Whether you're venturing out on your own after high school or college, or you're searching for a place to settle down and start a family, it can be tough to choose the right location. After all, we've got 50 states -- each with its own distinct character and culture.
Since the end of World War II, Americans have enjoyed more mobility than people in most countries. But with the recent prolonged economic woes, that trend has slowed. Relocating can be expensive. A new job might sound attractive, but is it worth the effort if living will cost more in the new location? States with a low cost of living offer affordable housing and other services, but still provide jobs that allow you to maximize your quality of life.
Of course, just because a place is cheap doesn't mean you want to live there. These 10 U.S. states combine affordability with the arts, nature and other attractions that will allow you to have fun while working toward your goal of financial independence.