Welcome to Marin County

Just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, and adjacent to the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma, Marin County is an area renowned for its vast natural beauty, outdoor recreation, gorgeous homes, and unique culture.

As one of the most affluent counties in the nation, Marin’s incorporated cities are balanced combinations of stunning architecture, rolling hills, redwood groves, and charming small-town eccentricity. The birthplace of mountain biking, Obi Wan Kenobi, and the oldest trail race in America, Marin consists of a number of towns, each with its own flavor and appeal. Every fall, the glitterati descend on Mill Valley, named one of the “10 Top Cities to Live in America” by both Money magazine and CNN/Money, for the world-renowned Mill Valley Film Festival. Downtown Larkspur is officially listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places, Point Reyes is home to the West Coast’s only national seashore and San Anselmo was named Sunset magazine’s “Best of the West” for antiquing. The county’s vibrant music scene has deep roots dating back to the 1960s and beyond, and has been home at one time or another to famous musicians and musical acts such as the Grateful Dead, Huey Lewis, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana and Sammy Hagar.

Nearly half of Marin is permanently preserved as open space, watershed or parkland, offering a wide variety of outdoor choices from world-famous destinations like Muir Woods, to remote “locals-only” gems where you can go for hours without encountering another human being. But you will run into wildlife. From Gray Whale migrations and Elephant Seal colonies to Tule Elk and tidepools, wildlife is abundant in this natural wonderland.

Living in Marin County

Approximately 250,000 residents call Marin home and countless visitors come to the area to take advantage of activities that range from sustainable dining and shopping to hang gliding and kayaking. From elegant and refined to cozy and casual, everyone can find their place in Marin.

Marin is a paradise for outdoor recreation with over 500 miles of spectacular trails to explore. One can meander beneath a Cathedral of Redwoods in Muir Woods, get 360-degree views of the Bay Area from the top of Mt. Tam or explore the rugged coastline. Another huge draw is mountain biking, which is fitting since the sport actually got its start on Mill Valley’s Mount Tamalpais slopes.

Fifty-percent of Marin is dedicated farmland and agri-tourism tours are as commonplace as museum tours in New York. With the help of Marin Organic, the county is striving to become the first all-organic county and is an internationally recognized model for building economically viable, community-based foodsheds. Farm-fresh dining is commonplace and at summer’s peak, nearly 200 local farmers, specialty food purveyors and artisans sell their goods at the Marin Farmers’ Market at the Civic Center in San Rafael, the third largest farmers’ market in California.

Marin enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate year round, with an average winter climate of 55 and a summer average of 82. The diverse region also enjoys many micro-climates, and on the same day within just a few miles you can enjoy both rolling fog and dry heat. The area’s homes originally consisted of mostly summer homes for wealthy San Franciscans. Many of those cottages and bungalows still exists today, as homes in the area range from Classic Craftsman and Historic Victorian to Mid-Century Modern and Green-Inspired Contemporary.

While the location and natural beauty is a huge draw for residents, another major attraction is the stellar school ratings. Many Marin County schools consistently receive the title of “Distinguished Schools,” which signifies the highest-achieving public schools in the state. Marin is also home to the College of Marin Community College and the Dominican University of California.

Fun Facts

  • The Marin County Civic Center was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • The Marin French Cheese Company is the longest continually operating cheese company in America.
  • Key scenes in the 1973 movie American Graffiti were filmed in Marin at Tamalpais High School and on 4th Street in downtown San Rafael.

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