A Travel Price Comparison for North Carolina Boone vs. Wilmington for Nightlife, Families, Couples, and Attractions

Should you visit Boone or Wilmington?

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 Boone and Wilmington can help you decide which place is right for you.

Boone

Boone is a picturesque, charming, and relaxing town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and museums.

Wilmington

Wilmington is a welcoming, charming, and historic city. It's also popular because of the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Boone and Wilmington: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less popular for students


Is there more to do in Boone or Wilmington?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Boone than Wilmington, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Boone is better known for its skiing, nightlife, hiking, shopping, small town charm, and impressive beauty, while Wilmington is more popular for its beaches and historical sights. Boone is more touristy than Wilmington and is known for its proximity to great hiking, skiing, and small town charm. Also, Boone is famous for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Wilmington is well known for its laid back beaches, historical waterfront area, and university setting.

How is Boone different from Wilmington?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Boone or Wilmington Better for Skiing?

Boone
Wilmington

Boone is great for skiing. However, Wilmington is not a skiing destination.

Boone offers world-class skiing that is fun for everyone. It's a very popular ski destination in North Carolina. There are family-friendly slopes as well as more challenging options. Head to the popular Appalachian Ski Mountain, nearby Beech Mountain, or Sugar Mountain for some of the area's best skiing.

Wilmington is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Boone or Wilmington?

Boone
Wilmington

You'll find a number of notable museums and attractions in both Wilmington and Boone.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Boone. Most people spend the majority of their time exploring the natural beauty, but there are also several small local museums such as the Banner House Museum.

Wilmington is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. There are art, history, and science museums around town. The Battleship North Carolina is a popular destination. Science enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science or the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. For art, head to the Cameron Art Museum or Art in Bloom Gallery.

Is the Food Better in Boone or Wilmington? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Boone
Wilmington

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Boone and Wilmington can be difficult as they are each notable in their own way.

Boone is becoming an appealing option for foodies. You'll find farm to table restaurants, local cafes, and all of the standard chain restaurants nearby. Check for a High Country Grown certification if you want to prioritize locally sourced ingredients.

Wilmington offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. Head to the waterfront for local seafood restaurants that offer outdoor seating and fresh caught fish. There are also farm-to-table restaurants and local diners with casual food.

Is Boone or Wilmington Better for Nightlife?

Boone
Wilmington

Boone is great for nightlife. Also, Wilmington is not as popular, but is still a nice city for nightlife and partying.

Many people head to Boone for the nightlife scene. It's a small town, but there are local breweries and a great nightlife scene that is, in large part, influenced by the large student population.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Wilmington. Live music is popular around town. There are also bars, lounges and dance clubs. When the weather is warm, many places make use of the outdoor setting, which makes for a relaxed and fun evening.


Is Boone or Wilmington Better for Beaches?

Boone
Wilmington

Wilmington is a great city for the beach. However, Boone is not a beach destination.

Wilmington is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. Nearby you'll find Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, and Carolina Beach. They have long stretches of sand and great waves. The water is usually warm enough for swimming between the months of April and October. During these peak months parking can be challenging, but during the quieter times, you shouldn't have trouble.

Boone is not a beach destination.

Is Boone or Wilmington Better for its Old Town?

Boone
Wilmington

Wilmington is very good for its historic old town charm. However, Boone does not have a historic old town.

Wilmington has an old town worth visiting. The Historic District is along the waterfront and has 18th and 19th century architecture. There are also great restaurants and interesting shops.

Boone does not have a historic old town.

Is Boone or Wilmington Better for Hiking?

Boone
Wilmington

Boone is great for hiking. However, Wilmington is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors go to Boone for the hiking trails. The area is filled with wonderful hikes, particularly around Grandfather Mountain and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The famed Appalachian Trail passes through the area as well. Many hikes take you through beautiful forests, passed dramatic waterfalls, and to breathtaking viewpoints.

Wilmington is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Boone or Wilmington?

Boone
Wilmington

Boone is great for shopping. Also, Wilmington is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Boone. Wander along King Street for some of the town's best shopping. There are independent vendors and antique shops that are fun to pop into. The town is also known for its farmer's markets.

Wilmington offers some nice shopping areas. Head downtown for the most interesting local shops. You'll find boutiques and souvenir shops where you can pick up art, accessories, or antiques.

Is Boone or Wilmington Better for Families?

Boone
Wilmington

You'll find excellent kid-friendly activities in either Boone or Wilmington.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Boone. Near town you'll find kid-friendly hikes, such as Linville Falls. There are also several places where kids can go ziplining or rock climbing. Parks and outdoor activities are abundant and the whole family will enjoy the setting.

Wilmington is a very family-friendly place to visit. Near town you'll find several beaches - Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, and Carolina Beach. They're all family-friendly and perfect for a day's activity. The city also has the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, the Children's Museum of Wilmington, and the Wilmington Railroad Museum. For a rainy day there are also indoor play areas and entertainment centers.

Is Boone or Wilmington Better for Couples?

Boone
Wilmington

Both Boone and Wilmington are excellent destinations to visit as a couple.

Boone is a great town if you're traveling as a couple. The charming town has a romantic setting with local restaurants, beautiful hikes, and plenty of shopping. Couples enjoy staying at bed and breakfasts and enjoying the quaint atmosphere.

Wilmington is a very popular place to visit for couples. The beaches are great for a relaxing day of swimming and sunbathing. In the evening head into town and enjoy one of the local seafood restaurants on the waterfront. You'll also find great shopping and historical sights in the area.


Is Boone or Wilmington Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Boone
Wilmington

Boone is a nice place to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Wilmington is not a good destination for backpackers.

It's common for backpackers to visit Boone. While there aren't many hostels in the area, there are plenty of campgrounds. The nearby Appalachian State University also ensures that there are plenty of fun activities for young visitors.

Wilmington is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. While it's usually overlooked by backpackers, the university and great beaches make this a surprisingly fun destination.

Is Boone or Wilmington Better for Students?

Boone
Wilmington

Boone is a must-visit destination for its student-friendly activities. Also, Wilmington is not as popular, but is still a nice city for students.

Boone is a great destination for students. This mountain town offers a great setting for students who enjoy hiking and skiing. Appalachian State University is a fun college with plenty of activities going on.

Wilmington is a good town to visit for students. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is a popular school that brings many students to town.

Is Boone or Wilmington Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Boone
Wilmington

Boone and Wilmington both offer respectable public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Boone. You really need a car to make the most of your time.

Public transit is generally limited in Wilmington. There are public buses around town, but for practical reasons, you'll want to have your own vehicle.


Is Boone or Wilmington a more walkable city?

Boone
Wilmington

Boone is great for its walkability. Also, Wilmington is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its high level of walkability.

Boone is very walkable. Head to King Street for the best shopping and the most pedestrian-friendly part of town.

Wilmington is a somewhat walkable place. The Historic District is best explored on foot. You can also get around Wrightsville Beach on foot, but traveling between these places requires a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Boone Worth Visiting? and Is Wilmington Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Wilmington or Boone?

How long in Boone or Wilmington?

In either Boone or Wilmington, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Wilmington than Boone because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Boone, and 2-5 days is enough time in Wilmington.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Boone than Wilmington 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 Boone.


  • How many days in Boone or Wilmington? Ideal Length of Stay
    Boone 2-4 
    Wilmington 2-5

One day in Boone or Wilmington?

Boone might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Wilmington, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this welcoming destination offers. It's also a great beach destination, too. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Boone or Wilmington?

Even though Boone is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Wilmington. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


Five days in Boone or Wilmington?

Boone, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Wilmington is a fun place to experience. In Wilmington, many people enjoy the nightlife and food that this destination offers. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A week in Boone or Wilmington?

Boone is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

You'll find food and shopping around the charming destination of Wilmington. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


Which place is cheaper, Wilmington or Boone?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Boone is $173, while the average daily cost in Wilmington is $204. 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 Boone and Wilmington in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Boone $91
    Wilmington $120
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Boone $182
    Wilmington $240
Compare Hotels in Boone and Wilmington

Looking for a hotel in Boone or Wilmington? 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 Boone


Hotels in Wilmington


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: Boone Hotel Prices and Wilmington Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Boone $33
    Wilmington $47

Is it cheaper to fly into Boone or Wilmington?

Prices for flights to both Wilmington and Boone 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
    Boone $53
    Wilmington $56
Typical Food Prices in Boone

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Boone:


  • Restaurant Lunch for 2
    $20

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Boone $53
    Wilmington $17

Tours and Activities in Wilmington

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Wilmington.

  • 2-Hour Tour de Wilmington E-Bike Tour: $50
  • 2-Hour Wilmington E-Bike Day Tour: $48
  • 5-Hour Wilmington River to Sea E-Bike Adventure Tour: $90
  • Black Water Adventure Cruise: $33
  • Craft Beer and History Crawl Shared Experience in Wilmington: $30
  • Eagles Island 50 minute Narrated Boat Cruise: $21
  • Half-Day E-Bike Tour of Wilmington's History, Haunts & Breweries: $85
  • Half-Day E-Bike Tour of the Filming Locations in One Tree Hill: $85
  • History and Architecture Walking Tour : $25
  • Island Hopper Cruise in Wrightsville Beach: $50
  • Private Kayak Tour in Oak Island: $65
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Wilmington by Zombie Scavengers: $20

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Boone $26
    Wilmington $39

Sample the Local Flavors in Wilmington

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Wilmington:

  • 3-Hour Wilmington E-Bike Bar Crawl: $55
  • 3 Hour Wilmington E-Bike Bar Crawl Ride: $55


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

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


Which is Bigger, Boone or Wilmington?

Wilmington has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Boone. When comparing the sizes of Boone and Wilmington, 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.