A Travel Price Comparison for Colorado Colorado Springs vs. Vail for Skiing, Hiking, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Colorado Springs or Vail?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Colorado Springs and Vail can help you decide which place is right for you.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is a healthy, welcoming, and friendly mountain town. With fun activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Vail

Vail is a charming, picturesque, and scenic ski town. This is also a fantastic small town with plenty of charm and local activities. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. It's also known for skiing, nightlife, and live music.

Colorado Springs and Vail: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Pikes Peak
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for skiing
  • Less popular with couples
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
  • Home to the Vail Ski Resort


Is there more to do in Colorado Springs or Vail?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Vail. Although Colorado Springs and Vail are popular destinations, Vail has more sights and attractions for tourists. Vail is very popular for its skiing, nightlife, music, resorts, shopping, christmas markets, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere, while Colorado Springs attracts visitors for its museums and hiking. Vail is more touristy than Colorado Springs and is popular for its world-class skiing, charming mountain town atmosphere, and adventurous outdoor activities. It is also well known for The Vail Ski Resort. Colorado Springs is famous for its many outdoor recreation areas, world-class parks, striking red sandstone formations, and beautiful mountain views.

How is Colorado Springs different from Vail?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Skiing?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is terrific for winter skiing. However, Colorado Springs is a mountain town with minimal options for skiing.

Vail is among the world's best ski destinations. This ski town has produced its share of Olympians. Vail is the third largest ski resort in the US and it has 31 lifts and 195 runs. There are five different bowls that offer beautiful views.

Colorado Springs is a fun local destination for snow skiers. The town isn't as accessible to skiing as Denver is, but there are still options, like Breckenridge, within a few hours drive.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Colorado Springs or Vail?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Colorado Springs is a popular place for its historical sights. However, Vail does not have museums and landmarks.

Colorado Springs offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Most people visit this area for the outdoor recreation, not the museums, but in town you'll find the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, the Peterson Air and Space Museum, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The U.S. Olympic Complex Training Center is also a unique place to visit and well worth some time.

Vail does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Colorado Springs or Vail? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Colorado Springs and Vail.

Colorado Springs offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There's a combination of local restaurants that serve local items such as trout and bison, as well as your standard chain restaurants and more predictable American classics like burgers, pizza, and chicken fingers.

Vail has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. The town has a diverse sampling of restaurants that include different ethnic options as well as taverns with comfort food. It's easy to find mountain-friendly restaurants where you can refuel during your ski vacation.

Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Nightlife?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is a great destination for nightlife. Also, Colorado Springs is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife and partying.

The people in Vail know how to have a good time. Happy Hours start early, and then the partying can go late into the night. There are bars, lounges, breweries and live music that keep the atmosphere light and offer entertainment after your long day on the slopes. Do keep in mind that many places close or dramatically reduce their hours during the off-peak fall and spring months.

If you're looking for night time activities Colorado Springs has a few options to choose from. The town has a number of breweries and a great craft beer selection. There are local bars along Tejon Street, or head through Downtown Colorado Springs for some of the most active nightlife.


Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Music?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is very good for live music. However, Colorado Springs is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in Vail. You can often find live music at Shakedown Bar, Bridge Street Bar, and the Red Lion.

Colorado Springs is not a live music destination.

Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Resorts?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is a great destination for its resorts. However, Colorado Springs is not a resort destination.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Vail. Designed as a resort town, Vail offers great accommodation. Nice resorts include Four Seasons Resort and Residences, the Ritz Carlton Club, and the Grand Hyatt.

Colorado Springs is not a resort destination.

Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Hiking?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Colorado Springs is a must-visit destination for hiking. Also, Vail is not as popular, but is still a nice ski town for the nearby hiking options.

People visit Colorado Springs specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. There are both world-famous hiking areas, as well as lesser known hikes that the locals often prefer. Some of the more famous places include Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, and Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs. For families, check out Seven Bridges Trail or Mount Muscoco Trail. Loud's Cabin is a longer trail that also includes Seven Bridges Trail.

Vail is a popular spot for hiking. During the warmer months, this resort town is surrounded by world-class hiking trails. You can enjoy the wildflowers, search for wildlife, or take in the sweeping mountain views. Popular hikes near Vail include Booth Falls, Davos Trail, and Shrine Ridge.


Is the Shopping Better in Colorado Springs or Vail?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is a great destination for shopping. However, Colorado Springs is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Vail is an extremely popular place for shoppers. The cobblestone streets are lined with boutiques and ski shops that sell everything from evening dresses to outdoor gear. It's easy to pop into the many shops around downtown Vail and find anything you might need.

Colorado Springs is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Christmas?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is terrific for its Christmas activities. However, Colorado Springs does not offer Christmas activities.

Vail is a world class destination for shoppers. The town is a winter wonderland during the holidays. Check out the iconic Christmas tree lighting and wander through the fairytale streets.

Colorado Springs does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Christmas Markets?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is a great destination for its Christmas markets. However, Colorado Springs does not offer Christmas markets.

Vail has plenty of Christmas markets during the holiday season. The town's Christmas Market is picturesque, and the perfect place to pick up some unique gifts.

Colorado Springs does not offer Christmas markets.


Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Families?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is terrific for its family-friendly activities. Also, Colorado Springs is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Vail is one of the most popular family destinations. With its world class skiing, rock climbing, ice skating, and ice cream, kids love this ski resort. The resort town has two terrain parks - Golden Peak and Avanti. Avanti is perfect for kids. It has small jumps, wide rails, and kid-friendly amenities. Golden Peak is designed for more advanced athletes. Vail also has nice beginner slopes that are great for kids.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Colorado Springs is very family-friendly. The town is conveniently located near many outdoor adventures that are family-friendly. There are many parks, hiking trails, and wildlife centers in the area that make for a fun outing. Popular activities include the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Dinosaur Resource Center, and Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Couples?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is terrific for romance. Also, Colorado Springs is still popular, but not quite as popular for its romantic activities.

For those traveling as a couple, Vail has plenty to offer. Couples who enjoy skiing and outdoor adventure will appreciate everything that this ski town has to offer. There are nice restaurants, beautiful gardens, and plenty of romantic activities to choose from.

Colorado Springs makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy hiking and exploring nature together will love visiting this town and the areas nearby. There are many hiking trails in easy reach of the town. Hot air balloon rides are also popular and offer an amazing view over the beautiful landscape.

Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Colorado Springs and Vail are nice places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Colorado Springs is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. Just outside of town you'll find campgrounds with all of the amenities that you might need. In town, there's also a hostel and several affordable accommodation options.

It's common for backpackers to visit Vail. This ski town isn't completely closed off to budget travelers as there are a couple of hostels around town.


Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Students?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Colorado Springs is a popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Vail is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Colorado Springs. It's a relatively affordable town with easy access to plenty of free activities like hiking, rock climbing, and more.

Vail is not popular with students.

Is Colorado Springs or Vail Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is very good for its public transit. However, Colorado Springs is a mountain town with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

You'll find some public transit in Vail, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There is a free bus service through the area.

Public transit is quite limited in Colorado Springs. While there are buses, many people come to the area to visit Pikes Peak or several of the other nearby parks, all of which require a car.

Is Colorado Springs or Vail a more walkable city?

Colorado Springs
Vail

Vail is terrific for its walkability. However, Colorado Springs is a mountain town with minimal options for its high level of walkability.

Getting around Vail on foot is easy. The main downtown is pedestrian-only and perfect for popping in shops and restaurants.

Colorado Springs is generally not a very walkable mountain town. While the downtown area is walkable, you'll really want to have a car so you can explore the areas outside of town.


For even more information, also check out Is Colorado Springs Worth Visiting? and Is Vail Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Vail or Colorado Springs?

How long in Colorado Springs or Vail?

Both Colorado Springs and Vail have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Vail than in Colorado Springs. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Colorado Springs, and 3-7 days is enough time in Vail.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Vail than Colorado Springs 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 Vail.


  • How many days in Colorado Springs or Vail? Ideal Length of Stay
    Colorado Springs 2-3 
    Vail 3-7

One day in Colorado Springs or Vail?

Visitors enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Colorado Springs. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

Vail is a small town where visitors enjoy the live music and food. Hikers are also drawn to this area. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. This ski town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

A weekend in Colorado Springs or Vail?

Colorado Springs is a fun place to experience. Most people visit for the hiking. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. Hikers are also drawn to this area. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Vail is a small town with plenty to do. It's also a relaxing resort destination. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Most people head to the area for the skiing. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.

Five days in Colorado Springs or Vail?

You'll find food and museums around the welcoming destination of Colorado Springs. This mountain town offers something for everyone. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Vail is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.


A week in Colorado Springs or Vail?

The healthy mountain town of Colorado Springs offers museums and nightlife. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Vail is a great place to explore. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. It is common to spend one week here. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Most people head to the area for the skiing. One week is often enough time to do most activities.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America, The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America, and The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Vail or Colorado Springs?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Colorado Springs is $155, while the average daily cost in Vail is $291. 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 Colorado Springs and Vail in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Colorado Springs $81
    Vail $174
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Colorado Springs $162
    Vail $348
Compare Hotels in Colorado Springs and Vail

Looking for a hotel in Colorado Springs or Vail? 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 Colorado Springs


Hotels in Vail


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: Colorado Springs Hotel Prices and Vail Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Colorado Springs $38
    Vail $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Colorado Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Colorado Springs:

  • Denver Centennial Airport to Snowmass/Aspen - Arrival Transfer: $294
  • Snowmass Ski Resort to BJC Airport - Departure Transfer: $294
  • Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport to Snowmass -Arrival Transfer: $294
  • Snowmass/Aspen to Denver Centennial Airport - Departure Transfer: $294
  • Snowmass/Aspen to Denver Airport DEN - Departure Private Transfer: $294
  • Rocky Mountain Metropolitan (BJC) to Steamboat-Arrival Transfer: $229
  • Private Transfer from Beaver Creek Ski Resort to Denver Airport: $218
  • Denver Airport BJC to Winter Park Ski Resort Round Trip Transfer: $185
  • Keystone resort to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer: $174
  • Snowmass/Aspen to Eagle County Reg. Airport - Departure Transfer: $131
  • Winter Park to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer: $131

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vail

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

  • Avon/Vail Valley to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer : $237
  • EGE Airport Roundtrip Transfer to Vail, Beaver Creek, and Avon: $228
  • Eagle Airport (EGE) to Glenwood Resorts Round-Trip Transfer: $152
  • Eagle Airport (EGE) to Glenwood Springs Resorts Arrival Transfer: $76
  • Eagle County Airport to Breckenridge Keystone: Arrival Transfer: $92
  • Eagle County Airport to Steamboat - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $152
  • Eagle County Airport to Steamboat Springs-Round-Trip Transfer: $119
  • Eagle County Airport to Vail/Beaver Creek/Avon-Arrival Transfer: $114
  • Eagle County Airport(EGE) to Steamboat - Arrival Private Transfer: $76
  • Eagle County Regional (EGE) to Steamboat Springs-Arrival Transfer: $119
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Vail Airport EGE: $156
  • Private Departure Transfer to Vail Airport EGE: $128

Is it cheaper to fly into Colorado Springs or Vail?

Prices for flights to both Vail and Colorado Springs 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
    Colorado Springs $45
    Vail $74
Typical Food Prices in Colorado Springs

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Colorado Springs:


  • Cold Stone Ice Cream (family of 4)
    $22
  • Snacks at the Zoo (family of 4)
    $18

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Colorado Springs

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

  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Show - Colorado Springs, CO: $86
  • Classic 3-Hour Food Tour in Colorado Springs: $88

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Colorado Springs $34
    Vail $133

Tours and Activities in Colorado Springs

Here are a few actual costs in Colorado Springs for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 1-Hour Broadmoor History Segway Tour: $72
  • 1-Hour Segway Tour of Cheyenne Cañon Art, History and Nature: $72
  • 2 Hour Segway Tour in Cheyenne Cañon and Broadmoor Area: $108
  • Bike Tour in the Garden of The Gods: $245
  • Broadmoor Hotel History Segway Tour: $78
  • Cheyenne Cañon Art and Nature Segway Tour: $78
  • Cocktails & Tastes Tour in Colorado Springs: $94
  • Colorado Springs - Guided Walking Ghost / History Tour: $28
  • Colorado Springs - Guided Walking Ghost / History Tour: $28
  • Colorado Springs Pikes Peak Luxury Jeep Tours: $119
  • Colorado Springs Small Group Historic Walking Tour: $54
  • 2.5-Hour Cocktails & Tastes Walking Tour: $93

Tours and Activities in Vail

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

  • Smartphone Driving Tour between Denver & Vail / Breckenridge: $7.99
  • Save the Mountain Escape Room Adventure: $45
  • Vail Segway Tour from Vail Village: $89
  • Bike Tour or Mountain Bike down Vail Mountain: $120
  • Dillon Marina & Shopping Tour: $267

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Colorado Springs $24
    Vail $9.79

Sample the Local Flavors in Colorado Springs

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Colorado Springs:

  • 2.5-Hour Brewery & Bites Walking Tour: $93
  • Downtown Colorado Springs 2.5-Hour Brewery Tour: $94


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

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


Which is Bigger, Colorado Springs or Vail?

Colorado Springs has a larger population, and is about 80 times larger than the population of Vail. When comparing the sizes of Colorado Springs and Vail, 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.