Homesteading in Texas

Homesteading in Texas: What You Need To Know in 2023

Everything is bigger in Texas – even the opportunity for homesteading. In all seriousness, though, Texas is a fantastic state for homesteading. While the weather can get hot (and dry), there’s a lot of the state that has a more suitable climate for homesteading. Combine that with the lower cost of living and availability of land, and you’re in luck.

In this article, we’ll cover the A to Z on homesteading in Texas. You’ll learn about the climate, cost of living, what crops you can grow, and, most importantly, where you should choose to start your homestead.

Yes, we took the time to create an in-depth guide on homesteading in each of the 50 states (and provinces in Canada), find your state here.

What To Consider When Homesteading in Texas

First, let us cover the basics of homesteading. In this section, you’ll find useful info to help jumpstart your journey into a more naturally driven life.

1. The Climate

Texas has a diverse climate (I mean, have you seen the size of it). With that being said, we’ve covered Texas’s climate in five sections. However, as a general note, the state is generally characterized by hot summers and mild to cool winters. Here are the main climate zones found in Texas:

  1. East Texas: You can find a Humid Subtropical Climate in the eastern and southeastern parts of Texas, including areas like Houston and Galveston. Summers are hot and humid, with average temperatures sitting in the high 90s°F (32-37°C). Winters, on the other hand, are mild to cool, with average temperatures in the 50s°F (10-15°C) and high 40s°F. Rainfall is abundant throughout the year, as are natural disasters such as hurricanes.
  2. West Texas/Central Texas: Around cities like El Paso and Midland, West Texas has a semi-arid to arid climate. This means summers are very hot, with average temperatures exceeding 100°F (38°C) in some areas. Winters are generally milder, with daytime temperatures in the 50s-60s°F (10-20°C), but can occasionally drop below freezing. Precipitation is low and sporadic, with some areas receiving less than 20 inches (500 mm) of annual rainfall.
  3. South Texas: The region around San Antonio and parts of central/south Texas have a Mediterranean climate (but it’s nothing like your Italian vacation). Summers are hot and humid, with average temperatures in the 90s°F (32-37°C). Winters are mild, with average temperatures in the 50s-60s°F (10-20°C). Rainfall is moderate, with a notable dry period through the summer and fall.
  4. Mountainous Texas: Around the Davis Mountains and Guadalupe Mountains, Texas has a highland or mountain climate. Summers are relatively mild, with temperatures in the 70s-80s°F (20-30°C), while winters are cooler, with temperatures regularly dropping below freezing at night. Precipitation is higher compared to the surrounding arid areas, making it one of the best options for homesteading in the state.
  5. Gulf Coast: The Gulf Coast region, including cities like Corpus Christi and Brownsville, have a gulf coast climate. Surprising, right? This means summers are hot and humid, with average temperatures in the 90s°F (32-37°C), and winters are mild, with average temperatures in the 50s-60s°F (10-20°C). Rainfall is significant in the Gulf Coast climate, especially during hurricane season.
Annual precipitation map of Texas

2. Growing Seasons in Texas

Just like the climate, Texas also has a varied growing season. We’ve split the information up via section of the state. Here you go:

  • East Texas: The growing season in East Texas extends from early March to November. Some popular crops in this part of the state include: berries (blueberries to be specific), a variety of vegetables, peaches, and timber. We’ve written more about what crops to grow in East Texas here.
  • West Texas: The growing season in West Texas typically starts in April and extends until late September or early October. Crops such as cotton, grains, and some varieties of fruits and vegetables are commonly grown in this region.
  • Central Texas: In Central Texas, the growing season begins in March and lasts until November. Common crops in this part of the state are pecans and vegetables, with a specific focus on livestock farming.
  • Gulf Coast: The growing season on the Gulf Coast is relatively long – typically extending from late February or early March to November. Thanks to the long growing season, you can expect multiple harvests of vegetables, grains, and even citrus fruits.
  • Mountainous Regions: The mountains of Texas have the shortest growing season in the state (you can thank the high elevation for that). The growing season starts in late April/early May and extends until the end of September. Popular crops in this area are vegetables, apples, and grapes.

If you’re interested in learning more about growing seasons (and gardening) in general, check out the gardening section of our blog!

Texans Map of the United States

3. Rainfall in Texas

If you’re homesteading in Texas (or living off grid), the amount of rain you receive is very important. Not only is it important for the health of your crops, but it’s also important for your personal water usage! We broke down the figures based on the area again:

  1. East Texas: Moderate to high rainfall (40-60 inches or 1,000-1,500 mm annually), evenly distributed throughout the year.
  2. West Texas: Low rainfall (10-20 inches or 250-500 mm annually), sporadic and often as localized thunderstorms.
  3. Central Texas: Moderate rainfall (25-35 inches or 635-890 mm annually), fairly evenly distributed throughout the year.
  4. Coastal Texas: High rainfall (30-55 inches or 760-1,400 mm annually), distributed throughout the year with a peak in summer. Prone to tropical storms and hurricanes.
  5. Mountainous Regions: Moderate rainfall (20-30 inches or 500-760 mm annually), influenced by higher elevation and cooler temperatures.

4. Cost of Living in Texas

Compared to many states, Texas is relatively cheap. This is especially true in areas where homesteading is common – as you’ll most likely be living in the rural countryside. We broke the cost of living down into a few sections for you:

  1. Housing: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median home value in Texas is $302,333, which is below the national median of $346,270. However, prices can vary significantly depending on the area you’re living. You can easily pay double the average cost if you’re living close to the city.
  2. Utilities: The cost of utilities in Texas is generally in line with the national average. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average monthly electricity bill in Texas is $172, which is slightly above the national average of $133.07.
  3. Transportation: Gasoline prices in Texas tend to be lower than the national average. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Texas was $3.18 in June 2023, slightly below the national average of $3.56.
  4. Taxes: Texas is known for having no state income tax, which can be a significant benefit. However, it’s important to consider other taxes, such as sales tax and property tax, which can vary by locality.

If you’re interested in other affordable states, I recommend looking at Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

Homestead in Texas

What are the Best Counties for Homesteading in Texas? 

Ok, but what about where specifically to look for homesteading opportunities in Texas? Where has the best land at the best rates? Well, here are 7 counties that are perfect for homesteading in Texas:

Red River County 

If you’re interested in living off the grid in Texas, Red River County is definitely one of your finest possibilities. The climate is moderate, and the area receives a lot of rain each year, which is vital if you want to capture rainwater. Additionally, the area has a lower population and cost of living, which is perfect for anyone looking for an escape.

Average Rainfall46 inches
Average Property Cost$253,000

Sabine County 

Sabine County is located in eastern Texas and is ideal for off grid living and homesteading. The county sits right on the Louisiana border, which has the perfect climate for growing all sorts fo fruits and veggies. Many people live off the grid in this area, so if you’re seeking to buy, you’ll have no trouble finding a well-established homestead.

Average Rainfall51 inches
Average Property Cost$187,000

Panola County 

Panola County is a wonderful county for homesteading. This area contains everything you need, like low housing costs, low living costs, and plenty of rainfall each year. In fact, Panola County has one of the best climates for crop growth in all of Texas. With enough forethought, you should be able to cultivate veggies all year round.

Average Rainfall52 inches
Median Property Cost$160,000

Brewster County 

Brewster County is your best option for dirt-cheap land in Texas. That being said, while the county has a low population and cost of living, it also has a semi-arid climate, which is not as good for your gardening. We recommend Brewster County for anyone looking for a cheap place to live with plenty of peace and quiet.

Average Rainfall16 inches
Median Property Cost$312,000

Dallas County

When you think of Dallas County, you probably think of Dallas, one of Texas’s larger cities. This may not appear to be the best option for homesteading at a first glance, but you might want to take a second look. The county has a surprisingly low median cost of property, with a good amount of rainfall. You’ll be able to grow a garden no problem if you’re living in Dallas county.

Average Rainfall39 inches
Median Property Cost$370,000

Collin County

Collin County has a high population density. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good place for homesteading. The county spans over 800 miles of land, with plenty of acreage for your new farm or homestead. Collin County has a more moderate local climate, which is still hot but not overbearingly so. Additionally, the county receives plentiful rainfall throughout the year.

Average Rainfall41 inches
Median Property Cost$525,000

El Paso County 

El Paso County is located on the westernmost tip of Texas, with dry to semi-arid weather. Although the environment in El Paso County is not ideal, many individuals homestead in this county thanks to the availability of land (and opportunity for livestock). The population density is relatively high, and median property cost is high, however, you can still find land for cheaper prices if you look.

Average Rainfall13 inches
Median Property Cost$461,269

Final Thoughts on Homesteading in Texas

As you can see, there are numerous possibilities for homesteading in Texas. No matter where you wish to live off the grid, evaluate the local climate. The local environment largely affects how easy or difficult it will be to homesteading successfully.

Here’s my Full Guide of Finding the Best Land for Off Grid Living (and homesteading)!

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