A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Charleston vs. San Diego for Food, Beaches, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Charleston or San Diego?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Charleston or San Diego, 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 southern, quaint, and historic coastal town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. It also has a unique and quaint vibe that attracts lots of visitors. Visitors also love the live music, food, and beaches.

San Diego

San Diego is a fun-filled, hip, and dynamic coastal city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Charleston and San Diego: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for shopping
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Cons
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less popular for students
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Cons
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less popular with couples


How is Charleston different from San Diego?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Charleston
San Diego

For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Charleston or San Diego.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Charleston. This city is famous for its many historic churches and plantations. You can also visit Fort Sumter National Monument by boat or take a tour of the USS Yorktown.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into San Diego. While the city is famous for it's beaches, zoos, and aquariums, don't overlook the museums and other landmarks. Popular options include the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, the Old Town State Historic Park, and Point Loma and Cabrillo Monument.


Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Food?

Charleston
San Diego

Most foodies will appreciate the restaurant options in Charleston a bit more than San Diego.

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 San Diego. The city has great seafood and a diversity of cuisines. Popular local dishes include fish tacos and California burritos.

Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Nightlife?

Charleston
San Diego

Evening events are similar in both Charleston and San Diego.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Charleston. As a college town, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs around town. There's also a lively music scene.

San Diego has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The heart of the city's nightlife scene is in the Gaslamp District, which is filled with bars, clubs, and music venues.

Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Music?

Charleston
San Diego

Both Charleston and San Diego offer a variety of live music venues.

The music scene helps keep Charleston active and fun. You can hear a number of local bands or enjoy a more widely known group at larger venues in the area.

Whether you like big venues or smaller artists, San Diego has diverse options. Popular venues include the House of Blues, The Belly Up, and The Shout House.

Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Resorts?

Charleston
San Diego

With a similar set of options, resorts can be found in both Charleston and San Diego.

You might not think of Charleston as a resort destination, but it has a few places. 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.

San Diego has a handful of resorts to choose from. Most people prefer to stay in hotels or VRBOs, but several popular resorts include Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Paradise Point, and the famous Hotel del Coronado.


Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Beaches?

Charleston
San Diego

Both Charleston and San Diego 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.

San Diego is considered to be a world-class beach destination. The city has great beaches with tidal pools and interesting sea life at low tide. Popular beaches include La Jolla Cove Beach, Coronado Beach, and Pacific Beach.

Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Shopping?

Charleston
San Diego

Charleston usually beats out San Diego 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 San Diego. Head to Fashion Valley or Westfield UTC for some fun shopping.

Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Families?

Charleston
San Diego

Families will find a wider variety of activities in San Diego than Charleston.

San Diego is an amazing family-friendly coastal city to visit. It has a number of kid-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy. There's the world class zoo, several amusement parks, the beaches, aquariums, and more.

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.

Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Couples?

Charleston
San Diego

While San Diego 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.

San Diego is a nice destination for couples. For adventurous couples, there are many outdoor activities that you can enjoy together. There are also restaurants and a great nightlife in San Diego.


Is Charleston or San Diego Better for Students?

Charleston
San Diego

San Diego is generally a better coastal town for students than Charleston.

San Diego is a great destination for students. With its young population and many universities, international students will feel right at home in San Diego.

Plenty of students visit Charleston. The city is a college town with a young vibe that is perfect for students.

Is Charleston or San Diego a more walkable city?

Charleston
San Diego

Charleston and San Diego both are comparable when exploring on foot.

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.

San Diego is somewhat walkable. The downtown area is walkable, but if you want to travel further, you'll need to find a different form of transportation.

Should I spend more time in San Diego or Charleston?

How long in Charleston or San Diego?

In either Charleston or San Diego, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Charleston than San Diego because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Charleston is 2-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to San Diego is 3-5 days.


  • How many days in Charleston or San Diego? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charleston 2-7 
    San Diego 3-5

One day in Charleston or San Diego?

You'll find nightlife and live music around the quaint coastal town of Charleston. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

With museums and nightlife around the energetic coastal city of San Diego, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Charleston or San Diego?

You'll find live music and food around the quaint destination of Charleston. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal town has to offer. This coastal town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

With nightlife and live music around the destination of San Diego, there's plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.


Five days in Charleston or San Diego?

You'll find food and shopping around the quaint coastal town of Charleston. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this coastal town makes for a great vacation. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal town has to offer.

San Diego, a popular coastal city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this coastal city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Charleston or San Diego?

Charleston is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Charleston, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

San Diego is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Which city is cheaper, San Diego 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 San Diego is $161. 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 San Diego in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charleston $72
    San Diego $91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charleston $144
    San Diego $182
Compare Hotels in Charleston and San Diego

Looking for a hotel in Charleston or San Diego? 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 San Diego


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: Charleston Hotel Prices and San Diego Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charleston $26
    San Diego $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Diego

Also for San Diego, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Airport Transfer: from San Diego to San Diego Int. Airport (SAN): $35
  • Private Departure Transfer from San Diego to SAN San Diego Airport: $46
  • Private Airport Transfer: San Diego International Airport (SAN) to San Diego: $46
  • Private Arrival Transfer from San Diego Airport SAN: $48
  • Private Departure Transfer to San Diego Airport SAN: $48
  • Private Arrival Transfer from SAN San Diego Airport to San Diego City: $49
  • San Diego Airport (SAN) to San Diego hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • San Diego hotel/address to San Diego Airport (SAN) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • Transfer from San Diego International Airport to San Diego: $62
  • Departure Private Transfer San Diego to San Diego Airport SAN in Business Car: $63
  • Private Airport Transfer San Deigo Arrival And Departure: $67
  • Private Airport Transfer: Hotel to and from San Diego International Airport: $70

Is it cheaper to fly into Charleston or San Diego?

Prices for flights to both San Diego 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
    San Diego $36
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

Typical Food prices in San Diego

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to San Diego:


  • Mexican Lunch for Two
    $27
  • Breakfast at Starbucks
    $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Diego

For San Diego, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • San Diego North Park Food Tour: $49
  • Liberty Station Food Tour: $49
  • Market and Guacamole Cooking Class in Tijuana Mexico: $89
  • Private Cooking Demonstration of Indian Fusion Cuisine in San Diego: $96
  • Farmers Market Tour & Social Cooking With A Chef: $100
  • San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise: $111
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Diego: $129
  • Secret Food Tours San Diego w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charleston $17
    San Diego $38
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

Typical Entertainment prices in San Diego

For San Diego, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • San Diego Zoo
    $15
  • Sea World Parking
    $12

Tours and Activities in San Diego

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Diego.

  • La Jolla: Explore California's Riviera on a self-guided audio tour: $5.40
  • La Jolla: Ultimate Self-Guided Combo Tour: $12
  • San Diego Zoo Hunt: Roar with Rex Adventure at the San Diego Zoo: $12
  • San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter Historic True Crime Tour: $16
  • San Diego Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • San Diego Balboa Park Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Behind-the-Scenes at Petco Park Tour: $23
  • San Diego Gaslamp District Ghost Tour: $24
  • Ghost-Themed Walking Tour: $25
  • Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket: $26
  • San Diego Harbor Cruise: $28
  • Tijuana Walking Tour from San Diego: $28

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charleston $28
    San Diego $17

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

Sample the Local Flavors in San Diego

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

  • San Diego Bar Hunt: Slammin' San Diego Bar Crawl: $12
  • Wine Tasting Or Beer Tasting: $15
  • San Diego Brewery Tour: $85
  • San Diego Micro Brewery Tour: $91
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $95
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $101
  • Private San Diego Brewery Tour: $107
  • All inclusive brewery tour-Fire Truck: $189
  • Luxury Private Wine Tasting Tour to Guadalupe Valley from San Diego.: $249
  • Private Wine Tour of Temecula from San Diego: $475


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Charleston and San Diego, we can see that San Diego 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 San Diego would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in San Diego than you might in Charleston.


When is the best time to visit Charleston or San Diego?

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 San Diego in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Charleston as well as San Diego. Many travelers come to Charleston for the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, many visitors come to San Diego in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Charleston is generally a little warmer than San Diego. Temperatures in Charleston average around 82°F (28°C), and San Diego stays around 71°F (22°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in San Diego. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Charleston this time of the year. In the summer, Charleston often gets around the same amount of sunshine as San Diego. Charleston gets 293 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while San Diego receives 306 hours of full sun.

Charleston receives a lot of rain in the summer. Charleston usually gets more rain in July than San Diego. Charleston gets 6.9 inches (176 mm) of rain, while San Diego receives 0 inches (1 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Charleston 82°F (28°C) 
    San Diego 71°F (22°C)

Should I visit Charleston or San Diego in the Autumn?

Both San Diego and Charleston are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Charleston in the autumn for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to San Diego for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Charleston is around the same temperature as San Diego in the autumn. The temperature in Charleston is usually 67°F (19°C) in October, and San Diego stays around 68°F (20°C).

It's quite sunny in San Diego. Charleston usually receives less sunshine than San Diego during autumn. Charleston gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while San Diego receives 244 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Charleston usually receives more rain than San Diego. Charleston gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while San Diego receives 0.4 inches (9 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Charleston 67°F (19°C) 
    San Diego 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Charleston or San Diego in the Winter?

Both San Diego and Charleston during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Charleston for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to San Diego because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Charleston is much colder than San Diego. Typically, the winter temperatures in Charleston in January are around 47°F (9°C), and San Diego is about 57°F (14°C).

In San Diego, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the winter, Charleston often gets less sunshine than San Diego. Charleston gets 188 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while San Diego receives 239 hours of full sun.

Charleston usually gets more rain in January than San Diego. Charleston gets 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain, while San Diego receives 1.8 inches (46 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Charleston 47°F (9°C) 
    San Diego 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Charleston or San Diego in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Charleston and San Diego. The spring months attract visitors to Charleston because of the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty are the main draw to San Diego this time of year.

In April, Charleston is generally around the same temperature as San Diego. Temperatures in Charleston average around 64°F (18°C), and San Diego stays around 62°F (17°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in San Diego this time of the year. In Charleston, it's very sunny this time of the year. Charleston usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as San Diego during spring. Charleston gets 275 hours of sunny skies, while San Diego receives 277 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Charleston usually receives more rain than San Diego. Charleston gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while San Diego receives 0.8 inches (20 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Charleston 64°F (18°C) 
    San Diego 62°F (17°C)

Typical Weather for San Diego and Charleston

Charleston San Diego
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 47°F (9°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 57°F (14°C) 1.8 inches (46 mm)
Feb 50°F (10°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 59°F (15°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm)
Mar 58°F (14°C) 4.3 inches (110 mm) 59°F (15°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.8 inches (20 mm)
May 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm) 67°F (19°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 6.9 inches (176 mm) 71°F (22°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 7.1 inches (181 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Sep 76°F (25°C) 4.8 inches (121 mm) 71°F (22°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm)
Oct 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 68°F (20°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm)
Nov 58°F (15°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm) 62°F (17°C) 1.5 inches (37 mm)
Dec 51°F (10°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 57°F (14°C) 1.6 inches (40 mm)


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Charleston vs. San Diego Travel Comparison

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