A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Cape Canaveral vs. Gainesville for Attractions, Families, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Cape Canaveral or Gainesville, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Cape Canaveral

Cape Canaveral is a fascinating, wonder-filled, and unique town. It's also known for food, beaches, and shopping.

Gainesville

Gainesville is a high energy, active, and vibrant city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Cape Canaveral and Gainesville: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Cape Canaveral than Gainesville, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Cape Canaveral is better known for its museums, resorts, and beaches, while Gainesville is more popular for its nightlife. Cape Canaveral is more touristy than Gainesville and is popular for being the location of the Kennedy Space Center and at the heart of space exploration in the United States. Also, Cape Canaveral is famous for The Kennedy Space Center. Gainesville is well known for being the home of the University of Florida

How is Cape Canaveral different from Gainesville?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Cape Canaveral is very popular for its sights and museums. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Cape Canaveral that are not to be missed. The area has become synonymous with the Kennedy Space Center. Visitors head to the Space Coast to see the museums, learn about the space program, or possibly even see a rocket launch. The attractions are world class and offer a truly unique glimpse into the evolution of space travel.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Gainesville. There's a surprising number of museums around town such as the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, and the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. Also fascinating is the Historic Haile Homestead, the Butterfly Rainforest, and the city's planetarium.


Is the Food Better in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Dining out at restaurants in both Cape Canaveral and Gainesville can be an enjoyable experience.

Cape Canaveral is becoming an appealing option for foodies. It's a small town but there's no shortage of excellent seafood in the area. Many restaurants have outdoor seating and patios that let you take advantage of the Florida sunshine. You'll find crab, mussels, shrimp, and clams on many menus around town.

Gainesville offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. Casual eateries are popular around town, particularly with the student population. There are grills, diners, and bistros that serve local dishes at affordable prices.

Is Cape Canaveral or Gainesville Better for Nightlife?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Gainesville is a great city for its evening party scene. However, Cape Canaveral is not known for nightlife.

The nightlife in Gainesville has something for everybody. The nightlife centers around the student population. The two main party areas are Midtown and Downtown. Midtown is between Northwest 17th Street and Northwest 18th Street and it's convenient for students who live on campus. The area has a great stretch of bars and clubs. The Downtown area has many of the city's top clubs, and it's popular with upperclassmen and students who live off campus.

Most people don't head to Cape Canaveral specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. The area isn't known for its nightlife scene, but there are enough places that you can go out for a good meal and drink.

Is Cape Canaveral or Gainesville Better for Resorts?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Cape Canaveral is a nice place to visit for its resorts. However, Gainesville is not a resort destination.

Cape Canaveral has a handful of resorts to choose from. There are a number of resorts in the area that attract visitors. Some of the most popular are the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Resort and the Radisson Resort.

Gainesville is not a resort destination.


Is Cape Canaveral or Gainesville Better for Beaches?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Cape Canaveral is a nice place to visit for its beaches. However, Gainesville is not a beach destination.

Cape Canaveral has a beach worth visiting. You'll likely want to head to the Cocoa Beach area for the best beaches. Jetty Park Beach and Pier is one of the most popular nearby areas for fishing and camping, but visitors must purchase a pass. Other popular beaches include Playalinda Beach and Cherie Down Park.

Gainesville is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

If you're looking to go shopping, Cape Canaveral and Gainesville both offer plenty of notable spots.

Cape Canaveral has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are some nice local shopping areas around town. For a little retail therapy, head to Banana River Square, White Rose Shopping Center, or Belair Courtyard.

Gainesville is a great destination for shopping. You'll find all of the standard shopping options around town such as malls, shopping centers, and retail outlets. Two popular areas are the Neighborhoods at Butler and Celebration Pointe.

Is Cape Canaveral or Gainesville Better for Families?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Cape Canaveral is very popular for its family-friendly activities. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Cape Canaveral is an amazing family-friendly town to visit. What sets this area apart is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. There are many kid-friendly activities that outer space enthusiasts will love. Planet Play is a highlight, and if your timing is right, you might even see a rocket launch. In addition to the Kennedy Space Center, the area is a quintessential beach town. There are parks and outdoor areas as well as places where kids can interact with animals.

Gainesville is a family-friendly town. You'll find outdoor activities, nature parks, and a couple of museums that will appeal to all ages. Highlights for families include A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center, the Adventure Outpost, and Alfred A. Ring Park.


Is Cape Canaveral or Gainesville Better for Couples?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Cape Canaveral is notable for romance. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its romantic activities.

Cape Canaveral is a very popular place to visit for couples. The beautiful Florida beaches, combined with the unique opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Center, make this a fascinating couple's destination. There are also many nice restaurants and great places to relax and enjoy the Florida sunshine.

Gainesville makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples can enjoy wine tasting and fine dining or enjoying the city's many outdoor activities. Go on a picnic or explore one of the museums in Downtown Gainesville.

Is Cape Canaveral or Gainesville Better for Students?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Gainesville is a great city for its student-friendly activities. However, Cape Canaveral is not popular with students.

Gainesville is a great city to visit as a student. As the location of the University of Florida, you'll find many students around town. This keeps the energy high with plenty of evening activities and affordable entertainment options.

Cape Canaveral is not popular with students.

Is Cape Canaveral or Gainesville Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Gainesville is a nice place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Cape Canaveral is not known for its public transit.

While Gainesville offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There's a decent bus system that's free to students and employees of the university.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Cape Canaveral. There are very limited public transportation options, but there are a few shuttle buses and SCAT (the Space Coast Area Transit). Route 9 travels from Cocoa to Port Canaveral with service available Monday through Saturday.


Is Cape Canaveral or Gainesville a more walkable city?

Cape Canaveral
Gainesville

Gainesville is a nice place to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Cape Canaveral is not known for its walkability.

Gainesville is a somewhat walkable city. Biking is actually a popular way to get around town and some areas are pedestrian-friendly.

Cape Canaveral is not a walkable town. It's not a walkable area, which can be particularly challenging if you're arriving by cruise ship.

For even more information, also check out Is Cape Canaveral Worth Visiting? and Is Gainesville Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Gainesville or Cape Canaveral?

How long in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Cape Canaveral than Gainesville because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Cape Canaveral, and 1-2 days is enough time in Gainesville.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Gainesville than Cape Canaveral 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 Gainesville.


  • How many days in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cape Canaveral 1-3 
    Gainesville 1-2

One day in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the fascinating town of Cape Canaveral. Most people visit for the museums. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In Gainesville, you'll find museums and nightlife. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

A weekend in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the fascinating destination of Cape Canaveral. This town offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Gainesville is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.


Five days in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

The wonder-filled town of Cape Canaveral offers museums and food. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Gainesville. It offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

Many people enjoy the food and shopping when visiting Cape Canaveral. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people visit for the museums. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the city of Gainesville. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.


Which place is cheaper, Gainesville or Cape Canaveral?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Cape Canaveral is $220, while the average daily cost in Gainesville is $221. 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 Cape Canaveral and Gainesville in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cape Canaveral $155
    Gainesville $119
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cape Canaveral $310
    Gainesville $238
Compare Hotels in Cape Canaveral and Gainesville

Looking for a hotel in Cape Canaveral or Gainesville? 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 Cape Canaveral


Hotels in Gainesville


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: Gainesville Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cape Canaveral $35
    Gainesville $40

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cape Canaveral

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

  • Round Trip NASA Space Center/Port Canaveral Private Transfer: $67
  • Private Van Transfer from Port Canaveral,Cocoa Beach to MCO: $70
  • Canaveral Cruise Port to Orlando Airport (MCO) - Departure Private Transfer: $85
  • Canaveral Cruise Port to Orlando Airport (MCO)-Departure Transfer: $85
  • One Way Port Canaveral to MCO Orlando Airport Private Transfer: $85
  • One Way MCO Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral Private Transfer: $85
  • Private Transfer: Port Canaveral to Orlando Airport MCO in Luxury SUV: $120
  • Orlando Airport to/from Port Canaveral Sedan Transfer up to 3 pax: $145
  • Round Trip MCO Orlando Airport/Port Canaveral Private Transfer: $170
  • Port Canaveral to Orlando Airport MCO and Hotels Private Transfer: $195
  • Private Transfer from Port Canaveral to Melbourne: $217
  • Private Transfer from Port Canaveral to Vista Cay: $233

Is it cheaper to fly into Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

Prices for flights to both Gainesville and Cape Canaveral 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
    Cape Canaveral $43
    Gainesville $70

Typical Food Prices in Gainesville

Some typical examples of dining costs in Gainesville are as follows:


  • Diner Breakfast for Two
    $17
  • Lunch at Chop Stix (for 2)
    $24

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cape Canaveral $17
    Gainesville $44

Tours and Activities in Cape Canaveral

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

  • Wizard of OZ Museum tour: $30
  • Wizard of Oz Museum Entry Ticket: $32
  • Self-Guided Kayaking Manatee and Dolphin Tour: $55
  • Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures ticket: $58
  • Two Hour Bioluminescence Kayak Tour Near Orlando: $60
  • Dolphin & Manatee Kayaking Tour in Orlando Area: $65
  • Cape Canaveral Private Surf Lesson with Experienced Instructor: $70
  • Fully Guided Kayaking Backwater Manatee and Dolphin Tour: $75
  • Victory Cruises Casino Luxury Transportation: $75
  • Cocoa Beach Night Time Bioluminescence Kayak Tour: $79
  • SUP Paddleboard Lesson and Tour - Port Canaveral & Cocoa Beach: $95
  • Wizard of OZ Museum Ticket with Guided Tour by the Owner: $125

Typical Entertainment Prices in Gainesville

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Gainesville are as follows:


  • Manatee Tour for Two
    $98
  • Tour Guide Tip
    $5.00

Tours and Activities in Gainesville

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Gainesville are as follows:

  • Butterfly Rainforest at Florida Museum of Natural History Ticket: $15
  • Private Snorkeling Tour in Florida Springs: $250
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Gainesville by Operation City Quest: $10

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cape Canaveral $13
    Gainesville $49


When comparing the travel costs between Cape Canaveral and Gainesville, we can see that Gainesville is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

Gainesville has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Cape Canaveral. When comparing the sizes of Cape Canaveral and Gainesville, 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.


When is the best time to visit Cape Canaveral or Gainesville?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Gainesville in the Summer?

Both Gainesville and Cape Canaveral during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Cape Canaveral because of the beaches and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Gainesville this time of year.

In the summer, Cape Canaveral is around the same temperature as Gainesville. Typically, the summer temperatures in Cape Canaveral in July average around 80°F (27°C), and Gainesville averages at about 81°F (27°C).

Gainesville gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Cape Canaveral. Cape Canaveral usually gets more rain in July than Gainesville. Cape Canaveral gets 8.3 inches (211 mm) of rain, while Gainesville receives 6.8 inches (174 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Cape Canaveral 80°F (27°C) 
    Gainesville 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Gainesville in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Cape Canaveral and Gainesville. The shopping scene are the main draw to Cape Canaveral this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Gainesville for the shopping scene.

In October, Cape Canaveral is generally around the same temperature as Gainesville. Daily temperatures in Cape Canaveral average around 74°F (24°C), and Gainesville fluctuates around 71°F (22°C).

Cape Canaveral gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Cape Canaveral usually receives more rain than Gainesville. Cape Canaveral gets 4.1 inches (103 mm) of rain, while Gainesville receives 2 inches (51 mm) of rain each month for the autumn. June to November is the hurricane season in Cape Canaveral. June to November is the hurricane season in Gainesville.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Cape Canaveral 74°F (24°C) 
    Gainesville 71°F (22°C)

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Gainesville in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Cape Canaveral as well as Gainesville. Many travelers come to Cape Canaveral for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, many visitors come to Gainesville in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Cape Canaveral is a little warmer than Gainesville in the winter. The daily temperature in Cape Canaveral averages around 60°F (15°C) in January, and Gainesville fluctuates around 54°F (12°C).

Cape Canaveral usually gets less rain in January than Gainesville. Cape Canaveral gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Gainesville receives 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Cape Canaveral 60°F (15°C) 
    Gainesville 54°F (12°C)

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Gainesville in the Spring?

Both Gainesville and Cape Canaveral are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Cape Canaveral in the spring for the beaches.

In the spring, Cape Canaveral is around the same temperature as Gainesville. Typically, the spring temperatures in Cape Canaveral in April average around 70°F (21°C), and Gainesville averages at about 69°F (20°C).

In April, Cape Canaveral usually receives more rain than Gainesville. Cape Canaveral gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Gainesville receives 2 inches (50 mm) of rain each month for the spring. June to November in Cape Canaveral is the hurricane season. June to November in Gainesville is the hurricane season.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Cape Canaveral 70°F (21°C) 
    Gainesville 69°F (20°C)

Typical Weather for Gainesville and Cape Canaveral

Cape Canaveral Gainesville
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm)
Feb 59°F (15°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 57°F (14°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm)
Mar 65°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 63°F (17°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Apr 70°F (21°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 69°F (20°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
May 74°F (24°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 7.1 inches (181 mm) 80°F (26°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm)
Jul 80°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm)
Aug 80°F (27°C) 6.7 inches (171 mm) 81°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 7.2 inches (183 mm) 78°F (26°C) 5.5 inches (139 mm)
Oct 74°F (24°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm) 71°F (22°C) 2 inches (51 mm)
Nov 64°F (18°C) 1.6 inches (40 mm) 63°F (17°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
Dec 62°F (16°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 56°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm)