The coastal towns, from southernmost Muir Beach, going north through Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Pt. Reyes Station, Marshall and Tomales, dot Highway One all the way up to the Marin/ Sonoma County border. The small inland hamlets of Nicasio, Woodacre, Forest Knolls, San Geronimo Valley and Lagunitas are all uniquely beautiful in their various settings that range from redwood forests to open grasslands and rolling hills.
Housing market data
Bolinas, located just past the Audubon Canyon Ranch north of Stinson Beach, is a small town of about 1,100 residents; some of whom do their best to keep Bolinas a well guarded secret by continually removing the directional road-signs to the town. Bolinas is also home to Smiley’s Schooner Saloon, the oldest, continuously operated saloon in California (this bar was open even during Prohibition). The few homes that do go on the market in Bolinas are typically sold locally.
Inverness, located on the west shore of Tomales Bay, was once a weekend retreat. Inverness is now home to many year-round residents that include artists, builders, tradespeople, and professionals who commute to San Francisco. Although a few homes can be seen from the streets, most are tucked back among the trees and green hills.
In all of West Marin there is typically 70-80 homes available with and average price of $800k. Most of these homes are in Inverness and Lagunitas with some inventory always available in every town.
Muir Beach is a tiny enclave surrounded by Golden Gate National Recreation Area parklands. There are no commercial enterprises here (not even a gas station nor a grocery store) located in Muir Beach. The residents seem to prefer it this way, holding very dear to their out-of-the-way lifestyle. There are some well-tended ocean view homes available in Muir Beach.
Nicasio is a very small town located between Highway 101 and San Geronimo Valley. George Lucas, famous producer of “Star Wars,” and “American Graffiti”, built Skywalker Ranch nearby as the headquarters for his film operations. Also to be found in the area is a variety of estate homes on many ranches. The rural beauty of Lucas Valley makes for a pleasant drive for the patrons of popular Rancho Nicasio, who come from all over Marin to enjoy country dining and dancing.
Holding the distinction of being the epicenter of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and currently the gateway to Point Reyes National Seashore, Olema was once a roaring pioneering town with seven bars, a racetrack, and a stagecoach that brought visitors from San Rafael on the weekends. Some of the old buildings still remain, including the Olema Inn, founded in 1876. There are very few residential homes in Olema but there are opportunities for affordable “off the beaten track” homes in Olema.
Pt Reyes Station
Point Reyes Station had its beginnings as a railroad town when the first train came through on its way to Tomales in 1875. The railroad disappeared in 1933, and although Point Reyes Station is now the largest town in West Marin, it is still only three blocks long and a couple of blocks deep. Within this quiet little town, coffee houses, galleries, bookstores, antique shops and restaurants lend a cosmopolitan flavor.
San Geronimo Valley
The San Geronimo Valley, an often-overlooked Marin County enclave, rather silently offers something for everyone: golfers, hikers, diners, drinkers, horseback riders and, with Spirit Rock, those inclined to think deeply. San Geronimo offers a variety of homes for sale ranging from homes nestled in the redwoods to ranches on San Geronimo Golf Course.
Stinson Beach, the most often visited of the coastal towns, is home to a lovely, three-mile long beach. Swimming, surfing and sunbathing are the favorite activities here. Homes in Stinson beach are seasonal homes, rentals or full time resident. The foggy weather and relatively shot beach season at Stinson makes it hard for the beach homes to be considered “income producing”.
With many restored old homes and the steep-roofed Lady of Assumption church, built in 1860, the Victorian charm of Tomales beckons.
Woodacre is the first town you come to in West Marin, only minutes from Fairfax. Here you can find a wonderful 3 br 2 ba home on a secluded lot for $750-800k.
West Marin Community Information
West Marin is where the bay area goes to relax. The rolling hills of West Marin encompass over 100,000 acres of open space that have been preserved for future generations. A string of coastal and agricultural communities flank the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Tomales Bay and Bolinas Lagoon. It is hard to imagine that one is only thirty five miles northwest of the city of San Francisco; cell phone service is spotty and all businesses are locally owned and operated. West Marin is a sanctuary for both native wildlife species and for those seeking to connect to the natural beauty of the area.
The residents of West Marin enjoy year round hiking, kayaking, pristine beaches, wildlife viewing and a bounty of fresh produce, locally grown and produced meat, and cheeses and culinary delights. A strong connection to the seasons exists in this landscape dotted with Coast Live Oaks, Redwood groves and grasslands. December through April, gray whales migrate past the peninsula and over 450 species of birds have been sighted throughout Point Reyes. Elephant seals make the point their home giving birth to their young year after year. Thule elk have been re-introduced at Tomales Point and their thriving herd can be observed enjoying the views of Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Listings in West Marin
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