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Marin County Communities

A Neighborhood Guide to Marin County

Mill Valley

Neighborhoods include Alto Sutton Manor, Blithedale Canyon, Boyle Park, Cascade Canyon, Country Club, Downtown Mill Valley, Enchanted Knolls, Eucalyptus Knolls, Marin Terrace, Middle Ridge, Molino – Edgewood, Muir Beach, Old Mill, Panoramic, Scott Valley, Strawberry, Sycamore Park, Tam Valley, Tennessee Valley.

Just 10 minutes north of San Francisco, Mill Valley is characterized by iconic redwood trees, a lively community, and downtown streets adorned with unique shops, galleries, and restaurants, this town invites leisurely strolls throughout the day. Its convenient proximity to renowned hiking trails around Mount Tamalpais and short drives to other attractions make it an ideal location for exploration.

Mill Valley’s history traces back to John Reed, who, after acquiring a significant land grant in 1834, built a sawmill in 1836 on Cascade Creek. The mill, now restored, stands in Old Mill Park amidst towering redwoods. The town’s incorporation in 1900 marked the beginning of two enduring traditions—the founding of the Outdoor Art Club in 1902, dedicated to preserving Mill Valley’s beauty, and the commencement of the Dipsea Race in 1905, the second oldest race in the country.

Mill Valley is home to a diverse community, including rock stars, artists, renowned authors, business executives, and political radicals. This eclectic mixture of talented individuals seeks the pleasures of normalcy and anonymity in this incredibly beautiful and charming town.

Larkspur

Located between Sausalito and San Rafael, with Mount Tamalpais as a background, sits the charming town of Larkspur.

On Magnolia Avenue you’ll find the locals favorite spots! Including luxury shops, award-winning restaurants and local hot spots. You’ll often find neighbors widow shopping, grabbing a bite to eat, or checking out live music at The Lark Theater. Larkspur blends the ambiance of a quaint, small-town with all the modern conveniences.

Larkspur is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast. Close to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Bay Area.

Although a relatively small town, Larkspur is made up of distinct neighborhoods:

  • Madrone Canyon: Nestled in the redwood groves of Larkspur, this residential neighborhood provides an idyllic setting with access to hiking trails, Dolliver Park, and breathtaking views of the Bay along the hillside ascent.
  • Baltimore Park: Just north of downtown Larkspur, this neighborhood is renowned for its beautiful park, delightful weather, proximity to downtown, and convenient access to hiking trails.
  • Old Town: The historic core of Larkspur, boasting a mix of shops, restaurants, businesses, and some of the city’s oldest homes.
  • Heather Gardens: Positioned in the tranquil eastern part of Larkspur, this residential neighborhood is celebrated for its charming gardens and tree-lined streets.
  • Marina Vista: Located on the western edge of Larkspur, this neighborhood offers a blend of residential and commercial properties, coupled with stunning views of the bay.
  • Hillview: Situated in the hills above downtown Larkspur, Hillview provides residents with beautiful vistas of the surrounding hills and bay.
  • Larkspur Marina: Positioned on the eastern edge, this waterfront neighborhood features a marina and convenient access to the bay.

Kentfield

An unincorporated town in Marin County, Kentfield sits north-west of Larkspur. The town is governed by the Marin County Board of Supervisors. Described as a more upper-middle class to wealthy community, Kentfield sits at the base of Mount Tam & offers some of the best schools in Marin.

The name “Kentfield” originates from the family of Albert Kent, a Chicago meat packer who, along with his wife Adaline, established roots in the area in 1872. Adaline contributed twenty-three acres of land for a community recreation center, eventually becoming the site for the College of Marin within the California Community College system. William, the son of Albert and Adaline, later became a U.S. congressman and a dedicated conservationist, donating Muir Woods as a national park.

Many of the homes in Kentfield sit well back from the streets with low-profile roofs and spacious lots to beautifully blend in with the surrounding wooded areas.

San Rafael

San Rafael, Marin’s premier city and the oldest and largest in the county, is the seat of County Government. Notable attractions include the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center, a national historic landmark and Marin’s second most popular tourist spot. Other places of interest encompass China Camp State Park, Dominican College, and the Falkirk Cultural Center, a beautifully preserved Victorian mansion with 17 rooms and 11 acres of formal grounds.

San Rafael offers diverse housing options, from contemporary homes in Peacock Gap’s Golf and Country Club to traditional homes in the prestigious Dominican section. The city boasts 14 parks, yacht clubs, outstanding docking and launching facilities, tennis/swim clubs, and bicycle trails, making it a community where families can enjoy an active lifestyle and embrace a rich historical and cultural heritage.

San Rafael is home to over 30 different neighborhoods. Living in San Rafael, California, provides a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and community vibrancy. Nestled in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the city offers a small-town charm with proximity to San Francisco. Surrounded by rolling hills and San Pablo Bay, residents enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and biking, with Mount Tamalpais State Park offering majestic redwood forests and panoramic views.

The city’s rich cultural scene includes various events and festivals, and its shopping districts like Marinwood Plaza and downtown Fourth Street provide diverse experiences. San Rafael’s warm and friendly community, excellent schools, and active civic engagement make it an attractive choice for families. With convenient transportation options, including major highways and public transit, San Rafael ensures easy exploration of the Bay Area.

Tiburon

Nestled on the sunny slopes of Tiburon, a waterfront haven in the Bay Area, this charming town with less than 10,000 residents offers a surprising array of activities.

For those seeking outdoor adventures, Tiburon’s parks include Blackie’s Pasture, a favorite spot for hikers, joggers, bikers, moms with strollers, and dog walkers. The parks come alive on weekends with soccer players of all ages. The ferry dock offers easy access to San Francisco and Angel Island State Park, known for its trails and breathtaking views.

Residential architecture in Tiburon is diverse, ranging from remodeled cottages to contemporary hillside showplaces with spectacular views. The San Francisco and Corinthian Yacht Clubs provide berths for local yachtsmen, and tennis and swimming facilities cater to residents and visitors alike. Tiburon, incorporated in 1964, stands as a testament to its rich history, offering natural beauty and a plethora of activities to a global audience drawn to this delightful harbor community.

Stinson Beach

Drenched in invigorating ocean breezes, this intimate enclave, home to fewer than 1000 residents, encapsulates the essence of laid-back coastal living. Just a 35-minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge on California’s Highway 1, Stinson Beach beckons as a serene retreat from the hectic pace of daily life. Fronting the beach, residences boast unobstructed ocean panoramas, untouched by frontal roads or development.

Stinson Beach’s easygoing charm unfolds along its modest yet lively Main Street, adorned with distinctive eateries, galleries, and a surf shop. After a day filled with swimming, surfing, hiking, or hang gliding, locals converge on the Sand Dollar Restaurant’s patio for a leisurely indulgence in fish tacos and cold beer.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Mount Tamalpais State Park, accessible right from Stinson’s doorstep, promise renowned hikes through redwood forests and hillsides adorned with wildflowers. Trails in the nearby Point Reyes National Seashore wind through open pastures, rugged ridges, and coastal cliffs. A short drive away, Muir Woods National Monument captivates with thousand-year-old giants and the spectacle of spawning salmon.

Whether residing in a beachfront home capturing breathtaking Pacific Ocean views or a sunny bungalow with lush gardens in town, Stinson Beach offers a casual, barefoot lifestyle. Regardless of your choice, moments away await tranquil sunset strolls on the beach or invigorating hikes through expanses of open space.

Corte Madera

Nestled at the foot of Mount Tamalpais and bordered by marshlands and the San Francisco Bay sits Corte Madera.

Reflecting Marin County’s relaxed outdoor lifestyle, Corte Madera’s real estate encompasses a commitment to preserving wildlife and habitat. Notable environmental landmarks include the Corte Madera Reserve Sanctuary for Migrating Birds, the Shorebird Marsh wildlife habitat, and The Ring Mountain Preserve at the southeastern town border, adjacent to Tiburon.

Hosting three distinct malls, including The Corte Madera Town Center, The Village at Corte Madera, and The Marketplace, the town offers a shopping haven for residents and visitors alike. Beyond shopping, Corte Madera showcases the Marin County blend of nature and city living, extending from San Francisco Bay to Mt. Tam.

Centrally located, Corte Madera epitomizes a laid-back outdoor lifestyle and a vibrant community. The town’s two premier shopping centers, The Town Center and The Village at Corte Madera, feature major department stores, boutiques, and restaurants, creating an outdoor destination experience for all ages. The Corte Madera Certified Farmers’ Market, held every Wednesday afternoon in the Town Center courtyard, adds a touch of California-grown produce and artisan goods to the mix.

Emphasizing education, Corte Madera provides a range of highly ranked schooling options, from public institutions like Neil Cummins Elementary School and Redwood High School to esteemed private schools such as Lycee Francais, Marin Montessori School, and Marin Country Day School.

Sausalito

Sausalito is a renowned waterfront community, famous for the Sausalito Arts Festival and its distinctive houseboats. With beautiful homes adorning wooded hills cascading to Richardson Bay, the town offers condominium apartments boasting marvelous views of San Francisco and the Bay. Regular ferry service enhances accessibility for commuters and tourists alike.

A popular visitor destination, Sausalito is known for its natural beauty, vibrant arts community, unique shops, and restaurants. The town’s easy accessibility from San Francisco by bridge and ferry enhances its appeal. Beyond its tourist charm, Sausalito is a prized residential and business location, offering a temperate climate, old-world charm, and some of the region’s most spectacular views.

Only minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito is not just a traveler’s paradise but an incredible place to call home. This vacation town exudes old-school charm, with quality coffee shops, waterfront restaurants, breathtaking views, and a laid-back community. Residents and visitors alike stroll the town, bike along the waterfront, and set sail on sunny days.

Each home in Sausalito boasts a million-dollar view of the San Francisco Bay, Angel Island, Belvedere Island, Alcatraz, and the skyline. Locals treasure the city’s hidden gems, including top-notch eateries like Fish, Le Garage, Fast Food Francais, Poggio, Sushi Ran, and Bar Bocce. Breathtaking hiking and biking trails with San Francisco views line the streets, and a day trip to San Francisco via the Golden Gate Ferry is just a hop away. For water sports enthusiasts, Sausalito offers over 30 years of expertise in kayaking, paddling, and boating on the bay. The Sausalito lifestyle is truly unparalleled.

Greenbrae

Strategically positioned in central Marin, Greenbrae attracts individuals seeking the perfect blend of abundant open space and the perks of a major metropolitan area. A mere three-minute drive from the Larkspur Landing Ferry Terminal and a short sixteen-mile distance from San Francisco, Greenbrae stands as a convenient haven for local commuters, explaining the high demand for Greenbrae real estate.

The town’s roots trace back to the 1940s when builder Niels Schultz meticulously planned and developed Greenbrae as a model community. Preserving the original oak trees that adorned its rolling hillsides became a priority. Many Greenbrae homes for sale showcase private, lushly landscaped yards and captivating views of San Francisco Bay, Corte Madera Creek, and Mt. Tamalpais. In “the flats,” residences offer easy access to neighborhood parks, bike paths, and the Bon Air Shopping Center. Waterfront condos in Greenbrae seamlessly blend natural beauty with a carefree lifestyle.

Residents frequently visit the Bon Air Shopping Center, grabbing a morning cup of coffee at Peet’s or a fresh bagel before embarking on their day. Sunny afternoons draw dozens of shoppers to Bon Air’s outdoor tables, where they enjoy sandwiches from the center’s diverse eateries alongside a good book. Adding to the convenience, Greenbrae’s Marin General Hospital ensures proximity to physicians and medical facilities.

Providing a dramatic backdrop, the 2571-foot peak of Mt. Tamalpais enhances Greenbrae’s scenic charm. Mt. Tam’s extensive trail network through redwood groves and oak woodlands beckons hikers of all skill levels. Alongside Corte Madera Creek, a multi-use path offers residents a delightful space to stroll, stretch their legs, and observe wood ducks and egrets in the serene surroundings. Greenbrae truly captures the essence of desirable living with its perfect balance of nature and accessibility.

Fairfax

When investing in homes for sale in Fairfax, you’re not just acquiring property; you’re embracing a rich history. The town exudes a lingering aroma of 60s counter-culture, where the likes of the Jefferson Airplane once engaged in softball games with the Grateful Dead. With a population of 7,500, situated just north of Mt Tam, Fairfax is conveniently located 30 minutes from San Francisco and 17 miles from Pt Reyes. What sets Fairfax apart in Marin is its remarkable affordability.

At the heart of Fairfax lies Broadway Boulevard, a charming thoroughfare parallel to Sir Frances Drake, the main route leading west to Pt Reyes. This pedestrian-friendly street serves as a hub where locals frequent the Coffee Roastery, explore fresh produce at the farmer’s market, and peruse Fairfax Variety for toys, tchochkes, and vintage candies. Embracing a quasi-time warp, Fairfax residents have enacted ordinances to preserve the town’s character, prohibiting chain stores, plastic bags, and Styrofoam takeout packaging. The vibrant Broadway features an art deco movie theater and the lively nightclub 19 Broadway, a focal point for live music and nightlife in Fairfax.

Maintaining a sense of community, kids can still ride their bikes to school in Fairfax, served by three public schools: Virginia Avenue Elementary, Shirley Lane Elementary, and Fairfax Middle School. These institutions thrive with strong support from both parents and civic groups, encapsulating Fairfax’s commitment to education and community cohesion.

Ross

Ross boasts shaded roads and lanes, adorned with grand estates and luxury custom homes. Park-like settings often accompany large Ross homes for sale, featuring amenities such as horse accommodations, tennis courts, and swimming pools. The town’s focal point, Ross Common, is surrounded by a small, charming commercial area with restaurants and shops, including the long-standing Ross Grocery.

Residents take pride in supporting Ross Elementary, consistently ranked in the 99th percentile nationally, making it one of the top ten schools in the country. Characterized as a suburban ideal, Ross epitomizes gracious living.

Neighbors in Ross enjoy leisure time in the pristine Ross Common or engage in activities like picnicking, hiking, and fishing at nearby Phoenix Lake. Abundant hiking and biking trails, along with proximity to Mt. Tam, provide ample opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Belvedere

Belvedere offers island living without the island, showcasing large historic homes perched on hillsides with commanding views of the San Francisco Bay. Renowned as one of the most sought-after locations, Belvedere is a waterfront enclave that rivals the Cote de Azur, boasting exclusivity and a strong focus on waterfront activities.

Belvedere’s unique charm is shaped by its two former islands, now connected by causeways and surrounded by San Francisco Bay on three sides. Belvedere Island and Corinthian Island, the latter shared with neighboring Tiburon, are linked by a causeway, while the scenic Belvedere Lagoon lies between them. Narrow, winding roads offer picturesque drives, lined with hedges and lush foliage, providing intermittent glimpses of spectacular water views.

While Belvedere and Tiburon real estate have evolved to share similar premier pricing driven by breathtaking views, the towns have distinct histories. Belvedere, once home to the affluent, celebrated its centennial in 1996, distinguishing itself as Marin’s smallest and most exclusive incorporated community.

Belvedere’s real estate landscape is a treasure trove of diverse architectural styles, ranging from Queen Anne and Mission Revival homes of the late 1800s to modern Japanese-style and Mediterranean villas. Translated from Italian as ‘beautiful view,’ Belvedere lives up to its name, offering breathtaking vistas of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and Belvedere Lagoon. Beyond its historic San Francisco Yacht Club, Belvedere welcomes a mix of residents, with an increasing number of families, drawn to its pricey real estate market, where homes start well north of a million dollars, with upper echelon properties fetching tens of millions when they hit the market.

San Anselmo

Tucked away just behind San Rafael, San Anselmo emerges as a hidden gem designed for leisurely strolls. Drawing in a lively and family-friendly community, the town offers an array of boutique cafes, restaurants, shops, and picturesque parks, creating an ideal setting for enjoying great weather through weekend hikes, bike rides, and picnics. San Anselmo’s charm emanates from its quaint, peaceful neighborhoods—Yolanda Park showcases iconic vintage homes, the tree-lined Seminary borders Ross, Barber/Lincoln Park thrives in the heart of downtown, and the sun-soaked, horse-friendly Sleepy Hollow features streets named after characters and places from Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Novato

Neighborhoods include Bahia, Bel Marin Keyes, Downtown Novato, San Marin, Black Point, Green Pont, Indian Valley, Ignacio, Hamilton, Pacheco Valley, Pleasant Valley, Verrissimo Valley.

Novato, the 2nd largest in town in the county, is located in Northern Marin. Novato is known for it’s schools, weather, a lively downtown and valuable real estate. Upscale housing options include Black Point’s luxury homes, waterfront living in Bel Marin Keys, Bahia Park along the Petaluma River, Alameda Del Prado’s wooded residences, and Indian Valley Road’s horse country estates.

Vintage Oaks shopping center is a retail hub with Costco, Target, Macy’s, and Marshall’s. Downtown Novato has undergone beautification, hosting events like a Tuesday farmers’ market, outdoor movies, parades, and art festivals.

The transformation of military base Hamilton Field in the ’90s brought new housing, a business park, and repurposed hangars now housing biotech companies, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, and artist studios. Novato is home to Fireman’s Fund headquarters and the Buck Institute, focusing on aging research.