Although Marin is usually thought of as a suburban residential and recreational area, ranching and dairying are major features of the rural areas of West Marin. Industry in the county includes movie and video production, computer software, communications equipment, printing, and the manufacture of plastic products,ceramics, candles, and cheese.
One of the nine Bay Area counties, Marin County is linked to San Francisco by the Golden Gate Bridge and to the East Bay by the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. It is bordered on the north and northeast by Sonoma County and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.The 520 square miles of Marin offer a wide variety of topography, climate, and vegetation, from the tidal flats of the coastline to the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais rising 2,600 feet above sea level; from the dense stands of redwood and pine to the inland grasslands and exposed rocky areas, and the coastal fogs that temper the warm inland temperatures in summer.
The combination of mountains, sea, and climate in Marin County, with 141,400 acres (Marin County Assessor-Recorders Office, July 1996) of federal, state, and county parkland, county open space, and two water districts' lands devoted to recreation, has made the county a recreation spot for the entire Bay Area. Marin County has many state, county and city operated parks and recreational facilities including: China Camp State Park, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Marin County children are educated in 19 school districts whose enrollments range from 12 students to 7,000 students. Fifteen of the school districts are elementary districts (K - 8); 2 are unified districts (K - 12); and 2 are high school districts (Grades 9 - 12). The Marin Community College has two campuses; Kentfield and Novato. There are several private schools, including Dominican University in San Rafael.