Shelter Cove, California

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For the place in San Mateo County, see Shelter Cove, Pacifica.
Shelter Cove
census-designated place
Shelter Cove is located in California
Shelter Cove
Shelter Cove
Location in California
Coordinates: 40°01′50″N 124°04′23″W / 40.03056°N 124.07306°W / 40.03056; -124.07306Coordinates: 40°01′50″N 124°04′23″W / 40.03056°N 124.07306°W / 40.03056; -124.07306
Country  United States
State  California
County Humboldt County
 • Total 5.830 sq mi (15.099 km2)
 • Land 5.830 sq mi (15.099 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation[2] 138 ft (42 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 693
 • Density 120/sq mi (46/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP Code 95589
Area code(s) 707
GNIS feature IDs 1659640; 2611448
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Shelter Cove, California; U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Shelter Cove, California

Shelter Cove is a census-designated place[3] in Humboldt County, California.[2] It lies at an elevation of 138 feet (42 m).[2] Shelter Cove is on California's Lost Coast where the King Range meets the Pacific Ocean. A 9-hole golf course surrounds the one-runway Shelter Cove Airport at the center of Shelter Cove's commercial district. Utilities are provided by the Humboldt County Resort Improvement District #1 and boating access to the sea is managed by the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation & Conservation District. The population was 693 at the 2010 census.

Shelter Cove shares a ZIP code (95589) with the hamlet of Whitethorn, California, located to the southeast. The community is inside area code 707. Sinkyone Wilderness State Park is about 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Shelter Cove on the coast. There are also state parks such as Black Sands Beach, Mal Coombs Park, Seal Rock Picnic Area and Abalone Point. Much of the land around Shelter Cove belongs to the Kings Range National Conservation Area, managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The nearest supermarket and other amenities not available in Shelter Cove are in the towns of Redway and Garberville in the U.S. 101 corridor, about 20 miles (32 km) of winding county roads to the east.


The area around Shelter Cove was originally home to Native Americans known as the Sinkyone people.

An illustration of the collision between the Columbia and San Pedro near Shelter Cove on July 21, 1907.

Near Shelter Cove on July 21, 1907, the coastal passenger steamer Columbia collided with the steam schooner San Pedro amidst dense fog. The Columbia subsequently sank, killing 88 people. Although badly damaged, San Pedro stayed afloat and helped to rescue Columbia's survivors.[4]

Because of the very steep terrain on the coastal areas surrounding Shelter Cove, the highway builders constructing State Route 1 (the "Pacific Coast Highway") decided it was too difficult to build the coastal highway along a long stretch of what is now the Lost Coast. As a result, the small fishing village of Shelter Cove remained very secluded from the rest of the populous state, despite being only 230 miles (370 km) north of San Francisco, and is accessible by boat, via small mountain road, or by the small Shelter Cove Airport.

As a result of its seclusion, the Shelter Cove area has become a popular spot for those seeking quiet vacation respite or retirement area. Popular activities in the area include fishing, whale watching, hiking, diving for abalone, and other outdoor activities.

The Cape Mendocino Light, a lighthouse from Cape Mendocino, was moved by helicopter to Mal Coombs Park in 1998 [1].

A post office operated at Shelter Cove from 1892 to 1933, moving in 1898.[5]


Shelter Cove from the air, 2012

The 2010 United States Census[6] reported that Shelter Cove had a population of 693. The population density was 118.9 people per square mile (45.9/km²). The racial makeup of Shelter Cove was 630 (90.9%) White, 3 (0.4%) African American, 5 (0.7%) Native American, 7 (1.0%) Asian, 1 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 13 (1.9%) from other races, and 34 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 47 persons (6.8%).

The Census reported that 693 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 348 households, out of which 76 (21.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 127 (36.5%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 28 (8.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 26 (7.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 47 (13.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 3 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 132 households (37.9%) were made up of individuals and 32 (9.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.99. There were 181 families (52.0% of all households); the average family size was 2.48.

The population was spread out with 118 people (17.0%) under the age of 18, 25 people (3.6%) aged 18 to 24, 214 people (30.9%) aged 25 to 44, 234 people (33.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 102 people (14.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.1 years. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.6 males.

There were 631 housing units at an average density of 108.2 per square mile (41.8/km²), of which 248 (71.3%) were owner-occupied, and 100 (28.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 10.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 13.8%. 499 people (72.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 194 people (28.0%) lived in rental housing units.


In the state legislature, Shelter Cove is in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Noreen Evans,[7] and the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Wesley Chesbro.[8]

Federally, Shelter Cove is in California's 2nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Jared Huffman.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Census
  2. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Shelter Cove, California
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Shelter Cove, California
  4. ^ Dalton, Anthony A long, dangerous coastline : shipwreck tales from Alaska to California Heritage House Publishing Company, 1 Feb 2011 - 128 pages
  5. ^ Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 141. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Shelter Cove CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ "California's 2nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 

External links[edit]