A Travel Price Comparison for California Big Sur vs. Sequoia National Park for Hiking, Couples, Backpackers, and Families

Should you visit Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

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 Sequoia National Park can help you decide which place is right for you.

Big Sur

Big Sur is a breathtaking, scenic, and remote natural area. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Other reasons to visit include food, beaches, and hiking.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is a magical, breathtaking, and surreal national park. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the hiking.

Big Sur and Sequoia National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the General Sherman tree


Is there more to do in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Sequoia National Park than Big Sur, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Sequoia National Park is better known for its museums, resorts, hiking, and shopping, while Big Sur is more popular for its food and beaches. Sequoia National Park is more touristy than Big Sur and is known for its spectacularly large sequoia trees and its dramatic beauty. Also, Sequoia National Park is famous for the General Sherman tree. Big Sur is well known for its beautiful state parks, dramatic coastal cliffs, and world class views.

How is Big Sur different from Sequoia National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Sequoia National Park and Big Sur. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is adequate for its historical sights. However, Big Sur is not a good destination for its sights and museums.

While most people don't head to Sequoia National Park specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. The visitor centers have informational exhibits and there's also The Giant Forest Museum.

Big Sur offers a few options for museum-goers. Nature is what brings visitors to the area, so most people don't prioritize museums or manmade landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Big Sur is a natural area with good options for its restaurants. However, Sequoia National Park is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Big Sur. Most of the restaurants offer a breathtaking view. Many use locally-sourced ingredients and they range in style from fine dining to casual eateries.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Sequoia National Park. There are restaurants, cafes, and markets in the park where you can pick up food. Some options are only open seasonally so check in advance to make sure you understand the options.

Is Big Sur or Sequoia National Park Better for Nightlife?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Neither Big Sur or Sequoia National Park offer decent nightlife.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Big Sur There's a taphouse and lounge, but the area is mostly undeveloped with no real nightlife.

People don't go to Sequoia National Park for the nightlife. Nightlife is limited to stargazing and campfire chats.

Is Big Sur or Sequoia National Park Better for Resorts?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is adequate for its luxury resorts. However, Big Sur is not a resort destination.

You might not think of Sequoia National Park as a resort destination, but it has a few places. Wuksachi Lodge is the signature hotel option in the park.

Big Sur is not a resort destination.


Is Big Sur or Sequoia National Park Better for Beaches?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Big Sur is a very popular place for its beaches. However, Sequoia National Park is not a beach destination.

The beaches at Big Sur attract visitors from all over. The coastline and beaches are dramatic and beautiful, particularly Pfeiffer Beach, which has a dramatic waterfall. The water is filled with rip tides and strong currents, so swimming isn't advisable in most places.

Sequoia National Park is not a beach destination.

Is Big Sur or Sequoia National Park Better for Hiking?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is an unbeatable place for hiking. Also, Big Sur is not as popular, but is still a nice natural area for the nearby hiking options.

Many people visit Sequoia National Park specifically for its hiking. Hiking options range from day hiking to overnight backpacking. The hikes can be easy and accessible or more challenging, but whatever your style, you're sure to be amazed by this spectacular setting. The trails wander through high reaching trees or along steep canyons. Some of the most popular trails include Big Trees Trail, Crescent Meadow Loop Trail, Congress Trail, Tokopah Falls Trail, Hazelwood Nature Trail, Alta Peak Trail, and the High Sierra Trail to Bearpaw Meadow.

Big Sur is a popular spot for hiking. The dramatic hikes take you along the coastline, to beautiful beaches and through Redwood forests. There are a number of state parks along the route and some of the best hikes include Salmon Creek Trail, Pacific Valley Bluff Trail, and Ragged Point Cliffside Trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is adequate for its shopping areas. However, Big Sur is not a good destination for shopping.

Sequoia National Park has some good spots for those that want to go shopping. There are markets within the park.

Big Sur has some shopping areas for those that seek them out. There are some galleries and gift shops, but most visitors aren't in the area to go shopping.


Is Big Sur or Sequoia National Park Better for Families?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is great for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Big Sur is not as popular, but is still a nice natural area for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Sequoia National Park. Kids will enjoy driving through the tunnel log and gazing up at the impressive trees. It feels like a fairytale world where even adults can run around and embrace their inner child. There are also plenty of kid-friendly hikes.

Big Sur is a family-friendly place to visit. Kids will enjoy the hiking and beaches, particularly the Carmel Lagoon at Carmel River State Beach. There are a number of state parks where kids can run around and stretch their legs.

Is Big Sur or Sequoia National Park Better for Couples?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Big Sur is an amazing natural area to visit for romance. Also, Sequoia National Park is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its romantic activities.

Big Sur is a great natural area for couples, as it has plenty to offer. Stunning viewpoints and breathtaking coastline make this a wonderful destination for couples. There are romantic inns and impressive hikes along the water's edge or through the dramatic Redwoods.

Couples visit Sequoia National Park frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples who enjoy the outdoors, hiking, exploring, and camping will embrace the opportunity to visit the spectacular national park. There are beautiful romantic hikes and sunset views that will take your breath away.

Is Big Sur or Sequoia National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is an unbeatable place for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Big Sur is not as popular, but is still a nice natural area for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Sequoia National Park, as it is a very popular national park for budget travelers. Backpacking through the park will let you experience places that most visitors don't make it to. This is the best way to truly enjoy the nature, serenity, and beauty of the park.

It's common for backpackers to visit Big Sur. There are a couple of hostels in the area, but budget travelers often prefer vacation rentals, which are more common.


Is Big Sur or Sequoia National Park Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Big Sur is not a good destination for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Sequoia National Park. There is a shuttle service, but it's limited to the summer months and other peak travel times.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Big Sur. There is no real public transportation in the area.

Is Big Sur or Sequoia National Park a more walkable city?

Big Sur
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is adequate for its ease of walking around. However, Big Sur is not a good destination for its walkability.

Sequoia National Park is generally not a very walkable national park. While there are countless hiking trails, you'll need a car to efficiently get around the park.

Big Sur is not a walkable natural area. While there are hiking trails, Big Sur is a stretch of road that runs along the coast and requires a car to fully access.

For even more information, also check out Is Big Sur Worth Visiting? and Is Sequoia National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Sequoia National Park or Big Sur?

How long in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

Both Big Sur and Sequoia National Park have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Sequoia National Park than in Big Sur. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Big Sur, and 2-7 days is enough time in Sequoia National Park.

Families should spend more time in Sequoia National Park than Big Sur. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Sequoia National Park, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Sequoia National Park than Big Sur 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 Sequoia National Park.


  • How many days in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Big Sur 1-3 
    Sequoia National Park 2-7

One day in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

In Big Sur, you'll find food. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Big Sur, one day is sufficent for most.

In Sequoia National Park, you'll find . Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. This national park offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.


A weekend in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Big Sur. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this natural area. It offers something for everyone.

In Sequoia National Park, you'll find . The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Sequoia National Park has to offer.

Five days in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

Big Sur is a fun place to experience. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Sequoia National Park is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Sequoia National Park has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

You'll find food around the scenic destination of Big Sur. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Sequoia National Park. In Sequoia National Park, you'll find . One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, and The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Sequoia National Park 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 Sequoia National Park is $130. 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 Big Sur and Sequoia National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Big Sur $165
    Sequoia National Park $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Big Sur $330
    Sequoia National Park $128
Compare Hotels in Big Sur and Sequoia National Park

Looking for a hotel in Big Sur or Sequoia National Park? 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 Sequoia National Park


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 -
    Sequoia National Park $56

Is it cheaper to fly into Big Sur or Sequoia National Park?

Prices for flights to both Sequoia National Park 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 -
    Sequoia National Park $31

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Big Sur -
    Sequoia National Park $31

Tours and Activities in Sequoia National Park

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

  • 5 Star Rated Sequoia National Park Tour: $299
  • Semi Private Sequoia National Park Tour with lunch.: $299
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Sequoia National Park Adventure from Tulare: $299
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon Self Guided Audio Driving Tour: $15

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Big Sur -
    Sequoia National Park $7.84


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Big Sur Expensive? and Is Sequoia National Park Expensive?.


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