Check out these five solid reasons why Wyoming may not be your cup of chai – then you can decide if they’re complete deal-breakers. Do you shiver and shudder just thinking about Wyoming’s long, dark, frigid winters? Does a weekend of winter snow sports sound more like miserable 24/7 agony than an exciting adventure? Are you a city dweller who cringes at the thought of living in wide-open spaces where neighbors and shopping are miles apart? Is Wyoming going to seem too remote and wild for you? Is the lack of diversity a complete turn-off?
1. The Climate and Those Long, Cold, Dark Winters
Do you think you might have recurring nightmares of being stuck in the freezer that’s in your neighbor’s dark garage? Wyoming winters are intense. To survive, you’ll need some serious gear. Winter severity varies from location to location – high in the Tetons or down on the prairie, average January lows can range from 0℉ to 18℉. Snow accumulation can pile up anywhere from 60 to 200 inches. Whichever part of Wyoming you settle into, unless you plan to sit by the fireplace all day, you’ll need to bundle up in three or four layers for five months just to keep from freezing your tush off. But there’s one way you can stay warm – keep all that snow shoveled away from your exterior doors, walkways, and driveway. Let it pile up and you’ll be a prisoner in your own home throughout the winter – a winter during which you may see only five hours of sunlight, that is, if the sun happens to be shining. Do long, cold, dark Wyoming winters sound like a nightmare?
OK, well at least you’ve been forewarned. Wyoming winters are tough but they’re really not a nightmare. If you plan carefully and get the right gear, you’ll eventually realize that those Wyoming winters are a mere backdrop to some of the most gorgeous wild open spaces anywhere in the country. If you’re into long sweeping vistas of unspoiled countryside that nourish the soul, it’s easier to overlook the cold. As a matter of fact, you’ll even welcome it if you’re into snow sports – and Wyoming is known for some of the best in the nation.
When you’re done with mountains of snow and short dark days, you start dreaming of spring . . . blooming wildflowers in verdant green meadows. Not. As the snow melts, say hello to tornadoes, thunderstorms, and wildfires. Tornadoes are more common in southeastern Wyoming, but wildfires and thunderstorms can happen all over the state. Let’s get through spring and shout out a warm howdy to summer and fall!
OK, now we’re talking – Wyoming’s summers and falls simply can’t be beaten. Summer is clear, brilliant sunshine with warm days spent camping, canoeing, kayaking, river rafting, fishing, golfing, horseback riding, and exploring in some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. Fall brings crispy days and glorious colorful foliage against deep blue skies – perfect for hiking, cycling, boating, and fishing to your heart’s content.
2. Remote and Wild
Did you know that fifty percent of the world’s population lives in urban environments? Studies have shown that mental health problems are associated with massive urbanization. Remote and wild – that’s what makes Wyoming either desperately appealing, an acquired taste, or an all-out deal-breaker. But when you realize that remote and wild promotes a healthy lifestyle, you may become a convert. There’s a happening trend in the U.S. that favors wellness and healthy lifestyles over purchasing tons of luxury stuff.
Is it time for you to rethink the effect remote and wild could have on your mental health? According to psychologytoday.com, natural environments can significantly improve a person’s mood. What’s more, studies have shown that nature, particularly trees, lakes, and mountains, can improve attention and restore cognitive function. But wild and remote doesn’t mean an environment devoid of life. You’ll see herds of deer, elk, wild horses, bison, and bighorn sheep plus you’ll need to look out for moose and bear crossing the roads. Another upside to remote and wild is that WY commutes are some of the shortest in the nation – definitely a mood lifter!
3. Zilch Diversity in the Equality State
The words ‘diversity’ and ‘Wyoming’ don’t particularly jive. Of all 50 states, Wyoming is the least populated and out of those 582,328 Wyomingites, about 92% are white. What does that mean? Well, it means there’s a limited range of cultural traditions, a more conservative population, the highest rate of gun ownership in the U.S., and folks who are well . . . white. Most festivals and events center around Old West traditions like rodeo and frontier days with pretend shoot ’em up gunfights. However, no matter who you are, the sense of community is strong and people watch out for one another.
Wyoming is known as The Equality State because women were granted the right to vote in 1869. That’s 50 long years before the 19th amendment gave women the right to vote in the US. In addition to voting rights, women were allowed to own property, sign legal documents, and serve as jurors. Impressively, when Wyoming applied for statehood in 1889, it would only join the union if the laws securing women’s equality were upheld. With annual events and festivals all over the state, Wyoming continues to celebrate kick-butt female pioneers and women’s equality.
4. More Countryside Than Culture
TBH, you can find plenty of culture in Wyoming – it just comes in doses that are easier to swallow. Yep, it’s true – there are lots of cowboy towns, prairie towns, and some way out in the boonies backwaters that dot the countryside. But Wyoming’s biggest city, Cheyenne, with – hold onto your hat – 63,000 residents, has enough history, art, music, festivals, events, and attractions to fill anyone’s calendar. The historic Atlas Theatre, built in 1887, hosts touring acts and productions in every season. Imagine strolling along the Cheyenne Art Walk every second Thursday of the month, tapping your tootsies to live music, dipping into tasty food, and wandering in and out of open studios and galleries to chat with friends and artists. From family-friendly activities to award-winning displays, the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens is a treasured community gem. That’s just a smattering of Cheyenne’s cultural offerings but what about other parts of the state?
In stunning, hip, and happening Jackson Hole you can shop, dine, drink, and join in year-round festivals and events. You’ll probably even ogle some celebrities. The Jackson Hole vibe is a trendy combo of Old West and contemporary cool surrounded by some of the most exquisite nature in the world – you can’t help but gawk at the natural splendors of nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Then there’s Laramie – over in the southeastern corner of the state on the high plains. It’s a university town, so you know what that means! Taverns, pubs, cool cowboy saloons, and craft breweries. Whether your look is handmade boots and a Stetson, upscale athletic garb, a prairie frock with combat boots, or even a blazer and pressed jeans – anything goes when you get involved in Wyoming’s eclectic culture.
5. Let’s Talk Taxes
Some people think that if they pay high taxes they’ll get high-quality state amenities. If shelling out your hard-earned bucks to pay taxes floats your boat, don’t consider moving to Wyoming. Wyoming taxes are low and state amenities are great. You don’t need to be a CPA to understand that zero state income tax means a nice chunk o’ change in your bank account every year. But many states make up for zero income tax by upping property and sales tax. Not in Wyoming. The Cowboy State has the ninth-lowest property taxes in the country and sales tax that never exceeds 6%. Even if you don’t think like an accountant, it’s worth your time to talk about how low Wyoming taxes go.
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If the negatives aren’t enough to scare you away from moving to Wyoming, and you want to know more, be sure to check out our Wyoming Moving Guide. The guide covers just about every detail about living in Wyoming you could possibly want to know. You’ll learn more about the economy, job market, cost of living, the housing market, education, and things to do. The super-helpful guide also outlines the steps involved in becoming a Wyoming resident, how to register your vehicle, and how to get your Wyoming driver’s license. Low taxes may be enough to convince you that Wyoming could work for you, but if you’re also looking for a more laid back, low-key lifestyle, be ready to surround yourself with Wyoming’s wilderness and beauty. Getting psyched up about Wyoming? Check out our unbiased and reputable list of Wyoming’s top moving companies. Are you ready to say yaaaaas to Wyoming? Ask for free quotes so you can explore pricing and services.