A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Clearwater vs. Columbus for Attractions, Food, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Clearwater or Columbus?

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 Clearwater and Columbus. 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.

Clearwater

Clearwater is a beautiful, outdoorsy, and adventure-filled coastal city. Other reasons to visit include beaches, shopping, and museums.

Columbus

Columbus is a authentic, friendly, and welcoming city. It's also known for nightlife, shopping, and museums.

Clearwater and Columbus: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Clearwater or Columbus?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Clearwater than Columbus. While Columbus is larger than Clearwater, Clearwater has more sights and attractions for tourists. Clearwater is more touristy than Columbus and is popular for its beautiful white sand beaches, laid back atmosphere, and watersports. It is also home to Clearwater Beach. Columbus is popular for its youthful energy and its growing arts scene.

How is Clearwater different from Columbus?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Clearwater or Columbus?

Clearwater
Columbus

Clearwater is a very popular place for its museums and history. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Clearwater offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Perhaps most well known is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but there are also a surprising number of museums nearby such as the Dalí Museum, the impressive Chihuly Glass Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Columbus offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Popular museums around town include the Center of Science and Technology, the Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Ohio History Center.


Is the Food Better in Clearwater or Columbus? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Clearwater
Columbus

Clearwater is a very popular place for its restaurants. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Clearwater. Head to the waterfront for some of the best seafood. Unfortunately this is also where you'll find the highest prices. Shrimp, crab, and a fresh catch of the day are common on many menus.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Columbus. Hearty and heavy comfort food is the mainstay in this town. There's pizza, casseroles, sausage, and milkshakes around town.

Is Clearwater or Columbus Better for Nightlife?

Clearwater
Columbus

Evening events are good in both Clearwater and Columbus.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Clearwater. You'll find laid back beach clubs, glitzy wine bars, and relaxed bars where you can spend a nice night out.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Columbus. The live music scene is growing. There are also a growing number of breweries around town.

Is Clearwater or Columbus Better for Resorts?

Clearwater
Columbus

Clearwater is a very popular place for its luxury resorts. However, Columbus is not a resort destination.

Clearwater is known as a popular and fun resort destination. You'll find a number of nice resorts along the coastline. Some of the most popular are the Sandpearl Resort, the Opal Sands Resort, and the Clearwater Beach Marriott.

Columbus is not a resort destination.


Is Clearwater or Columbus Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Clearwater
Columbus

Clearwater is a popular place for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. However, Columbus is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Clearwater has a few good snorkeling spots. There's both snorkeling and diving nearby. Some of the best dive spots are within and hour of the shore and you'll find diving shops that offer trips.

Columbus is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Clearwater or Columbus Better for Beaches?

Clearwater
Columbus

Clearwater is a world-class destination for its beaches. However, Columbus is not a beach destination.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Clearwater. Clearwater Beach is on many lists as one of the best beaches in America. It's the most popular beach in the area and it spreads out over 2.5 miles. Sand Key Beach is another popular destination as is the pristine Caladesi Island State Park.

Columbus is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Clearwater or Columbus?

Clearwater
Columbus

Both Clearwater and Columbus are good shopping destinations.

Clearwater is a great destination for shopping. You'll find all of the standard shopping options in the area such as malls, shopping centers, and outlets. Westfield Countryside Mall is a popular destination as is the Cleveland Street District.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Columbus. In addition to the standard shopping malls and retail outlets, there are some interesting shops in the Short North Arts District, German Village, and Easton Town Center.


Is Clearwater or Columbus Better for Families?

Clearwater
Columbus

Both Clearwater and Columbus are superb family-friendly destinations.

Clearwater is a very family-friendly place to visit. Check out the playground and activities around Pier 60. Less crowded and family-friendly Sand Key Park is another favorite spot and the playgrounds at New Coachman Park and Crest Lake Park are also fun. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is another popular attraction for visitors with kids.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Columbus is very family-friendly. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a highlight for many families. Right by it is the Zoombezi Bay Waterpark. For hands-on science-based activities check out the Center of Science and Industry. Kids will also love the Legoland Discovery Center or the Anthony-Thomas Candy Factory. There are also many outdoor parks, greenways, and playgrounds to visit.

Is Clearwater or Columbus Better for Couples?

Clearwater
Columbus

Clearwater is a very popular place for romance. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its romantic activities.

Clearwater makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are beautiful parks and beaches as well as romantic activities like sunset cruises and dolphin spotting tours. Couples will also enjoy dining on local seafood and shopping at the local venues.

Most people don't think of Columbus as a couple's destination. You'll find restaurants and music venues that make for a nice date night. There are also wine tours and other entertainment options.

Is Clearwater or Columbus Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Clearwater
Columbus

Both Clearwater and Columbus offer decent public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Clearwater. The Clearwater Jolley Trolley connects some of the area's highlights. There are also public buses that run several routes through town.

Public transit is mostly limited in Columbus. While there's a bus system, you'll really want to have a vehicle to get around town efficiently.


Is Clearwater or Columbus a more walkable city?

Clearwater
Columbus

Clearwater and Columbus both are good when exploring on foot.

Clearwater is somewhat walkable. The waterfront and downtown areas are surprisingly walkable.

Columbus is a somewhat walkable place. The older neighborhoods are the most walkable, but if you want to get around town, you'll need to have a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Clearwater Worth Visiting? and Is Columbus Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Columbus or Clearwater?

How long in Clearwater or Columbus?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Clearwater or Columbus to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Clearwater than Columbus because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Clearwater, and 1-2 days is enough time in Columbus.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Clearwater than Columbus 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 Clearwater.


  • How many days in Clearwater or Columbus? Ideal Length of Stay
    Clearwater 3-5 
    Columbus 1-2

One day in Clearwater or Columbus?

The coastal city of Clearwater offers museums and nightlife. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

With museums and nightlife around the welcoming city of Columbus, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Columbus, one day is sufficent for most.

A weekend in Clearwater or Columbus?

Clearwater is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

With nightlife and shopping around the destination of Columbus, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.


Five days in Clearwater or Columbus?

Clearwater is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Clearwater, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Columbus, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Clearwater or Columbus?

Clearwater is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This coastal city offers something for everyone.

Columbus is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. 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 place is cheaper, Columbus or Clearwater?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Clearwater is $309, while the average daily cost in Columbus is $158. 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 Clearwater and Columbus in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Clearwater $141
    Columbus $72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Clearwater $282
    Columbus $144
Compare Hotels in Clearwater and Columbus

Looking for a hotel in Clearwater or Columbus? 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 Clearwater


Hotels in Columbus


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: Clearwater Hotel Prices and Columbus Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Clearwater $221
    Columbus $50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Clearwater

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Clearwater:

  • St. Petersburg to St. Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) - Departure Private Transfer: $64
  • St. Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) to St. Petersburg - Roundtrip Private Transfer: $127
  • St. Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) to St. Petersburg - Arrival Private Transfer : $64
  • St. Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) to Clearwater Beach - Arrival Private Transfer: $102
  • St Petersburg to Tampa Airport (TPA) -Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • Private Transfer from St Petersburg Clearwater Airport to St Pete Beach: $70
  • Private Transfer from Clearwater to Tampa Airport: $120
  • Private Airport Transfer to St. Petersburg or Clearwater Beach : $104
  • Pete–Clearwater Airport to Clearwater Beach Round-Trip Transfer: $145
  • From Orlando: Clearwater Beach Day with Transfers and Lunch: $100
  • Clearwater Beach to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • Clearwater Beach to St.Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) -Departure Private Transfer: $102

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Columbus

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

  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Arrival Private Transfer: $66
  • Columbus to Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) - Departure Private Transfer: $66
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $132
  • Columbus Ohio (CMH) Airport Arrival or Departure Private Transfer: $180

Is it cheaper to fly into Clearwater or Columbus?

Prices for flights to both Columbus and Clearwater 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
    Clearwater $46
    Columbus $49

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Clearwater

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

  • 2 Hours Beach Bites & Brews Food Tour in Gulfport, Florida: $69

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Clearwater -
    Columbus $46

Tours and Activities in Clearwater

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

  • 1-hour Dolphin Sightseeing Adventure Cruise from Madeira Beach: $28
  • 1.5 Hour Tiki Tour with Open Bar in Clearwater Beach: $49
  • 2 Hour Guided Kayak Tour in Boca Ciega Bay - St. Pete: $55
  • 2 Hour Guided Segway Tour of Downtown St Pete: $59
  • 2 Hour Sunset Cruise in Clearwater, Florida: $35
  • 2 Hour Sunset Kayak Tour: War Veterans Memorial Park: $59
  • 2 Hour Tandem Kayak Tour (Price for 2 People): $110
  • 2 Hours Kayak Eco Tour in Tarpon Springs: $54
  • 2.5 Hour Kayaking with Manatee and History Tour in Tarpon Springs: $58
  • 2.5-Hour Sunset Cruise Tour in St. Petersburg: $67
  • 4-Hour St. Pete Pier to Egmont Key Experience by Ferry: $67
  • 90 Minute Axe Throwing Guided Experience in Clearwater at Hatchet Hangout: $50

Tours and Activities in Columbus

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

  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Columbus by 3Quest Challenge: $10
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Columbus by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Columbus with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • Columbus Scavenger Hunt Adventure : $21
  • Columbus Blue Jackets Ice Hockey Game Ticket at Nationwide Arena: $23
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus Ticket: $29
  • The Escape Game Epic 60-Minute Adventures: $41
  • 1-Hour Themed Escape Room Adventure & Narrative: $41
  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Clearwater -
    Columbus $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Clearwater

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Clearwater:

  • The Tour and Wine Tasting Experience at Aspirations Winery: $32


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Clearwater and Columbus, we can see that Clearwater is more expensive. And not only is Columbus much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Columbus would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Columbus 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 Clearwater would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Clearwater than you might in Columbus.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Clearwater Expensive? and Is Columbus Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Clearwater or Columbus?

Columbus has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Clearwater. When comparing the sizes of Clearwater and Columbus, 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.


When is the best time to visit Clearwater or Columbus?

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 Clearwater or Columbus in the Summer?

Both Columbus and Clearwater during the summer are popular places to visit. The beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Clearwater this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Columbus for the family-friendly experiences.

Clearwater is a little warmer than Columbus in the summer. The daily temperature in Clearwater averages around 82°F (28°C) in July, and Columbus fluctuates around 77°F (25°C).

In Columbus, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Clearwater. In the summer, Clearwater often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Columbus. Clearwater gets 265 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbus receives 254 hours of full sun.

Columbus gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Clearwater. Clearwater usually gets more rain in July than Columbus. Clearwater gets 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain, while Columbus receives 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Clearwater 82°F (28°C) 
    Columbus 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Clearwater or Columbus in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Clearwater and Columbus. Many travelers come to Clearwater for the shopping scene. Furthermore, many visitors come to Columbus in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Clearwater is much warmer than Columbus. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Clearwater in October average around 75°F (24°C), and Columbus averages at about 57°F (14°C).

In Clearwater, it's very sunny this time of the year. Clearwater usually receives more sunshine than Columbus during autumn. Clearwater gets 234 hours of sunny skies, while Columbus receives 179 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Clearwater usually receives more rain than Columbus. Clearwater gets 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain, while Columbus receives 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain each month for the autumn. June to November in Clearwater is the hurricane season.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Clearwater 75°F (24°C) 
    Columbus 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Clearwater or Columbus in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Clearwater as well as Columbus. Many visitors come to Clearwater in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, most visitors come to Columbus for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Columbus can be very cold during winter. In January, Clearwater is generally much warmer than Columbus. Daily temperatures in Clearwater average around 60°F (15°C), and Columbus fluctuates around 30°F (-1°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Clearwater this time of the year. In the winter, Clearwater often gets more sunshine than Columbus. Clearwater gets 200 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbus receives 105 hours of full sun.

Clearwater usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Columbus. Clearwater gets 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain, while Columbus receives 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Clearwater 60°F (15°C) 
    Columbus 30°F (-1°C)

Should I visit Clearwater or Columbus in the Spring?

Both Columbus and Clearwater are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Clearwater for the beaches during these months.

Clearwater is much warmer than Columbus in the spring. The daily temperature in Clearwater averages around 71°F (22°C) in April, and Columbus fluctuates around 54°F (12°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Clearwater. Clearwater usually receives more sunshine than Columbus during spring. Clearwater gets 299 hours of sunny skies, while Columbus receives 200 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Clearwater usually receives less rain than Columbus. Clearwater gets 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain, while Columbus receives 3.2 inches (81 mm) of rain each month for the spring. The hurricane season in Clearwater is June to November.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Clearwater 71°F (22°C) 
    Columbus 54°F (12°C)

Typical Weather for Columbus and Clearwater

Clearwater Columbus
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm) 30°F (-1°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)
Feb 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 33°F (1°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm)
Mar 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Apr 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 54°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 65°F (18°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm) 73°F (23°C) 4 inches (102 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm) 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm) 69°F (20°C) 3 inches (76 mm)
Oct 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm)
Nov 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 35°F (2°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)