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Novato is a city located in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, in northern Marin County. Novato is located 30 miles (48 km) north of San Francisco on US 101, and 10 miles (16 km) north-northwest of San Rafael, at an elevation of 30 feet (9 m).
Major geographical features nearby include Mount Burdell to the north and Big Rock Ridge to the southwest. Stafford Lake to the west is a secondary water supply for Novato, with the Russian River in Sonoma County to the north supplying most of the city's water.