A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Cape Canaveral vs. Panama City for Families, Nightlife, Beaches, and Couples

Should you visit Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Cape Canaveral or Panama City, 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 unique, iconic, and fascinating town. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and food.

Panama City

Panama City is a cosmopolitan, fun-filled, and active beach town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the shopping, nightlife, and live music.

Cape Canaveral and Panama City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Home to the Kennedy Space Center
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students


Is there more to do in Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Panama City. Although Cape Canaveral and Panama City are both popular with visitors, Panama City has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Panama City is more popular for its nightlife, music, beaches, and impressive beauty, while Cape Canaveral is known for its museums. Panama City is more touristy than Cape Canaveral and is popular for its watersports, sandy beaches, and year-round beach weather. It is also home to Pier Park. Cape Canaveral is popular for being the location of the Kennedy Space Center and at the heart of space exploration in the United States.

How is Cape Canaveral different from Panama City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Panama City 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 Panama City?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Cape Canaveral is an amazing town to visit for its museums and landmarks. However, Panama City does not have museums and landmarks.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Cape Canaveral are among the most recognizable in the world. 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.

Panama City does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Dining out at restaurants in both Cape Canaveral and Panama City 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.

Panama City offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There are many waterfront restaurants that serve freshly caught seafood. Head to town for a charming atmosphere or grab a bite at a casual eatery. Fried seafood is popular when eating out but you'll also find plenty of options for land-lovers. Most restaurants also have kid-friendly menus.

Is Cape Canaveral or Panama City Better for Nightlife?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Panama City is a great beach town for its evening party scene. However, Cape Canaveral is not known for nightlife.

The nightlife in Panama City has something for everybody. The nightlife is particular crazy during spring break, when the town fills with students. Head to the famous Club La Vela or Spinnaker for music and fun at night.

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 Panama City Better for Music?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Panama City is a nice place to visit for its music scene. However, Cape Canaveral is not a live music destination.

The music scene helps keep Panama City active and fun. A popular way to enjoy music in the area is to find a restaurant with a lounge where local musicians perform.

Cape Canaveral is not a live music destination.


Is Cape Canaveral or Panama City Better for Resorts?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

With a similar set of options, good resorts can be found in both Cape Canaveral and Panama City.

Cape Canaveral has a few great resort options. 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.

Panama City has a handful of resorts to choose from. Most people stay in condos that are VRBO's or Airbnbs, but there are resorts in the area as well.

Is Cape Canaveral or Panama City Better for Beaches?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Panama City is a great beach town for the beach. Also, Cape Canaveral is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its beaches.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Panama City. With miles of long white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, this area's beaches offer a beautiful escape. Head to the area's state parks for the most natural experience. These include St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park. A day trip to Shell Island is also popular.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Cape Canaveral. 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.

Is the Shopping Better in Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

If you're looking to go shopping, Cape Canaveral and Panama City both offer plenty of good 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.

Panama City is a great destination for shopping. There are a number of malls and shopping centers in the area.


Is Cape Canaveral or Panama City Better for Families?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Cape Canaveral and Panama City are both amazing destinations for the whole family.

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.

Panama City is an extremely popular town to visit for families. This area has large sandy beaches, waterparks, amusement parks, and marine parks. Kids will enjoy playing around at WonderWorks, cooling off at Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and learning about marine life at Gulf World Marine Park. There are also many watersports and water activities that are fun for the whole family.

Is Cape Canaveral or Panama City Better for Couples?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Cape Canaveral and Panama City are both superb to visit as a couple.

Cape Canaveral is a great town if you're traveling as a couple. 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.

Panama City is a very popular place to visit for couples. The beautiful beaches and romantic restaurants make for a great romantic getaway. This is the perfect place to take sunset walks along the beach and sample freshly caught local seafood.

Is Cape Canaveral or Panama City Better for Students?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Panama City is a great beach town for its student-friendly activities. However, Cape Canaveral is not popular with students.

Panama City is a great beach town to visit as a student. It's not the spring break destination that it once was, but you'll still find students hanging out around the spring holidays.

Cape Canaveral is not popular with students.


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

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Panama City is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Cape Canaveral is not known for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Panama City. Most people need a car in Panama City but there is a trolley service that connects major tourist areas.

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 Panama City a more walkable city?

Cape Canaveral
Panama City

Neither Cape Canaveral or Panama City are walkable places.

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

Panama City is not a walkable town. There's often construction and the streets aren't designed for pedestrians.

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

Should I spend more time in Panama City or Cape Canaveral?

How long in Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

Both Cape Canaveral and Panama City have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Panama City than in Cape Canaveral. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Cape Canaveral, and 3-7 days is enough time in Panama City.

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


  • How many days in Cape Canaveral or Panama City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cape Canaveral 1-3 
    Panama City 3-7

One day in Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the iconic 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 Panama City, you'll find shopping and nightlife. Most people come for the beaches. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

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.

Panama City is a great place to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Five days in Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

The unique 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 Panama City. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. It offers something for everyone. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

A week in Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

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.

In Panama City, you'll find food and shopping. It's also a great beach destination, too. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. One week is usually enough time to experience most activities.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America, The Best Train & Rail Tours in United States of America, The Best Sightseeing Tours in United States of America, and The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Panama City 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 Panama City is $224. 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 Panama City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cape Canaveral $155
    Panama City $128
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cape Canaveral $310
    Panama City $256
Compare Hotels in Cape Canaveral and Panama City

Looking for a hotel in Cape Canaveral or Panama City? 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 Panama City


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: Panama City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cape Canaveral $35
    Panama City $48

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cape Canaveral

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

  • Port Canaveral to Orlando Airport MCO and Hotels Private Transfer: $195
  • Private Van Transfer from Port Canaveral,Cocoa Beach to MCO: $70
  • Canaveral Cruise Port to Orlando Airport (MCO) - Departure Private Transfer: $84
  • Canaveral Cruise Port to Orlando Airport (MCO)-Departure Transfer: $84
  • One Way MCO Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral Private Transfer: $85
  • Orlando Airport to/from Port Canaveral Sedan Transfer up to 3 pax: $145
  • Private Transfer from Port Canaveral to Melbourne: $216
  • Private Transfer from Port Canaveral to Orlando (MCO) Airport: $282
  • Private Transfer from Port Canaveral to Orlando Airport: $282
  • Private Transfer from Port Canaveral to SeaWorld: $239
  • Private Transfer: Port Canaveral to Orlando Airport MCO in Luxury SUV: $119
  • Round Trip MCO Orlando Airport/Port Canaveral Private Transfer: $170

Is it cheaper to fly into Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

Prices for flights to both Panama City 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
    Panama City $66

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cape Canaveral $17
    Panama City $19

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
  • 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

Tours and Activities in Panama City

Here are a few actual costs in Panama City for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hour Dolphin Sightseeing Tour with Capt. Zach's Adventures: $73
  • 2 Hour Dolphin and Sightseeing Tour in Panama City Beach, Fl: $72
  • 2 Hour Private Dolphin and Sightseeing Tour in Shell Island: $65
  • 3 Hour Cruise, Snorkel, Swim/float Sandbar - tandem tiki option: $80
  • 90 min Cruise at Lower Grand Lagoon : $54
  • Beach Sunset and Lagoon Skyline Tour: $75
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Tour PCB Free Videos: $129
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Tour with Videos-PCB: $129
  • Catamaran Snorkel and Dolphin Watch Tour in Panama City Beach: $60
  • Cypress Springs Eco Adventure: $110
  • Discover Snorkeling Tour in Panama City: $65
  • Dolphin Sightseeing Tour on The Footloose Catamaran from Panama City Beach: $35

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cape Canaveral $13
    Panama City $56


When comparing the travel costs between Cape Canaveral and Panama City, we can see that Panama City 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 Panama City Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Cape Canaveral or Panama City?

Panama City has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Cape Canaveral. When comparing the sizes of Cape Canaveral and Panama City, 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 Panama City?

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 Panama City in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Cape Canaveral as well as Panama City. The summer months attract visitors to Cape Canaveral because of the beaches and the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Panama City this time of year.

In July, Cape Canaveral is generally around the same temperature as Panama City. Daily temperatures in Cape Canaveral average around 80°F (27°C), and Panama City fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

It's quite rainy in Panama City. Cape Canaveral receives a lot of rain in the summer. Cape Canaveral usually gets more rain in July than Panama City. Cape Canaveral gets 8.3 inches (211 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 7.3 inches (184 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Cape Canaveral 80°F (27°C) 
    Panama City 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Panama City in the Autumn?

Both Panama City and Cape Canaveral are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The shopping scene are the main draw to Cape Canaveral this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Panama City for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Cape Canaveral is around the same temperature as Panama City in the autumn. The daily temperature in Cape Canaveral averages around 74°F (24°C) in October, and Panama City fluctuates around 71°F (22°C).

It's quite rainy in Cape Canaveral. In October, Cape Canaveral usually receives more rain than Panama City. Cape Canaveral gets 4.1 inches (103 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain each month for the autumn. The hurricane season in Cape Canaveral is June to November.


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

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Panama City in the Winter?

Both Panama City and Cape Canaveral during the winter are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Cape Canaveral for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Panama City in the winter for the shopping scene and the cuisine.

In the winter, Cape Canaveral is a little warmer than Panama City. Typically, the winter temperatures in Cape Canaveral in January average around 60°F (15°C), and Panama City averages at about 52°F (11°C).

Cape Canaveral usually gets less rain in January than Panama City. Cape Canaveral gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 3.9 inches (99 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Cape Canaveral 60°F (15°C) 
    Panama City 52°F (11°C)

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Panama City in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Cape Canaveral and Panama City. Many visitors come to Cape Canaveral in the spring for the beaches. Also, most visitors come to Panama City for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months.

In April, Cape Canaveral is generally around the same temperature as Panama City. Daily temperatures in Cape Canaveral average around 70°F (21°C), and Panama City fluctuates around 68°F (20°C).

In April, Cape Canaveral usually receives around the same amount of rain as Panama City. Cape Canaveral gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring. June to November is the hurricane season in Cape Canaveral.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Cape Canaveral 70°F (21°C) 
    Panama City 68°F (20°C)

Typical Weather for Panama City and Cape Canaveral

Cape Canaveral Panama City
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Feb 59°F (15°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Mar 65°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 61°F (16°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm)
Apr 70°F (21°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 68°F (20°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 74°F (24°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 74°F (24°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 7.1 inches (181 mm) 80°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm)
Jul 80°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.3 inches (184 mm)
Aug 80°F (27°C) 6.7 inches (171 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.5 inches (191 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 7.2 inches (183 mm) 79°F (26°C) 7.5 inches (192 mm)
Oct 74°F (24°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Nov 64°F (18°C) 1.6 inches (40 mm) 63°F (17°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm)
Dec 62°F (16°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 56°F (13°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm)