West Marin is the largest rural area in Marin County, California. While
its entrance is only minutes over White’s Hill in Fairfax, it feels like another world. Rolling ranch land, equestrian centers, Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), Muir Woods and the Pt. Reyes National Seashore are only a few of its dramatically beautiful elements.
West Marin can be thought of as two general geographic areas. The San Geronimo Valley is the area closest to Fairfax and the rest of Marin. It’s composed of several unincorporated towns: Woodacre, San Geronimo, Forest Knolls, Nicasio, and Lagunitas. Further west are the seven unincorporated communities of Coastal West Marin: Point Reyes Station, Olema, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Tomales, Dillon Beach, Muir Beach, Marshall, and Inverness.
Prince Charles visited West Marin in 2005 because it is considered the heart of organic farming. The area is known for its artisanal cheeses, olive oil, grass fed beef, historic dairy farms and more. The residents are protective of the land and there is strong resistance to development with an active focus on environmental issues, including protecting open space and vulnerable species. It is home to the Lagunitas Watershed where some of the last remaining coho salmon spawn. Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) is a non-profit organization that was created in 1980 to permanently preserve Marin County farmland for agricultural use.
Various school districts serve the area including Lagunitas, Shoreline Unified, Bolinas-Stinson, and Nicasio. The schools in these districts have widely diverse programs. For instance, just Lagunitas has Montessori, Waldorf and Open Classroom approaches.
West Marin is also home to the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, which is dedicated to the teachings of Buddha and Vipasanna mediation. Stinson Beach hosts beach combers, surfers, and has funky beach cottages as well as multi-million dollar ocean front homes in the toney Seadrift subdivision. Tomales Bay is a haven for waterfowl, sailing, and picnicking. No visitor should miss the Pt. Reyes Light House and the possibility of seeing the Grey Whales during their migration.
West Marin is an idyllic place to visit, a vacation area about 1 hour north west of San Francisco. It is also a fabulous place to live. Because of its perceived distance from the City, you can get more for your money here than some other parts of Marin County. The choices range from unconventional summer homes built originally for vacationers, graceful hilltop perches with amazing views, to serious equestrian estates. Each town has a different flavor,
and houses next door to each other can be from completely different ends of the financial spectrum. It’s a very mixed bag in West Marin, and the people who live there love it.
- Population: 16,289 (approximately 6.5 of Marin population spread over almost ½ of its land.)
- Average listing price in 2015: $730,000 (SFH)
- Average Sales in 2015: $744,476 ($505/per square foot)
- Map of West Marin