Marin County is one of the most beautiful counties in California. Located just north of San Francisco, Marin County is known for its hiking and biking trails, redwood forests, sandy beaches, top-tier schools, good food, and great places to live.
With all these benefits comes a hefty price tag for housing in the area. This list will hopefully help you decide what areas you can consider when looking for your new house in Marin County.
But first, as a general rule of thumb to keep in mind when looking for places to live in Marin County, the further you get from San Francisco, the more you will end up spending.
There are certain pockets where this may not be true, but overall it is something to keep in mind.
The Most Affordable Places to Live in Marin County
In order to get the most accurate list for this post, we queried a year’s worth of sales in the cities and areas below. We used the median sale price as the key indicator. You can scroll to the bottom of this post to see the full dataset.
Median Home Price: $1,203,222
Woodacre is a small town located in western Marin County and is ranked as the most affordable place to live in the county. The town offers a tranquil and peaceful setting for residents who seek a quiet and slower-paced lifestyle.
Woodacre is known for its pristine natural beauty, with its verdant forests, rolling hills, and lush landscapes.
The town is surrounded by protected wilderness areas, including Samuel P. Taylor State Park and the Mount Tamalpais Watershed, offering ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor recreational activities.
Despite its rural location, Woodacre is within a reasonable distance from San Francisco and other major job centers in the Bay Area.
The town is located just off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and is a short drive from Highway 101, making it accessible to those who work in the city.
Median Home Price: $1,220,088
Novato is located at the north end of Marin County on the border of Sonoma County. As the second most affordable place to live in Marin County, Novato offers a good quality of life at a reasonable cost. The city is situated at the foot of Mount Burdell, providing residents with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and hills.
Novato is known for its good schools, diverse communities, and abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. The city is home to several parks and offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as fishing, camping, and hiking.
Novato also boasts a downtown area with a variety of restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions. The city hosts several annual events, including the Novato Festival of Art, Wine, and Music, which draws visitors from all over the Bay Area.
3. Lagunitas-Forest Knolls
Median Home Price: $1,325,796
Lagunitas-Forest Knolls is the third most affordable place to live in the county. Located among the towering redwood trees and rolling hills, Lagunitas-Forest Knolls offers a peaceful and idyllic setting for residents seeking a more relaxed and slower-paced lifestyle.
The community is surrounded by some of Marin County’s most stunning natural landscapes, including the Point Reyes National Seashore, Muir Woods National Monument, and Mount Tamalpais State Park.
This is an ideal place for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The community offers ample opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the surrounding wilderness.
Median Home Price: $1,364,647
Fairfax is a charming and eclectic town ranked as the fourth most affordable place to live in the county. The town is known for its unique and diverse culture, with a range of artistic and creative offerings that draw visitors and residents alike.
Fairfax is home to several local cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops, making it a popular destination for shopping and dining. The town is also home to art galleries, music venues, and theater companies, which offer a vibrant and eclectic cultural scene for residents.
The town is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, with ample opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor recreational activities. The nearby Mount Tamalpais State Park offers breathtaking views of the Bay Area and is a popular destination for hiking and camping.
Despite its small size, Fairfax has a strong sense of community, with numerous events and festivals throughout the year, including the annual Fairfax Festival, which attracts visitors from all over Marin County.
5. Dillon Beach
Median Home Price: $1,403,000
Dillon Beach is the northernmost town in Marin County and is ranked as the fifth most affordable place to live in the county.
Dillon Beach is located on a secluded stretch of coastline and offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including fishing, kayaking, and surfing.
The town is also surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including Point Reyes National Seashore and the Tomales Bay State Park, which offer hiking trails, camping, and other outdoor activities.
The Dillon Beach Resort is a popular destination for visitors and residents alike, offering accommodations and dining options.
6. San Rafael
Median Home Price: $1,469,951
San Rafael is a vibrant and diverse city located in the heart of Marin County, ranked as the sixth most affordable place to live in the county. The city is known for its lively downtown district, good schools, and a range of cultural offerings.
San Rafael is home to a variety of boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants, making it a popular destination for shopping and dining. The city is also home to the Marin County Civic Center, an architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The city has a thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries and performance venues. The city is also home to several historic landmarks, including the Mission San Rafael Arcangel, which dates back to the 19th century.
San Rafael is easily accessible via Highway 101 and is located just a short drive from San Francisco and other major cities in the Bay Area. The city also has a range of parks and recreational opportunities, including the China Camp State Park, which offers hiking, biking, and camping.
7. San Geronimo
Median Home Price: $1,556,000
San Geronimo is a quiet and picturesque town located in western Marin County, ranked as the seventh most affordable place to live in the county. The town is known for its redwood forests, rolling hills, and stunning creeks.
San Geronimo offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, biking, and horseback riding in the nearby Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Located just west of Woodacre and east of Lagunitas-Forest Knolls, you might miss it if you aren’t paying attention.
The town has a small and tight-knit community with a range of local businesses, including a post office, restaurant, and community center. The San Geronimo Valley Community Center hosts a range of cultural events and activities throughout the year.
Median Home Price: $1,600,418
Greenbrae is ranked as the eighth most affordable place to live in the county. The town is situated on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, with some properties offering breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding hills.
Greenbrae is known for its excellent schools, top-rated medical facilities, and convenient access to a variety of amenities and services. The town is home to the Bon Air Shopping Center, which features an array of shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it a popular destination for both residents and visitors alike.
The community has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with a range of recreational opportunities for residents of all ages. The town is home to several parks, including the Hal Brown Park at Creekside, which offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and picnicking.
Greenbrae is also within close proximity to several world-renowned destinations, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods National Monument, and the picturesque towns of Sausalito and Tiburon.
Median Home Price: $1,609,118
Inverness is a beautiful and peaceful community located on the western edge of Marin County, ranked as the ninth most affordable place to live in the county.
The town is known for its stunning coastlines, pristine beaches, and rolling hills.
Inverness offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, kayaking, and birdwatching in the nearby Point Reyes National Seashore.
The town is also surrounded by beautiful landscapes, including Tomales Bay, which offers excellent opportunities for boating and fishing. Inverness is also home to several historic landmarks, including the Tomales Bay Shipwreck, which is a popular spot for photography and sightseeing.
10. Corte Madera
Median Home Price: $1,849,225
Corte Madera is a vibrant and welcoming community located in east Marin County, ranked as the tenth most affordable place to live in the county.
Corte Madera offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, biking, and water activities in the nearby San Francisco Bay. There is also the Richardson Bay Audubon Center, which is a popular spot for birdwatching and nature walks.
The town has a small but convenient downtown and a large outdoor mall on both sides of Highway 101. The town is home to several community events throughout the year, including the Corte Madera-Larkspur Fourth of July Parade and the Corte Madera Art and Garden Festival.
Corte Madera is located off of Highway 101 and is a short drive from major job centers in the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Oakland. Despite its proximity to urban centers, Corte Madera retains a small-town feel, making it an ideal choice for those who seek a vibrant community with easy access to urban amenities.
The full dataset for the data from this post is below. This represents the last year of sales in the specified areas. This data is from the local multiple listing service (BARIESMLS).
|City Name||Median Home Price||Average Home Price|
|Point Reyes Station||$2,790,714||$2,495,000|