When most people in California think of Marin County, they picture nature and the outdoors, and no wonder. With an astonishing 58% of land protected as open space, Marin’s communities are quite literally surrounded by parkland. From the ancient redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument to the 2,500-foot summit of Mount Tamalpais to the sheltered coves and craggy beaches of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Tomales Bay, Marin is home to no fewer than six state parks and three national ones.
That fierce commitment to environmental preservation can also be felt today in tight building restrictions, and the resulting housing pressure makes Marin a notoriously pricey real estate market. Three of its ZIP codes (Ross, Belvedere/Tiburon and Stinson Beach) rank among the most expensive in the country, with seven in the top 100 nationwide. In recent years, prices have risen as much as 10-20% year over year.
That said, the predominant vibe of Marin’s communities is laid back and un-showy, thanks in part to the county’s history as a haven for musicians, hippies, artists and various heroes and anti-heroes of the counterculture. From Janis Joplin and Van Morrison to Bonnie Raitt and members of the Grateful Dead and Metallica, Marin has been home to dozens of musicians, while filmmaker George Lucas, actress Frances McDormand and authors Anne Lamotte and Isabel Allende are among the notables residing there today. While many of your Marin neighbors are likely to have houses in Tahoe or vacation regularly in Hawaii, Subarus, Toyotas and the occasional Tesla prevail over Mercedes and Jags, and locals are more likely to sport hiking boots than spike heels.