Should you visit Big Sur or Moab?
Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Big Sur and Moab can help you decide which place is right for you.
Big Sur is the 90-mile stretch of the California Central Coast which runs from the Carmel River in Monterey County south to San Carpoforo Creek in San Luis Obispo County and 20 miles east into the Santa Lucius Foothills.
However you look at it, California's Central Coast is beautiful and undoubtedly a huge tourist trap. If you're not willing to fork over big bucks for overnight stays on coastal hotels, be prepared ahead of time with your camping gear and get ready to go off the beaten track to avoid crowds as best you can and save your wallet.
While the weather in Central Coast is overall, mild and temperate, between 50 and 70 degrees year-round. The highs and lows during the year are in August and January, respectively, with dry summers and wet winters, making April through October the best times to visit but be warned: there will be crowds.
Moab is the closest town to Arches National Park in Utah's Canyon Country. It is also a popular base for exploring Canyonlands National Park. It's a small town that serves mainly to accommodate tourists to the popular national parks and other surrounding wildlife areas. It has grown dramatically in recent years and has a population of just over 5,000. In town you will find hotels and motels, a handful of restaurants and a few shops where you can stock up on supplies. There's a small museum, the Museum of Moab, and a variety of tour operators in town. You can easily book river rafting trips, jeep expeditions, and tours of the surrounding area. For many, exploring Arches National Park on your own is a more enjoyable and independent experience.
Which city is cheaper, Moab or Big Sur?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Big Sur is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Moab is $124. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Big Sur and Moab in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $264 in Big Sur For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $164 in Moab For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
While meal prices in Moab can vary, the average travelers spends about $30 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Moab should cost around $12 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Moab is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Meals for one day
Typical Food prices in Moab
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Moab:
Breakfast for Two
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Moab
For Moab, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Sound and Light Show with Dinner:
Moab Dinner Cruise with Sound and Light Show:
Colorado River Sunset Boat Tour with Optional Dinner:
Sunset Jetboat Ride with Dinner on the Colorado River from Moab:
To get around in Moab, the average visitor spends $14 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
Is it cheaper to fly into Big Sur or Moab?
Prices for flights to both Moab and Big Sur 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.
In Moab, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $2.50 per person, per day.
Typical Entertainment prices in Moab
For Moab, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
Slickrock Trail Pass
Tours and Activities in Moab
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Moab.
4 Hours Guided Mountain Biking Tour:
Arches National Park 4x4 Adventure from Moab:
Arches National Park Air tour:
Arches National Park Backcountry 4x4 Half-Day Tour:
Arches National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour:
Backcountry Jeep Adventure:
Canyonlands & Arches National Park Air Tour:
Canyonlands Backcountry 4x4 Half-Day Tour:
Canyonlands National Park Air Tour:
Canyonlands National Park Half-Day Tour from Moab:
Cataract Canyon Rafting Adventure from Moab:
Colorado River Fisher Towers Full-Day Rafting Adventure:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Moab, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $53.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Big Sur and Moab, we can see that Moab is more expensive. And not only is Big Sur much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Big Sur would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Big Sur 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 Moab would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Moab than you might in Big Sur.
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