caches are a store of supplies that you can place on the way to your bug out location and in place at your bug out location. They allow you to travel lighter and/or have
A bug out cache is another thing to consider when you’re choosing a bug out location. Is it going to be possible to keep a cache at your chosen bug out location without it being stolen?
If you can safely store supplies in your bug out location it makes it much easier to get back on your feet when you get there.
Another option is to bury or hide supplies there if you don’t have an area that you can lock up. This is great if you plan to bug out to an area that you don’t own or an area on public land. Bugging out to areas that you don’t control isn’t the best plan but hiding a cache of supplies there can make it possible as long as others don’t get there before you.
What should be included in a survival cache at your bug out location?
When you build out your bug out location cache, you should include the items that you’re going to need or things that are going to be too heavy for you to carry with you. Food, water, warm clothing, extra batteries, and weapons are all good choices but you’re going to have to choose based on your specific scenario and the needs of your family.
Some items to include in a survival cache are:
- Water Filter
- Flashlight and Batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Warm Clothing
Certain locations have other things to consider as well. For example, if you’re bugging out to the central U.S. you may need to be aware of tornadoes and other extreme weather. If you live in Utah, prepping is practically a way of life due to the influence of the LDS church. Every place has positive things about it that could easily outweigh the things that we’ve discussed above.
This was just a brief overview of some of the things you should consider when you’re trying to find the best bug out locations. Any number of things could make a certain area perfect for you or make an otherwise great place not work. It all comes down to the needs of you and your family!