Kelso Real Estate & Homes for Sale

Kelso, WA Real Estate & Homes for Sale

Kelso, WA is a charming city located in Cowlitz County, Washington. Nestled at the confluence of the Cowlitz and Columbia rivers, Kelso is known for its beautiful natural surroundings and its welcoming community. With a population of approximately 12,500, Kelso offers the perfect blend of small-town charm and big-city amenities.

Kelso has a rich history, dating back to its founding in 1884 by Peter W. Crawford. Today, the city is home to several landmarks and historic sites, including the Cowlitz County Historical Museum and the Kelso Depot. Kelso is also known for its thriving arts and culture scene, with plenty of events and attractions throughout the year. From outdoor recreation opportunities to top-notch healthcare facilities, Kelso has everything you need to live a happy and healthy life.

Kelso Real Estate & Homes for Sale May 19, 2024
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Living In Kelso, WA: A Comprehensive Guide


Welcome to the beautiful city of Kelso, WA! If you're considering making this charming town your new home, you've made a great choice. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into everything you need to know about living in Kelso – from its rich history and diverse demographics to affordable housing options and amazing recreational activities.

So grab a cup of coffee (or tea) as we embark on an exciting journey into what makes Kelso one of Washington State's hidden gems.

Key Takeaways

  • Kelso, WA is a charming and historic city with a rich cultural legacy. It offers easy access to major cities such as Portland and Seattle via Interstate 5.
  • Kelso's affordable housing market, mild oceanic climate, diverse population, and strong community spirit make it an attractive option for homebuyers.
  • The city has various neighborhoods and communities to suit different lifestyles and preferences. Programs for affordable housing are also available for low to moderate-income families.
  • Kelso offers education options ranging from public schools to higher education institutions like Lower Columbia College. Healthcare services are also readily accessible in the area.

Location And History Of Kelso, WA

Nestled along the banks of the beautiful Cowlitz River, Kelso, WA is a charming and historic city with a rich cultural legacy. Established in 1884 by Scottish surveyor Peter Crawford, it was named after his hometown of Kelso in Scotland.

Strategically situated in southwestern Washington State, this hidden gem offers easy access to several major cities. It lies approximately 48 miles north of Portland and around 125 miles south of Seattle via Interstate 5.

Kelso's storied past contributes significantly to its unique character and appeal.

The city also boasts numerous investment properties thanks to one designated Opportunity Zone amidst a population of about 6,000 residents - further accentuating its potential for growth and development.

Demographics And Climate Of Kelso, WA

Understanding the demographics and climate of Kelso, WA can provide valuable insights for home buyers and sellers in the area. Refer to the table below for key statistics and information about the city's population and weather patterns.

Population Approximately 12,000
Median Age 33.9 years
Ethnic Diversity 74% White, 1% Black, 19% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 2% Native, 2% Two or More Races
Climate Type Oceanic
Average Annual Temperature 52.5°F (11.4°C)
Average Annual Rainfall 48 inches (1,219 mm)
Average Annual Snowfall 3 inches (76 mm)

The demographics and climate of Kelso offer unique opportunities for those looking to buy or sell a home in the area. With a diverse population, an affordable housing market, and a mild oceanic climate, Kelso can be an ideal location for various types of home buyers and sellers.

Cost Of Living In Kelso, WA

Living in Kelso, WA provides an affordable cost of living for homebuyers and sellers alike. The city offers various housing options, from affordable homes to luxury properties that cater to diverse budgets.

In addition to housing affordability, the everyday expenses such as groceries, transportation, utilities and healthcare also play a vital role in shaping Kelso's cost of living.

While some specific categories might be slightly higher than the national average, most residents find that their bills balance out with their income levels.

The decision to invest in Kelso real estate listings is not only limited by financial considerations but also takes into account factors such as quality education opportunities and access to healthcare facilities.

By evaluating all aspects related to life in this thriving community – including its amenities like parks and recreational areas – potential homeowners can make informed choices when browsing through new homes or investment properties up for sale within this picturesque city nestled near Mount St.

Housing Market In Kelso, WA

The housing market in Kelso, WA is an important consideration for those looking to move to the area. From affordable homes to luxury properties, there are a variety of options available for every budget.

Real Estate Trends And Market Analysis

The real estate market in Kelso, WA has seen steady growth over the past few years. According to recent data from ZeroDown, the median home price in Kelso is around $255,000.

This makes it relatively affordable compared to neighboring cities like Vancouver or Seattle. The market is also showing signs of resilience during the pandemic, with demand for homes remaining strong.

If you are interested in buying or selling a property in Kelso, it's important to work with local professionals who understand the unique characteristics of this market. There are many reputable realtors and brokers operating in this area that can help match you with your ideal property at a fair price.

Overall, if you're looking for an up-and-coming town with plenty of potential for growth and development, Kelso offers some great opportunities. Whether you're planning on putting down roots or investing in rental properties, there are many advantages to buying real estate here.

Neighborhoods And Communities

Kelso, WA has a variety of neighborhoods and communities to suit different lifestyles and preferences. Here are some of the options available:

  1. Downtown Kelso - A historic district with many restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.
  2. North Kelso - A residential area that is close to schools, parks, and shopping centers.
  3. South Kelso - A mix of residential and commercial properties with easy access to I-5 for commuters.
  4. Lexington - A neighborhood known for its large homes and rural feel.
  5. Carrolls - A community located along the Lewis River with beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities.
  6. Rose Valley - A popular area for families with a strong sense of community and excellent schools.
  7. East Kelso - An up-and-coming neighborhood that is undergoing revitalization efforts to attract businesses and residents.

Home buyers can find a range of properties in these areas from new construction to historic homes, while home sellers can take advantage of the diverse demand for housing in Kelso's different neighborhoods.

Programs For Affordable Housing

Kelso, WA's affordable housing program strives to provide access to safe and quality housing for low and moderate-income families in the city.

The city works with private developers and non-profit organizations to build affordable homes, apartments and maintain existing buildings that meet their affordability requirements.

One such program is the Home Advantage Program offered through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC). It provides a loan with a below-market interest rate, along with a grant of up to 4% of the total loan amount for down payment assistance.

For those who qualify based on income, Section 8 housing choice vouchers are available through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well.

Education And Healthcare In Kelso, WA

Kelso, WA offers a variety of education and healthcare options, including public and private schools, higher education institutions, and healthcare services; read on to learn more about these resources.

Public And Private Schools

Kelso, WA offers both public and private school options for families moving to the area. Here are some important facts about schools in Kelso:

  • The Kelso School District serves over 4,500 students from preschool through 12th grade.
  • There are five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school within the district.
  • Kelso High School offers a variety of career and technical education programs, including welding, culinary arts, and digital media.
  • Private school options in Kelso include LifeWorks School of Massage Therapy and Lower Columbia College's Early Learning Center.
  • If you're looking for higher education options, Lower Columbia College is located in nearby Longview and offers associate degrees and vocational certificates.
  • According to, the Kelso School District has an overall grade of C+, with higher ratings for safety and diversity.

Higher Education Options

Kelso, WA offers a range of higher education options for those looking to further their academic pursuits. Here are some top choices:

  1. Lower Columbia College - This community college is located in nearby Longview and offers a variety of degree and certificate programs, as well as transfer options for students looking to continue their education at a four-year university.
  2. Central Washington University - The CWU extension campus in Yakima offers several online degree programs, including Bachelor's degrees in IT and Accounting.
  3. Washington State University Vancouver - Located about an hour's drive from Kelso, this university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with majors ranging from Business to Neuroscience.
  4. University of Washington - Approximately 90 minutes away by car in Seattle, the University of Washington is one of the most highly regarded universities on the West Coast.
  5. Oregon State University - Located across the state line in Corvallis, Oregon State offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a wide range of fields including agriculture, engineering, and business.

With these options available both locally and within driving distance, residents of Kelso have access to a diverse array of higher education opportunities.

Healthcare Services

Kelso, WA offers a range of healthcare services to its residents. The city is home to several medical clinics and hospitals with highly trained physicians and nurses that provide emergency care, preventative medicine, and specialized treatments.

Kelso Medical Group is one such facility that offers comprehensive primary care services for the entire family. For more extensive medical needs, PeaceHealth St.

Additionally, there are numerous dental clinics throughout the area that offer general dentistry services as well as orthodontics and periodontal procedures.

Overall Kelso residents have access to quality healthcare at affordable prices making it an ideal place for families looking to buy homes or sell properties without worrying about healthcare costs.

Transportation And Accessibility In Kelso, WA

Kelso offers a variety of transportation options, including access to major highways and interstates, public transportation, and bike and walking trails.

Major Highways And Interstates

Kelso, WA is conveniently located near several major highways and interstates that provide easy access to nearby cities and attractions. Here are some of the main routes in and around Kelso:

  • Interstate 5: Runs north-south through Kelso and provides quick access to other major Washington cities like Seattle and Portland.
  • State Route 4: Connects Kelso with Longview and the coastal town of Cathlamet, with views of the Columbia River along the way.
  • State Route 431: Also known as Allen Street, this road provides access to downtown Kelso and connects with other local roads.
  • US Route 30: Runs east-west through nearby Rainier, Oregon, providing another option for travel between Washington and Oregon.

With these routes available, commuting to work or exploring nearby towns is a breeze for residents of Kelso.

Public Transportation Options

Kelso, WA has a variety of public transportation options available for residents and visitors alike. Here are some of the main ways to get around town:

  1. C-Tran: The local bus system, C-Tran, offers routes throughout Kelso and nearby Longview. They also provide regional service to other cities in the area.
  2. Amtrak: Kelso is served by the Amtrak Cascades line, which provides daily train service between Eugene, OR and Vancouver, BC. This makes it easy to travel further afield without needing a car.
  3. Ride-sharing apps: Popular ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft operate in Kelso, making it easy to get a ride when you need one.
  4. Taxi services: There are several taxi companies operating in Kelso as well, for those who prefer a more traditional method of transportation.
  5. Biking and walking: Finally, Kelso is a very bikeable and walkable town, with many sidewalks and bike lanes provided for safe travel on foot or by bicycle.

Overall, whether you're commuting to work or just exploring the town's attractions, there are plenty of transportation options available in Kelso to suit your needs.

Bike And Walking Trails

Kelso, WA offers a variety of options for those who enjoy biking and walking. Here are some of the top destinations:

  1. Cowlitz Riverfront Trail - This trail is 2.6 miles long and follows the Cowlitz River through Kelso and neighboring Longview.
  2. Tam O'Shanter Park Loop - This trail is a 1.5 mile loop in a beautiful forested park setting.
  3. Coweeman River Trail - This trail is located just outside of Kelso and offers scenic river views and access to nearby parks.
  4. Catlin Historical Trail - This trail takes you through the historic town of Kelso, following the path that early pioneers took to settle in the area.
  5. Scott Hill Park Trail - This short nature trail offers a peaceful walk through an urban forest.

Whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll or an intense workout, Kelso has something to offer for all types of walkers and bikers. With its varied trails and park settings, it's easy to find your favorite spot for outdoor exercise in this charming town.

Things To Do And Places To Visit In Kelso, WA

Kelso, WA offers a variety of outdoor and indoor activities for all ages, including hiking trails, fishing spots, museums and performing arts venues.

Outdoor Activities And Recreation

Kelso, WA is a fantastic place to enjoy the great outdoors. The town's location near Mount St. Helens volcano means that there are ample opportunities for hiking and camping in the surrounding hills and forests.

Visitors can explore the Ape Caves lava tubes or take on the challenging trails of Mount St. Helens itself.

In addition to these outdoor attractions, Kelso has many parks and playgrounds perfect for families with children. Tam O'Shanter Park offers a play area as well as picnic tables and grills for family outings during summer months while Catlin Park provides multiple walking trails suitable for all ages making it an excellent option year-round.

Hiking And Camping Spots

Kelso, WA is surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some of the top hiking and camping spots to explore:

  1. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument: This iconic landmark offers a variety of trails that range from easy to strenuous. The Monitor Ridge Trail is a popular choice for those looking for a challenging hike with breathtaking views.
  2. Seaquest State Park: Located just three miles west of Castle Rock, this park offers campsites and cabins along the shores of Silver Lake. There are several trails that wind through old-growth forests, including the scenic Bethany Ridge Trail.
  3. Kalama River: This scenic river offers excellent fishing opportunities as well as multiple campsites along its banks. Hiking trails lead to stunning waterfalls and overlooks that offer panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  4. Lewis and Clark State Park: Located near the mouth of the Columbia River, this park features an extensive network of trails that showcase the beauty of the Pacific Northwest coastline. Campsites and cabins are available year-round.
  5. Ape Cave: Part of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, this lava tube cave offers a unique hiking experience for both beginners and experienced hikers alike.

Whether you're looking to spend a relaxing weekend camping or tackle a challenging hike, Kelso has something for every outdoor enthusiast to enjoy!

Fishing And Boating Areas

Kelso is home to several lakes and rivers, making it a great spot for fishing and boating enthusiasts. Here are some of the top spots to enjoy water activities in Kelso:

  • Lake Sacajawea: This lake is a popular destination for fishing, with species such as bass, trout, and panfish. Boating is also allowed on the lake, with a boat ramp available.
  • Cowlitz River: The Cowlitz River is known for its salmon and steelhead fishing. It's also a popular spot for drift boating.
  • Silver Lake: Silver Lake is located just outside of Kelso and is an excellent spot for trout fishing. There are multiple boat launches available for those looking to spend the day on the water.
  • Columbia River: The Columbia River is one of the largest rivers in the United States and offers a wide variety of fish species. Boating is popular on this river as well, with multiple boat launches and marinas available.
  • Lewis River: The Lewis River offers both salmon and steelhead fishing opportunities, as well as recreational boating options.

Whether you're an experienced angler or just looking to spend a day on the water, Kelso has plenty of options for fishing and boating enthusiasts.

Parks And Playgrounds

Kelso, WA has a variety of parks and playgrounds available for families and outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some of the town's top spots for outdoor recreation:

  • Tam O'Shanter Park: This park is a popular spot for picnics, with its large grassy areas and covered pavilion. It also features a skate park, basketball court, and playground.
  • Catlin Park: This scenic park boasts views of the Cowlitz River and is perfect for hiking and exploring. It offers picnic areas, ball fields, and a playground.
  • Lake Sacajawea Park: This expansive park surrounds a beautiful lake and offers walking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, and even paddleboat rentals.
  • Roy Morse Park: This small but charming park has a playground, picnic area, and basketball court. It's located in a quiet neighborhood that's great for taking a stroll.

Kelso's parks provide ample opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature with friends or family. With so many options to choose from, it's no wonder residents love living in this town!

Indoor Activities And Entertainment

When it comes to indoor activities and entertainment, Kelso, WA has plenty to offer for residents of all ages. Museums like the Cowlitz County Museum and The Three Rivers Mall Cinemas offer an array of options for those seeking cultural experiences or a night out at the movies.

The Kelso Theater Pub is another great option that offers food, drinks, and live performances from local bands.

If you're looking to take a class or workshop in your free time, there are several options available in Kelso as well. From painting classes at The Painted Palace to dance lessons at Fusion Dance Academy, there's no shortage of learning opportunities in this town.

Museums And Cultural Centers

Kelso, WA offers a variety of opportunities for cultural experiences. Some of the most notable museums and cultural centers in town are:

  1. Cowlitz County Historical Museum: A museum dedicated to preserving and sharing Cowlitz County's history through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive activities.
  2. Three Rivers Mall: A shopping center that also houses Kelso's Regal Cinemas movie theater and features occasional live performances and events.
  3. The Kelso Depot Visitor Center: Located at the Amtrak station, this center offers information on train schedules, local attractions, and travel resources.
  4. Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts: A historic venue that hosts concerts, plays, comedy acts, and other live entertainment events.
  5. Kelso-Longview Elks Lodge #1482: A social club that hosts events like bingo nights, karaoke parties, and dance lessons.
  6. The Cat Theatre Company: A local theatre group that puts on productions throughout the year, from classic plays to contemporary works.

Whether you're looking to explore local history or catch a live performance, Kelso offers plenty of options for cultural enrichment.

Movie Theaters And Performing Arts Venues

Kelso, WA has a variety of options for those interested in movies and performing arts. Here are some of the top venues to check out:

  1. Three Rivers Mall Cinema: This movie theater offers the latest blockbusters in a comfortable, modern setting.
  2. Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts: The historic Columbia Theatre hosts a variety of live performances, including concerts, plays, and dance shows.
  3. Kelso Theatre Pub: This unique venue combines watching movies with dining and drinking options, offering a full menu and bar service while you enjoy the film.
  4. Cowlitz County Expo Center: In addition to hosting events like rodeos and fairs, the Expo Center also hosts occasional performances by touring musicians and comedians.
  5. Lower Columbia College Rose Center for the Arts: This college campus theater hosts both student productions and professional touring acts, making it a great place to catch talented up-and-coming performers.

Overall, whether you're looking for a night at the movies or an evening of live entertainment, Kelso has plenty of options to explore.

Shopping And Dining Options

Kelso, WA has a variety of shopping and dining options for residents to enjoy. Here are some of the top choices:

  1. Three Rivers Mall - This is the main shopping center in town and features popular retailers like Kohl's, JCPenney, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
  2. Downtown Kelso - For those looking for unique, local shops, downtown Kelso offers antique stores, boutique clothing shops, and more.
  3. Highlander Market - This local grocery store offers fresh produce and meats as well as a deli with made-to-order sandwiches.
  4. Sora Sushi - This restaurant serves up delicious sushi rolls and Japanese cuisine.
  5. Red Leaf Organic Coffee Co. - A local coffee shop with a cozy atmosphere and organic coffee blends.
  6. The Nutty Narrows - This popular burger joint serves up classic burgers, fries, and milkshakes in a fun roadside setting.
  7. El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant - A family-owned restaurant serving traditional Mexican dishes like burritos, enchiladas, and tacos.
  8. Papa Pete's Pizza - A local favorite for pizza lovers with a variety of toppings to choose from.

With these shopping and dining options available in Kelso, residents can find everything they need without leaving town while enjoying the unique charm of this small town community.

Safety And Security In Kelso, WA

Kelso, WA has a relatively low crime rate and takes measures to prevent crime through community policing, emergency services, and other prevention programs.

Crime Rates And Prevention Measures

Kelso, WA has a relatively low crime rate compared to other cities in the state. The local police department and community work together to maintain safety and security throughout the town.

Additionally, emergency services in Kelso are readily available when needed. Both police and fire departments respond quickly to any incidents or emergencies that may occur.

Emergency Services

Kelso, WA has a strong emphasis on ensuring that its residents are safe and secure. The city boasts a well-equipped emergency services department that provides quick response times to incidents, including fires, medical emergencies, and other disasters.

In case of an emergency, residents can rest assured knowing they have access to timely assistance from the Kelso Police Department, Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office and Fire & Rescue Services.

Additionally, the city has implemented Community Policing strategies that encourage collaboration between law enforcement agencies and citizens to help reduce crime rates even further.

Community Policing

Kelso, WA has an active community policing program that strives to build strong relationships between law enforcement and the local community.

The Kelso Police Department works closely with residents and business owners to identify and address potential safety issues, implement prevention strategies, and improve communication through various initiatives such as neighborhood watch programs.

In addition, officers often attend community events and meetings to connect with residents in a non-threatening environment. This approach has contributed to lower crime rates in Kelso compared to other cities of similar size in Washington State.

Conclusion And Final Thoughts

Living in Kelso, WA offers a peaceful and affordable lifestyle with access to natural beauty and urban amenities. With the city's commitment to community development, including programs for affordable housing, Kelso is an excellent choice for homebuyers looking to invest in their future.

The town also has options for education and healthcare along with transportation accessibility via train service or local bus systems. Visitors and residents alike can enjoy museums, parks, shopping centers, and dining options within Kelso while being just a short trip away from Mount St.

Helens' stunning scenery.