Marin County is in Northern California, across the Golden Gate Strait from San Francisco. The sprawling Marin Headlands has Golden Gate Bridge views, trails and the 1855 Point Bonita Lighthouse. North are the giant redwood trees of Muir Woods National Monument. Mount Tamalpais State Park’s namesake peak has panoramic views. The Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Marin County Civic Center is in county seat San Rafael.
From sweeping San Francisco Bay vistas and towering redwood trees to Mount Tamalpais peeking above the summer fog, Marin County is an area of superlative natural beauty. With a population of about 250,000 people living in 520 square miles, Marin County offers its residents plenty of room to roam. Most of Marin’s population lives along its eastern side near San Francisco Bay, while the rest of the county contains large areas of parklands, open space, and agricultural lands. The Marin Agricultural Land Trust, created in 1980 by a coalition of ranchers and environmentalists, is dedicated to preserving the remaining family farms, dairy, and cattle operations through voluntary conservation easements.
Marin provides endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. It is home to treasures like Muir Woods National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. While Marin was the birthplace of mountain biking, its residents also hike, surf, sail, kayak, golf, hang glide, and ride horses. The oldest trail race in America, The Dipsea, is held every year on the second Sunday in June. Tiburon’s Corinthian Yacht Club hosts races on the bay.
Marin’s diverse communities enable residents to enjoy a wide range of lifestyles, from rural to waterfront. Belvedere, one of Marin’s most exclusive enclaves, offers large, historic homes perched on hillsides, with commanding views of San Francisco Bay. Stroll along Sausalito’s bayfront promenade on a weekend, and you’ll hear the languages of visitors from all over the world. Ross, with its grand old homes, tree-lined streets, and exceptional schools, is a big draw for families. Fairfax, where the Jefferson Airplane once played softball with the Grateful Dead, still has a whiff of 1960s counterculture. Rural Point Reyes Station is home to Cowgirl Creamery, which makes its award-winning cheeses using organic milk from nearby Straus Family Creamery.
For those who want a relaxing way to commute to work in San Francisco, regular ferries from Larkspur, Sausalito, and Tiburon provide ample scenery, along with convenience. There are also the Golden Gate Transit bus lines, and, of course, driving into the city over the incomparable Golden Gate Bridge.