It’s hard to imagine the collapse of civilization but the end of the world as we know it, commonly known as TEOTWAKI among preppers, is something that should be on everyone’s mind. It could happen over time, with economic calamity leading to the collapse of world banks and stock markets before causing large-scale panic, or it could be something unexpected, like a nuclear attack or the outbreak of a disease.
No matter how it happens, you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way, and that means you need a plan.
At the top of the list is the place you will call home when TEOTWAWKI comes. For some people, this means hunkering down in homemade bunkers underneath their existing houses. For others, it means hitting the road to a place that’s better suited for survival.
As it happens, there are some states that are better for riding out TEOTWAKI than others, but before we get to the list, let’s first look at what traits make a state a desirable destination in the apocalypse and which traits should be avoided.
What You’re Looking For
The best states to survive in an apocalyptic scenario are ones where you can live off the grid comfortably year-round. There will be plenty of ways to obtain food and water (in case your own supplies run out), and the weather won’t force you to seek out another place to live. One of the biggest keys is that you don’t have to worry about having other people around who try to take your supplies, which is always a challenge.
Choosing the right climate is important. As mentioned, finding a place that is temperate all year is essential for a number of reasons. Given that you can’t assume roads will always be passable when society collapses, you have to plan to ride out the apocalypse in one spot.
You can’t fly South for the winter, unfortunately, so even though holing up in an abandoned ski lodge in Vermont might seem like a good idea during warmer months, you can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to get back after the snow melts. While it’s possible to survive in snowy conditions, it only makes things harder for you so unless you’re partial to living in cold climates, try to locate places that don’t end up with several feet of snow like the Northeast region of the country.
You should also avoid places that get hit with extreme weather regularly. Living in Tornado Alley, for example, really isn’t the best idea because you won’t have the luxury of advanced warning systems to tell you when to evacuate. The same can be said of living on the Gulf Coast and along the Atlantic Coast where hurricanes are known to come through each season.
Floodplains should be avoided, as should deserts and places like California where drought is constantly a problem.
Getting around is important when society collapses. Roads might be impassable, making it important to have access to flat areas that can be navigated on foot, by horse or by car if you’re lucky.
The upside to remote locations that aren’t easily accessible is the safety that comes from being tucked away from prying eyes. You don’t want people to come upon your shelter and try to take it from you, because they will. Hiding in a remote cabin in the mountains can be a very good plan so long as you know how to get food and water.
National parks would make very practical places to take shelter during the collapse of civilization. States that are home to national parks and lots of open space will be great places to establish a shelter. All you’d need is a dedicated river or lake for water, and you could be set for the long haul.
Speaking of food and water, if you have done your research properly, then you will find shelter in a place where there is access to freshwater, either in a lake or river, and there are places to grow food and either raise livestock or hunt.
The reality is that after a year or so, canned foods will become scarce, and the canned goods you manage to find after that long will go bad eventually. That means you need to be self-reliant, and that’s hard to do when you’re in the city. Being in the country gives you the space you need along with the natural resources that will allow you to survive.
For every family that has been planning how to make it through a disaster, there are countless others who haven’t given it any thought. Whether your shelter or hideout is at your house or a few hours outside of town, be aware that when you’re in the middle of a big city, there will always be people who expect you to use your supplies to help them.
States that aren’t densely populated will be more desirable than ones with massive populations. Planning to get away from big cities will help keep your shelter safe.
Best States For Survivability
With the top four factors of what to look for in terms of survivability in mind, states that are densely populated will be full of frightened people looking for food and shelter when civilization collapses. You’ll want to be far away from big cities if you can help it unless you have built a shelter at your home in the city, in which case you’ll be able to ride out the worst of it while everyone else scrambles to survive.
The best states to be in when civilization collapses are located in the Pacific Northwest, from Washington and Oregon over to neighboring Idaho, but there are also some good choices on the East Coast, too.
Washington and Oregon are at the top of the survivability list because they aren’t densely populated, they have relatively stable climates that are conducive to growing food and surviving without dealing with extreme conditions, they have easy to manage terrain, and they offer just about every resource you can possibly imagine.
Washington offers plenty of open space to move around, so whether you decide to hole up in a remote cabin or on the outskirts of small cities like Spokane, you will have plenty of space between you and your neighbors. Rainfall is steady, so you won’t need to worry about droughts or scarcity of drinking water. Wildlife is plentiful in the state’s numerous national parks, providing you with plenty of hunting and fishing options as well as space to raise your own livestock and crops.
Similarly, Oregon is an ideal state to find yourself during the collapse of civilization because it features many of the same traits as Washington, and it’s slightly more temperate, too. It’s also a great place for growing food, with lots of open space for both crops and livestock.
Idaho comes in as a close third after Washington and Oregon, only because as you move East the winters become harsher and you’ll need a solid survival plan to make it through. A very large portion of Idaho is protected space already, so if you need to escape big cities there’s no better place to go, and thanks to the Boise River there will always be fresh water and plenty of fish. The winters are cold but not as freezing as the Northeast.
Moving away from the Pacific Northwest and across the US, the cluster of states that includes Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, southern Illinois, and Arkansas do have a risk of tornados and flooding, but the risk isn’t as high as other areas. These states are ideal because they are located in the middle, away from the harsh winters that you see as you move north and away from potential hurricanes and flooding in the south.
Proximity to the Mississippi River means that there will always be plentiful fishing and hunting, with fertile land near the river for growing crops and raising livestock, and the river itself will be helpful should you need to move up and down the river.
While all of the states mentioned have cities with large populations, they’re not densely populated all over, which means there is space to get away from the cities and make a go at survival without feeling like there are people out there who might try to steal your supplies.
In some cases, specific parts of certain states would make good places to take shelter to survive the apocalypse. Upstate New York, Southern Utah, Southern Colorado, Northern Nevada are all good choices, and so too are the northern portions of the Gulf states like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia.
Living near major rivers, like the Mississippi River, will be very helpful. Here you’ll not only have a place to fish but you’ll also be able to travel on the water and skip roads, which is helpful when you don’t have gas.
The key to this list is that the favorable states and regions are far from extreme weather events like hurricanes or tornadoes. They’re not prone to flooding, but they receive enough precipitation and/or snow to provide a freshwater source. They are temperate enough to grow crops and have the water and land to raise livestock without worrying about a drought, and you won’t experience horribly hot summers or overly intense winters in these states either.
The key to surviving a disaster, no matter the cause, is to find a place where you and your loved ones can settle down and make it through without having to constantly worry about other people or battling the elements. With a fair amount of planning and forethought, you can make it through any disaster.
You forgot northern Arizona.
Where in Northern Arizona?
See this is where everyone gets it wrong even tho this story is an opinion. Just because northern states have harsher winters doesn’t make it a bad thing. First easier to get water. Easier to hunt. Easier to blend in. Plenty of fire wood. Farming is common and easier to get food. Almost all power plants are hydro now. Nuke facilities have been decommissioned… If invaided by another country we all have guns. Easier to hide in woods we know our back yard. If zombies were true (kids now a days) survival rate would be 50% or higher.. Think about it…
As of June 18, 2019, there are 59 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 97 nuclear reactors in 29 U.S. states. Of these nuclear plants, 33 plants have two reactors and 3 plants have three reactors. (The Indian Point Energy Center in New York has two nuclear reactors that the U.S. Energy Information Administration counts as two separate nuclear plants).
The Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona is the largest nuclear plant, and it has three reactors with a combined net summer electricity generating capacity of 3,937 megawatts (MW). The R. E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in New York is the smallest nuclear plant, and it has one reactor with a net summer electricity generating capacity of 508 MW.
The newest nuclear reactor to enter service, Watts Bar Unit 2 with 1,150 MW net summer electricity generating capacity, began commercial operation in October 2016.
Two new nuclear reactors are actively under construction: Vogtle Units 3 and 4 in Georgia.
These things are mostly true. We have on the west coast a huge population that exists. These are the people to fear with reason. They are rats and know how search and steal. While some with those skills will have decided theft and murder are acceptable and a new norm.
Hey Big wc…nuclear plants are not being decommissioned. The facts are that more plants are planned for the for seeable future and current ones are being upgraded in some cases but not all.
LOVE a suggestion. I have a son. My only child has some disabilities. Want hom out if where we are asap.Cant find where to go.Any help is appreciated.Just want to protect him.
Being close to any major river also means flooding on a regular basis! I should know I’ve spent a lot of my adult life very close to the Mississippi river in Vicksburg. MS. My family and I will be moving to higher ground in the mountains within 500 miles of home. Wish us luck please.
Good luck John. Better yet report back on your move and how it went. Are you happy with the move…etc.
My bug-out location for a SHTF event will be Western Tennessee (Dickson area) in the hills on 40+ acres of mostly woods, a pond and extra space for gardening. Winters should be fairly mild and tolerable. This particular area only has 6 snow days per year on average. Very agreeable.
I live in an area of Michigan where we get snow every year, but we hardly ever use electricity for heat and always have plenty of firewood. I live on the outskirts of what can hardly be called a village, it’s so small. Everyone knows everybody and I doubt that people would try to harm each other. In fact I believe that we are a strong community that would stand together, but people do change when lives are threatened.
Any major river ,like the Mississippi River, that has large cities on them, will likely be highly polluted for several years, a decade(s)? Being near smaller rivers,streams is a good idea…
Please change the “Shirts of Liberty” in the right column closer to the top.
It says “Pissing OF Liberals one shirt at a time.”
I definitely prefer cold climates to allow for hunting and the storage of meats that, when prepped in the winter (salted and cured or smoked) will last all summer. The key there would be finding a viable source for the salts and sugars, though these can be stored in large batches in properly sealed containers.
A food forest will take some fifteen years to reach full levels of maturity, though produce relatively well within eight years. It is also substantial enough to provide all of the nutrition necessary for a full family with no farming needed once it has matured. Make sure to leave enough of the growth and produce lie where it falls in order to ensure continuation of the species, and save the seeds from what you harvest just in case.
I plan on moving to arizona very soon. I really hope it has off the grid areas. I am from memphis and i think this move will be amazing. Looking forward to it. is it a good place for survival?
Hello Kaeshawn, I live off of the grid in northern Arizona. I live near Seligman AZ, and I live at 5500ft elevation. It’s a rough, sometimes tiring lifestyle, and you always have something that needs to get done.
In the winter and fall I cut my own firewood to stay warm, as the 20 acres I have is wooded with Pinon Pine and Juniper trees.
In the summer we get by easily on just window fans and such, as we are on solar electricity and it won’t run an air conditioner. It always cools off at night here in the summer being frequently in the upper 40s to 50s, seldom does it get in the 60s at night.
Is it a good place for survival you ask? Sure, but survival is what you make it! Out here there’s plenty of elk, deer, bear, javelina, porcupines, and many other critters.
I live 28 miles from the nearest store and gas station, and my nearest neighbor is 3 1/2 miles away.
All in all I am glad that I made the move 7 years ago to go off grid, and I don’t regret it. It’s quiet and peaceful out here and it’s really nice living out here.
You forgot North Carolina, NC has fertile soil, plenty of water, really good weather, good hunting and fishing, mountains, and expanded castle doctrine to take care of invaders.
The Northwest states are prone to earthquakes not Idaho so much but major areas of the Northwestern USA has to worry about major earthquakes. Cascadia fault is long overdue. A few areas of Arizona outside of the Sornoran and Mohave deserts should be great areas if you have a well or spring.
The Northwest states are prone to earthquakes not Idaho so much but major areas of the Northwestern USA has to worry about major earthquakes. Cascadia fault is long overdue. A few areas of Arizona outside of the Sonoran and Mohave deserts should be great areas if you have a well or spring.
I live outside of Spokane, WA on the SW plains. Your recommendation is way off base. Spokane is a teeming cesspool of meth heads and low lifes. When the SHTF they will go as far as their feet or a tank of gas will take’em. My bug out is in central ID. Im high tailing it off the farm and to there as fast as I can. Just think like a crazed low life who didn’t think to prepare for the next day and that you have the resources they need. Pretty simple.
Same for Northern Idaho, plus it’s overwhelmed with California hipster liberals who have driven up the prices of homes and apartments so that they are unaffordable.
Drugs are a huge problem here (mostly meth), and in Montana.
So far Eastern Oregon is looking good for a bug out location, no sales tax, friendly locals, affordable prices, and the area is not being overwhelmed by rich liberals who want to change their new state into a replica of California.
If you can stand the cold during the winter and can do work by cutting firewood for the winter, come live in Fairview Michigan, it has a small population and therefore almost all locals are friendly. You don’t have to pay much to get a deer license as in the sector they want to get rid of the deer because of a disease going around. It is very rural and still has a gas station in Mio, which is another small town.
Living in the PNW for 14 years now. Very good but not great because of the liberal politic jerk wads. As far as meth heads go, just serve up and order of Chinese Government Chicken, Click-Pow. Problem solved. Next.
It’s funny how you geniuses tell people your plan and advertise what area to look for you in…. Also, you are using the current standard of society as a bases of where to be…. Yet, laws and prices aren’t going to matter in a collapse genius…