Inverness is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located in western Marin County, California. Inverness is located on the southwest shore of Tomales Bay 3.5 miles (5.6 km) northwest of Point Reyes Station, at an elevation of 43 feet (13 m). In the 2000 census, the population was 1,421. The community is named after Inverness in Scotland by a Scots landowner.
Inverness is located on the west shore of Tomales Bay, which runs southeast along the line of the San Andreas Fault. Surrounded by Point Reyes National Seashore, it is primarily a residential community, with little industry other than tourism. It has a small downtown area with a general store, post office, library, two restaurants and two gift shops. A third restaurant is located a short way north of downtown. There are also a number of hotels and inns spread throughout the town.
One aspect of the town is a concentration of recreational (and some commercial) boating. There is a small public marina, a few private piers, and the Inverness Yacht Club.
The town is a 15 miles or so from Drake's Bay on the Pacific Ocean, named after Sir Francis Drake, who explored the coast in the 17th Century. Although Drake's official log was lost, the ship's doctor's log described landing in an area that reminded him of the White Cliffs of Dover. Drake's Bay is backed by similar-looking cliffs, leading many to believe this is where the ship landed.
The region became the property of James Shafter, who began to develop the property in the 1890s. It became a summer resort where people from San Francisco and Oakland came to camp, hike and swim in Tomales Bay. Many built small summer cabins that still exist today. Small steamboats took day trippers down the bay to secluded beaches. They left from Brock Schreiber's boathouse, which has been preserved and is a prominent local landmark with its prominent sign "Launch for Hire."
In 1995, Inverness Ridge was the site of the Mt. Vision Fire, which burned a large area of Point Reyes National Seashore and a number of homes built on the ridge. The town itself was threatened but was saved by helicopters dipping water from Tomales Bay to drop on the Bishop pine forest between the town and the burning ridgetop.
Inverness is located at According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.4 square miles (16.6 km²), of which, 6.0 square miles (15.5 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km²) of it (6.86%) is water..
The town is adjacent to the San Andreas Fault.
Inverness is spread out along approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) of the western shore and valleys of Tomales Bay on the Point Reyes Peninsula, it provides services to visitors to the Point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay State Park.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,421 people, 707 households, and 364 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 237.9 people per square mile (91.9/km²). There were 999 housing units at an average density of 167.3/sq mi (64.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 94.58% White, 0.42% Black or African American, 0.42% Native American, 1.13% Asian, 1.20% from other races, and 2.25% from two or more races. 5.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 707 households out of which 16.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% were non-families. 37.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.98 and the average family size was 2.56.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 14.5% under the age of 18, 2.7% from 18 to 24, 20.3% from 25 to 44, 41.8% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $47,500, and the median income for a family was $78,398. Males had a median income of $42,448 versus $37,321 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $37,340. About 5.5% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 3.6% of those age 65 or over.