A Travel Price Comparison for South Carolina Charleston vs. Hilton Head Island for Food, Families, Couples, and Resorts

Should you visit Charleston or Hilton Head Island?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Charleston or Hilton Head Island, 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.

Charleston

Charleston is a picturesque, charming, and southern coastal town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. As it offers a special and quaint atmosphere, visitors come from all over to experience this destination. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and live music.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is a beautiful, resort-filled, and family-friendly coastal town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include shopping, food, and beaches.

Charleston and Hilton Head Island: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Popular beach
  • Good for shopping
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Cons
  • Not as many resort options
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Great resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less walkable


How is Charleston different from Hilton Head Island?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Charleston or Hilton Head Island better for Food?

Most foodies will appreciate the restaurant options in Charleston a bit more than Hilton Head Island.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Charleston is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. Food lovers will enjoy the city's low country classics. Local favorites include she crab soup, shrimp and grits, cornbread, and fried green tomatoes.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Hilton Head Island. The island has many famous restaurants but reservations during the summer are a must. Popular local dishes include fried seafood and oysters.

Charleston
Hilton Head Island


Is Charleston or Hilton Head Island better for Resorts?

Hilton Head Island is more known as a resort destination than Charleston.

Hilton Head Island is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Most of the accommodation in the area is in the form of weekly condo rentals, which usually include a pool and outdoor space. Tennis and golf are also popular on the island so many resorts have facilities for each.

Charleston has a few resort options worth checking out. The town has mostly hotels and bed and breakfasts in the downtown area, but nearby Kiawah Island has a number of nice resorts to choose from.

Charleston
Hilton Head Island

Is Charleston or Hilton Head Island better for Beaches?

Both Charleston and Hilton Head Island have beaches worth visiting.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Charleston. The area has a number of beautiful and fun nearby beaches including Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, and Seabrook Island.

The beaches at Hilton Head Island attract visitors from all over. The island has nice beaches that are popular with families. They are great for swimming during the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

Charleston
Hilton Head Island

Is Charleston or Hilton Head Island better for Shopping?

Charleston usually beats out Hilton Head Island for shopping.

Charleston is a world class destination for shoppers. The city is famous for its historic market in the center of town. Local goods, foods, and crafts are sold daily here. There are also many clothing and local shops throughout town.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Hilton Head Island. The area has upscale shopping with designer names and local venues. Popular shopping areas include Shelter Cove Town Center and Harbor Town.

Charleston
Hilton Head Island

Is Charleston or Hilton Head Island better for Families?

Families will find a wider variety of activities in Hilton Head Island than Charleston.

Hilton Head Island is an amazing family-friendly coastal town to visit. This area is a popular family-friendly beach destination with a number of summer events for the whole family, peaceful beaches, and family friendly restaurants throughout.

Charleston is a family-friendly coastal town. The area has a number of family friendly activities like carriage rides and boat rides. The nearby beaches also make it a wonderful place to visit with kids.

Charleston
Hilton Head Island


Is Charleston or Hilton Head Island better for Couples?

While Hilton Head Island and Charleston are both popular destinations, overall Charleston is considered to be a more popular choice.

Charleston has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. This beautiful city is one of the most popular wedding destinations in America. It's a very romantic setting with beautiful hotels and bed and breakfasts that are perfect for couples on their honeymoon or looking for a romantic setting.

Hilton Head Island is a nice destination for couples. While the area is most popular with families, it is a fun place to explore as a couple because of the many high end restaurants and the beautiful setting.

Charleston
Hilton Head Island

Is Charleston or Hilton Head Island a more walkable city?

Charleston is more walkable than Hilton Head Island.

Charleston is a very walkable destination. The downtown area is very walkable, but once you leave the historic heart, it's best to have a car.

Hilton Head Island is generally not a very walkable coastal town. You really need a car to get around, but for those who are motivated, there is a great network of bike trails. It's mostly used for recreational purposes though.

Charleston
Hilton Head Island

Should I spend more time in Hilton Head Island or Charleston?

How long in Charleston or Hilton Head Island?

Both Charleston and Hilton Head Island have a number of activities to choose from. You can spend a similar amount of time exploring either.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Charleston is 2-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Hilton Head Island is 5-7 days.


  • How many days in Charleston or Hilton Head Island? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charleston 2-7 
    Hilton Head Island 5-7

One day in Charleston or Hilton Head Island?

Visitors enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the quaint destination of Charleston. This coastal town offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

With shopping and food around the resort-filled coastal town of Hilton Head Island, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Charleston or Hilton Head Island?

Charleston is a popular place to visit. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Charleston has to offer.

With food and shopping around the destination of Hilton Head Island, there's plenty to do. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. It offers something for everyone. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.


Five days in Charleston or Hilton Head Island?

Visitors enjoy the live music and food when visiting the quaint destination of Charleston. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Charleston has to offer.

Hilton Head Island, a popular coastal town, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this coastal town. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Charleston or Hilton Head Island?

Charleston is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this coastal town makes for a great vacation. Visiting the old town is also a must. It offers something for everyone. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

Hilton Head Island is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this coastal town makes for a great vacation. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal town has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Which city is cheaper, Hilton Head Island or Charleston?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Charleston is $136, while the average daily cost in Hilton Head Island is $195. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Charleston and Hilton Head Island in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charleston $72
    Hilton Head Island $103
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charleston $144
    Hilton Head Island $206
Compare Hotels in Charleston and Hilton Head Island

Looking for a hotel in Charleston or Hilton Head Island? 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 Charleston


Hotels in Hilton Head Island


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Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charleston $26
    Hilton Head Island $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

  • Private transfer: Charleston to Charleston Airport (CHS): $622
  • Private Departure Transfer to Charleston Airport (CHS): $52
  • Charleston city to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer: $124

Is it cheaper to fly into Charleston or Hilton Head Island?

Prices for flights to both Hilton Head Island and Charleston 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
    Charleston $46
    Hilton Head Island $48
Typical Food prices in Charleston

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


  • Lunch in downtown Charleston for two
    $21
  • Breakfast
    $26

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charleston

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

  • Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour: $73
  • Savor the Flavors of Charleston Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston's Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston Chef's Kitchen Guided Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise: $77
  • Savor the Flavors Upper King Street Food Tour: $95
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Charleston: $129
  • Undiscovered 1/2 Day Food, Wine & History Tour with Cooking Class: $154
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour in Charleston w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Hilton Head Island

For Hilton Head Island, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Hilton Head Coligny Beach Walking Food Tour: $60

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charleston $17
    Hilton Head Island $19
Typical Entertainment prices in Charleston

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


  • Patriots Point (for 2)
    $60

Tours and Activities in Charleston

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

  • 2-Hour Guided Kayaking Eco Tour in Charleston: $48
  • 2-Hour Paddle Board Eco Tour of Charleston Lowcountry: $48
  • 90-Minute Historic Walking Tour of Charleston: $25
  • Amazing Ladies of Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Best of Historic Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston: $61
  • Bruce Knows Insider Walking Tour of Downtown: $26
  • Car Service: Airport to / from Cruise Port: $130
  • Charleston Attraction & Tour Pass for 1, 2, or 3 Days: $73
  • Charleston Boo Hag & Brews Walking Ghost and Bar Tour: $29
  • Charleston Chicora Walking Tour: $26
  • Charleston City Bus Tour with Charleston Museum Admission: $32

Tours and Activities in Hilton Head Island

For Hilton Head Island, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Hilton Head Honey Horn Admission with Guided Tour: $12
  • Hilton Head Pirate Ship Adventure Cruise aboard the Black Sparrow: $31
  • Hilton Head Island Dolphin Watching Nature Cruise: $33
  • Hilton Head to Daufuskie Island Round-Trip Ferry Ticket: $35
  • Guided Stand Up Paddleboard Tour: $35
  • Hilton Head Island Dolphin Boat Cruise: $35
  • Hilton Head Mermaid Encounter Boat Cruise: $36
  • Hilton Head Pirate Ship Adventure Sail aboard the Black Dagger: $36
  • Guided Stand Up Paddleboard Tour: $40
  • Guided Kayak Eco Tour: $40
  • 2-Hour Guided Kayak Nature Tour of Hilton Head: $40
  • Hilton Head Guided Kayak Tour: $41

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charleston $28
    Hilton Head Island $21

Sample the Local Flavors in Charleston

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

  • Charleston Bar Hunt: Charleston Chase Bar Crawl: $12
  • Ghost Walking Tour and Pub Crawl in Haunted Charleston: $27
  • Haunted Pub Crawl of the Market: $37


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Charleston and Hilton Head Island, we can see that Hilton Head Island is more expensive. And not only is Charleston much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Charleston would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Charleston and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Hilton Head Island would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Hilton Head Island than you might in Charleston.


When is the best time to visit Charleston or Hilton Head Island?

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 Charleston or Hilton Head Island in the Summer?

Both Hilton Head Island and Charleston during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Charleston for the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Hilton Head Island because of the beaches and the family-friendly experiences.

Charleston is around the same temperature as Hilton Head Island in the summer. The temperature in Charleston is usually 82°F (28°C) in July, and Hilton Head Island stays around 82°F (28°C).

In Hilton Head Island, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Charleston. In the summer, Charleston often gets more sunshine than Hilton Head Island. Charleston gets 293 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Hilton Head Island receives 267 hours of full sun.

Hilton Head Island gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Charleston. Charleston usually gets less rain in July than Hilton Head Island. Charleston gets 6.9 inches (176 mm) of rain, while Hilton Head Island receives 7.9 inches (200 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Charleston 82°F (28°C) 
    Hilton Head Island 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Charleston or Hilton Head Island in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Charleston and Hilton Head Island. The autumn months attract visitors to Charleston because of the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Hilton Head Island this time of year.

In the autumn, Charleston is around the same temperature as Hilton Head Island. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Charleston in October are around 67°F (19°C), and Hilton Head Island is about 68°F (20°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Hilton Head Island this time of the year. Charleston usually receives less sunshine than Hilton Head Island during autumn. At this time of the year, Charleston gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Hilton Head Island receives 223 hours of full sun.

In October, Charleston usually receives around the same amount of rain as Hilton Head Island. At this time of the year, Charleston gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Hilton Head Island receives 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Charleston 67°F (19°C) 
    Hilton Head Island 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Charleston or Hilton Head Island in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Charleston as well as Hilton Head Island. The museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Charleston this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Hilton Head Island for the shopping scene and the cuisine.

In January, Charleston is generally around the same temperature as Hilton Head Island. Temperatures in Charleston average around 47°F (9°C), and Hilton Head Island stays around 48°F (9°C).

In the winter, Charleston often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Hilton Head Island. Charleston gets 188 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Hilton Head Island receives 176 hours of full sun.

Charleston usually gets more rain in January than Hilton Head Island. Charleston gets 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain, while Hilton Head Island receives 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Charleston 47°F (9°C) 
    Hilton Head Island 48°F (9°C)

Should I visit Charleston or Hilton Head Island in the Spring?

Both Hilton Head Island and Charleston are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Charleston for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Hilton Head Island in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty.

Charleston is around the same temperature as Hilton Head Island in the spring. The temperature in Charleston is usually 64°F (18°C) in April, and Hilton Head Island stays around 67°F (19°C).

It's quite sunny in Hilton Head Island. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Charleston. Charleston usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Hilton Head Island during spring. At this time of the year, Charleston gets 275 hours of sunny skies, while Hilton Head Island receives 275 hours of full sun.

In April, Charleston usually receives around the same amount of rain as Hilton Head Island. At this time of the year, Charleston gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Hilton Head Island receives 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Charleston 64°F (18°C) 
    Hilton Head Island 67°F (19°C)

Typical Weather for Hilton Head Island and Charleston

Charleston Hilton Head Island
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 47°F (9°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 48°F (9°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm)
Feb 50°F (10°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 52°F (11°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 58°F (14°C) 4.3 inches (110 mm) 58°F (15°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm)
May 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm) 73°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm) 80°F (26°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 6.9 inches (176 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.9 inches (200 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 7.1 inches (181 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (164 mm)
Sep 76°F (25°C) 4.8 inches (121 mm) 77°F (25°C) 5.6 inches (141 mm)
Oct 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 68°F (20°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Nov 58°F (15°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm) 59°F (15°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm)
Dec 51°F (10°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)


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Charleston vs. Hilton Head Island Travel Comparison

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