Speaking in terms of size, location and resources, is there a settlement that is better than all the rest?

I have not found a settlement that is better than Sanctuary. It has more room than all the others, a river with plenty of water and tons of things to scrap. Plus I get access to it very early on in the game.

Example: One settlement can have hills which are bad for building houses, very little dirt for plants, no water resources. This would be an example of a settlement that would be objectively worse than the others. I'm asking if there is one that is better than the rest.


  • The biggest building area.
  • The most water.
  • The most dirt for crops.
  • The Flattest surface.
  • A centralized location.
  • The most scrap available.
  • 8
    This sounds like it's straying into opinionated territory.
    – Frank
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 13:56
  • 1
    Yeah I can see where you would think this. But I think this is answerable. Let me edit it and go into more detail.
    – FoxMcCloud
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 13:58
  • 1
    the "worst" is probably the red rocket fuel station just outside of Sanctuary, since it has very little ground to build on - however it has a good vantage point over Concord and guards the entry to Sanctuary so I covered it in turrets anyway...
    – kalina
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 15:04
  • as soon as you have the "local leader" perk you won't care about the scrap anymore, because then you can share the junk between settlements.
    – WayneEra
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 12:41
  • @kalina I think I've found one or two others that actually have Red Rocket beat in terms of "least ground to build on". Kinda wonder why they even bother.
    – Iszi
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 22:47

4 Answers 4


From my experience so far, I'm going to say Starlight Drive In. This is because of the following:

  • It has direct access to water for water purification (the middle of the parking lot has sunk and has radioactive water)
  • It has a lot of land, with some very good vantage points from the diner at one end of the parking lot and the sign from the other end. Plenty of locations with excellent visibility to install turrets, the rest of the parking lot is quite flat
  • It's relatively centralized to the initial areas (half way between Cambridge and Sanctuary)
  • It has enough dirt to plant food to fully maximize your population without any issues
  • There is a lot of scrap (old cars etc)
  • 2
    I'll second this. I'm not overly far into the game, but so far the drive in looks like an excellent spot. Easy to defend, flat, etc. Area isn't larger I don't think than normal, but it is undeveloped and easy to mold to what you want.
    – JClaspill
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 16:21
  • 19
    If you scrap the barrels in the radioactive pond the radiation goes away. I haven't tried drinking the water directly, but at least you won't take 7+ rads per second by standing sort of near it.
    – Zac Crites
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 16:03
  • 1
    The not-quite-flat parking lot frustrates me to no end. I don't like the edges of my buildings floating in mid air. How many water purifiers can you really fit in that little pond?
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 21:33
  • Another advantage is it's close to the Drumlin Diner, where there are one or two vendors (depending how you resolve the fight) to sell your tato crop to. That's useful before you reach Diamond City or can build your own trading stands.
    – boomstick
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 20:48

Spectacle Island is the biggest potential settlement in the game. It's surrounded by water, has the most dirt, largest build area, and the highest building height. The Island also comes with the largest power source in the game. The prebuilt generator gives 20 units of power, however 5 power is used to run the pulse beacon to repel mirelurks. Look for "The Castle", the Island is off in the ocean. You can build anywhere on that island. The layout of the island is a bit messy and with the hills it can be difficult to build, but it's about the size of all the other 20 or so settlements combined. Seriously it's huge. Currently I doubled the building budget on my game with Console and have a huge fort there.

Now for the best area I would have to go with Starlight Drive In. Very flat build area, plenty of salvage, centralized water hole (you can salvage to radioactive barrels in the water), and has nice vantage points. The building budget isn't the biggest but is moderate. It has enough dirt to run a maxed settlement of 21 without issue.

Sorry for the long post guys lmao. I just love this new feature even though it could be better :)

  • 2
    As noted be careful traveling to Spectacle Island. I has a BUNCH of Mirelurks and if you do the unmarked quest to unlock it as a settlement a Mirelurk Queen and potentially a Legendary Mirelurk Deep King will attack. It is possible to avoid fighting them but still be ready for hell if you are a low level.
    – user132450
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 10:49
  • It sounds like the Island is a good late-game settlement, while the Drive In is the best early game settlement. So start your game off and maximize the Drive In, and then move onto the Island once you've had the resources to do so.
    – user66184
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 3:45

Sanctuary Hills is not centralized, but hits a home run on all the other criteria. Of course, centralization is largely irrelevant.

It also has the advantage of being immediately available, meaning that you can start building your settlement before you go anywhere or do anything else.

In addition, it starts with all the crafting stations already built, making it even more useful at the start of the game.

Note that you get experience for building things both in workshop mode and at crafting stations. On one playthrough I leveled up twice before even advancing to the Red Rocket Station.

Also, Trashcan Carla is usually present, making it easy to trade here as well. If she's not around, sleeping for an hour usually makes her show up for me.

It's also defensible, with just a few key entry points.

On to your criteria:

Biggest building area.

If you need more area to build than Sanctuary Hills provides, I'm not sure what you're doing.

Most water.

There is a river surrounding the settlement, with room to build many, many industrial water purifiers.

Most dirt for crops.

There is plenty of nice dirt all over the place. I usually have a nice garden going near the entrance road, where there is already a cooking station set up for you.

Flattest surface.

Unlike a lot of places with almost-flat surfaces, like the Drive-In, Sanctuary Hills has large totally flat areas after you scrap the ruined houses. Using these platforms saves you resources otherwise spent on building foundations. In addition, there's quite a bit of almost-flat area you can easily build foundations upon.

Centralized location.

Sanctuary is not centralized. This would be the biggest issue given your criteria, but a centralized location really isn't very important. You can fast travel right to it.

If you're concerned with fast travel times, perhaps to maximize a sleeping bonus, then you should gain access to the molecular relay as quickly as possible, and maintain it for as long as possible. Using the molecular relay only takes a minute, so you can travel anywhere in the Commonwealth in two minutes.

Most scrap available.

There is a lot of scrap here initially. You can scrap the ruined houses, as well as items laying about in the not completely ruined houses. This provides more than enough material to construct a water purifier, generator, and recruitment beacon as soon as you enter the town.

Using the pre-existing homes also saves you a lot of resources that would otherwise be spent on building structures for beds.

  • 1
    Important note about centralization: Fast-travel generally takes up time depending on how far you are from your destination. If there's anything time-sensitive going on, and you need to get to your home base meanwhile, it can be important for that base to be centrally located to reduce the likelihood that you'll be too far away.
    – Iszi
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 23:45
  • @Iszi I can't think of anything time-sensitive enough for your base's position on the map to matter.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 23:52

This is a tip for people playing on survival and aren't enemies of the Institute.

Definitely Hangman's Alley.

  • Next to the Institute (teleport to the institute from anywhere > get a free patch-up by the doctor > teleport to C.I.T. Ruins and your basically at home already).
  • In the center of the map (means, you can reach it from anywhere in reasonable time
  • Next to Diamond City
  • Easy to defend
  • It's easy to get. Just kill the raiders and it's yours. No mission required.

The only con is the little space you have to build, but you can still build on multiple levels. I'm able to maintain myself and my stuff with this single settlement. Including food and water.

I loved Sanctuary Hills at first, but it gets more and more away the more you progress in the story. At the point where I am, it's near completely useless.

From the OPs criterias it would suit best for the A centralized location point. :)

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