A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Charlottesville vs. Durango for Hiking, Families, Attractions, and Old Town

Should you visit Charlottesville or Durango?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Charlottesville and Durango. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Charlottesville

Charlottesville is a collegiate, southern, and proud university town. It offers plenty of small town charm along with sights and activities, too. It's a gorgeous place to visit. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, hiking, and museums.

Durango

Durango is a nature-filled, historic, and charming small town. You'll find plenty of local activities in this small town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Since it has a quaint atmosphere, you'll want to spend time soaking it all in. Visitors also love the hiking and museums.

Charlottesville and Durango: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Small town charm
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Charlottesville or Durango?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Durango. Although Charlottesville and Durango are popular destinations, Durango has more sights and attractions for tourists. Durango is very popular for its skiing, hiking, shopping, and small town charm, while Charlottesville attracts visitors for its nightlife and quaint atmosphere. Durango is more touristy than Charlottesville and is known for its historic narrow gauge railroad, its charming small town atmosphere, and its many family-friendly activities. It is also well known for The Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad. Charlottesville is famous for being home to the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and serving as a gateway to Shenandoah National Park.

How is Charlottesville different from Durango?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for Skiing?

Charlottesville
Durango

Durango is adequate for skiing. However, Charlottesville is not a skiing destination.

Durango is a fun local destination for snow skiers. Purgatory Ski Resort is about 20 minutes from town and it's a family-friendly mountain with beginner and intermediate runs. It's small, and geared specifically to the beginner and younger crowd.

Charlottesville is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Charlottesville or Durango?

Charlottesville
Durango

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Charlottesville and Durango.

Charlottesville offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. A highlight of a trip to the area is a visit to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. The city is also famously home to the beautiful University of Virginia, which has a manicured and beautiful campus. History buffs will also appreciate visiting the Civil War Sites that are nearby as well.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Durango. Most visitors come to town specifically to ride the Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad. There's also the D&SNGRR Railroad Museum, and the Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum.

Is the Food Better in Charlottesville or Durango? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Charlottesville
Durango

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Charlottesville and Durango.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Charlottesville. Head to the Historic Downtown Mall to enjoy an outdoor meal at a top rated restaurant. There are also restaurants that cater specifically to students and offer affordable and quick meals.

Durango may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Most of the restaurants are casual and family-friendly, serving up burgers or sandwiches for a reasonable price. You'll also find some coffeeshops and even a few food trucks and international restaurants.

Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for Nightlife?

Charlottesville
Durango

Charlottesville is a good destination for nightlife. However, Durango is lacking in good options for nightlife and partying.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a university town with an active nightlife. The best areas for nightlife are found around the Downtown Mall, Belmont neighborhood, the Corner, and University Ave west near the mall. Even though there are a number of activities to enjoy at night, this is still a small town and the nightlife scene reflects that.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Durango. It's a small town that attracts tourists mainly for its train, so you won't find much in the way of a nightlife scene.


Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for its Old Town?

Charlottesville
Durango

Visitors enjoy the nice old town areas in both Charlottesville and Durango.

Plenty of visitors enjoy exploring the old town in Charlottesville. The Historic Downtown Mall is filled with restaurants and shops. It's a pedestrian only area with a lot of character and energy.

Durango offers a nice historic old town area. Filled with character, the downtown feels like you've stepped into a Western. The town has a long history as a mining and railroad community, which you can see throughout the historic area. It really feels like you're in the "Wild West."

Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for Hiking?

Charlottesville
Durango

Durango is a great small town for hiking. Also, Charlottesville is not as popular, but is still a nice university town for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Durango for the hiking trails. It's surrounded by plenty of natural beautiful and there is an endless supply of hikes in the region. Popular nearby hikes include Animas Mountain Trail, Falls Creek Trail, and Purgatory Trail.

Charlottesville is a good destination for hiking. Just outside of town there are plenty of hiking opportunities including in and around Shenandoah National Park. Hiking is at its best during the fall season when the leaves are changing.

Is the Shopping Better in Charlottesville or Durango?

Charlottesville
Durango

Durango is adequate for its shopping opportunities. However, Charlottesville is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

If you're looking to go shopping, Durango has some nice offerings. The charming town has some boutiques that sell beautifully made Native American jewelry and other interesting items. There are also souvenir shops and other venues that target tourists specifically.

Charlottesville is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for Christmas?

Charlottesville
Durango

Charlottesville is a very popular place for its Christmas holiday experiences. Also, Durango is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its Christmas activities.

Since it has plenty to do, Charlottesville is a very popular place to visit during Christmas. From Christmas lights on campus to a festive atmosphere at the Monticello, the town is beautiful for Christmas.

Durango offers some nice Christmas activities. It is a great Christmas town where you can meet Santa, go skiing, and even take the Polar Express.

Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for Families?

Charlottesville
Durango

Durango is a great small town for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Charlottesville is not as popular, but is still a nice university town for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Durango is very family-friendly. In the area you'll find ziplining, alpine slides, and plenty of outdoor areas to explore - and of course there's the railroad.

Charlottesville is a family-friendly place to visit. Wandering the campus of UVA, picking fruit at Carter Mountain Orchard or exploring the downtown mall, including the Virginia Discovery Museum are all activities that everyone can enjoy. There are also great hiking trails just outside of town.

Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for Couples?

Charlottesville
Durango

Charlottesville is a good destination for romance. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its romantic activities.

Charlottesville is a nice destination for couples. The UVA campus is beautiful to explore, as is Monticello. The Downtown Mall has many great restaurants and activities that make for a nice date night and during the day, there's also beautiful hikes nearby that are at their peak during the fall season.

Most people don't think of Durango as a couple's destination. The town may not be the first romantic destination that comes to mind, but the railroad combined with wandering the downtown can make for a great couple's getaway.


Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Charlottesville
Durango

Durango is a good destination for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Charlottesville is not known for backpackers.

Plenty of backpackers visit Durango. With plenty of parks and outdoor areas nearby, backpackers will have plenty of places to explore.

Charlottesville is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There is camping an hiking in the area that is a good option for backpackers.

Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for Students?

Charlottesville
Durango

Charlottesville is a world-class destination for its student-friendly activities. However, Durango is not popular with students.

Charlottesville is a very popular place to visit for students. The town is home to the beautiful University of Virginia and it's a popular destination for international students as well as local students. Much of the town is focused around student life, and the city's proximity to Washington, DC means it has access to global opportunities.

Durango is not popular with students.

Is Charlottesville or Durango Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Charlottesville
Durango

Charlottesville is a decent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Charlottesville. There is a bus system that runs between campus, downtown, and several neighborhoods in Charlottesville.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Durango. It's a small town with no real public transit options so a car is a must.


Is Charlottesville or Durango a more walkable city?

Charlottesville
Durango

Charlottesville and Durango are reasonable when it comes to walkability.

Charlottesville is generally not a very walkable university town. While the University of Virginia campus and the Downtown Mall are both very walkable, most of the town is not.

Durango is generally not very walkable. While the Main Street through town is walkable, it's not as pedestrian-friendly as some small towns.

For even more information, also check out Is Charlottesville Worth Visiting? and Is Durango Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Durango or Charlottesville?

How long in Charlottesville or Durango?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Charlottesville and Durango. You can spend similar amounts of time exploring each one. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Durango than Charlottesville 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 Durango.


  • How many days in Charlottesville or Durango? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charlottesville 2-3 
    Durango 2-3

One day in Charlottesville or Durango?

Charlottesville is a small town with plenty to do. This university town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

The charming small town of Durango offers museums. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Charlottesville or Durango?

Charlottesville might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Charlottesville has to offer.

The quaint small town of Durango offers museums. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. A weekend here is typical. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities.


Five days in Charlottesville or Durango?

Charlottesville is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Durango is a great place to explore. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. This small town offers something for everyone. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Charlottesville or Durango?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Charlottesville. Since Charlottesville is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Many people enjoy the museums when visiting Durango. Hikers are also drawn to this area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, and The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Durango or Charlottesville?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Charlottesville is $154, while the average daily cost in Durango is $153. 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 Charlottesville and Durango in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charlottesville $80
    Durango $79
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charlottesville $160
    Durango $158
Compare Hotels in Charlottesville and Durango

Looking for a hotel in Charlottesville or Durango? 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 Charlottesville


Hotels in Durango


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: Charlottesville Hotel Prices and Durango Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charlottesville $53
    Durango $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charlottesville

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

  • Private Departure Transfer to Charlottesville Airport (CHO): $50
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Charlotteville Airport (CHO): $50

Is it cheaper to fly into Charlottesville or Durango?

Prices for flights to both Durango and Charlottesville 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
    Charlottesville $42
    Durango $50

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charlottesville

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

  • The UVA Corner Food Tour: Private Walking Food Tour in Charlottesville: $139
  • The Downtown Mall Food Tour: $149

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charlottesville $18
    Durango $46

Tours and Activities in Charlottesville

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

  • Charlottesville Dark History Ghost Tour : $24
  • Charlottesville Historic Downtown APP/GPS Smartphone Walking Tour: $7.75
  • Ghosts of Court Square Walking Tour: $26
  • Shenandoah National Park Audio Driving Tour: $7.99
  • Shenandoah National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour: $17

Typical Entertainment Prices in Durango

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Durango's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Hot Springs (for 2)
    $50
  • Tubing (for 2)
    $40

Tours and Activities in Durango

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

  • Scenic Waterfall's & Ghost Town Jeep Tour La Plata's~ 2.5 hours: $84
  • 12-Zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $173
  • 4 Hours Durango Colorado - Jeep Tour : $102
  • 6-Zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $140
  • 700 Year Tour - Half Day Mesa Verde Cultural Tour: $108
  • Durango Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Durango Rafting - Animas River Adventure Day: $185
  • Full-Day Mesa Verde Discovery Tour: $206
  • Immersive Mesa Verde National Park Tour with Guide: $175
  • La Plata Canyon Jeep Tour, Waterfall's & Ghost Town ~ Half Day - 4 Hours: $119
  • La Plata Mountains - Half Day Tour: $100
  • Mesa Verde Express Tour With Tickets To Cliff Palace: $149

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charlottesville $53
    Durango $30

Sample the Local Flavors in Charlottesville

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

  • Private Wine Tours (Minimum 3 & Maximum 6 ) Pickup Maximum 30 Mi : $85


When comparing the travel costs between Charlottesville and Durango, we can see that Charlottesville 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 Charlottesville Expensive? and Is Durango Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Charlottesville or Durango?

Charlottesville has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Durango. When comparing the sizes of Charlottesville and Durango, 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.