Get more info about life in this coastal town.

By Coastal Living
September 28, 2004

Setting: Larkspur sits 13 miles north of San Francisco, insouthern Marin County. The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bayferry service provide easy access to the town, nestled halfwaybetween Sausalito and San Rafael. Mild summer temperatures hover inthe 60s and 70s, and the sun shines much more frequently on thisside of the bridge than in The City.

Attractions: Small-town aura (population just more than12,000); fantastic schools; excellent dining scene with a range ofprices; access to some of the Bay Area's most appealing naturalenvirons; friendly neighbors; noteworthy period architecture; freestreet parking.

Drawbacks: Sky-high real estate prices seem to be goingnowhere but up. There's little to choose from in the housingmarket, as those who come here don't often leave. Boating waterwaysabound, but there's no immediate beach access.

Housing Options: Larkspur's most desirable neighborhoods liejust off Magnolia Avenue, within walking distance of therestaurants, cafés, and shops of this main street. MadroneCanyon, rife with redwoods, is family-friendly, with a park forchildren. Housing around Greenbrae Marina hugs the lagoon, nice forkayaking. A new development called Niven is in the works.

What It Costs: A one-bedroom condo in Larkspur fetches about$345,000, and those with a view command closer to $500,000. Asingle-family house begins at around $600,000 and climbs into themillions, depending upon location and level of restoration.Three-bedroom homes begin at about $750,000. Four-bedroom homesrarely come on the market and go for seven digits when they do.Rentals average $1,800 a month (for one- and two-bedroom homes orcondominiums) and fly as high as $6,000 monthly for a largerhome.

Your Next-door Neighbors: Investment bankers, computerengineers, chefs, artists, gallery owners, actors, designers,architects, jewelers, consultants, doctors, professors.

How You'd Spend Your Free Time: Hiking Marin County'smagnificent trails; meeting friends at the renowned Emporio Rulli;hobnobbing in San Francisco; tasting wine in the Napa Valley, lessthan an hour's drive northeast; shopping the boutiques andgalleries downtown or the shops of Larkspur Landing.

published November-December 2004