One of the nine Bay Area counties, Marin 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. Tamalpaisrising 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 has made the county a recreation spot for the entire Bay Area. Marin has many parks and recreational facilities including China Camp State Park, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
In 2002, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush denounced convicted American terrorist John Walker Lindh as "some misguided Marin County hot-tubber," as a reference to the county's liberal, "hippie" political culture. Outraged by the label, some local residents wrote scathing letters to the Marin Independent Journal, complaining of Bush's remarks. In response, Bush wrote a letter to readers in the same newspaper, admitting regret and promising to not use the phrases Marin County and hot tub "in the same sentence again."