A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Cape Canaveral vs. Pensacola for Attractions, Beaches, Families, and Food

Should you visit Cape Canaveral or Pensacola?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Cape Canaveral or Pensacola, 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. And you can't forget about the food, beaches, and shopping.

Pensacola

Pensacola is a entertaining, fun-filled, and active beach town. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Cape Canaveral and Pensacola: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Home to the Kennedy Space Center
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Cape Canaveral or Pensacola?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Pensacola. Although Cape Canaveral and Pensacola are both popular with visitors, Pensacola has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Pensacola is more popular for its food, nightlife, resorts, beaches, and hiking, while Cape Canaveral is known for its museums. Pensacola is more touristy than Cape Canaveral and is popular for its white sand beaches and long running naval history. It is also home to Gulf Islands National Seashore. 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 Pensacola?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Cape Canaveral is a world-class destination for its sights and museums. Also, Pensacola is not as famous, but is still a good beach town to visit for its museums and history.

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.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Pensacola. On a rainy day there are some nice museums in the area. You can visit the National Naval Aviation Museum, the Historic Pensacola Village, the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, or Pensacola Children's Museum.


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

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Pensacola is a great beach town for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Cape Canaveral is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Pensacola has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. You'll find no shortage of seafood options around town. Oysters, shrimp, and fresh fish are popular on the menus. You'll also find lots of Cajun flavors as well as casual sandwiches and pizza.

Cape Canaveral offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. 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.

Is Cape Canaveral or Pensacola Better for Nightlife?

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Pensacola is a nice place to visit for its evening party scene. However, Cape Canaveral is not known for nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Pensacola has a few options to choose from. There's a casual nightlife scene with pubs, live music, and a mellow but fun setting.

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 Pensacola Better for Resorts?

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Pensacola is a great beach town for its luxury resorts. Also, Cape Canaveral is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its resorts.

Pensacola is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Family-friendly resorts with pools, waterslides, and lazy rivers are common. You'll also find beachfront hotels and more affordable options set back from the beach.

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.


Is Cape Canaveral or Pensacola Better for Beaches?

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Pensacola is an unbeatable place for the beach. Also, Cape Canaveral is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its beaches.

The beaches in Pensacola are among the best in the world. White sand beaches with blue water and mild temperatures make this a wonderful beach destination. Some of the best beaches include Casino Beach, Perdido Key Beach, and Opal Beach.

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 Cape Canaveral or Pensacola Better for Hiking?

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Pensacola is adequate for hiking. However, Cape Canaveral is not a hiking destination.

Hiking is a fun activity while in Pensacola. Step away from the beachfront development and you'll find some nice nature parks with quiet walking trails.

Cape Canaveral is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Cape Canaveral or Pensacola?

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

If you're looking to go shopping, Cape Canaveral and Pensacola 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.

Pensacola is a great destination for shopping. There are sprawling shopping malls and shopping centers as well as local boutiques and quintessential souvenir shops.


Is Cape Canaveral or Pensacola Better for Families?

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Cape Canaveral is a world-class destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Pensacola is not as famous, but is still a good beach town to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Cape Canaveral is one of the most popular family destinations. 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.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Pensacola. Kid-friendly beaches, minigolf, a zoo, and even a few museums make this a great family destination. There are family-friendly resorts and kid-friendly restaurants that make for an easy vacation that everyone will enjoy.

Is Cape Canaveral or Pensacola Better for Couples?

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Cape Canaveral and Pensacola are both excellent 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.

Pensacola is a very popular place to visit for couples. Beautiful beaches and sunset cruises make this a great romantic getaway. You'll find great restaurants for a date night and plenty of activity once the sun goes down. During the day you can lounge on the beach or by the pool, sip drinks, and enjoy a vacation with your loved one.

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

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Neither Cape Canaveral or Pensacola offer decent public transit.

Public transit is quite limited 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.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Pensacola. There's a bus system, but it's not particularly helpful to vacationers.


Is Cape Canaveral or Pensacola a more walkable city?

Cape Canaveral
Pensacola

Pensacola is adequate for its ease of walking around. However, Cape Canaveral is not known for its walkability.

Pensacola is generally not a very walkable beach town. It's not a particularly walkable city and you'll want to have a car to fully enjoy your vacation.

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 Pensacola Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Pensacola or Cape Canaveral?

How long in Cape Canaveral or Pensacola?

Both Cape Canaveral and Pensacola have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Pensacola 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 Pensacola.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Pensacola 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 Pensacola.


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

One day in Cape Canaveral or Pensacola?

You'll find shopping and museums around the town of Cape Canaveral. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Cape Canaveral has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

In Pensacola, you'll find museums 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 Pensacola?

You'll find museums and food around the iconic destination of Cape Canaveral. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Pensacola is a great place to explore. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. 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 Pensacola?

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the iconic town of Cape Canaveral. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Most people head to the area for the museums. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Pensacola. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. It offers something for everyone. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

A week in Cape Canaveral or Pensacola?

Cape Canaveral is a popular choice for travelers. 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

In Pensacola, you'll find shopping and museums. 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 reason most visitors come is for the beaches. 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, Pensacola 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 Pensacola is $198. 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 Pensacola in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cape Canaveral $155
    Pensacola $115
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cape Canaveral $310
    Pensacola $230
Compare Hotels in Cape Canaveral and Pensacola

Looking for a hotel in Cape Canaveral or Pensacola? 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 Pensacola


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: Pensacola Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cape Canaveral $35
    Pensacola $64

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
  • One Way MCO Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral Private Transfer: $85
  • Canaveral Cruise Port to Orlando Airport (MCO) - Departure Private Transfer: $85
  • Canaveral Cruise Port to Orlando Airport (MCO)-Departure Transfer: $85
  • Private Transfer: Port Canaveral to Orlando Airport MCO in Luxury SUV: $115
  • 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: $219
  • Private Transfer from Port Canaveral to SeaWorld: $243
  • Private Transfer from Port Canaveral to Vistana Centre Drive: $243

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Pensacola

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Pensacola:


  • Boca Grande Causeway Toll
    $5.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Pensacola

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Pensacola:

  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS) to Destin, FL - Roundtrip Private Transfer: $144
  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS) to Pensacola - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $111
  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS) to Pensacola - Arrival Private Transfer: $55
  • Pensacola to Pensacola International Airport (PNS) - Departure Private Transfer: $55

Is it cheaper to fly into Cape Canaveral or Pensacola?

Prices for flights to both Pensacola 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
    Pensacola $48

Typical Food Prices in Pensacola

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


  • Two Ice Creams
    $6.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Pensacola

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Pensacola.

  • Seville Stroll Food Tour: $72

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cape Canaveral $17
    Pensacola $13

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

Typical Entertainment Prices in Pensacola

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


  • Bike Rental
    $16

Tours and Activities in Pensacola

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

  • 1hr Segway Tour Downtown : $57
  • 2hr Segway Tour of Downtown : $72
  • 3 Hour Sandbar Adventure on Motorized Floats: $69
  • 3 hours cruise with swimming: $81
  • Dolphin & Sightseeing Cruise + Beach Stop + Seashell Hunting: $64
  • Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise: $59
  • Frisky Mermaid Fireworks Cruise Up to 49 Pax: $64
  • Frisky Mermaid Public Dolphin + Sightseeing Cruise Up to 49 Pax: $37
  • Ghosts and Graveyard Tour of Pensacola: $34
  • Haunted Pensacola Walking Tour: $32
  • Hop-on Hop-off Tour in Pensacola : $35
  • Land Paddle Tour in Pensacola: $50

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cape Canaveral $13
    Pensacola $44

Sample the Local Flavors in Pensacola

Also in Pensacola, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Walking Pub Tour : $21


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


Which is Bigger, Cape Canaveral or Pensacola?

Pensacola has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Cape Canaveral. When comparing the sizes of Cape Canaveral and Pensacola, 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 Pensacola?

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 Pensacola in the Summer?

Both Pensacola and Cape Canaveral during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Cape Canaveral for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Pensacola because of the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences.

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

Pensacola 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 Pensacola. Cape Canaveral gets 8.3 inches (211 mm) of rain, while Pensacola receives 7.4 inches (189 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Pensacola in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Cape Canaveral and Pensacola. The autumn months attract visitors to Cape Canaveral because of the shopping scene. Furthermore, the hiking trails and the shopping scene are the main draw to Pensacola this time of year.

Cape Canaveral is a little warmer than Pensacola in the autumn. The daily temperature in Cape Canaveral averages around 74°F (24°C) in October, and Pensacola fluctuates around 69°F (21°C).

Pensacola receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Cape Canaveral gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Cape Canaveral usually receives around the same amount of rain as Pensacola. Cape Canaveral gets 4.1 inches (103 mm) of rain, while Pensacola receives 4.2 inches (107 mm) of rain each month for the autumn. The hurricane season in Cape Canaveral is June to November. The hurricane season in Pensacola is June to November.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Cape Canaveral 74°F (24°C) 
    Pensacola 69°F (21°C)

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Pensacola in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Cape Canaveral as well as Pensacola. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Cape Canaveral this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Pensacola for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Cape Canaveral is a little warmer than Pensacola. Typically, the winter temperatures in Cape Canaveral in January average around 60°F (15°C), and Pensacola averages at about 51°F (10°C).

It's quite rainy in Pensacola. Cape Canaveral usually gets less rain in January than Pensacola. Cape Canaveral gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Pensacola receives 4.6 inches (117 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Cape Canaveral 60°F (15°C) 
    Pensacola 51°F (10°C)

Should I visit Cape Canaveral or Pensacola in the Spring?

Both Pensacola and Cape Canaveral are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Cape Canaveral for the beaches. Also, many visitors come to Pensacola in the spring for the beaches.

In April, Cape Canaveral is generally around the same temperature as Pensacola. Daily temperatures in Cape Canaveral average around 70°F (21°C), and Pensacola fluctuates around 67°F (20°C).

In April, Cape Canaveral usually receives less rain than Pensacola. Cape Canaveral gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Pensacola receives 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain each month for the spring. June to November is the hurricane season in Cape Canaveral. June to November is the hurricane season in Pensacola.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Cape Canaveral 70°F (21°C) 
    Pensacola 67°F (20°C)

Typical Weather for Pensacola and Cape Canaveral

Cape Canaveral Pensacola
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 51°F (10°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm)
Feb 59°F (15°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 54°F (12°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm)
Mar 65°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 60°F (16°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm)
Apr 70°F (21°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 67°F (20°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
May 74°F (24°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 74°F (24°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 7.1 inches (181 mm) 80°F (27°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm)
Jul 80°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (189 mm)
Aug 80°F (27°C) 6.7 inches (171 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (188 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 7.2 inches (183 mm) 78°F (26°C) 5.3 inches (135 mm)
Oct 74°F (24°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm) 69°F (21°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Nov 64°F (18°C) 1.6 inches (40 mm) 61°F (16°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Dec 62°F (16°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 54°F (12°C) 4.3 inches (109 mm)