A Travel Price Comparison for South Carolina Beaufort vs. Columbia for Food, Couples, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Beaufort or Columbia?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Beaufort or Columbia, 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.

Beaufort

Beaufort is a charming, historic, and character-filled town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. This is an attractive and quaint destination worth visiting as well. And you can't forget about the food, beaches, and shopping.

Columbia

Columbia is a suburban, friendly, and welcoming city. It's also known for nightlife, shopping, and museums.

Beaufort and Columbia: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Beaufort or Columbia?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Beaufort. Although Beaufort and Columbia are popular destinations, Beaufort has more sights and attractions for tourists. Beaufort is very popular for its food, beaches, historical sights, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Columbia attracts visitors for its nightlife. Beaufort is more touristy than Columbia and is known for its Lowcountry cuisine and historic homes. It is also well known for Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Columbia is famous for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Beaufort different from Columbia?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Beaufort or Columbia?

Beaufort
Columbia

Both Beaufort and Columbia have nice landmarks and museums for visitors.

Beaufort is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. The town's museums highlight the region's past. There are four popular museums that you can visit - the Beaufort History Museum, Parris Island Museum, Verdier House Museum, and York W. Bailey Museum.

Columbia offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. As the state capital, there are some decent museums around town like the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Military Museum, the South Carolina State Museum, and the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum.


Is the Food Better in Beaufort or Columbia? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Beaufort
Columbia

Beaufort is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Columbia is not a good city for its restaurants.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Beaufort. Soak up the charming atmosphere by dining at one of the local restaurants. Many serve Lowcountry cuisine which includes She-crab soup, fried green tomatoes, shrimp burgers, and barbecue.

Columbia may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Barbecue and other southern favorites are among the more local dishes, but the city is also filled with fast food joints and other major chain restaurants.

Is Beaufort or Columbia Better for Nightlife?

Beaufort
Columbia

Columbia is a nice place to visit for nightlife. However, Beaufort is a mediocre town for nightlife and partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Columbia. You'll find live music venues as well as low key bars and more trendy cocktail lounges.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Beaufort. You'll find bars, grills, and taverns in town, but most people don't visit for the nightlife scene.

Is Beaufort or Columbia Better for Beaches?

Beaufort
Columbia

Beaufort is a popular place for the beache. However, Columbia is not a beach destination.

Beaufort is a good option for a beach vacation. The town has a nice waterfront, but you have to head about half an hour out of town for a real beach. One of the best options is Hunting Island State Park.

Columbia is not a beach destination.


Is Beaufort or Columbia Better for its Old Town?

Beaufort
Columbia

Beaufort is a well-known place for its old town. However, Columbia does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Beaufort. Historic homes, some that were built before the Civil War, offer a glimpse into the past. Beaufort is the second oldest town in South Carolina and it holds on to much of its charm and character.

Columbia does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Beaufort or Columbia?

Beaufort
Columbia

Both Beaufort and Columbia are nice shopping destinations.

Beaufort is a great destination for shopping. Head downtown for some souvenir shopping or to check out the art galleries or fashion boutiques.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Columbia. You'll find independent and locally owned shops along Devine Street and in the Five Points area. Also interesting are the Vista, which is a warehouse district, and Trenholm Plaza.

Is Beaufort or Columbia Better for Families?

Beaufort
Columbia

Columbia is a nice place to visit for its family-friendly activities. However, Beaufort is a mediocre town for its kid-friendly activities.

Columbia is a family-friendly place to visit. Around town you'll find parks, playgrounds, and kid-friendly restaurants. There's a zoo in the area as well as a nice state park - Sesquicentennial State Park. There's also EdVenture Children's Museum, which is filled with hands-on exhibits.

Beaufort is not always a place people visit with their families. There are parks and outdoor activities in the area, but one of the best options is to head out of town to the beach.


Is Beaufort or Columbia Better for Couples?

Beaufort
Columbia

Beaufort is a well-known place for its romantic activities. However, Columbia is not a good city for couples.

Beaufort is a very popular place to visit for couples. There are many charming and romantic spots around town as well as historic inns where you can stay. Couples will enjoy the waterfront area or exploring one of the nature parks that are nearby. There are also quaint local restaurants that make for a nice date night.

Columbia is not always the best place to visit for a couple. You'll find parks to explore and some nice restaurants that make for a good date night.

Is Beaufort or Columbia Better for Students?

Beaufort
Columbia

Columbia is a nice place to visit for students. However, Beaufort is not popular with students.

Columbia is a good city to visit for students. The University of South Carolina, and other nearby colleges all bring in a decent student population.

Beaufort is not popular with students.

Is Beaufort or Columbia Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Beaufort
Columbia

Columbia is a moderate city for its public transit. However, Beaufort is a mediocre town for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Columbia. The COMET is the bus system through town, but you really must have your own car to enjoy the city.

Public transit is quite limited in Beaufort. There is no reliable public transportation system in the area.


Is Beaufort or Columbia a more walkable city?

Beaufort
Columbia

Beaufort is a well-known place for its high level of walkability. However, Columbia is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

Beaufort is a very walkable town. The quaint downtown is walkable and offers easy access to art galleries, restaurants, and shops.

Columbia is not a very walkable town. It's filled with suburban-style development and is generally very car dependent.

For even more information, also check out Is Beaufort Worth Visiting? and Is Columbia Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Columbia or Beaufort?

How long in Beaufort or Columbia?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Beaufort or Columbia to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Beaufort than Columbia because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Beaufort, and 1-2 days is enough time in Columbia.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Columbia than Beaufort 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 Columbia.


  • How many days in Beaufort or Columbia? Ideal Length of Stay
    Beaufort 1-3 
    Columbia 1-2

One day in Beaufort or Columbia?

Beaufort is a small town where visitors enjoy the food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The city of Columbia offers nightlife and shopping. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Beaufort or Columbia?

Beaufort is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this town makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Beaufort, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Columbia is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Columbia, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.


Five days in Beaufort or Columbia?

Beaufort is a popular choice for travelers. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Columbia is a popular choice for travelers. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Beaufort or Columbia?

Beaufort is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This town offers something for everyone.

Columbia is a great place to explore. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, The Best Photography Tours in United States of America, The Best Camping Tours in United States of America, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Columbia or Beaufort?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Beaufort is $131, while the average daily cost in Columbia is $0.00. 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 Beaufort and Columbia in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Beaufort $100
    Columbia -
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Beaufort $200
    Columbia $0.00
Compare Hotels in Beaufort and Columbia

Looking for a hotel in Beaufort or Columbia? 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 Beaufort


Hotels in Columbia


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: Beaufort Hotel Prices and Columbia Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Beaufort -
    Columbia -

Is it cheaper to fly into Beaufort or Columbia?

Prices for flights to both Columbia and Beaufort 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
    Beaufort $31
    Columbia $5.03

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Beaufort -
    Columbia -

Tours and Activities in Beaufort

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Beaufort are as follows:

  • Historic City Tour by Bus: $29
  • Pat Conroy's Beaufort Tour by Golf Cart: $40
  • Gullah Heritage Tour: $49
  • Beaufort Tipsy Tour: $55

Tours and Activities in Columbia

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Columbia are as follows:

  • Soda City: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Columbia: $12

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Beaufort -
    Columbia $88


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

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


Which is Bigger, Beaufort or Columbia?

Columbia has a larger population, and is about 9 times larger than the population of Beaufort. When comparing the sizes of Beaufort and Columbia, 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 Beaufort or Columbia?

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 Beaufort or Columbia in the Summer?

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

In the summer, Beaufort is around the same temperature as Columbia. Typically, the summer temperatures in Beaufort in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Columbia averages at about 82°F (28°C).

It's quite sunny in Columbia. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Beaufort. Beaufort usually receives less sunshine than Columbia during summer. Beaufort gets 267 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 293 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Columbia. It's quite rainy in Beaufort. In July, Beaufort usually receives more rain than Columbia. Beaufort gets 7.9 inches (200 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Beaufort 82°F (28°C) 
    Columbia 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Beaufort or Columbia in the Autumn?

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

In October, Beaufort is generally a little warmer than Columbia. Daily temperatures in Beaufort average around 68°F (20°C), and Columbia fluctuates around 64°F (18°C).

In Columbia, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Beaufort. In the autumn, Beaufort often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia. Beaufort gets 223 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 230 hours of full sun.

Beaufort usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Columbia. Beaufort gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Beaufort 68°F (20°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Should I visit Beaufort or Columbia in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Beaufort and Columbia. The winter months attract visitors to Beaufort because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Columbia this time of year.

Beaufort is a little warmer than Columbia in the winter. The daily temperature in Beaufort averages around 48°F (9°C) in January, and Columbia fluctuates around 45°F (7°C).

Beaufort usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia during winter. Beaufort gets 176 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 171 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Beaufort usually receives less rain than Columbia. Beaufort gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Beaufort 48°F (9°C) 
    Columbia 45°F (7°C)

Should I visit Beaufort or Columbia in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Beaufort as well as Columbia. The beaches, the small town charm, and the natural beauty are the main draw to Beaufort this time of year.

In the spring, Beaufort is around the same temperature as Columbia. Typically, the spring temperatures in Beaufort in April average around 67°F (19°C), and Columbia averages at about 64°F (18°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Columbia. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Beaufort this time of the year. In the spring, Beaufort often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia. Beaufort gets 275 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 273 hours of full sun.

Beaufort usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Columbia. Beaufort gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Beaufort 67°F (19°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Typical Weather for Columbia and Beaufort

Beaufort Columbia
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 48°F (9°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Feb 52°F (11°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Mar 58°F (15°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm)
Apr 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 73°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.9 inches (200 mm) 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (164 mm) 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm)
Sep 77°F (25°C) 5.6 inches (141 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Oct 68°F (20°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Nov 59°F (15°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm)
Dec 52°F (11°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)