About Marin County
Marin is separated into four primary areas:
- Southern Marin: Sausalito, Mill Valley, Tiburon, Belvedere
- Central Marin: Corte Madera, Larkspur, Kentfield, Greenbrae, Ross, San Anselmo, Fairfax and southern parts of San Rafael
- Northern Marin: Northern parts of San Rafael, Ignacio and Novato
- West Marin: Stinson Beach & Bolinas, the towns west of Fairfax from Woodacre, San Geronimo, and Lagunitas to Nicasio and Point Reyes Station, to Inverness, the Dillon Beach area.
West Marin is an incredibly beautiful, rural area pressed up against both the inland and coastal side of the Marin Headlands. There are three primary ways to access these areas:
- First, you can take Highway 1 from Mill Valley up and over Mt. Tamalpais' shoulder, weave your way down and drive Highway 1 through Stinson Beach, Bolinas, on to Inverness and beyond.
- Second, you can also take Sir Francis Drake Blvd. all the way-- through Fairfax, through many of the West Marin towns of San Geronimo, Lagunitas, Woodacre to Olema-- and then turn south to Bolinas and Stinson Beach or north to Point Reyes Station, Inverness and beyond.
- Last, you can take Lucas Valley Road west through Nicasio, to Point Reyes Station, Inverness and beyond to Dillon Beach and Bodega Bay.
All three are charming ways to spend an afternoon (or longer). There are restaurants, B&Bs and hotels that border all routes, and you can easily make a weekend out of any one of them.
Point Reyes National Seashore is a stunning 65,000 acre wilderness that includes Drakes Bay Estero and offers a vast selection of beaches, hiking and nature watching including over 1,000 species of plants and animals. Places of interest are Bear Valley Visitor Center, Point Reyes Lighthouse and the Point Reyes Bird Observatory.
The weather in West Marin varies significantly the farther west one drives. The towns closer to Fairfax have weather similar to Fairfax which is warmer than most of Marin-- beautifully warm, long summer days, and much less fog than both Southern and Coastal Marin. As you continue west along Sir Francis Drake Blvd. (or Lucas Valley Road), you reach a point where the weather becomes more maritime affected. Once you reach the coast, the towns north of Point Reyes Station have weather very similar to San Francisco proper, with the exception of Stinson Beach, which is south of Point Reyes and is sheltered by several points (the largest of which is Point Reyes). Summertime in Coastal Marin is dominated by the Marine Layer and, when it isn't foggy, it can be breezy to downright windy. Most importantly, however, all year around there are absolutely delightful beach days mixed in!!!
Commuting from West Marin is possible but not recommended. Most professionals who make the commute either work East Coast hours or are doctors who work non-traditional hours (e.g. 24 hour shifts twice a week).
- Marin County has one of the highest per capita incomes of any county in the United States.
- 20% of its 250,000 residents (60,000 families) are under the age of 18
- At least 5 of the 10 best public elementary school districts in California are located in Marin County: including Reed Union, Kentfield, Ross, Mill Valley and Larkspur School Districts
- Marin County is the least populated County in the Bay Area with 184 people per sq/km and has over 144,000 acres of National, State, and County Parks and Marin Open Space.
- 84% of its residents are White / Caucasian, and approximately 10% are Hispanic
- In the 2016, statistically zero people in Marin County voted for Donald Trump, and the county has the highest concentration of political bumper stickers in the nation.
Marin County offers truly fantastic living: great schools, proximity to San Francisco and many high-paying jobs, many parks for kids' play and sports, as well as all sorts of hiking, biking, sailing and surfing. The county borders the breezy San Francisco Bay and offers some of the best sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing in the world.
The Marin Headlands, with fabulous Mt. Tamalpias--dominates both the skyline and geography of the county, and offers more than 144,000 acres of hiking, biking, beach going, camping and nature watching. Two international airports (SFO and Oakland) are equidistant from most parts of Marin with driving time of about 45 minutes. There is a fantastic selection of restaurants and shopping in Marin as well as San Francisco. The Marin air comes directly off of the Pacific Ocean. Most Marin residents consider healthy living paramount and all sorts of related grocery shopping, dining, clubs and health services have sprung up to help residents fully realize that.
Marin is Separated into four primary areas:
The Four Areas of Marin County-- South, Central, North and West Marin
- "Southern Marin" includes Sausalito, Mill Valley, Tiburon and Belvedere
- Homes in Southern Marin are highly sought after due to its proximity to San Francisco and the home bidding process ranges from competitive to frenzied for homes properly priced
- Southern Marin is more subject to the maritime influence (the fog and wind) which serves to keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. As you drive north past Mill Valley, you drive over Horse Hill Ridge (see horses on your left driving north) that separates "Southern Marin" from "Central Marin"
- "Central Marin" includes Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, and arguably Fairfax as well as parts of southern San Rafael
- "Central Marin" is slightly more removed from the maritime air and is warmer to much warmer in summer and slightly cooler in the winter-as you move north and west through these towns this effect increases until you approach the coast again and the warming effect reverses
- Homes in Kentfield and Ross are highly sought after and command some of the highest prices in Marin County due to its warmer climate, larger lots and fantastic schools systems
- "Northern Marin" the area includes northern parts of San Rafael and areas north, exemplified by the town of Novato
- Northern Marin is much more removed from the maritime influence and is much warmer in the Summer (it gets quite hot) and a bit colder in the winter.
- Home prices are much more reasonable in northern Marin County and the Northernmost part of Novato (link) is still only 30 miles from San Francisco-but the commute during normal business hours is slow going
- "West Marin" West Marin includes the Coastal Towns of Marin and is very sparsely populated. The weather in West Marin varies significantly the farther west one drives. The towns closer to Fairfax have weather similar to Fairfax which is warmer than most of Marin-beautifully warm, long summer days, and much less fog than both Southern and Coastal Marin. As you continue west (along Sir Francis Drake Blvd. or Lucas Valley Road) you reach a point where warming effect reverses and becomes quite cool again. Once you reach the coast, the towns north of Point Reyes Station have weather very similar to San Francisco proper-- foggy and chilly in the summer, with the exception Stinson Beach which is south of Point Reyes and is sheltered by several points (the largest of which is Point Reyes). Traditional commuting from West Marin for work in San Francisco is possible from the Stinson Beach area as well as from several towns just west of Fairfax. Most professionals that make the commute from more distant Coastal West Marin either work East Coast hours or are Doctors that work non-traditional hours (e.g. 24 hour shifts twice a week).
Marin County real estate prices have ballooned since 1998 and now Marin is truly an exclusive enclave for wealthy families and motivated professionals. Historically, Southern Marin, especially Mill Valley and Sausalito, was more of a laid-back community of artists, hipsters and intellectuals, and those elements of Marin still exists today giving the county some character and depth paradoxical to its recent professional makeover.
Here is a link to the Marin County Office of Education Website (http://www.marinschools.org/Pages/default.aspx) which provides several resources you may find helpful including:
The Directory of Public and Private Schools – providing school/district contact information: http://www.marinschools.org/School%20Directory/Pages/default.aspx
District Websites for more focused and detailed information: http://www.marinschools.org/MCOE/District-Sites/Pages/default.aspx
The Realtors Book that provides a general overview and data regarding the districts: http://www.marinschools.org/MCOE/Documents/Realtors%20book2016-17.pdf