A Travel Price Comparison for North Carolina Chapel Hill vs. Nags Head for Families, Food, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

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

Should I visit Chapel Hill or Nags Head? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is a collegiate, southern, and student-oriented town. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Nags Head

Other popular activities here include food.

Chapel Hill and Nags Head: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Chapel Hill than Nags Head, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Chapel Hill is more touristy than Nags Head and is popular for being the home of the oldest public university in the United States. Also, Chapel Hill is famous for the University of North Carolina. Nags Head is well known for

How is Chapel Hill different from Nags Head?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

Chapel Hill is great for its historical sights. However, Nags Head does not have museums and landmarks.

Chapel Hill offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Many of the museums are affiliated with UNC. A highlight of many trips is a visit to the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Hours can vary, so check the schedule ahead of time. Also worth visiting are the Ackland Art Museum and the Carolina Basketball Museum.

Nags Head does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Chapel Hill or Nags Head? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

Both Chapel Hill and Nags Head offer notable local cuisine and restaurants.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Chapel Hill area. Students often eat on Franklin Street, which has a diverse mix of casual and slightly nicer restaurants. You'll find Indian food, Mediterranean, Italian, and Greek. The city also has excellent barbecue and other southern favorites.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Nags Head. There are a wide variety of seafood restaurants that serve locally caught fish, shrimp, and crabs. Cajon flavors are popular and you'll also find cheese grits at many places.

Is Chapel Hill or Nags Head Better for Nightlife?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

Chapel Hill is great for nightlife. However, Nags Head is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Many people head to Chapel Hill for the nightlife scene. Most of the nightlife is centered around the student population. Franklin Street has a number of bars where students hang out. There are also parties hosted by fraternities and sororities. Things are quieter during the summer months when students are mostly gone.

Nags Head is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Is the Shopping Better in Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

Chapel Hill is a popular place for shopping. However, Nags Head is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Chapel Hill. There are a mix of local shops, larger shopping centers, and suburban malls. There are also weekly farmer's markets that are fun to check out.

Nags Head is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Chapel Hill or Nags Head Better for Families?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

Nags Head is well known for its family-friendly activities. Also, Chapel Hill is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Nags Head is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. It makes a wonderful base for the many family-friendly activities in the area. Jockey's Ridge is a fun place to visit with kids. There are also wonderful beaches and many kids enjoying flying kites.

Chapel Hill offers lots of family activities. You can wander around the UNC campus or visit one of the museums affiliated with the school. This includes a planetarium that has regular shows and movies (The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center). There are also science exhibits geared specifically towards kids.

Is Chapel Hill or Nags Head Better for Couples?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

With fun activities for couples, both Chapel Hill and Nags Head make for a notable place to visit.

Chapel Hill is a good town for couples to visit. There's an eclectic mix of restaurants on Franklin Street. Couples will also enjoy exploring the campus at UNC, visiting the botanical garden, or checking out one of the town's museums.

Nags Head is a nice destination for couples. There are great seafood restaurants and a number of activities in the area that are fun for couples.

Is Chapel Hill or Nags Head Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

Nags Head is a popular place for backpackers. However, Chapel Hill is not particularly known for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Nags Head. This is one of the more affordable places to stay in the Outer Banks, so it appeals to more budget-oriented travelers.

Chapel Hill is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There is a young population thanks to the university, but there's little else to attract backpackers.


Is Chapel Hill or Nags Head Better for Students?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

Chapel Hill is an amazing town to visit for its student-friendly activities. However, Nags Head is not popular with students.

Many students frequent Chapel Hill. It's a quintessential college town. UNC has a nice campus and Franklin Street is the main spot for restaurants and shopping. Most of the students live near or on campus, but once you head further out things get more suburban.

Nags Head is not popular with students.

Is Chapel Hill or Nags Head Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

Chapel Hill is a popular place for times when you don't have a car. However, Nags Head does not have public transit.

While Chapel Hill offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are bus routes that operate between Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Nags Head does not have public transit.

Is Chapel Hill or Nags Head a more walkable city?

Chapel Hill
Nags Head

Chapel Hill is a popular place for its walkability. However, Nags Head is not a walkable destination.

Chapel Hill is somewhat walkable. The area around UNC is the most walkable part of town. Elsewhere things are very suburban and you'll need a car.

Nags Head is not a walkable destination.


Should I spend more time in Nags Head or Chapel Hill?

How long in Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

Both Chapel Hill and Nags Head have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Nags Head than in Chapel Hill. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Chapel Hill, and 4-7 days is enough time in Nags Head.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Chapel Hill than Nags Head 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 Chapel Hill.


  • How many days in Chapel Hill or Nags Head? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chapel Hill 1-3 
    Nags Head 4-7

One day in Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

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

Visitors enjoy the food when visiting the of Nags Head. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the collegiate destination of Chapel Hill. 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.

Visitors enjoy the food when visiting the destination of Nags Head. This offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Five days in Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the southern town of Chapel Hill. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Visitors enjoy the food when visiting the of Nags Head. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.


A week in Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

Chapel Hill 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.

Visitors enjoy the food when visiting the destination of Nags Head. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for one week. In one week, you should have a good grasp of this .


Which place is cheaper, Nags Head or Chapel Hill?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Chapel Hill is $164, while the average daily cost in Nags Head is $149. 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 Chapel Hill and Nags Head in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chapel Hill $95
    Nags Head $80
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chapel Hill $190
    Nags Head $160
Compare Hotels in Chapel Hill and Nags Head

Looking for a hotel in Chapel Hill or Nags Head? 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 Chapel Hill


Hotels in Nags Head


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: Chapel Hill Hotel Prices and Nags Head Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chapel Hill $34
    Nags Head $40

Is it cheaper to fly into Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

Prices for flights to both Nags Head and Chapel Hill 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
    Chapel Hill $49
    Nags Head $41

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chapel Hill $17
    Nags Head $14

Tours and Activities in Chapel Hill

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

  • 8 Hours Private Crystal Coast Sightseeing in North Carolina: $275
  • Carolina History & Haunts Greensboro Historical Ghost Tour: $19
  • Chapel Hill Downtown History Tour: $13
  • Coastal Excursion/Sunset Cruise/Sand Dollars/Sea Shells/Horses: $225
  • Morning Aerial Adventure Adult Course from Riegelwood: $55
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Greensboro by Zombie Scavengers: $20

Tours and Activities in Nags Head

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

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Outer Banks Audio Driving Tour: $13
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Wright Brothers Carolina Dunes Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $15
  • Wright Brothers Carolina Dunes: Self-Guided Driving Tour: $15
  • Outer Banks Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $25
  • OBX Ghost Tours: $25
  • Manteo Historic Walking Tour: $28
  • Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest Kayak Tour: $49
  • 2-hour Outer Banks Wild Horse Tour by 4WD Truck: $57
  • Cape Hatteras Kayak Adventure in Rodanthe: $59
  • Alligator River Kayak Adventure: $59

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chapel Hill $40
    Nags Head $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Chapel Hill

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Chapel Hill:

  • Wacky Fayetteville Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam: $12


When comparing the travel costs between Chapel Hill and Nags Head, we can see that Chapel Hill 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 Chapel Hill Expensive? and Is Nags Head Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

Chapel Hill has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Nags Head. When comparing the sizes of Chapel Hill and Nags Head, 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 Chapel Hill or Nags Head?

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 Chapel Hill or Nags Head in the Summer?

Both Nags Head and Chapel Hill during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Chapel Hill because of the family-friendly experiences. Also, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Nags Head this time of year.

In the summer, Chapel Hill is around the same temperature as Nags Head. Typically, the summer temperatures in Chapel Hill in July average around 79°F (26°C), and Nags Head averages at about 78°F (26°C).

In Nags Head, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Chapel Hill. In the summer, Chapel Hill often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Nags Head. Chapel Hill gets 259 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nags Head receives 274 hours of full sun.

Nags Head gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Nags Head. Chapel Hill gets 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain, while Nags Head receives 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Chapel Hill 79°F (26°C) 
    Nags Head 78°F (26°C)

Should I visit Chapel Hill or Nags Head in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Chapel Hill and Nags Head. The shopping scene are the main draw to Chapel Hill this time of year.

In October, Chapel Hill is generally around the same temperature as Nags Head. Daily temperatures in Chapel Hill average around 61°F (16°C), and Nags Head fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Nags Head this time of the year. In Chapel Hill, it's very sunny this time of the year. Chapel Hill usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Nags Head during autumn. Chapel Hill gets 211 hours of sunny skies, while Nags Head receives 205 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Chapel Hill usually receives less rain than Nags Head. Chapel Hill gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Nags Head receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Chapel Hill 61°F (16°C) 
    Nags Head 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Chapel Hill or Nags Head in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Chapel Hill as well as Nags Head. Many travelers come to Chapel Hill for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Nags Head in the winter for the cuisine.

Nags Head can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill is around the same temperature as Nags Head in the winter. The daily temperature in Chapel Hill averages around 40°F (5°C) in January, and Nags Head fluctuates around 41°F (5°C).

In the winter, Chapel Hill often gets more sunshine than Nags Head. Chapel Hill gets 162 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nags Head receives 147 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Nags Head. Chapel Hill usually gets less rain in January than Nags Head. Chapel Hill gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Nags Head receives 4.1 inches (105 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Chapel Hill 40°F (5°C) 
    Nags Head 41°F (5°C)

Should I visit Chapel Hill or Nags Head in the Spring?

Both Nags Head and Chapel Hill are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities.

In the spring, Chapel Hill is around the same temperature as Nags Head. Typically, the spring temperatures in Chapel Hill in April average around 60°F (16°C), and Nags Head averages at about 59°F (15°C).

It's quite sunny in Nags Head. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Nags Head during spring. Chapel Hill gets 251 hours of sunny skies, while Nags Head receives 262 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Chapel Hill usually receives around the same amount of rain as Nags Head. Chapel Hill gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Nags Head receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Chapel Hill 60°F (16°C) 
    Nags Head 59°F (15°C)

Typical Weather for Nags Head and Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Nags Head
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 40°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 41°F (5°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm)
Feb 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 42°F (6°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Mar 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Apr 60°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 59°F (15°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
May 68°F (20°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 67°F (19°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm)
Jun 76°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 74°F (23°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm) 78°F (26°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 4.9 inches (125 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5 inches (127 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm)
Oct 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Nov 53°F (11°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 53°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Dec 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.4 inches (85 mm)