Life Among the Redwoods: Larkspur and Corte Madera

Just a half-hour north of the fabulous city of San Francisco two charming towns sit in the midst of ancient redwood groves. Larkspur and Corte Madera are not your typical small towns. Not only are they situated in the middle of some of the most beautiful country around, but they also boast some of the best schools in the country, a nationally renown film festival, and some of the finest shopping in the Bay Area.


The Past

The twin cities of Corte Madera and Larkspur were originally settled during the Gold Rush. The later expansion of the Union Pacific Railroad brought additional settlers to the area. The towns were originally logging outposts. The high quality redwood lumber was shipped across the Bay to build San Francisco. Larkspur was formally incorporated in 1908 and eight years later Corte Madera was finally incorporated. The lumber industry moved out of the area long ago, leaving plenty of the ancient giants untouched.

Living in the Twin Cities

The median household income for the area is $95,471. Just over 21,000 combined people live in the two cities. Despite their small size, through wise investments, revenue from tourism, and the community spirit of the people, Corte Madera and Larkspur are home to some of the best infrastructure and civic amenities of any comparable sized towns anywhere in the world. Residents of the area also have easy access to nature in the many city, state, and national parks located nearby. The Larkspur neighborhood of The Madrone Canyon is located in the middle of a sprawling and magnificent redwood tree grove. The average home price for the twin city area is $1.4 million.


Redwood High School, located in Larkspur, is consistently ranked as one of the top high schools in the nation. All of the other schools in the Larkspur-Corte Madera school district are listed as among the best in California. These high quality public schools are a big reason many people choose to raise their families in the area.

Larkspur’s restored Art Deco Lark Theater, along with the Old town area, host the popular Mill Valley Film Festival every year. The festival regularly attracts some of the most passionate filmmakers and film lovers from all over the globe. The twin cities also host an annual Fourth of July event that draws crowds from all over the area.

Entertainment and Recreation

If you love nature, but also need to be close to the action, there is no better place to live than in Larkspur and Corte Madera. Everything from the hiking and mountain biking of Mount Tamalpais, the scenic Point Reyes shoreline, to the bustling streets of San Francisco is no more than a 30-minute car ride away. Many residents are within walking distance of incredible trails that wind through protected redwood trees.

Corte Madera hosts two large malls, and is the biggest shopping destination in Marin County. Both The Village at Corte Madera and Corte Madera Town Center are home to nationally known high-end stores. If you are looking for something unique, Larkspur and Corte Madera also both have a variety of trendy boutiques selling custom apparel and one-of-a-kind art and jewelry. You can also visit any of the famer’s markets in the area if you are looking for delicious, organic, locally grown produce.


The downtown areas of the twin cities are a great place to enjoy a meal with friends. You can find friendly pubs, gourmet restaurants, and everything in between.

If you are looking for a place where you can live the good life, Corte Madera and Larkspur may be just what you need. The mild Mediterranean climate, the vibrant community, the easy access to natural wonders, and the variety of local shopping and entertainment make the twin cities one of the best places to live not just in California, but in the whole world.


A version of this article was published on Inman.Com: Twin jewels of Marin County

Please see our Communities page with information on each city in Marin County.

Behzad Zandinejad

Broker Associate

Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty

A Top Producing Agent for 2015


Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty

100 Tiburon Blvd, Mill Valley, CA.94941


[email protected]

Marin County Real Estate Report

About The Author