When your community or city becomes a hostile environment, you have to leave, or bug out. You need a refuge to go to so you can evaluate the situation or establish a base camp for extended periods. Some individuals and families purchase land specifically for a sanctuary. The property is usually close enough where it only takes one tank of fuel to get there. Things to consider when choosing a spot are distance, population density, natural resources and infrastructure.
You will need shelter and energy and if the crisis is nationwide, you may not be able to depend on the local infrastructure for your water and electricity. Even if the disaster is not nationwide, certain situations can have an impact on your safe haven. A surface nuclear detonation on the west coast will have a tremendous impact on interior states and the east coast as well. There will be a mass exodus of people moving east from all metropolitan and rural areas hundreds of miles from the blast. Literally millions of people will be on the move.
Therefore, your haven has to be far enough from a metropolitan area so it is not affected. Heavily populated and symbolic areas are targets for chemical, nuclear and biological attacks by terrorist organizations.
To view population density per square mile in the United States visit http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/512popdn.pdf
You must have a water and food source you control. You can drill or dig a well at anytime on the property to be ready. Stockpile heirloom seeds so if you have to stay for an extended period you can begin growing a sustainable and renewable food source. Spend a few days at the location, before you have to depend on the land to survive, so you can determine what natural resources such as game and surface water are available. Hunting and fishing is considered a supplemental food source that can be used until your garden is producing. Ideally, you would have enough supplies stockpiled to allow you to develop alternative sources. Have at least six months to a year of supplies stockpiled and cached.
Energy sources include, wood, solar, wind and water. These sources are considered renewable and sustainable. Wood must be harvested correctly however to be renewable. If you clear-cut an entire stand of wood, it may be a generation before re-growth can be used as energy. Solar panels can be used if you have sufficient peak sunlight daily. The average peak sunlight across the United States ranges from 3.5 to 6.0 hours daily depending on your location. Wind turbines can also be used and they generate electricity by using an electrical generator that is powered by the spinning blades. Wind and solar combined would be ideal. Keep in mind the upfront costs are considerable but both solar and wind would allow you to live off grid virtually anywhere in the country.
To determine peak sunlight hours for your location visit http://www.wholesalesolar.com/Information-SolarFolder/SunHoursUSMap.html
When choosing an area make sure you know the type of weather and natural disasters you can expect such as tornadoes and how harsh are the winters and will you receive enough annual rainfall. All of the mentioned will have an effect on hunting and crops. If you have long cold winters, or hot dry summers this will limit the types of crops and yields.
Can you defend your location? Once settled in you have to expect others fleeing will eventually find your safe haven. You can barter with them for supplies and essentials and allow them a few days to rest up or if you feel, they are a threat you have to be prepared to defend your land.
Much depends on what the ultimate goal is you have in mind. Is your bug out location designed for living just a few days, weeks, months or years? If only as a safe haven until you can return home then you can essentially hide your location. You can shield your shelter from casual passersby or not have a shelter at all because you plan to bring shelter with you such as tents or even a camper/recreational vehicle. Once you begin developing a safe haven with a permanent shelter, solar panels or wind turbines you are exposing your location.