Moving to Douglas County, CO: 10 Things to Know [2021 Guide]

Moving to Douglas County, CO: 10 Things to Know [2021 Guide]

Living in Douglas County, CO

Located in the Denver metropolitan area, Douglas County is a lovely area with steep mountains and flat grassy plains wonderful historical landmarks.  The county was inhabited by the Native American tribes such as the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute tribes.  Douglas County was created in 1861 after Stephen Douglas and when the Colorado Territory was established. At present, with an estimated population of over 379,000 residents, Douglas County is growing at a 2.4 percent rate since 2020.

Today, Douglas County, Colorado is home to the cities of Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Franktown, Highlands Ranch, Larkspur, Lone Tree, Parker, Sedalia, a very small portion of Aurora, and other smaller cities. Situated just 45 minutes south of downtown Denver, Douglas County has been a desirable place for both Colorado natives and those moving into the centennial state.

There are plenty of reasons Douglas County is an attractive area to call home. The job market is strong. The schools are very good. There’s actually many options to do outside activities and the quality of life is very good. But before deciding to live in Colorado, learn more about your potential move to Douglas County.

Table of Contents

•        Cost of Living in Douglas County, CO

•        Job Market in Douglas County, CO

•        Popular Industries in the Area

•        Things To Do in Douglas County, CO

•        Outdoor Activities

•        Restaurants, Breweries, & Bars

•        Nightlife

•        Douglas County, CO Traffic

•        Alternative Routes

•        Douglas County, CO Public Transportation

•        Douglas County, CO Schools

•        Douglas County, CO Climate

•        Thinking About Moving to Douglas County, CO?

Cost of Living in Douglas County, CO

While Douglas County, CO, has been a desirable place to live for many years, the cost of living has increased as a result. Compared to other cities in the U.S., on average living in Douglas County is roughly 40% more expensive.

The main reason for this are the housing costs.  As of January 1, 2021, the county has 136,815 residential units. Single family detached houses account for 75% of that total. Condos and townhouse represent 9.4% and Apartments 15.4%. 

The median home price is $630,000.  However, homes can range from as low as $325,000 up to $7,500,000, based on the location and size of the home. There are many down payment options as well as alternatives to document qualifying income. The following chart shows the average or median sales price as of Sept. 2021 from Redfin for 3 bedrooms or more home in these cities:

  CitiesMedian Sales PriceMortgage PaymentAverage Rent
Castle Pines$812,500$3,182$2,467 – $3,825
Castle Rock$607,000$2,378$2,375 – $4,000
Franktown$1,900,000$7,442$2,484 – $8,410
Highlands Ranch$632,000$2,475$1,365 – $3,600
Larkspur$760,000$2,977$2,792 – $5,893
Lone Tree$714,000$2,797$2,230 – $3,977
Parker$767,000$3,004$1,515 – $6,030
Sedalia$875,000$3,427$2,708 – $3,508

Source: Data is from Rent Café and Apartment Home Living. Mortgage monthly payments assumed a 10 percent down payment and 3.25% fixed interest rate for 30 year, and 720 middle credit score. Not all borrower will qualify. Information is for illustrative purposes only.


Notice the rents are based on apartments, not single detached homes which are more desirable due to privacy and no shared common walls or exterior.

While housing costs are higher than the national average, other expenses are equal to or just below the national average, like:

•     Groceries 
•     Health
•     Utilities

Unfortunately, transportation and miscellaneous costs are above the national average.

Additional information about cost of living in Douglas County, Colorado, cities:

•   Cost of Living in Castle Rock, Colorado – PayScale.com

•   Cost of Living Calculator Highlands Ranch, Colorado – Numbeo.com

•   Parker, Colorado Cost of Living  – AreaVibes.com

Job Market in Douglas County, CO

Douglas County has a 4.6% unemployment rate, lower than the national average of 5.4%, the area’s healthy job market offers many opportunities for those with the proper job skills.

While the tech industry plays a huge role in Denver overall, Douglas County’s largest employers are in the education and medical fields. In fact, the Douglas County School District is the largest employer in the county, with approximately 7,700 employees. Many private companies headquartered in Douglas County have more than 1,000 employees, including the top five largest employers in Douglas County below:

•        Charles Schwab
•        Dish Network
•        Centura Health
•        Health One
•        VISA Debit Processing Services


Popular Industries in Douglas County

Although Douglas County has many employment opportunities, the primary industries that lead the county’s job market are; manufacturing, government and education, technology, retail, and recreation make up the county’s labor force, making them the most popular industries among Douglas County residents.

More information about finding a job in Douglas County, Colorado:

•   Top Workplaces in Castle Rock – GlassDoor.com

•   Best Workplaces in Highlands Ranch – Zippia.com

•   Best Workplaces in Parker – Zippia.com

•   Job Openings in Douglas County, CO – Indeed.com

Things To Do in Douglas County, CO

With scenic Castle Rock as its county seat and its proximity to Denver, visitors and residents can discover a lot of exciting things to do in Douglas County. Among the most popular tourist attractions in Castle Rock are Roxborough State Park,  the Outlets at Castle Rock, Cherokee Ranch & Castle, Parker Arts Culture and Events Center, and The Factory at Franklin, only to name a few. Other towns worth exploring are the Cool Springs community, Fairview, and the village of Leiper’s Fork.


Remarkable Zipline Adventure” by RobertKane123 is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Outdoor Activities

Scenic hikes, biking trails, and parks: Douglas County, Colorado, is an outdoor enthusiast’s haven. Douglas County has some very beautiful local parks, includes Castlewood Canyon State Park, Devil’s Head Lookout, Spruce Mountain Open Space Trail and Philip S Miller Park. For adrenaline junkies, Douglas County has The Edge Ziplines and Adventures.

Restaurants, Breweries, & Bars

Douglas County has numerous types of restaurant for just about every kind of customer. Some of the most popular food dishes in Douglas County are southern comfort, barbeque, and southern infusion-style cooking. Among the top rated restaurants are Manna, Cranelli’s Italian, Seasons 52, Union An American Bistro, Castle Cafe and Scileppis, a family owned Italian restaurant with excellent pasta, pizza, and Italian cuisine located inside an old church.

Don’t miss Gabriel’s in Sedalia among the many others. For those looking for more casual, a must try is Crave Real Burgers in Castle Rock. You will also find plenty of beer options, as well. The 105 West Brewery, Hideaway Bar & Grill, and Wide Open Saloon are drinking establishments you will enjoy. Wine lovers will take pleasure in Purgatory Cellars Winery, among the area’s finest wineries.

Night Life
As a result of its 40 miles distance to Denver, options for entertainment are not lacking. Some of Douglas County’s most popular nightlife venues are the Social Bar & Lounge in Littleton, a bar with cocktails, Colorado craft, domestic beers and wines to please everyone’s palette.

There’s also the Crush Wine Bar, the Grizzly Rose, a country western dance hall featuring live music. More concerts and endless live entertainment venues can be found further north in metro Denver or drive south to Colorado Springs.

Douglas County, CO Climate
 The weather in Douglas County varies throughout the year with 4 seasons. The winter lows reach 18 degrees F and the summer months have highs above 86 degrees F.  The county receives 245 sunny days annually, which is a 40 days more than the average U.S. city.

Douglas County, Colorado, does get a good amount of precipitation every year but it dries up quickly. On average, the county receives 19 inches of rain a year, which is well above the national average, and about 79 inches of snow each year. The months when it rains the most are from May through August.

That being said, Douglas County has nice weather all year particularly during the late spring and early fall months, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year. The ideal times to visit Douglas County are April through June before the temperature touches the high 80s and 90s, and September and early October, while the weather conditions are still comfortable.

More information about the climate in Douglas County, Colorado:

•    Castle Rock 10-day Weather Forecast – Weather.com

•   Average Weather in Larkspur, CO – WeatherSpark.com

•   Weather History in Highlands Ranch – Wunderground.com

Douglas County, CO Traffic
As the Denver metro area economy continues to grow, so does the population and number of commuters heading to and from their jobs each day. Douglas County is south of Arapahoe County and east of Jefferson County.

Because of the number of companies based in adjacent Denver regional counties, there’s tens of thousands of commuters from Douglas County into the counties of Arapahoe, Denver, Jefferson, and Adams but not so much the other way around.

This is why traffic is congested through the early morning rush hour and returning home in the evening via the I-25, or a combination of the I-225, I-70, and I-76 highways. Commuters in the Denver metro area on average, take over 45 minutes on the road going to or from their job sites [1]. However, it ranks in the middle of a combined statistical areas for its share of super commuters.

More information about traffic in Douglas County, Colorado:

•   Douglas County Commuting Times – BestPlaces.net

•   Douglas County Traffic Alerts – Douglas.co.us

•   Douglas County Road Construction Projects – Douglas.co.us

Douglas County, CO Public Transportation
People who are considering a move to Douglas County aren’t confined to using a car to get around. Douglas County, Colorado, has an adequate public transportation options, linking a lot of cities in Douglas County to surrounding areas, including northern metro Denver counties. The Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates many of Douglas County’s transportation operations, which includes the bus, Light rail, FlexRide and Access-A-Ride for residents with disabilities.

The RTD connects residents of Parker to many transit routes throughout the area, even into downtown Denver . Residents in Castle Rock going to Denver only have the option of taking a taxi, rideshare or Groome Transportation to nearby routes bus and light rail routes. 

Residents in Highlands Ranch have an easy public transportation route by taking the Line 24 bus at South University Blvd & Otero Ave into metro Denver or the Light rail C or D line at the Littleton – Mineral station.

Options from Parker, CO to Denver
Route P (Parker / Denver): Provides commuter service to downtown Denver. Route 483 (Lincoln Avenue / Parker Road): Provides commuter service to the Lincoln Light Rail station.
Route 153 (Chambers Road):  Provides service to Aurora along Parker Road

Public Transportation information in Douglas County cities:

•     Parker – Parkeronline.

•     Connect Douglas


Douglas County, CO Schools

When it comes to learning for students ages 5-18 in Douglas County they are in good hands.  As of 2021, there were approximately 64,000 students from preschool through 12th grade in the Douglas County School District. The district is comprised of 48 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, 9 high schools, and 18 charter schools.

The best schools that rank high locally and state wide are:

Bear Canyon Elementary
Parker Core Knowledge Charter School
STEM School Highlands Ranch
Rock Canyon High School
Colorado Early Colleges – Parker

These is only some of the top rated schools. There are plenty of other 9-rated K1 – K8 schools in Douglas county. Once you narrow down your school choices, it’s time to decide on which city you will live in.

Before you start home shopping, get pre-approved to buy your home with historically low interest rates.

Thinking About Moving to Douglas County, CO?
Douglas County has a great deal to provide new and existing residents with its proximity to Denver and Colorado Springs.  The local economy is strong and outside of work hours there’s many amenities to satisfy almost every person.

Castle Rock has 70,000 residents but the planning commission is projecting a build out to 140,000 so there’s still ways to go for growth and more opportunities in this city and others in Douglas County. And with its excellent outdoor activities, scenic backdrops, and rolling hills, Douglas County provides an pleasant conditions for just about everyone.

If the opportunity of becoming a resident of Douglas County, CO, interest you, contact ColoradoLoanPro at (303) 223-9843 to get in touch with a mortgage advisor who can help you find the perfect loan as well as a local Douglas County real estate agent.

[1] – Commuters – https://www.denverpost.com/2021/08/18/higher-housing-costs-limited-transit-super-commuters/

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