The City of Novato is located 29 miles north of San Francisco and is the northernmost city of Marin County. With access from both highways 101 and 37, bordering Sonoma County as well as West Marin. Novato consists of 43 square miles with almost 4,000 acres of open space and parks. This family-friendly town provides a strong sense of community and offers a hometown feel that many of its residents take great pride in. It’s incredible proximity to West Marin, the Sonoma Coast, the Sonoma Square are other oft-cited advantages of residing in Novato.
The neighborhoods vary from waterfront communities, inviting family neighborhoods and horse properties with 1-5 acres of land. There are also multiple luxury home developments that offer discerning buyers value opportunities relative to points just south of Novato.
Novato’s recently revamped downtown area is located on and around Grant Avenue. Downtown Novato has increasingly become a destination spot welcoming visitors and residents alike to shop and dine. The warm climate in Novato allows for increased opportunities to enjoy outside dining and shopping almost year-round. This area is the heart of Novato and is expected to continue to grow and offer more retail opportunities. The Vintage Oaks Shopping Center, anchored by Costco and Target, includes more than 50 retail stores and restaurants. Well known high technology companies have made their home in Novato, including the non-profit Buck Institute for Aging. The city is also home to BioMarin Pharmaceutical, 2K Games & Solarcraft.
The 4,000 acres of open space offer all a haven for hiking and mountain biking. The views from the 1,558 foot-high Mt. Burdell are spectacular. Novato has two public golf courses, one private course, and a network of 27 oak-studded parks, including a 16,000 square foot skate park for young skateboarders.
Stafford Lake Park, a 139-acre expanse is a major attraction for visitors and residents who enjoy fishing, hiking, biking or day camping. The Stafford Lake Bike Park is a draw from all over the Bay Area. Rush Creek and Deer Island Preserve offer more opportunities for bird watching, hiking, and spectacular water as well as East Bay views across the bay.
Novato is part of the Novato Unified School District which includes 7 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 2 High Schools. Novato has a continuation school, three alternative schools, and several private schools.
Novato’s neighborhoods offer incredible variety, including; waterfront communities, equestrian properties, executive properties and incredibly inviting family neighborhoods.
Bel Marin Keys
: Located in Southeast Novato and developed primarily in the 1960s and 1970s, Bel Marin Key is a truly unique subdivision. Most properties have a waterfront lot fronting one of the three main lagoons and many have boat docks. Waterskiing and other activities are permitted in most areas. The typical home is a 3-4 -bedrooms and offers 1900 square feet of living space. This waterfront community is beloved by many.
Country Club/Ignacio Valley
: Located in Southwest Novato, the Mar in Country Club is a highly sought-after neighborhood especially for golfing enthusiasts. Beautiful ranch style homes make up a majority of the homes here. The Marin Country Club itself offers far more than golf neighborhoods where many residents drive their golf cart to and from the club. The Ignacio Valley/Country Club area is framed by surrounding hills which makes for a nice picturesque setting.
: In the furthest Southeast part of Novato is Hamilton which is a subdivision built in the late 1990s and early 2000s on the old Hamilton Airforce Base. The Coast Guard currently operates the existing airfield and about 300 original duplexes and homes that are largely uninhabited. The homes in the Hamilton neighborhood are largely Spanish eclectic style and newer build. Hamilton offers great walking trails and a very strong sense of community.
Black Point/Green Point
: Located in the far Northeast section of Novato and divided by Highway 37, you will find Black Point and Green Point. Green point homes were largely built in the 1970s and typically large 3-4 bedroom homes on larger lots. Simply put it feels “like the country” there. Black Point is comprised of a mixture of homes built in the early 1900s as well as many with more modern construction. The older Black Point is a bit more rustic and artist than most neighborhoods, however in the close by Stone Tree area you will find a gates community with newer construction surrounded by the StoneTree Golf Club. The San Francisco Bay and the mouth of the Petaluma River are within walking distance of many homes here.
: Located in Northeast Novato, Atherton Ave. features a mixture of homes that are generally on large lots, some with properties as large as five acres. The recently developed area of Rush Creek features large newer homes on half to one-acre lots. Olive Ridge and Tranquility are also newer construction homes that offer between 3500 and 4500 square feet of living space.
: Located in Northeast Novato, Bahia may not get the attention it deserves. Since 2006 this area has become a hot spot for many newcomers seeking a “neighborhoody” feel but with some access to both the bay as well as wooded view trails offering incredible outdoor open spaces and wonderful views. Bahia was developed in the 1970s and the typical homes here offer 3-4 bedrooms. Additionally, there are executive-type homes with 4-5 bedrooms on the ridgeline above Bahia. Most offer views and these neighborhoods are increasingly well kept.
: Downtown Novato is home to the shopping district along Grant Avenue. Grant has an abundance of restaurants, shops and markets. The residential area around the downtown area is a mix of single-family and low-rise multi-unit buildings. The typical single-family home is a traditional 2-3-bedroom house averaging about 1300 square feet and built in the 1940s-1950s. Being able to “walk to downtown” is oft-cited as a reason for purchasing here.
: Located in a decidedly country setting many of the properties here are on lots that exceed an acre. This is one of two Novato neighborhoods that caters to horse enthusiasts. The spectacular setting at the foot of the mountain range that makes up the southwest border of the valley that Novato sits in, often is crested by morning and evening fog. The homes here range in size from 2-3 bedroom ranchers to estate type homes offering privacy, views of the hills and the opportunity to shape your property to accommodate horses or whatever your heart desires.
: Located in Northwest Novato, San Marin is home to San Ramon Elementary and San Marin High School. San Marin is at the base of Mount Burdell and is approximately 2 miles west of Highway 101 Atherton/San Marin Drive Exit. The typical home is a 2-story, 4-bedroom house built in the mid-’60s and into the mid-’70s. This neighborhood was the destination spot for many SF residents (many police and firefighters) when these homes were constructed. It remains a neighborhood that attracts younger families mixing in with the baby boomers who have children and their families that decided to remain in Novato and still call it “home”.
: Located in Northwest Novato and home to Pleasant Valley Elementary and Sinaloa Middle School, Pleasant Valley is a highly sought-after neighborhood located approximately 3 miles west of Highway 101. Pleasant Valley is often popular among families with young children due to its highly-rated elementary school. The heart of Pleasant Valley is relatively flat, but framed by surrounding hills. The typical home is ranch style and built in the 1950’s and 60’s. Many homes will sell upwards of $1.5M particularly if included Wild Horse Valley, Verissimo Valle, Vineyard and Indian Valley. This area is typically referred to as “West Novato”.