A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Big Sur vs. Portland for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Big Sur or Portland?

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 Portland can help you decide which place is right for you.

Big Sur

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.

Portland

Referred to as "The City of Roses", Portland is the largest city in Oregon. It sits on the banks of the Columbia River and offers breathtaking views of Mount Hood when the weather allows. Portland is famous for its alternative vibe, live music scene, and popular microbreweries. It's also a mecca for environmentally conscious urban planning. The downtown area is quite compact and walkable. While the city itself may be smaller than you expect, it is still the largest metropolitan area between San Francisco and Seattle.

Which city is cheaper, Portland 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 Portland is $136. 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 Portland in more detail.



Accommodation

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.

Travelers usually pay around $152 for a double occupancy room in Portland If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Big Sur $132
    Portland $76
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Big Sur $264
    Portland $152

Food

While meal prices in Portland can vary, the average travelers spends about $34 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Portland should cost around $14 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Portland is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Big Sur -
    Portland $34

Typical Food prices in Portland

For Portland, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Afternoon Drinks (for 2)
    $9.50

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Portland

For Portland, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Arts District Food Tour: $84
  • Portland's Art District Food Tour: $84
  • Walking Food Tour in Downtown Portland with Brunch: $86
  • Downtown Deluxe Food Tour: $89
  • Tastes of Downtown Portland Walking Food Tour: $89
  • 2.5-Hour Dinner Cruise Through Downtown Portland: $108

Local Transportation

To get around in Portland, the average visitor spends $20 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Big Sur -
    Portland $20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portland

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

  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Beaverton hotel - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $281
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Lake Oswego - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $281
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Tigard hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $281
  • PDX - Portland Airport Transfer - Chauffeured Round Trip in a Luxury Sedan/SUV: $267
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Portland downtown - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $204
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Tigard hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $141
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Beaverton hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $141
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Lake Oswego - Arrival Private Transfer: $141
  • PDX - Portland One Way Airport Transfer in a Chauffeured Sedan/SUV: $133
  • Transfer from Portland International Airport to Portland: $109
  • Portland downtown to Portland Airport (PDX) - Departure Private Transfer: $102
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Portland downtown - Arrival Private Transfer: $102

Is it cheaper to fly into Big Sur or Portland?

Prices for flights to both Portland 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.





Entertainment

In Portland, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $19 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Big Sur -
    Portland $19

Tours and Activities in Portland

For Portland, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 1-Hour Private Air Tour of Mount Hood and Columbia Gorge: $430
  • 2-Hour Champagne Brunch Cruise Through Downtown Portland: $78
  • 2-Hour Lunch Cruise Through Downtown Portland: $69
  • 20-Minute Columbia River Gorge Air Tour: $65
  • 20-minute Private Gorge Air Tour for 3: $130
  • 30-minute Multnomah Falls & Columbia Gorge Air Tour: $128
  • 40-minute Aerial Tour of Portland: $184
  • 40-minute Private Downtown Portland Air Tour for 3: $286
  • 5 Lighthouse Bike Tour with XL Lobster Roll: $132
  • A Walk Through Time Tour in Portland: $40
  • Afternoon Half-Day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland: $65
  • All Day Northern Oregon Wineries and Forest Bike Tour: $245

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Portland spend on average $14 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Big Sur -
    Portland $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Portland

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Portland:

  • Power Through Portland Bar Crawl: $12
  • Oregon Priority Wine Tasting Pass: $40
  • Weird Bar Crawl with Fanatical Local: $49
  • Portland's Eastside Craft Brewery Walking Tour: $55
  • Portland Brewery Bike Tour: $71
  • Oregon Famous Wine Country Wine Tasting Adventure: $75
  • Brews & Bites - Food Carts & Brewery Tour: $94
  • Views and Brews, Portland Brewery Bike Tour: $118
  • 5-Hour Willamette Valley Wine Tour with Tastings: $120
  • Oregon Coast Brewery Tour: $130
  • Willamette Valley Wine Tasting from Portland: $139
  • Full-Day City & Oregon Wine Tasting Tour: $140


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Big Sur and Portland, we can see that Portland 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 Portland would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Portland than you might in Big Sur.

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Big Sur vs. Portland Travel Comparison

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