A Travel Price Comparison for Virginia Alexandria vs. Virginia Beach for Families, Couples, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Alexandria and Virginia Beach. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Alexandria

Alexandria is a historic, charming, and quaint city. With fun activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a fun-filled, relaxing, and bustling coastal city. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the nightlife and beaches.

Alexandria and Virginia Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Fun shopping
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Mount Vernon
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Alexandria than Virginia Beach. While Virginia Beach is larger than Alexandria, Alexandria has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Alexandria is more popular for its museums, food, historical sights, shopping, small town charm, and impressive beauty, while Virginia Beach is known for its resorts and beaches. Alexandria is more touristy than Virginia Beach and is known for its long-running history, beautiful architecture, and small town atmosphere. It is also home to Mount Vernon. Virginia Beach is popular for its fun boardwalk, many seafood restaurants, and classic beach town vibe.

How is Alexandria different from Virginia Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Virginia Beach and Alexandria. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Alexandria is great for its historical sights. However, Virginia Beach does not have museums and landmarks.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Alexandria can be an interesting and educational experience. George Washington's Mount Vernon home is an iconic destination in Alexandria. There are also many other museums in town that focus on the region's history. The Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum and the Gadsby's Tavern Museum are both interesting. There's Gunston Hall and the Carlyle House, as well as an archeology museum and many historic landmarks around town.

Virginia Beach does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Alexandria or Virginia Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Alexandria is a nice place to visit for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Alexandria has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. The food, like the city itself, reflects the area's history. There are many southern classic dishes as well as a lot of seafood. You'll find lots of local restaurants that serve high quality dishes and a quaint atmosphere.

Virginia Beach may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Seafood is plentiful around town and there are all-you-can-eat buffets as well as high end, waterfront seafood restaurants. Make sure you try the She Crab Soup, soft shell crabs, and oysters.

Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach Better for Nightlife?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

The vibe at night is good in both Alexandria and Virginia Beach.

If you're looking for night time activities Alexandria has a few options to choose from. There's a great bar scene, as well as tons of restaurants that make for a relaxing night out.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Virginia Beach. While it's a family-friendly beach, there's still a great nightlife scene with many bars and clubs in the area. Popular places to hang out at night include Omega Bar, Peabody's Nightclub, and Sky Bar.

Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach Better for Resorts?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a good destination for its luxury resorts. However, Alexandria is not a resort destination.

Virginia Beach has a few great resort options. Some of the best resorts in the area include the Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club, the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, and The Founders Inn and Spa.

Alexandria is not a resort destination.


Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach Better for Beaches?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a good destination for the beach. However, Alexandria is not a beach destination.

Virginia Beach offers a nice beach destination. The beaches are long and sandy, but they can get crowded during the summer months. The waves are just the right size for playing in the surf and the water temperature is usually warm enough to swim well into the fall months.

Alexandria is not a beach destination.

Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach Better for its Old Town?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Alexandria is terrific for its old town. However, Virginia Beach does not have a historic old town.

Alexandria has a unique history which comes to life in its historic area. At the heart of the city is the historic old town. Its lined with townhomes that date back to the 18th century. There are many historic sights that have stories from the early days of the country. There are also cobblestone streets and a great waterfront.

Virginia Beach does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Alexandria is great for its shopping opportunities. However, Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Alexandria is well-known for its shopping. King Street is the main shopping street in town and it offers the largest concentration of independently owned boutiques in the Washington D.C. area. It's the perfectly place to spend an afternoon shopping.

Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach Better for Families?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is great for its kid-friendly activities. However, Alexandria is not a good destination for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Virginia Beach. This is a popular family-friendly beach with a nice boardwalk, a fun waterpark, aquarium, and nice beaches. It attracts families in the area for its long beaches and fun atmosphere. Most restaurants have kid's menus and there are ice cream shops and minigolf around.

Alexandria is not the most family-friendly destination. The waterfront area is nice to walk around. You can break up the history with an ice cream shop and kids will also enjoy taking a boat tour.

Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach Better for Couples?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Alexandria is great for its romantic activities. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for couples.

Alexandria is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. The charm of the old town makes this a quaint and romantic destination. There's a waterfront area and many historic buildings. There are also romantic restaurants and plenty of places to grab brunch.

Virginia Beach is a good city for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy a nice escape to the beaches and boardwalk. There are many great seafood restaurants, some with waterfront settings. There's also a variety of activities ranging from many golf to dance clubs.

Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Alexandria is a nice place to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Virginia Beach is not a backpacker-friendly destination.

It's common for backpackers to visit Alexandria. There aren't any true hostels in town, but you will find some cheap motels.

Virginia Beach is not a backpacker-friendly destination.


Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach Better for Students?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a good destination for its student-friendly activities. However, Alexandria is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Virginia Beach. It's not as popular as more southern beach towns, but you'll still find students heading here for the spring break holidays.

Alexandria is not popular with students.

Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Alexandria is terrific for times when you don't have a car. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its public transit.

The thorough and effecient public transit system of Alexandria can take you anywhere. DASH is the local bus system, but the city is also connected into the Washington DC metro system.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Virginia Beach. There is very limited public transit in the area so you'll need to have a car to get around.

Is Alexandria or Virginia Beach a more walkable city?

Alexandria
Virginia Beach

Alexandria is terrific for its high level of walkability. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its ease of walking around.

Alexandria is a very easy city to get around on foot. It's a very easy city to walk around, particularly in the historic heart where most tourists spend their time.

Virginia Beach is generally not very walkable. Most people prefer to have a car but do note that parking can be a nightmare, particularly during the summer season.


For even more information, also check out Is Alexandria Worth Visiting? and Is Virginia Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Virginia Beach or Alexandria?

How long in Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Both Alexandria and Virginia Beach have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Virginia Beach than in Alexandria. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Alexandria, and 5-7 days is enough time in Virginia Beach.

Families should spend more time in Virginia Beach than Alexandria. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Virginia Beach, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Alexandria than Virginia Beach. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Alexandria that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Alexandria than Virginia Beach if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Alexandria.


  • How many days in Alexandria or Virginia Beach? Ideal Length of Stay
    Alexandria 2-4 
    Virginia Beach 5-7

One day in Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

In Alexandria, you'll find museums and nightlife. Visiting the old town is also a must. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

With nightlife around the fun-filled coastal city of Virginia Beach, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Alexandria is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

With nightlife around the destination of Virginia Beach, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Five days in Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Alexandria. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. It offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Virginia Beach, a popular coastal city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this coastal city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


A week in Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the city of Alexandria. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Virginia Beach is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this coastal city makes for a great vacation. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal city has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America, and The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Virginia Beach or Alexandria?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Alexandria is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Virginia Beach is $126. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Alexandria and Virginia Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Alexandria $38
    Virginia Beach $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Alexandria $76
    Virginia Beach $142
Compare Hotels in Alexandria and Virginia Beach

Looking for a hotel in Alexandria or Virginia Beach? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Alexandria


Hotels in Virginia Beach


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Alexandria Hotel Prices and Virginia Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Alexandria -
    Virginia Beach $39

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Virginia Beach

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Virginia Beach:


  • Beach Parking
    $10

Is it cheaper to fly into Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Prices for flights to both Virginia Beach and Alexandria change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Alexandria -
    Virginia Beach $30

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Alexandria -
    Virginia Beach $21

Tours and Activities in Alexandria

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Alexandria.

  • A Walk in Washington's Footsteps History Tour: $32
  • American Revolution Guided Walking Tour: $30
  • Full-Day Bike Tour to Mt Vernon w/ Optional Boat: $68
  • Phantoms of the Potomac Walking Tour: $26
  • Private Tour of George Washington's Mount Vernon: $165
  • Old Town Alexandria Tour: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Old Town Southern Comfort Food & History Tour: $127
  • Philadelphia Tour from Alexandria by Rail: $329

Tours and Activities in Virginia Beach

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Virginia Beach.

  • Dolphin Kayak Tour in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $85
  • Kayak Dolphin Experience in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $85
  • Neptune Ghosts: Ghosts of the Coast By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • Small Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour: $68
  • Sunset Dolphin Kayak Tours: $68
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Virginia Beach by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Dolphin Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour: $60
  • Kayak Dolphin Tours | Must Know How to Swim: $78
  • Morning Stand-Up Paddleboarding Tour: $45
  • Neptune Ghosts Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Sunset Stand-Up Paddleboarding Tour: $45
  • Virginia Historic Adventure!: $200

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Alexandria -
    Virginia Beach $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Alexandria

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Alexandria:

  • Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Alexandria and Virginia Beach, we can see that Virginia Beach is more expensive. And not only is Alexandria much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Alexandria would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Alexandria and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Virginia Beach would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Virginia Beach than you might in Alexandria.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Alexandria Expensive? and Is Virginia Beach Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Alexandria. When comparing the sizes of Alexandria and Virginia Beach, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Alexandria or Virginia Beach?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Alexandria or Virginia Beach in the Summer?

Both Virginia Beach and Alexandria are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Alexandria in the summer for the small town charm and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Virginia Beach for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, Alexandria is generally around the same temperature as Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Alexandria average around 79°F (26°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

It's quite sunny in Virginia Beach. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Alexandria. Alexandria usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach during summer. Alexandria gets 278 hours of sunny skies, while Virginia Beach receives 279 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Virginia Beach. In July, Alexandria usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Alexandria gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Alexandria 79°F (26°C) 
    Virginia Beach 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Virginia Beach in the Autumn?

Both Virginia Beach and Alexandria during the autumn are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Alexandria for the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Virginia Beach because of the natural beauty of the area.

Alexandria is around the same temperature as Virginia Beach in the autumn. The daily temperature in Alexandria averages around 60°F (15°C) in October, and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

In Virginia Beach, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the autumn, Alexandria often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach. Alexandria gets 197 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 211 hours of full sun.

Alexandria usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Virginia Beach. Alexandria gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Alexandria 60°F (15°C) 
    Virginia Beach 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Virginia Beach in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Alexandria and Virginia Beach. The winter months attract visitors to Alexandria because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the cuisine are the main draw to Virginia Beach this time of year.

It's quite cold in Virginia Beach in the winter. The weather in Alexandria can be very cold. In the winter, Alexandria is much colder than Virginia Beach. Typically, the winter temperatures in Alexandria in January average around 35°F (1°C), and Virginia Beach averages at about 39°F (4°C).

Alexandria usually receives less sunshine than Virginia Beach during winter. Alexandria gets 139 hours of sunny skies, while Virginia Beach receives 168 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Alexandria usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Alexandria gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Alexandria 35°F (1°C) 
    Virginia Beach 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Virginia Beach in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Alexandria as well as Virginia Beach. The small town charm and the natural beauty are the main draw to Alexandria this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Virginia Beach for the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Alexandria is generally around the same temperature as Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Alexandria average around 56°F (14°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Virginia Beach. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Alexandria this time of the year. In the spring, Alexandria often gets less sunshine than Virginia Beach. Alexandria gets 228 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 253 hours of full sun.

Alexandria usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Virginia Beach. Alexandria gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Alexandria 56°F (14°C) 
    Virginia Beach 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Virginia Beach and Alexandria

Alexandria Virginia Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)