Top 12 Reasons to Move to Marin County

Ridgewood Trail in San Rafael sunset

Beautiful Hiking Trails Are a Great Reason to Consider Moving to Marin

Are you thinking of moving to Marin County? As a top Marin real estate agent, it goes without saying that I love living in Marin. I moved to Marin County from another favorite place, San Francisco, back in the late 1990s and feel so lucky to live here. For those of you who are new to Marin, or who live here and want to do a little Marin bragging with family and friends that live somewhere else, here’s my Top 12 reasons why I love Marin and enjoy helping people buy and sell homes here. 

Rainbow Tunnel aka the Robin Williams Tunnel Marin County

It is Only Fitting That a Rainbow Tunnel Welcomes You to Marin County

Living in Marin County Video

Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty

Mill Valley Muir Woods from Thomas Henthorne top agent Marin

The Muir Woods National Monument

REASON ONE: Marin County’s National Parks and Recreation Areas

Where to even begin with all the national parks in Marin County? The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is more than 80,000 acres of ecologically and historically significant areas in Marin County, including Muir Woods National Monument, the Marin HeadlandsStinson Beach, and Fort Baker (my personal favorite place to see the Golden Gate bridge) among them. Beyond the GGNRA, there’s also Pt. Reyes National Seashore, one of the most beautiful spots in Northern California to see the spring wildflowers and miles of unspoiled beaches. Any county would be lucky to have just one of these — we have them all and more.

Perhaps our abundance of outdoor activities is the reason Realtor magazine named Marin County as one of the top 10 places in the country where Americans live the longest.  In 2024, Marketwatch named Marin County the #1 healthiest county in the United States. The life expectancy here is 85 years.

Tennessee Valley trail photo

The Tennessee Valley Hike in Southern Marin County

Biking in the Marin Headlands

 REASON TWO: Hiking and Biking

A whopping 80% of Marin County is preserved open space. Beyond the many national, state, county and even local parks that dot the county, many neighborhoods back up onto open space and fire roads that afford wonderful hikes, dog walking and communing with nature. One of my favorite hikes is the Tennessee Valley Hike (pictured above) but frankly there are so many it’s hard to choose — and living here more than two decades I still haven’t seen all of them. You could spend a lifetime exploring all the hiking trails in Marin County.

Click Here to Read About My Favorite Hikes in Marin County.

Golden Gate Ferry from San Francisco to Marin County

Photo Courtesy Caroline Culler

REASON THREE: Best Commute Options In The Bay Area 

While Marin County does not have the vast ferry network that a city like Seattle, Washington does, we do have three very nice ferry services in Marin: The Larkspur Ferry, the Sausalito Ferry and the Tiburon Ferry. You can even take the Giants Ferry to see the San Francisco Giants play at Oracle Park. The ferries are one of the most civilized commuting options out there, and some even feature bars and informal “happy hours” on the way home. It’s also a great way to go into the city for dinner. One of my favorite things to do is take the ferry into the Slanted Door at the San Francisco ferry building from Larkspur.

Golden Gate Transit operates a fleet of comfortable commuter buses that shuttle workers into San Francisco. There’s also the relatively-new SMART train which operates along a north/south corridor, terminating at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal for connections into the financial district.

Hot tub with view of Mt. Tamalpais

REASON FOUR: The Weather

Whether you enjoy the warmer weather of Novato or the cooler weather found on the bay in Sausalito, there truly is a climate for everyone in Marin. The weather in Marin is very different from the famous city to the south, featuring more sunny days and less fog (or “low clouds” as they call it there). It makes moving to Marin very attractive for San Franciscans who spend the summer shivering and cold.

Vista Point Parking Fisheman and Golden Gate Bridge

 REASON FIVE: The Golden Gate Bridge

Yes, half of this bridge is in San Francisco, but we’ll claim this beauty as ours. Many Marinites commute over this work of art every morning. Personally I still feel a thrill crossing the span. You might want to read my article on the 5 Best Places To See The Golden Gate Bridge for tips on where to see the bridge at her finest.

napa leaves in the fall

Fall Color in Yountville, Napa County

 REASON SIX: Proximity to Napa and Sonoma 

If you have been reading my blog, you might have noticed articles on my day trips to the north, including this recent article on Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma. The “wine country” as locals refer to it is a wonderful day trip and I still marvel that in 45 minutes I can be in landscapes that remind me of Tuscany.

photo of farmshop marin

Photo Courtesy Farmshop Marin

REASON SEVEN: Great Restaurants

Yes, it is difficult to compete with the restaurant paradise that is San Francisco, but if you’re contemplating moving to Marin you won’t go hungry. Restaurants cover the gamut from fine dining to inexpensive, and include some of my favorites: Restaurants like Le ComptoirFarmshop, Molina, 123 Bolinas, Sushi Ran, Farley Bar (hard to beat that burger on the porch), Fish, Sushi 69, Picco and Sol Food top my list but there are many more.

Sausalito Homes for Sale - Aerial view of Sausalito

 REASON EIGHT: The Incredible Views

Many homes in Marin have been built to take advantage of the wonderful vistas we have here — open space, mountains, the bay, even the twinkling lights of San Francisco. If you’re thinking of moving to Marin you’ll see we have views in abundance.

View of Mt. Tamalpais from 94 Deer Park Avenue in San Rafael

REASON NINE: Mt. Tamalpais

This mountain soars over Marin at 2500 feet high and is a visual landmark from many points around the county. Much of the mountain is protected land, encompassing the Marin Municipal Water District and National Park Service land (such as the aforementioned Muir Woods). Hiking opportunities abound on the mountain, and “Mt. Tam” as the locals call it is also home to the annual Mountain Play. Take a look at this silent film from 1917 depicting an exciting ride down the mountain in the long-gone Gravity Train. Many who live in Marin County have a special fondness for this beautiful mountain.

photo of the Lark Theater marquee in Larkspur for moving to marin article

The Lark Theater in Larkspur

 REASON TEN: Small Town Feel In A Major Metropolitan Area

As the Connecticut suburbs are to New York City, Marin is to San Francisco. Our assortment of towns runs the gamut from the European feel of Mill Valley to the refined prestige of Belvedere and Tiburon to the bustle of San Rafael. Towns like Fairfax revel in their “hippie heritage” while Larkspur has worked hard to preserve its downtown character. No two towns are alike — each has its own distinctive personality.

Branson School Ross, California


Marin County is famous for its public and private schools, several of which are nationally renowned. For more, check out my Marin Schools guide.

21 Gilmartin Drive Tiburon Front Exterior of Home

21 Gilmartin Drive in Tiburon Sold by Thomas Henthorne

REASON TWELVE: Gorgeous Homes!

As a top Marin real estate agent I would be remiss if I did not mention a housing stock that ranges from $40 million mansions in Belvedere to gated estates in Kentfield to mid-century modern masterpieces in San Rafael. In the current market, moving to Marin from places like San Francisco makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons, including our weather, schools, and value relative to the city.

If you are thinking of moving to Marin, I would welcome the opportunity to be your guide and show you some of what Marin has to offer. You might want to read my article Buying A Home in Marin County. Better yet, please call or text me at 415-847-5584 or fill in the contact form below to experience the exceptional service I provide all my clients.

Just one more of our Golden Gate Bridge…

Golden Gate Bridge for Living in Marin County Article