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

Should you visit Arlington or Virginia Beach?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Arlington or Virginia Beach, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Arlington

Arlington is a historical, educational, and international city. 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.

Arlington and Virginia Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Home to Arlington National Cemetery
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Arlington or Virginia Beach?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Arlington than Virginia Beach. While Virginia Beach is larger than Arlington, Arlington has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Arlington is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, and shopping, while Virginia Beach is known for its resorts, beaches, and impressive beauty. Arlington is more touristy than Virginia Beach and is known for its international connections, its biking and walking trails, and being the location of the Pentagon. It is also home to Arlington National Cemetery. Virginia Beach is popular for its fun boardwalk, many seafood restaurants, and classic beach town vibe.

How is Arlington different from Virginia Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Arlington 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 Arlington can be an interesting and educational experience. Arlington National Cemetery is where you'll find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the tomb of John F. Kennedy Jr. There are many memorials around town, with the most famous being the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial. There are also several museums like the DEA Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Virginia Beach does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Arlington is great for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Arlington has a huge number of terrific restaurants. It's a global city, and the restaurants reflect that. You'll find amazing Thai, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants. There are also less common cuisines to choose from such as Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Peruvian.

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 Arlington or Virginia Beach Better for Nightlife?

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Arlington is great for nightlife and partying. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its evening party scene.

Many people head to Arlington for the nightlife scene. The city has a huge young population that drives the nightlife scene. There are clubs, bars, and lounges in many neighborhoods. There are also comedy clubs and plenty of live music.

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 Arlington or Virginia Beach Better for Resorts?

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a nice place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Arlington 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.

Arlington is not a resort destination.


Is Arlington or Virginia Beach Better for Beaches?

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a nice place to visit for the beach. However, Arlington is not a beach destination.

Virginia Beach has a beach worth visiting. 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.

Arlington is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Arlington or Virginia Beach?

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Arlington is a nice place to visit for its shopping opportunities. However, Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Arlington. Many neighborhoods have local shops or farmer's markets. There are also shopping centers and malls such as Ballston Quarter, The Crossing Clarendon, and The Village at Shirlington.

Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Arlington or Virginia Beach Better for Families?

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is an excellent place to visit for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good 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.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Arlington. Kids will enjoy seeing the planes talk off from Gravelly Point park. There are also plenty of outdoor spaces and educational opportunities in the area, including world class museums.


Is Arlington or Virginia Beach Better for Couples?

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Arlington and Virginia Beach are both good to visit as a couple.

Arlington is a good city for couples to visit. There's a vibrant cultural scene and many international restaurants that couples can enjoy. It's also a great place to take in a show or concert.

Virginia Beach is a nice destination for couples. 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 Arlington or Virginia Beach Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Arlington is great for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Virginia Beach is not a backpacker-friendly destination.

Many backpackers visit Arlington. There are a couple of hostels and many free activities nearby. There's also great public transportation that makes for a convenient backpacker destination.

Virginia Beach is not a backpacker-friendly destination.

Is Arlington or Virginia Beach Better for Students?

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Arlington is great for its student-friendly activities. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for students.

Arlington is a great city to visit as a student. There are a huge number of colleges and museums in the area as well as many great internship and educational opportunities.

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


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

Arlington
Virginia Beach

Arlington 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 Arlington can take you anywhere. There is a reliable bus system around town as well as many metro connections.

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 Arlington or Virginia Beach a more walkable city?

Arlington
Virginia Beach

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

Arlington is a very walkable city. There are many pedestrian-friendly areas around town, particularly in the neighborhoods that are concentrated around metro stations.

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 Arlington Worth Visiting? and Is Virginia Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Virginia Beach or Arlington?

How long in Arlington or Virginia Beach?

Both Arlington 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 Arlington. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Arlington, and 5-7 days is enough time in Virginia Beach.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Arlington 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 Arlington.


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

One day in Arlington or Virginia Beach?

In Arlington, you'll find museums and nightlife. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

You'll find nightlife around the coastal city of Virginia Beach. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Arlington or Virginia Beach?

Arlington is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

You'll find nightlife around the fun-filled destination of Virginia Beach. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Arlington or Virginia Beach?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Arlington. It offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

You'll find nightlife around the relaxing coastal city of Virginia Beach. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this coastal city makes for a great vacation. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal city has to offer.

A week in Arlington or Virginia Beach?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the city of Arlington. 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 choice for travelers. One week here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Virginia Beach, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America, and The Best Train & Rail Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Virginia Beach or Arlington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Arlington is $264, 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 Arlington and Virginia Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Arlington $131
    Virginia Beach $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Arlington $262
    Virginia Beach $142
Compare Hotels in Arlington and Virginia Beach

Looking for a hotel in Arlington 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 Arlington


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: Arlington Hotel Prices and Virginia Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Arlington $49
    Virginia Beach $39

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arlington

Also for Arlington, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Ronald Reagan DCA Airport Transfers: $160

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 Arlington or Virginia Beach?

Prices for flights to both Virginia Beach and Arlington 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
    Arlington $81
    Virginia Beach $30

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Arlington $11
    Virginia Beach $21

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: $87
  • Kayak Dolphin Experience in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $87
  • 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
    Arlington $17
    Virginia Beach $11


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Arlington and Virginia Beach, we can see that Arlington is more expensive. And not only is Virginia Beach much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Virginia Beach would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Virginia Beach 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 Arlington would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Arlington than you might in Virginia Beach.

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


Which is Bigger, Arlington or Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Arlington. When comparing the sizes of Arlington 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 Arlington 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 Arlington or Virginia Beach in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Arlington and Virginia Beach. The summer months attract visitors to Arlington because of the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the beaches and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Virginia Beach this time of year.

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

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Virginia Beach this time of the year. In Arlington, it's very sunny this time of the year. Arlington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach during summer. Arlington gets 278 hours of sunny skies, while Virginia Beach receives 279 hours of full sun in the summer.

Virginia Beach receives a lot of rain in the summer. In July, Arlington usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Arlington 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
    Arlington 79°F (26°C) 
    Virginia Beach 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Arlington or Virginia Beach in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Arlington as well as Virginia Beach. The shopping scene are the main draw to Arlington this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Virginia Beach for the natural beauty of the area.

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

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Virginia Beach. In the autumn, Arlington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach. Arlington gets 197 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 211 hours of full sun.

Arlington usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Virginia Beach. Arlington 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
    Arlington 60°F (15°C) 
    Virginia Beach 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Arlington or Virginia Beach in the Winter?

Both Virginia Beach and Arlington are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Arlington for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Virginia Beach in the winter for the cuisine.

Virginia Beach can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Arlington. In the winter, Arlington is much colder than Virginia Beach. Typically, the winter temperatures in Arlington in January average around 35°F (1°C), and Virginia Beach averages at about 39°F (4°C).

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

In January, Arlington usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Arlington 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
    Arlington 35°F (1°C) 
    Virginia Beach 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Arlington or Virginia Beach in the Spring?

Both Virginia Beach and Arlington during the spring are popular places to visit. Also, most visitors come to Virginia Beach for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months.

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

In Virginia Beach, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Arlington. In the spring, Arlington often gets less sunshine than Virginia Beach. Arlington gets 228 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 253 hours of full sun.

Arlington usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Virginia Beach. Arlington 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
    Arlington 56°F (14°C) 
    Virginia Beach 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Virginia Beach and Arlington

Arlington 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)