Should you visit Charleston or Virginia Beach?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between Charleston or Virginia Beach, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.
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.
Virginia Beach sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. It's a popular beach destination and has many of the characteristics of most southeastern beach towns. There are many activities that you can enjoy and there's a concrete boardwalk that runs parallel to the water for about three miles. The boardwalk is a fun place to walk or bicycle. The beach itself is wide and sandy and is a great place to soak up some sun. During the summer months and school holidays it can get quite crowded and you might struggle to find a place for your towel and beach chairs. There are also many beach side resorts that line the water front. Most have pools and hot tubs where you can relax and some hotels have indoor pools as well, which can be nice during the cool winter months.
Which city is cheaper, Virginia Beach 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 Virginia Beach is $104. 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 Virginia Beach in more detail.
A hotel room in Charleston is about $144 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.
The prices for places to stay in Virginia Beach can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $60, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $120.
On average, meal and food prices in Charleston cost around $46 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $18.
Food in Virginia Beach costs travelers about $25 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.
Meals for one day
Virginia Beach $25
Typical Food prices in Charleston
Some typical examples of dining costs in Charleston are as follows:
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:
Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour:
Savor the Flavors of Charleston Walking Food Tour:
Charleston's Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street Walking Food Tour:
Charleston Chef's Kitchen Guided Walking Food Tour:
Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Charleston:
Undiscovered 1/2 Day Food, Wine & History Tour with Cooking Class:
3-Hour Secret Food Tour in Charleston w/ Private Tour Option:
While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $26 per day to get around in Charleston.
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Virginia Beach than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $31 on transportation in Virginia Beach on average per day.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:
Private transfer: Charleston to Charleston Airport (CHS):
Charleston city to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer:
Private Departure Transfer to Charleston Airport (CHS):
Typical Local Transportation prices in Virginia Beach
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Virginia Beach:
Is it cheaper to fly into Charleston or Virginia Beach?
Prices for flights to both Virginia Beach 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.
Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $17 per person, per day in Charleston. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.
Sightseeing expenses in Virginia Beach, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $17 per day, per person.
Typical Entertainment prices in Charleston
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Charleston are as follows:
Patriots Point (for 2)
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:
2-Hour Paddle Board Eco Tour of Charleston Lowcountry:
90-Minute Historic Walking Tour of Charleston:
Amazing Ladies of Charleston Walking Tour:
Best of Historic Charleston Walking Tour:
Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston:
Bruce Knows Insider Walking Tour of Downtown:
Car Service: Airport to / from Cruise Port:
Charleston Attraction & Tour Pass for 1, 2, or 3 Days:
Charleston Boo Hag & Brews Walking Ghost and Bar Tour:
Charleston Chicora Walking Tour:
Charleston City Bus Tour with Charleston Museum Admission:
Tours and Activities in Virginia Beach
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Virginia Beach.
Sunset Stand Up Paddleboard Tour of Linkhorn Bay:
Wetland Zip Tour:
Sunset Dolphin Kayak Tours:
Small Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour:
RIDE ALONG GREEK GODS & AQUATISM *Certified Tours*:
Tour of Virginia Beach (half day), for GROUPS of 10-16:
Tour of Virginia Beach, for GROUPS of 10-16:
All-Inclusive, Autumn Weekend Tour for GROUPS of 10-16:
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.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Virginia Beach, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $8.51.
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:
Ghost Walking Tour and Pub Crawl in Haunted Charleston:
Haunted Pub Crawl of the Market:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Charleston and Virginia Beach, we can see that Charleston is more expensive. And not only is Virginia Beach much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Virginia Beach would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Virginia Beach 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 Charleston would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Charleston than you might in Virginia Beach.
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