A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Clearwater vs. Gainesville for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Clearwater or Gainesville?

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 Gainesville. 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.

Where Should I go: Clearwater or Gainesville?


Clearwater is a city in Florida's Tampa Bay area known for its sunny weather and gulf coast beaches. Its most famous beach (Clearwater Beach) is located on a barrier island with white sands and crystal waters - a perfect setting for activities such as fishing, sailing, kayaking, jet skiing, dolphin and sunset tours, parasailing, and more.


Home to the University of Florida as well as Santa Fe College, the town of Gainesville has all of the shopping, entertainment, and restaurants that you could want in a college town - plus easy access to a number of outdoor adventures from canoeing, diving, and kayaking to birding, fishing, hiking, and biking. Some of the top features include the Butterfly Rainforest, the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, and Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park.

Which place is cheaper, Gainesville 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 Gainesville is $215. 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 Gainesville in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Clearwater $141
    Gainesville $119
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Clearwater $282
    Gainesville $238
Compare Hotels in Clearwater and Gainesville

Looking for a hotel in Clearwater or Gainesville? 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 Gainesville

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 Gainesville Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Clearwater $221
    Gainesville $41

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Clearwater

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Clearwater:

  • From Orlando: Clearwater Beach Day with Transfers and Lunch: $100

Is it cheaper to fly into Clearwater or Gainesville?

Prices for flights to both Gainesville 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 Meals for one day
    Clearwater $46
    Gainesville $70

Typical Food prices in Gainesville

Some typical examples of dining costs in Gainesville are as follows:

  • Diner Breakfast for Two
  • Lunch at Chop Stix (for 2)

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Clearwater -
    Gainesville $20

Tours and Activities in Clearwater

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

  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Clearwater by Operation City Quest: $10
  • St. Petersburg Jungle Prada Site History Tour: $15
  • Daytime Yacht Sightseeing Cruise with Optional Dining : $27
  • Mega Bite Dolphin Tour Boat in Clearwater Beach: $28
  • 1-hour Sightseeing Adventure Cruise from Madeira Beach: $28
  • Shark Teeth and Shells, Dolphin and Shelling Tour Boat Clearwater Beach : $28
  • Clearwater Sunset Celebration Cruise: $29
  • Clearwater Dolphin Exploration Tour: $29
  • Tour with Dolphins and Sight Seeing: $29
  • Dolphin Quest - Sightseeing/Eco Cruise, John's Pass, Madeira Beach, FL : $29
  • St. Pete Beach Dolphin Racer Speedboat Adventure: $30
  • Dolphin Exploration Tour "Happy Hour": $30

Typical Entertainment prices in Gainesville

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Gainesville are as follows:

  • Manatee Tour for Two
  • Tour Guide Tip

Tours and Activities in Gainesville

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

  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Gainesville by Operation City Quest: $10
  • Butterfly Rainforest at Florida Museum of Natural History Ticket: $15

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Clearwater -
    Gainesville $49

Sample the Local Flavors in Clearwater

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Clearwater:

  • The Tour and Wine Tasting Experience at Aspirations Winery: $39

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Clearwater and Gainesville, we can see that Clearwater is more expensive. And not only is Gainesville much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Gainesville would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Gainesville 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 Gainesville.

Which is Bigger, Clearwater or Gainesville?

Gainesville is bigger, and its population is about 16% larger than the population of Clearwater. When comparing the population of Clearwater vs. Gainesville, 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 and the activities that interest you.

When is the best time to visit Clearwater or Gainesville?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Clearwater or Gainesville in the Summer?

Both Gainesville and Clearwater are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities.

Clearwater is around the same temperature as Gainesville in the summer. The daily temperature in Clearwater averages around 82°F (28°C) in July, and Gainesville fluctuates around 81°F (27°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Gainesville. It's quite rainy in Clearwater. In July, Clearwater usually receives more rain than Gainesville. Clearwater gets 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain, while Gainesville receives 6.8 inches (174 mm) of rain each month for the summer.

  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Clearwater 82°F (28°C) 
    Gainesville 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit Clearwater or Gainesville in the Autumn?

Both Gainesville and Clearwater during the autumn are popular places to visit.

In the autumn, Clearwater is around the same temperature as Gainesville. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Clearwater in October average around 75°F (24°C), and Gainesville averages at about 71°F (22°C).

Clearwater usually gets more rain in October than Gainesville. Clearwater gets 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain, while Gainesville receives 2 inches (51 mm) of rain this time of the year.

  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Clearwater 75°F (24°C) 
    Gainesville 71°F (22°C)

Should I visit Clearwater or Gainesville in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Clearwater and Gainesville.

In January, Clearwater is generally a little warmer than Gainesville. Daily temperatures in Clearwater average around 60°F (15°C), and Gainesville fluctuates around 54°F (12°C).

In January, Clearwater usually receives less rain than Gainesville. Clearwater gets 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain, while Gainesville receives 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain each month for the winter.

  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Clearwater 60°F (15°C) 
    Gainesville 54°F (12°C)

Should I visit Clearwater or Gainesville in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Clearwater as well as Gainesville.

Clearwater is around the same temperature as Gainesville in the spring. The daily temperature in Clearwater averages around 71°F (22°C) in April, and Gainesville fluctuates around 69°F (20°C).

Clearwater usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Gainesville. Clearwater gets 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain, while Gainesville receives 2 inches (50 mm) of rain this time of the year.

  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Clearwater 71°F (22°C) 
    Gainesville 69°F (20°C)

Typical Weather for Gainesville and Clearwater

Clearwater Gainesville
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm)
Feb 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 57°F (14°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm)
Mar 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 63°F (17°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Apr 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 69°F (20°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm) 80°F (26°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm) 81°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm) 78°F (26°C) 5.5 inches (139 mm)
Oct 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm) 71°F (22°C) 2 inches (51 mm)
Nov 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 63°F (17°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 56°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm)

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Clearwater vs. Gainesville Travel Comparison

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