Golovin is located on a point of land between Golovin Bay and Golovin Lagoon on the Seward Peninsula. It is 70 miles east of Nome. Golovin is located in the Cape Nome Recording District. The area encompasses 3.7 sq. miles of land and 0.0 sq. miles of water.

The Eskimo village of "Chinik," located at the present site of Golovin, was originally settled by the Kauweramiut Eskimos who later mixed with the Unaligmiut Eskimos. Golovin was named for Captain Vasili Golovin of the Russian Navy. In 1887, the Mission Covenant of Sweden established a church and school south of the current site. Around 1890, John Dexter established a trading post that became the center for prospecting information for the entire Seward Peninsula. When gold was discovered in 1898 at Council, Golovin became a supply point for the gold fields. Supplies were shipped from Golovin across Golovin Lagoon and up the Fish and Niukluk Rivers to Council. A post office was opened in 1899. Reindeer herding was an integral part of the missions in the area in the 1900s. The city was incorporated in 1971.

A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community -- the Chinik Eskimo Community. Golovin is an Inupiat Eskimo village with a fishing, herding, and subsistence lifestyle. The sale and importation of alcohol is banned in the village.