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

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.

Where Should I go: Big Sur or Portland?

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 $143. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Big Sur and Portland in more detail.



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

Looking for a hotel in Big Sur or Portland? 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 Big Sur


Hotels in Portland


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.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Big Sur -
    Portland $23

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Big Sur -
    Portland $35

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

Entertainment
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.


When is the best time to visit Big Sur or Portland?

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 Big Sur or Portland in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Big Sur and Portland. Furthermore, many visitors come to Portland in the summer for the hiking, the small town charm, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Big Sur is cooler than Portland. Typically, the summer temperatures in Big Sur in July are around 63°F (17°C), and Portland is about 68°F (20°C).

In July, Big Sur usually receives less rain than Portland. At this time of the year, Big Sur gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 0.7 inches (18 mm) of rain.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Big Sur 63°F (17°C) 
    Portland 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Big Sur or Portland in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Big Sur as well as Portland. Additionally, most visitors come to Portland for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In October, Big Sur is generally a little warmer than Portland. Temperatures in Big Sur average around 62°F (17°C), and Portland stays around 55°F (13°C).

Big Sur usually gets less rain in October than Portland. Big Sur gets 0.6 inches (14 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 2.6 inches (67 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Big Sur 62°F (17°C) 
    Portland 55°F (13°C)

Should I visit Big Sur or Portland in the Winter?

Both Portland and Big Sur are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Portland because of the shopping scene and the cuisine.

The weather in Portland can be very cold. Big Sur is much warmer than Portland in the winter. The temperature in Big Sur is usually 51°F (11°C) in January, and Portland stays around 40°F (4°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Portland. In January, Big Sur usually receives less rain than Portland. At this time of the year, Big Sur gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 5.2 inches (132 mm) of rain.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Big Sur 51°F (11°C) 
    Portland 40°F (4°C)

Should I visit Big Sur or Portland in the Spring?

Both Portland and Big Sur during the spring are popular places to visit. Also, the small town charm and the natural beauty are the main draw to Portland this time of year.

In the spring, Big Sur is a little warmer than Portland. Typically, the spring temperatures in Big Sur in April are around 56°F (13°C), and Portland is about 51°F (11°C).

Big Sur usually gets less rain in April than Portland. Big Sur gets 1.1 inches (29 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 2.4 inches (61 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Big Sur 56°F (13°C) 
    Portland 51°F (11°C)

Typical Weather for Portland and Big Sur

Big Sur Portland
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 51°F (11°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 40°F (4°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm)
Feb 53°F (12°C) 1.8 inches (47 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 2.1 inches (55 mm) 47°F (9°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Apr 56°F (13°C) 1.1 inches (29 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
May 59°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (51 mm)
Jun 62°F (16°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 64°F (18°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm)
Jul 63°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 68°F (20°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
Aug 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 69°F (20°C) 1 inches (25 mm)
Sep 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.7 inches (44 mm)
Oct 62°F (17°C) 0.6 inches (14 mm) 55°F (13°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 46°F (8°C) 5.4 inches (136 mm)
Dec 51°F (10°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 40°F (5°C) 6.1 inches (156 mm)


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Big Sur vs. Portland Travel Comparison

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