Marin County California and Marin Cities Information

Marin County is beautiful. It has excellent weather, great shopping, healthy food, wonderful schools, safe streets, and easy access to many natural attractions. Marin boasts lovely bike paths, easy access to Mount Tamalpais, the pristine Stinson Beach, unforgettable Phoenix Lake, and the local schools are outstanding and safe.

An Awesome Video of Marin
Here is a well-put-together video tour of Marin by California Locations Tour.

Before we deep dive further into what Marin County has to offer, know that Mission Pacific Mortgage is an exclusive mortgage broker supporting Marin County and all the beautiful towns and cities located below.

Marin’s Natural Beauty

Marin is a county that is dominated by Mount Tamalpais. The streams and valleys flow through the lush green protected redwood forests and madrone trees. Dramatic coastlines and views can be found along the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bays. Marinites are close to San Francisco and can enjoy the best of everything while living in Marin.

Marin County Fun Facts

Marin County Fun Facts Infographic

 

Mild Weather

Marin County has a pleasant Mediterranean climate with warm days and cool nights. During May through October, daytime temperatures are in the 70’s with no rain. In November through April, daytime temperatures average about 60 degrees with occasional showers. Nighttime temperatures range from the low 40’s to the mid-’50s throughout the year.

A day or two of rain can be followed by days of blue skies during the winter months. It rains an average of 44 days per year. Every few years, there is a light covering the Mount. On sunny days, the standard is 270.

Fog often dissipates in the summertime, allowing for warm, sunny afternoons. High inland temperatures pull the mist off the ocean to cool San Francisco and the East Bay. On those days, the fog often streams through openings in the Marin County mountains to the south, bringing with it coolness and a welcome relief for many residents who live there.

Marin County Weather

Mediterranean Gardens

The mild weather in Marin County is perfect for growing many different types of plants. This includes palms, bougainvillea, roses, citrus, fruit trees, and succulents. Keeping up with the growth of these plants can be a challenge for gardeners.

Towns and Cities Located in Marin County

Small, Family Friendly Towns

Marin is one of the most spectacular counties to live in the United States. It includes 13 small towns and 14 villages with an average population of 16,000 people per town. They’re located on the hills and valleys of Mount Tamalpais, which faces the Bay. The cities in West Marin butt up against some beautiful parks and farmlands which skirt the pacific coast.

Marin Towns include the following:

  • Belvedere is a mystical island at the end of the Tiburon peninsula. It has some lovely views.
  • Corte Madera The central Marin town has hills and a bayfront.
  • Fairfax is the gateway to West Marin and is the last town to the west.
  • Greenbrae The town is located on a hill in the middle of Marin with Corte Madera Creek and Bay frontage.
  • Kentfield is an older community with expansive wooded lanes.
  • Larkspur The weather is ideal with beautiful canyons and a charismatic downtown.
  • Mill Valley Nestled in the redwood canyons. This is a charming community.
  • Novato – The northernmost and most significant town in Marin. It has been called one of the best places to live in the U.S.
  • Ross – is described as old-school, traditional, and quintessential with east-coast type estates set in hills and broad streets.
  • San Anselmo – Rich in character, history and is on a creek-side location with established downtown shops.
  • San Rafael – Nestled in the North Bay region, it’s one of the most significant towns with charming neighborhoods.
  • Sausalito – Gorgeous views of San Francisco and the Bay with vibrant waterfront boat harbors.
  • Tiburon – A spectacular peninsula in the Bay, with hills and unforgettable views; charming downtown harbor boats.

In the late 19th century, numerous towns were vacation destinations. The people of San Francisco built summer homes on the warm, wooded slopes of Marin to escape the fog. Ferry boats brought people to tent camps, cabins, houseboats, and outdoor dance halls for people who couldn’t afford summer homes.

The original towns have grown since then, but they still have their distinctive small-town atmosphere. San Rafael and Novato, the two largest towns, are divided by many hills into different neighborhoods.

Town-Friendly Factors

It’s up to all of us to make our towns a more desirable place to live. Marin is no exception, and the best way to do this is by being actively involved. Marinette’s are proud of their county and active in making it a better place to live.

Marin Public and Foundational Support

Marin residents routinely approve bond measures that support and build up the local public schools, police, and safety services. This also includes the College of Marin in Kentfield and Novato, public parks, and much more. They also contribute to private and public foundations that benefit public schools and support students and staff individually. This caring about the neighbors and land contributes to a friendly environment.
The Marin Community Foundation and the Buck Family Funds support low-income families, enhance the local ecosystem, support education and community health, support economic opportunity, and promote the arts. Caring about our neighbors and land makes for a friendly atmosphere.

 

Marin County Schools

Tamalpais High School

All of Marin County’s schools are great. Tamalpais High School is one of the top high schools in the country. Here are some interesting facts about this prestigious institution: • Ranked #2 in the nation for Sports participation (out of 4,343 high schools) by U.S. News & World Report • Ranked #1 for Arts Participation (out of 4,343 high schools) by the U.S.

Resources for Families and Children
Several unique resources enhance the family experience in Marin. Here are a few:
  • The Bay Area Discovery Museum at the famous Fort Baker in Sausalito has seven exhibition spaces and more than six daily drop-in programs for children six months to 10 years of age.
  • There are many events and activities for all ages at the Intergenerational Center in Corte Madera. There are many arts, games, yoga, literature, technology, and more centers.
  • The Exploratorium in San Francisco presents science to people of all ages.
  • The magic that Disney provided is relived at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.
  • Charles M. Schulz Museum, located in Santa Rosa, celebrates the classic Snoopy and Charlie Brown comics.
  • Marin Mommies provides thorough online guides for the best family-friendly activities in and around Marin.

Marin County ElderCare

Marin County is an aging community, and by 2030, one in three Marin residents will be age 60 or older. There are extensive public and private resources to support older Marin residents. These include services related to transportation, food, personal care, counseling, companionship, and more.

Safety: Police

More than 11 Marin towns have dedicated police departments, with the Marin County Sheriff and the California Highway Patrol protecting residents in unincorporated areas. Compared to other counties in California, Marin County had the lowest rate of violent crimes and is among the lowest rate for property crimes.

Safety: Fire and Emergency Medical Services

All Marin towns and the unincorporated area have fire protection and emergency medical services.
Based on the increasing occurrence of wildfires in California and the decreasing rainfall, residents and local governments are discussing ways to decrease the occurrence of future wildfires. One solution they are talking about is to impose a tax on the purchase of gasoline by consumers. This would be an attempt to decrease the occurrence of future wildfires by reducing the number of gallons of gasoline purchased by individuals who drive their vehicles for everyday transportation needs. An example of this would be the Marin Municipal Water District, which oversees 20,000 acres, is spending $400,000 per year more on vegetation management. Additionally, $3.5 million would go toward reducing the fuel load.

Safety: Disaster Preparedness

Disaster preparedness is essential. Many neighborhoods are forming Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to help residents survive natural disasters. These teams are being created in Marin, Larkspur, and Greenbrae as we speak. You can find out more about this program at the ReadyMarin website.

Health Care

There are excellent health care resources in Marin, including Marin Health, located in Greenbrae near the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a publicly owned hospital, established in 1952, replaced by a new $535 million hospital recently scheduled for completion.
Several other medical resources in Marin include:
Kaiser Permanente with satellite offices located in Mill Valley, San Rafael, and Novato. There are also many smaller local clinics and doctors’ offices.
The Novato Community Hospital, operated by Sutter Health, has 40-beds and provides a wide variety of inpatient and outpatient services.
The Marin Community Clinics in San Rafael offers insurance-covered and uninsured patients an array of primary, specialty, and preventative healthcare services.
Expanded healthcare options are available through the University of California at San Francisco “UCSF Med Center,” Stanford Hospital “Stanford HealthCare” located in Palo Alto. Also, the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland has a satellite clinic in Larkspur.

Marin Home Prices

The median price of a detached home in Marin was $1.71 million in September, an increase of 10% over the previous year. This past month’s median matched the August figure, and sales volume decreased slightly to 233 homes last month from 277 in August and 290 in September of last year.

Quick Access to San Francisco

Just over the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin County is San Francisco, and the drive is short. San Francisco is vibrant, flourishing, and prized for its charm and beauty.

  • The commute from the Marin County suburbs to San Francisco is pretty straightforward.
  • Highway 101 takes you across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. It’s only 4 miles from Sausalito and 24 miles from Novato.
  • Ferry’s from Larkspur/Greenbrae, Tiburon, and Sausalito take commuters to downtown San Francisco.
  • Golden Gate Transit District also provides some of the best bus services from Marin to San Francisco.
  • Marin Transit provides bus services inside Marin County and connects to San Francisco services.
  • Many companies offer bus services specifically for their employees.
  • Nearby World-Class Wine Country
  • Within a 30-minute drive from central Marin, the world-renown wine county of Northern California begins. There are outstanding wines, beautiful and charming wineries, and relaxing vacation destinations located in these areas.

Sonoma Valley

The Town of Sonoma, CA

Sonoma, California, is a relaxed and beautiful place to visit for good food, shopping, and wine tasting. It’s a great place to start a trip to see more than 400 wineries and to hike the dramatic 55-mile Sonoma coast, which stretches along the Pacific Ocean.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley, CA
A 1-hour drive into Napa Valley takes you to an inland valley and mountains of exceptional beauty, over 400 wineries, and vacation destinations. Springtime arrives early to the valley in December.

Anderson Valley

Do you know what would be fun? If you could spend a weekend in the beautiful Anderson Valley in Mendocino County, about a two-hour drive from Marin. Visit some of the local wineries, eat some great food, take some time just to relax and enjoy the countryside. To me, that’s what Napa used to be like before it became so crowded. The residents there appreciate living there and taking care of their visitors. So visit if you get a chance!

Nearby East Bay Cities

The eastern bay cities begin with a 15-minute drive from central Marin over “the bridge.” If you’re looking for a change in scenery, the two recommended cities to check out our Point Richmond and Berkeley. The first town over the bridge is Point Richmond, a great place to eat, shop, and walk by the Bay. The west side of town has beautiful views of the Bay, San Francisco, and Marin. Downtown retains early 1900’s charm. Also, check out the indoor swimming pool downtown if you’re in the mood for a swim.

Marin from Berkeley Hills

The University of California is known for its outstanding education and political activities. Along with Albany and Oakland, the city provides an engaging environment. A visit to Berkeley is similar to a trip to another country because of the ethnic and cultural diversity. The infamous UC Berkeley Art Museum, the Pacific Film Archive, Cal Performances, the Berkeley Symphony, and the Berkeley Repertory Theater are a few renowned places to check out while visiting Berkeley. You can find good shopping on 4th Street and in North Berkeley, as well as excellent restaurants.

Nature at Your Doorstep

Marin is a person who enjoys living outdoors. In addition to your backyard, you also have 185,400 acres of protected parks and open space preserves. Marin has more open space than any other county in the Bay Area and has 100,000 acres of agricultural land. There are numerous national, state, and local parks and Open Space Preserves in Marin.

Angel Island State Park

Angel Island, Tiburon, CA
A short ferry ride from Tiburon will take you to Angel Island State Park, with astonishing views of Marin County, the North Bay, and San Francisco. There is a private boat that can be sailed to the island. Hiking, picnics, and camping are some of the activities that can be done recreationally. You can either take a tram tour or walk around the island on a bike. The internment center for Asian immigrants from 1910 to 1940 is a historic site. The park service has three campgrounds with a total of 10 sites, which you have to reserve in advance. There are cafes and picnic facilities close to the ferry landing.

China Camp State Park

China Camp State Park is a 75-acre park with hiking, biking, camping, and picnicking. The area was named after the Chinese people who ran a shrimp fishing business. You can see a map of the park.
The area was named after Chinese residents who ran a shrimp fishing business in the 19th century. You can click on the map to see the park.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area includes most of the Golden Gate Bridge to Mill Valley and significant parcels going north to Tamales Bay, including Alcatraz Island.

Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) Watershed

The MMWD protects a large part of Mount Tamalpais as a source of drinking water. “Mt Tam” has five lakes: Alpine Lake, Bon Tempe Lake, Kent Lake, Lakelagunitas, and Phoenix Lake. The district has three lakes in the northern foothills. This includes Nicasio, Soulajoule, and Stafford.

Mount Tamalpais State Park

The centerpiece of Marin is Mount Tamalpais, which rises to about 2,600 feet and includes oak and redwood forests, streams, and valleys that reach the bay. It also has over 60 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails that can be found in the state park and adjacent water district lands.

In a video called “Mt.,” Gary Yost advocates restoring the west peak of the mountain, which was the site of an abandoned military installation.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes
The Point Reyes National Seashore is a protected area located on the west side of Marin County, California, only 35 miles north of San Francisco. It covers 71,000 acres of land, which is almost as big as Manhattan. This is truly a “hidden treasure” that few people know about.

Samuel P. Taylor State Park

Samuel P. Taylor State Park is another gorgeous place to visit. It’s located in Marin County, California, and has approximately 2,700 redwood forest acres and grassland. There are 600 acres of old-growth forest, some of which can be seen along the Pioneer Tree Trail.

Muir Woods National Monument

One of the most popular attractions for San Francisco and Marin visitors is the Muir Woods National Monument. An old-growth redwood forest is shown off to perfection by the park. The Park Service has done a fantastic job keeping the place accessible and inspiring despite its popularity. It is recommended to visit during early mornings. You should make your reservations so that you don’t miss this monument.

Open Space Preserves

Marin County’s 34 Open Space Preserves are primarily for natural resource preservation, except for the trails used by pedestrians, mountain bikers, and equestrians. An extensive network of roads and trails can be found in the 34 open space preserves of the MCOSD.

Town and County Parks

Towns in Marin County, California, maintain several public parks in addition to their preserves. These include public parks.

Marin County Recreation

Get out and enjoy the great outdoors! There are lots of outdoor activities available in Marin County, no matter what the weather. This handy guide will point you to the appropriate activities for you at suitable County parks.

Hiking

Hiking is good for the soul and helps clear the mind, gets you in touch with nature, and is a great way to better acquaint yourself with the area you live. Almost anywhere you choose to live in Marin will have plenty of excellent hiking opportunities. Check out these websites for more info: AllTrails.com and OneTam.org.

Biking

According to legend, mountain biking began on Mount Tamalpais in the late 1970s. There are many fire roads, wide, scenic trails, and paved bicycle paths for riders. Local organizations include the Marin County Bicycle Coalition that promotes safe and enjoyable cycling.

Golf

There are many golf courses in Marin. Here’s a list of some of the more popular Golfing centers.

  • Indian Valley Golf Club, 18-hole public course in Novato.
  • Marin Country Club, 18-hole private course in south Novato.
  • McInnis Park Golf Center is a 9-hole public course with an 18-hole miniature golf range located in San Rafael.
  • Meadow Club 18-hole private course in Fairfax.
  • Mill Valley Golf Club, 9-hole public course in Werner Canyon, Mill Valley.
  • Peacock Gap Golf Club, 18-hole private course in east San Rafael.
  • Stone Tree Golf Club is an 18-hole private course just east of Novato.

Sailing

The marinas and yacht clubs in Marin County are extensive, with smaller ones in Corte Madera, Dillon Beach, and Bolinas.

Water Sports

Water sports include diving, snorkeling, parasailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. Some of these sports can be challenging because of the rocky coastline and the mid-50’s Fahrenheit water temperatures. Yet they offer many opportunities for fun.

Marin Magazine provides a comprehensive list of water sports shows and activities.

Surfing in Marin County

The best surfing locations are in and around Bolinas and Ditton Beach. Also, check out Rodeo Beach at Fort Cronkhite in the south. Surfing is best during the fall and winter months.

Windsurfing and Kitesurfing

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush that will leave you breathless, windsurfing or kitesurfing in Marin County is for you! You’ll find the best conditions for both sports in the shallow water of the bay and the open ocean beyond. There are many spots to choose from; just pick one near you, get a lesson and go for it! You’ll be up and riding the waves in no time.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking

If you’re interested in stand-up paddleboarding, check out these locations. There are many more options than these seven, but these are the best known and most popular sites.

  • Angel Island (Tiburon)
  • Corte Madera Creek (Larkspur-Corte Madera)
  • China Camp State Park (San Rafael)
  • McInnes Park (San Rafael)
  • McNears Beach Park
  • Richardson Bay (Mill Valley and Tiburon)
  • Tomales Bay (West Marin)

Beaches

There are a lot of picturesque ocean beaches in Marin County, from the north to the south to the south end of Sausalito. West Marin contains beaches on Tomales Bay. When it was cold and windy in Point Reyes, we preferred to go to the sheltered Heart’s Desire Beach for sunshine and a break.
This link provides more information and description of Marin beaches.

Fishing

Fishing is allowed at most of the local lakes and reservoirs in Marin. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a listing of fishing lakes, streams, sites on the Bay, and lakes in Sonoma County. You have to get a license to fish at many of these locations.

Snow Skiing

There are excellent skiing opportunities in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You can travel from the ocean to the ski resort in about three to three and half hours. It’s like going from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in just a few short hours.

A Center for Art and Music

Marin County residents have easy access to great art, music, and theater. Here are some of the major attractions.

Local Museums

The Asian Art Museum in the San Francisco Civic Center has one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the entire world. It houses more than 7,000 objects, many of which are on long-term loans from important private collections and museums worldwide.

The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is a museum that has a combined natural history collection, an aquarium, a planetarium, and a 4-story rain forest. It’s spectacular, and it’s all in one place!

The Contemporary Jewish Museum is a non-collecting museum that partners with other museums and international organizations to exhibit work that makes the diversity of the Jewish experience relevant to the 21st-century audience. It is located in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco, just a few blocks from Union Square.

Located at 1590 California Street in San Francisco, the de Young Museum is a museum that features American art from the 17th through the 20th centuries and textile arts and art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Architect Paul R. Williams designed it, and it opened in October of 2005.

View from Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco is a great place to go if you want to see some fantastic art. It has an awe-inspiring collection of European decorative arts and paintings, ancient art, and one of the country’s largest collections of prints and drawings. One of the best things about this museum is that it’s located in beautiful Lincoln Park in the city’s heart. You’ll find it at 100 34th Avenue, San Francisco, California 94121, and it’s open from Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 am to 5:15 pm, closed on Mondays. Don’t miss it!

The San Francisco Mexican Museum has had a permanent art and culture collection from Mexico, Latin America, and the United States, including pieces more than thousands of years old. It’s located at 649 Mission Street, Suite #419, San Francisco, CA 94105.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has been serving the people of San Francisco for over half a century. It has an outstanding permanent collection that features the best of 20th-century art. It’s at the intersection of Third Street and Howard Street in the heart of the city’s bustling culture district.

The UC Berkeley Art Museum and the Pacific Film Archive is beautiful place to visit any time of year. It’s home to some of the most extensive collections of Asian and Western art in the world, as well as an impressive collection of feature films.

Music and Theater in Marin County

Marin Symphony plays at the Marin Center Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael every year. They’ve got excellent musicians, four classical music concerts and four “popular” concerts every year.

The Marin Performing Arts Center (formerly the San Rafael Civic Center) offers year-round concerts, comedy, dance, and lectures.

Mountain Play performs each spring for more than a century at the arena on Mount Tamalpais. The programs are typically musicals. They feature dancing, music, comedy, and romance.

The Marin Film Festival happens in both October and June in Mill Valley and San Rafael. It’s one of the best festivals in the world for new independent films. In 2007, it was only the second film festival in the U.S. to show the first entire-length film by the then-unknown internet film superstar Michael Moore.

Throckmorton Theater in downtown Mill Valley also provides various live entertainment, from music and comedy to plays and art exhibits. It’s a great place to take someone who loves live theater.

Since 1972, Sweetwater Music Hall in downtown Mill Valley has been a hot spot for rock, rhythm and blues, and soul music. It still is going strong, with good food from noon ’till closing.

These are the best live music venues in Marin County. Some of them have a vast appeal, but each one offers something unique and special.

  • 19 Broadway Bar & Nightclub in Fairfax
  • George’s Nightclub in San Rafael
  • Hopmunk Tavern in Novato
  • No Name Bar in Sausalito
  • Osteria Divino in Sausalito
  • Panama Hotel and Restaurant in San Rafael
  • Papermill Creek Saloon in Forest Knolls
  • Peri’s Silver Dollar Bar in Fairfax
  • Rancho Nicasio Restaurant and Bar in Nicasio
  • Sausalito Seahorse
  • Smiley’s Saloon and Hotel in Bolinas
  • Station House Cafe in Point Reyes Station
  • Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael

They are ALL worth a visit!

Music and Theater Around the Bay

There are significant locations for the performance arts in San Francisco and East Bay. Here’s just a few.

The San Francisco Symphony is one of the finest symphonies in the world. They perform not only the entire symphony but also have several exciting concerts each season. You should check out their website to find out what’s upcoming.

The San Francisco Opera performs an entire season of operas every year at the Opera House in the Civic Center in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Ballet is one of the top ballet companies in the world, and they present about eight programs each season, ranging from classical ballet to modern dance.

S.F. Jazz, in Hayes Valley, San Francisco, is a small theater that presents one or two shows every night that is wholly devoted to jazz. It’s a great place to go for a date, to hear some hot new jazz, or to go with your kids if they want to see a show they’ve never seen before.

The new and provocative theater is what Magic Theater does best. They bring bold new plays, playwrights, and audiences together to create an explosion of ideas and questions that often spark lively discussions and even more critical changes in the world around us.

The Palace of Fine Arts Theater in the San Francisco Marina presents music, dance, and comedy that is diverse. It offers a broad range of programs and is a first-class venue for performers of all kinds.

At “Feinstein’s at the Nikko,” a nightclub near Union Square in San Francisco, you can experience a very different kind of show. It’s very exclusive, and you must be appropriately dressed to attend.

A newer theater in the Bay Area is the Green Music Center at Sonoma University in Santa Rosa. It presents outstanding music and performances by visiting musicians, and you can sit right in the front row.

Cal Performances at UC Berkeley presents the very best in music, theater, and dance. It does so at a level that is second to none.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre is a non-profit professional company that presents a diverse repertoire of plays and musicals year-round. It is also a leader in educational outreach, offering more than 100 free school programs each year, reaching more than 100,000 students.

Since its inception in the late 60s, Freight and Salvage have featured performances by some of the finest musicians from around the globe, including performers from Ireland, Scotland, England, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, and all over the United States. Now, with its new owners, the focus will remain on showcasing musicians from outside the U.S.

Yoshi’s in Oakland is a great place to hear jazz. It used to be just performers who could sing and play. Now it features a broader range of innovative music.

The Fox Oakland Theatre is a concert hall and used to be a movie theater. They ran movies until 1970. It also made the list of the national register of historic places. The concert hall was renovated in the late 1990s. It has hosted a wide variety of musicians, from the Pointer Sisters to Bon Jovi.

Broadway shows and touring artists perform in these downtown San Francisco theaters: The Curran, The Golden Gate, The Orpheum, and The Warfield.

Points on Clean Air and Fresh Water

  • Marin has clean air.
  • Ocean fogs help sweep away any air pollution.
  • Air Quality Index is on average 36-46.
  • 75% of Marin drinking water comes from eight lakes and reservoirs maintained by the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD).
  • 25% is supplemented with water from the Russian River in Sonoma County.
  • Local water is tested for 94 contaminants and is well below Public Health Goals.
  • Marin has soft water due to the low content of dissolved minerals.
  • Average water hardness in the northern and central portions of Marin is 4-6 grains per gallon.
  • Southern Marin water hardness is 3 grains per gallon.
  • It’s worth noting that water with less than 4 grains per gallon hardness is soft water with 4-7 grains per gallon considered moderate hardness.

Outstanding Fresh Food

Fresh fruits and vegetables have been provided to the country by California for a long time. Specialty items that are grown organically in the Bay Area and Northern California are also available in Marin. Here are a few important sources.

Marin County Farmers’ Market: Thursdays and Sundays, 10 am to 1 pm at the Civic Center, San Rafael. This is the largest farmers’ market in Northern California and is a great place to meet people who have the same interests as you.

Local Marin Town farmers markets include:

  • Corte Madera
  • Larkspur
  • Tiburon
  • San Rafael (Downtown)
  • Fairfax
  • Mill Valley
  • Novato
  • Point Reyes Station
  • The Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market, at the Ferry Building every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning. It has an excellent selection of produce, but you can also find unusual and exciting foods from all over the world. There are even food vendors who have shops inside the Ferry Building.

Marin County Farms

Of the land in Marin County, nearly 3/4 is currently used for agriculture, primarily dairy and livestock. In order to protect the agricultural complexion of Marin County, more than half of the farmland is now held in an Agricultural Land Trust. This ensures the future of 85 farms and ranches and protects these lands from development as housing or other non-agricultural uses.

Here’s a list of Marin farms and what they produce. Some even support fine local restaurants.

  • Allstar Organics located in Woodcare produces heirloom tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, herbal salts, sugars, sprays distilled from plants.
  • Blackberry Farm, located in Bolinas, grows 24 varieties of apples.
  • Chileno Valley Ranch near Petaluma raises grass-fed beef and also boasts an apple orchard.
  • Clark Summit Farm, located just north of Tamales, sells owned-sourced poultry, eggs, grass-fed beef, and pork.
  • Draper Farms, located in San Anselmo, produces organic vegetables and fruit.
  • Gospel Flat Farm, located in Bolinas, produces eggs, organic fruits, and vegetables.
  • Green Gulch Farm, located at the Zen Center in Muir Beach, sells select produce at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and neighbors in Muir Beach. It also provides outstanding fresh bread for sale on Friday mornings at local farmer’s markets.
  • Hog Island Oyster Company, located in Marshall, raises oysters in Tamales bay for local markets.
  • Little Organic Farm, located near Petaluma, boasts organic potatoes, tomatoes, and a variety of vegetables.
  • Lunny Ranch, located in Inverness, sells grass-fed organic beef and produces organic artichokes.
  • Marin Roots Farm, located near Petaluma, grows different types of organic vegetables.
  • Marin Sun Farms provides pasture-raised and grass-fed meats (beef, lamb, pork, poultry, goat, rabbit). It also provides eggs.
  • McEvoy Ranch, located near Petaluma, produces vinegar, wine, organic olives, certified extra virgin olive oil, and cured olives.
  • Mt. Barnabe Farm, located in Lagunitas, grows organic blackberries, raspberries, and garlic.
  • Paradise Valley Produce, located in Bolinas, provides different types of produce to local markets.
  • Red Hill Farms, located near Petaluma, provides milk-fed lamb and free-range organic chicken eggs.
  • Sartori Farms, located in Tamales, raises organic strawberries.
  • Stemple Creek Ranch produces grass-fed beef and lamb.
  • Star Route Farms, located in Bolinas, grows organic leafy green vegetables.
  • Straus Family Creamery, located in Marshall and Petaluma, produces organic dairy products such as milk, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and more.
  • Tomales Bay Oyster Company, located in Marshall, is an oyster farm.
  • Toluma Farm, located in Tomales, produces organic goat’s and sheep’s milk.

Dairies and Cheese

There are many other small, artisan cheesemakers in California. And, while Marin may have “evolved” into cheese production, there are still plenty of dairies in Sonoma County producing milk for cheese.

Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station, California, produces over a dozen well-known organic cheeses made from Straus Creamery milk. One of their favorites is the Pierce Point Cheese.

A variety of organic cheese is produced from goat and sheep’s milk at the Tomales Farmstead Creamery. It’s based in Tomales, California, and they sell from the San Francisco Ferry Building and the Thursday market at the Marin Civic Center.

Marin French Cheese in the Hick’s Valley near Petaluma produces various cheeses, including brie and great camembert-type cheese.

Located at the base of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, the Nicasio Valley Creamery produces about a dozen different types of organic cheeses. Their most popular is Locarno which they describe as the “cheese you can eat with your dog.”

The Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company in Point Reyes Station makes some of the best cheese I’ve ever tasted. Their two blue kinds of cheese and their fresh mozzarella are fantastic! And they are always at the Sunday Farmer’s Market at the Marin Civic Center.

Marin County Local Wines

There are 17 wineries in Marin that produce high-quality wines. Here is a comprehensive list (link coming soon).

A Few Marin County Historic Points

  • Marin County is a part of the original 27 counties of California. It was officially established on February 18, 1850, before the state was admitted to the Union.
  • The first inhabitants of Marin were members of the Coast Miwok tribe of Native Americans. The Mission San Rafael was established in 1817 after the Spanish arrived in about 1600. Poor living conditions and imported diseases led to the deaths of most of the Miwok inhabitants by the 19th century.
  • After 1850, Marin remained rural and sparse with dairy farms and logging operations that left bare hills. Tourists came from all over the world to see the beauty of the mountain. Summer cabins, houses, dance halls, hotels, and sunny days were provided by Marin. The local railroads carried visitors to every town on the east side of the mountain. Travelers to West Marin used stagecoaches.

Population Growth in Marin

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Association of Bay Area Governments have data about population growth in Marin.

Industrial Revolutionary War and Bridges

Before the Golden Gate Bridge, access from San Francisco was limited to ferries, and travel from the East Bay was limited. The population started to increase after the year 1937.

During WWII, the building of local transport ships transformed Sausalito and southern Marin with increased workers.

Increases in Population

The population of Marin grew from 3,334 in 1860 to 27,342 in 1920. There was a significant expansion from 1940 to 1970 as the rate of growth increased slightly:

1920 to 1940: 200%
1940 to 1970: 390%
1970 to 2000: 20%
From 2000 to 2010, the population grew by 2%.

Limited Housing Potential in Marin

The Marin Independent Journal reported on January 1, 2017, that 58 percent of the county’s 333,000 acres are protected from development. There are about 100,000 agricultural acres, and 52,000 of them are in protected agricultural easements.

The county has over 11,000 acres that could be developed. According to a report, in the next ten years, 2,400 acres are likely to be built. High prices for Marin homes are a result of limited housing growth and open space.

Demographics

Most of the 260,000 people living in Marin county are on the eastern slopes and in the valleys of Mount Tamalpais. Residents are well-educated, high-income, older, white, Hispanic, and Asian, with a median age about ten years higher than California or the U.S.

Marin is influenced by the high percentage of preserved open space and limited supply of affordable housing, so this is a problem shared by many other urban areas.

Marin County Map

The map of Marin Marin begins at the Golden Gate Bridge and goes north to Bodega Bay and Valley Ford.

Airports in Marin County

  • Commodore Center Heliport
  • Commodore Center Seaplane Base
  • Gnoss Field
  • San Rafael Airport
  • San Rafel Private Heliport

Mountain Peaks and Hill Peaks in Marin County

  • Mountain Peak/Hill Elevation [Meter]
  • Antonio Mountain elevation 355 meters
  • Bald Hill elevation 349 meters
  • Ballou Point elevation 616 meters
  • Bare Knoll elevation 483 meters
  • Barnabe Mountain elevation 436 meters
  • Black Mountain elevation 388 meters
  • Bon Air Hill elevation 59 meters
  • Bullet Hill elevation 18 meters
  • Burdell Mountain elevation 476 meters
  • Cardiac Hill elevation 417 meters
  • Cherry Hill elevation 138 meters
  • Chicken Coop Hill elevation 24 meters
  • Cliff Peak elevation 428 meters
  • Deer Point elevation 282 meters
  • East Peak elevation 783 meters
  • Firtop elevation 399 meters
  • Green Hill elevation 427 meters
  • Grove Hill elevation 127 meters
  • Hammock Hill elevation 278 meters
  • Hawk Hill elevation 214 meters
  • Hicks Mountain elevation 467 meters
  • Hill 88 elevation 262 meters
  • Homestead Hill elevation 261 meters
  • King Mountain elevation 235 meters
  • Knob Hill elevation 294 meters
  • Liberty Peak elevation 433 meters
  • Little Mountain elevation 248 meters
  • Loma Alta elevation 486 meters
  • Middle Peak elevation 766 meters
  • Moore Hill elevation 70 meters
  • Mount Caroline Livermore elevation 215 meters
  • Mount Vision elevation 390 meters
  • Mount Wittenberg elevation 429 meters
  • Novato Heights elevation 120 meters
  • Oat Hill elevation 375 meters
  • Pablo Point elevation 284 meters
  • Pacheco Hill elevation 132 meters
  • Palm Hill elevation 52 meters
  • Pilot Knob elevation 344 meters
  • Pine Mountain elevation 537 meters
  • Point Reyes Hill elevation 408 meters
  • Red Hill elevation 86 meters
  • Red Hill elevation 375 meters
  • Ring Mountain elevation 183 meters
  • Ross Hill elevation 202 meters
  • San Pedro Hill elevation -64 meters
  • San Rafael Hill elevation 201 meters
  • Serpentine Point elevation 474 meters
  • Shroyer Mountain elevation 441 meters
  • Slacker Hill elevation 283 meters
  • Stewart Point elevation 237 meters
  • Sugarloaf elevation 144 meters
  • Sugarloaf Hill elevation 67 meters
  • Three Peaks elevation 340 meters
  • Trojan Point elevation 565 meters
  • Turtle Back elevation 40 meters
  • Twin Knolls elevation 602 meters
  • West Peak elevation 776 meters
  • West Point elevation 531 meters
  • White Hill elevation 436 meters
  • Wooded Knoll elevation 465 meters

Why Live in Marin?

Why not? It’s a great place to live and enjoy some of the best functional living spaces for working families and retirees. If you need help deciding which mortgage is the best fit for you, give Mission Pacific Mortgage a call. We’re happy to help.

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