Martinez, California. The home of baseball great Joe DiMaggio and the naturalist, John Muir, Martinez is tucked in the hills south of the Carquinez Strait. There is easy access to Highway 4 and highway 680 and the Greater Bay Area. It is a one hour drive to Silicon Valley. The city is in fact largely surrounded by water and regional open space preserves. It has a population of around 36,000 old souls and is the county seat of Contra Costa County. The downtown is notable for its preserved old buildings and antique shops. Martinez is one of the only two places in the Bay Area where the Bay Area Ridge Trail and the San Francisco Bay Trail converge. The Bay Trail is a planned recreational corridor that, when complete, will encircle San Francisco and San Pablo bays with a continuous 400-mile network of bicycling and hiking trails.
Martinez has a mild Mediterranean climate. Summers are warm and dry, with some morning fog during sea breezes. The maritime influence is much less significant than in other parts of the Bay Area that are closer to the Pacific, which causes higher daytime averages compared to San Francisco and Oakland in summer. However, nights normally cool off significantly which results in daytime highs of around 87 °F (31 °C) and night time lows of 55 °F (13 °C) during July and August. Winters are wet and cool with occasional frost. Martinez’s location at the east end of the Carquinez Strait as it widens to Suisun Bay includes dramatic water views stretching to the Sierra range. The top employers are Contra Costa County, Shell Oil, Kaiser Permanente and the Veterans Health Administration.
Major parks in Martinez are: Hidden Valley Park off of Center Ave., Hidden Lake Park off of Morello Ave at Chilpancingo Pkwy, Martinez Regional Shoreline off Ferry Street, Nancy Boyd Park off of Pleasant Hill Rd., John Muir Historic Site off of Alhambra Ave, Rankin Park off of Buckley, and Water Front Park at North Court Street.
The Martinez beavers are a family of California golden beavers living in Alhambra Creek in downtown Martinez. Best known as the longtime home of famed naturalist John Muir, Martinez has become a national example of urban stream restoration utilizing beavers as ecosystem engineers. A keystone species, the beaver have transformed Alhambra Creek from a trickle into multiple dams and beaver ponds. (picture of beaver)
Dogs are welcome in Martinez. There is The Dog Park at 115 Tarantino Dr., Hidden Lake Park which is a fantastic place to walk your dog with large swaths of land to throw a tennis ball and Hidden Lake itself for your dog to take a quick dip to cool off on a hot summer day. Also don’t overlook Paso Nogal Park off of Morello and Lake Anza in the Berkeley Hills.
Home Prices: The median home value in Martinez is $606,300. Martinez home values have gone up 0.7% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 6.4% within the next year. The median price of homes currently listed in Martinez is $555,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $633,000. The median rent price in Martinez is $2,575.
Martinez is a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. Only 58.6 miles from Silicon Valley, more and more techies are moving in. With average rents in Silicon Valley of more than $4,000 a month, and house prices starting at 1.3 million, one solution is to look at quaint Bay Area cities on the outskirts of what has been traditionally thought of as Silicon Valley cities. With low crime, good schools, underrated restaurants and plenty of things to do, including sports, a superior little league program, and top rated community colleges, Martinez is the perfect choice as an undiscovered gem to be part of, yet a step removed, from the Bay Area scene.