A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Charleston vs. Hilton Head Island

Should you visit Charleston or Hilton Head Island?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Charleston and Hilton Head Island can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.


Charleston is a beautiful, southern city and seaport town in South Carolina. It has a wonderful, historic downtown area that the city government works hard to maintain. Located on a peninsula that is created by two rivers, the city is a stunning setting with much character. It is a popular place to visit for its culture, architecture and cuisine. In recent years Charleston has gained popularity and it continues to grow as both a regional and international travel destination. With its rising popularity comes increasing costs. Travel costs continue to go up as restaurants and hotels raise their prices, particularly during the peak travel season and holiday periods.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head, also called Hilton Head Island, is primarily a resort and beach town off the coast of South Carolina. Located on a barrier island, the place is best known for its beaches and golf courses overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Charleston and Hilton Head Island in more detail.


A hotel room in Charleston is about $144 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Hilton Head Island, $206 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Hilton Head Island, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $103, such as in a hostel.

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


Food in Charleston costs travelers about $46 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

Hilton Head Island food costs typically run travelers around $48 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

  • 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
  • Breakfast

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charleston

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

  • Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise & Live Music: $66
  • 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
  • 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

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Charleston is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $26 per person, per day, on local transportation in Charleston.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Hilton Head Island than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $27 on transportation in Hilton Head Island on average per day.

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


Entertainment and activities in Charleston typically cost an average of $17 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Sightseeing expenses in Hilton Head Island, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $19 per day, per person.

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

Here are a few typical costs in Charleston for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:

  • Patriots Point (for 2)

Tours and Activities in Charleston

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

  • Shem Creek Culture Tour: $20
  • Dark Side of Charleston 1.5-Hour Walking Tour: $28
  • Shem Creek Bar Tour: $30
  • Patriot's Point Haunted USS Yorktown Tour: $31
  • Tour Pass with 40+ Attractions: $72
  • Charleston's French Quarter Guided Walking Tour: $20
  • Charleston Harbor 2-Hour Speedboat Adventure: $76
  • 1-Hour Carriage Tour of the Historic District: $35
  • Historical Downtown Tour by Horse-drawn Carriage: $35
  • Charleston Historical Walking Tour: $22

Tours and Activities in Hilton Head Island

Here are a few actual costs in Hilton Head Island for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Guided Dolphin Tour: $35
  • Hilton Head: Sunset or Daytime Dolphin Watching Cruise: $35
  • Hilton Head: Guided Kayak Tour: $40
  • Scenic Helicopter Tour: $43
  • High-Flying Parasail Experience: $79
  • 75-Minute Jet Ski Tour: $109
  • 2-Hour Guided Creek Cat Tour: $119
  • Mini Boat Dolphin Tour: $199
  • Hilton Head: Private 2-hour Sunset Cruise: $450
  • Daufuskie Island: Ferry Ticket and Optional Golf Cart Rental: $45


The average person spends about $28 on alcoholic beverages in Charleston per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

The average person spends about $21 on alcoholic beverages in Hilton Head Island per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Charleston

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Charleston:

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

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.

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Charleston vs. Hilton Head Island Travel Comparison

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