Top 10 Surprisingly Great US Regions for Remote Work and Relocation

by | Jan 15, 2024 | Destinations, HelloVacay, Inspiration, Travel Tips | 0 comments

With remote work untethering countless professionals from HCOL metros, hidden gem regions around the States beckon—offering simpler living with community connectedness, access to nature and vibrant local culture—often at more affordable price points. We spotlight some underrated small cities and towns perfect for putting down fresh roots while retaining career growth working remotely.

Lower Cost Mountain Town Sanctuaries

For those who dream of powder days booked around meetings, pockets of iconic mountain ranges house burgeoning tech hubs balancing career and alpine adrenaline.

Bozeman, Montana has actively built tech infrastructure and community amongst stunning views of the Bridger range, earning it top accolades for growth and livability.

Similarly, once sleepy Bend, Oregon got wired and now claims the most startups per capita in the state, complemented by over 300 annual days of sun for ducking out during lunch breaks to the plethora of nearby trails and rivers.

And while known for arts, Asheville, North Carolina set amid the Blue Ridge Mountains steadily attracts remote workers to big city jobs offering salaries minus big city headaches.

Bozeman, Montana

  • Median Home Price: $550,000
  • Avg. Annual Snowfall: Over 200 inches
  • Income to Cost of Living Score: 7.2/10

Why Bozeman Works: With about 50 tech and biotech companies fostering a growing job market that enables location flexibility, Bozeman provides a scenic small city backdrop in nature featuring world-class skiing and outdoor recreation just beyond the laptop.

Bend, Oregon

  • Median Home Price: $589,000
  • Avg. Annual Snowfall: 30 inches
  • Income to Cost Cost of Living Score: 6.8/10

Why Bend Works: With sun shining over 300 days per year onto the plethora of trails in Deschutes National Forest just beyond downtown, Bend provides endless adventure between meetings aided by a flourishing tech and outdoor rec industry job market.

Asheville, North Carolina

  • Median Home Price: $355,000
  • Avg. Annual Rainfall: 45 inches
  • Income to Cost of Living Score: 8.2/10

Why Asheville Works: Surrounded by the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville provides a hub for arts and innovation with two thriving medical research universities enabling plenty of location-flexible bioscience and tech careers.

Revitalized Industrial Hubs Turned Livable Cities

Rust belt regions like Pittsburgh and Buffalo that built American infrastructure have written comeback stories—birthing walkable neighborhoods dotted by acclaimed dining around revitalized rivers and parks.

Both foster tech sector job growth, particularly in fields like healthcare, education and financial services that enable location flexibility.

In fact Michigan is even incentivizing remote workers in these fields relocating to northwest communities like Traverse City and Charlevoix near pristine Lake Michigan with $10,000 payouts.

Similarly soaring out of past manufacturing identity, Chattanooga, Tennessee presents mountains of bandwidth—literally owning America’s fastest internet—to drive innovation economies forward.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Median Home Price: $159,000
  • Avg. Annual Rainfall: 38 inches
  • Income to Cost of Living Score: 9.5/10

Why Pittsburgh Works: Pittsburgh provides thriving industries such as healthcare, education and finance with endlessly walkable neighborhoods speckled by cozy coffee shops and acclaimed restaurants—all with nearby state parks flanking three rivers to unwind in nature.

Traverse City, Michigan

  • Median Home Price: $300,000
  • Avg. Annual Snowfall: 132 inches
  • Income to Cost of Living Score: 8.9/10

Why Traverse Works: Traverse offers access to crystal blue Lake Michigan beaches plus over a dozen ski resorts within an hour for year-round recreation framed by vibrant wine country—a pure Michigan paradise luring remote workers through $10k relocation grants.

Buffalo, New York

  • Median Home Price: $165,000
  • Average Annual Snowfall: 94 inches
  • Income to Cost of Living Score: 8.9/10

Why Buffalo Works: Buffalo provides big city amenities like pro sports and dining at Midwest prices. Revitalization efforts and corporate investments are bringing new jobs, especially in fields like healthcare, finance and tech. The metro region features excellent public and private universities feeding talent pipelines.

Florida's Emerging Gulf Coast Havens

Beyond just Orlando and Miami, Florida's Gulf Coast harbors burgeoning remote work havens blending urban opportunity with laidback coastal living.

The Tampa Bay region has seen an influx of new residents collectively hiking housing costs up nearly 50% in under a decade.

Artsy St. Petersburg next door also beckons digital flocks with vibrant downtown districts organized around Central Avenue's boutiques and Tropicana Field.

And further south, coastal islands like Sarasota seduce those seeking walkable sophistication on more exclusive powder sand shores washed in aquamarine tones.

No state income taxes make these communities along the Sunshine State's left coast even more attractive for remote workers.

Sarasota, Florida

  • Median Home Price: $355,000
  • Avg. Annual Sunshine Days: 361
  • Income to Cost of Living Score: 7.3/10

Why Sarasota Works: For remote workers that value culture/arts amid beach living, Sarasota offers a sophisticated yet casual Gulf Coast scene with vibrant performing arts, museums and upscale shopping neatly tucked between tranquil turquoise shores.

St. Petersburg, Florida

  • Median Home Price: $355,000
  • Average Annual Snowfall: 0 inches
  • Income to Cost of Living Score: 7.2/10

Why St. Petersburg Works: St. Petersburg offers vibrant arts and culture with its colorful waterfront setting on Tampa Bay. It enjoys abundant sunshine and a moderate climate year-round. With no state income tax and a lower than average cost of living, it appeals especially to retirees and remote workers.

Midwestern College Town Gems

Smaller university hub main streets like Iowa City, Madison and Ann Arbor artfully marry intellectual edge with pastoral charm. Their pedestrian-friendly layouts dotted by cozy coffee houses connect neighbors through learning – a meaningful perk for knowledge workers balancing careers from home.

This rings true as remote job postings in education related fields have ballooned over 300% in recent years at sites like FlexJobs reflecting location agnostic roles. Expect renowned dining and the arts to flourish around these campuses as well.

Iowa City, Iowa

  • Median Home Price: $324,000
  • Average Annual Snowfall: 35 inches
  • Income to Cost of Living Score: 8.7/10

Why Iowa City Works: Iowa City balances small town warmth with intellectual edge as a UNESCO City of Literature fostering a flourishing writing community and bookish charm that appeals to knowledge workers. The University of Iowa also enables thriving industries like healthcare, tech and education with location flexible roles.

Image credit: Stevat20, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Median Home Price: $347,000
  • Average Annual Snowfall: 47 inches
  • Income to Cost of Living Score: 7.8/10

Why Ann Arbor Works: Ann Arbor offers a youthful, intellectual culture with the University of Michigan at its core. Cutting edge research in fields like engineering, computer science, and medicine translate into abundant high-paying job opportunities. The area features excellent public schools and vibrant performing arts and food scenes.

Image credit: David Harris, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

And The Nomadic Can Still Nest Here Temporarily

Even those still architecting mobile or hybrid remote lifestyles can nest in these smaller regions temporarily to see if the lifestyle sticks. Programs like Tulsa Remote or Ascend WV lure newcomer talent by covering costs of temporary relocation including rent stipends.

The chance to embed locally aids better discernment of long term fit. And digital nomads flocking seasonally create ready-made communities, connecting transplants working in communal co-living set-ups or coliving combined with co-working.

In truth, everyone from singles to families are migrating from restrictive, costly coastal cities seeking refuge in these towns that better balance career opportunities, casual community and abundant opportunities to enjoy nature. The rise of remote work lets us rewrite not just workplace geography but also life’s pace.

For many, detachment from high stress HCOL hubs towards these emerald underrated regions spells freedom to exhale and flourish. And who knows? That breath of fresh air may spark a permanent change of address.


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