Here is a link to, "The Top 30 Community Colleges", part of an article published in Washington Monthly, in 2007: Community College Rankings
Here is the article itself, which does a nice job of stating the case for going to a CC: America's Best Community Colleges - Kevin Carey
One of our local CCs, Cascadia Community College, was listed as #2, so they tout that in all their advertising. Here is the specific part of the article on Cascadia: Built to Teach - Kevin Carey
My daughter took some classes at Cascadia this year, instead of taking those classes during her Senior year at the nearby high school. The English Composition course in particular was amazingly good - very rigorous and innovative. The Political Science course was OK, but nothing special; just a typical college course.
I have taught for 5 years at a big University (UW, i.e. U of Washington), and 10 years at a community college (Everett CC, north of Seattle). I have been an administrator at a community college for another 10 years, so I think I know what I'm talking about. Although CCs commonly suffer from a reputation or perception that their courses are not up to par with 4-year colleges, I have found that rarely to be the case. As a matter of fact, I think that you will find that most CC courses are superior to their counterparts at universities or 4-yr colleges. CC teachers are generally more dedicated to teaching, and are evaluated solely on their teaching ability. Classes tend to be smaller and there is usually more instructor-student and student-student interactions. In Washington State, as a group, students who transfer from CCs to the UW or WA State U (WWU) outperform (i.e. have higher GPAs) Juniors and Seniors who attended those institutions as underclassmen.
The problem that you will encounter at CCs is that they tend to rely too much on part-time adjunct instructors. In my experience, the performance of adjunct instructors is wildly uneven. You could get a fantastic teacher, or you could get a poor teacher - it is just the luck of the draw. Adjuncts are generally not as dedicated to the institution and commonly move on after a short period. My biggest piece of advice would be to find out who the full-time instructors are and try to take courses from them. I would avoid taking a class from adjunct instructor, unless he/she has been around for at least 5 years.
To be sure, there is a similar problem at universities. Too many courses are taught by graduate student Teaching Assistants or adjunct professors.
Bottom line: it is hard to go wrong taking your first 2 years at a CC, then transferring to a 4-yr college/university. You learn the same or more than you would have at a 4-yr, you will save a ton of money, and you will have a transcript that (presumably) shows that you are capable of succeeding at college-level coursework.