A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Columbia vs. Lancaster for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Columbia or Lancaster?

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

Should I visit Columbia or Lancaster? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Columbia or Lancaster?

Columbia

Both the largest and capital city of South Carolina, Columbia is literally the center of everything. Geographically it is located in the middle of the state, and it is the home to the University of South Carolina, the Army's Fort Jackson, as well as a variety of museums that celebrate the city's art, history, and culture.

Lancaster

The largest city in Pennsylvania's Dutch Country, Lancaster is surrounded by scenic landscape and a unique culture. The area is predominately agricultural in nature and you will find lush farms growing crops and produce most seasons. The Amish communities are spread throughout the area and although they remain relatively isolated, they are acknowledged by fellow community members and their customs are respected. The Amish community prides themselves on minimalist living. They do not use electricity and travel around in horse and buggy, a sight which you will grow accustomed to while you're in the area. They are excellent farmers and craftsmen and you can find shops that proudly sell Amish made goods. Their close are old fashion in nature. Women generally wear long dresses and bonnets while men wear black suits and hats. The Amish community has their own churches and their own schools. There are a handful of places where you can learn more about the Amish community in the area. The Amish Experience F/X Theater offers shows and the People's Place Quilt Museum shows some handicrafts. It is possible to take an Amish Country tour or visit the Mennonite Information Center for more information.

Which place is cheaper, Lancaster or Columbia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Columbia is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Lancaster is $183. 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 Columbia and Lancaster in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    Lancaster $91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    Lancaster $182
Compare Hotels in Columbia and Lancaster

Looking for a hotel in Columbia or Lancaster? 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 Columbia


Hotels in Lancaster


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: Columbia Hotel Prices and Lancaster Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    Lancaster $69

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Lancaster?

Prices for flights to both Lancaster and Columbia 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
    Columbia $5.03
    Lancaster $53

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lancaster

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

  • Red Rose Walking Food Tour in Lancaster: $65
  • International Food Tour Lancaster, Pennsylvania: $65

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    Lancaster $19

Tours and Activities in Columbia

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

  • Soda City: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Columbia: $12

Tours and Activities in Lancaster

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

  • Guided Tour of the 1792 Johannes Mueller House: $12
  • Guided Ghost Tour of Lititz: $12
  • 45-Minute Private Guided Historic Walking Tour in Lititz: $12
  • Historic Columbia, PA: Guided Tour of the Bank Museum: $14
  • Lititz Whiskey and History Tour : $25
  • Lancaster Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $25
  • Lancaster County: Amish Farmlands, Museum Tour, Farm Visit: $35
  • Premium Amish Country Tour including Amish Farm and House: $35
  • Lancaster Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Amish Experience SuperSaver Package: $47
  • Lancaster History and Breakfast Walking Tour: $60
  • Downtown & Amish Country Authentic Lancaster Tour: $70

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbia $88
    Lancaster $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Lancaster

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Lancaster:

  • Lancaster City: The Ultimate Walking Craft Brewery Tour: $20
  • Guided Brewery Walking Tour in Lancaster City: $79


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

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


Which is Bigger, Columbia or Lancaster?

Columbia has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Lancaster. When comparing the sizes of Columbia and Lancaster, 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 Columbia or Lancaster?

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 Columbia or Lancaster in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Columbia as well as Lancaster. Many travelers come to Columbia for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Columbia is a little warmer than Lancaster. Typically, the summer temperatures in Columbia in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Lancaster averages at about 77°F (25°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Lancaster. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbia this time of the year. In the summer, Columbia often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Lancaster. Columbia gets 293 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lancaster receives 310 hours of full sun.

Columbia receives a lot of rain in the summer. Columbia usually gets more rain in July than Lancaster. Columbia gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while Lancaster receives 3.6 inches (91 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbia 82°F (28°C) 
    Lancaster 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Lancaster in the Autumn?

Both Lancaster and Columbia are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Columbia in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In October, Columbia is generally a little warmer than Lancaster. Daily temperatures in Columbia average around 64°F (18°C), and Lancaster fluctuates around 56°F (13°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Columbia. Columbia usually receives more sunshine than Lancaster during autumn. Columbia gets 230 hours of sunny skies, while Lancaster receives 194 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Columbia usually receives around the same amount of rain as Lancaster. Columbia gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Lancaster receives 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Lancaster 56°F (13°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Lancaster in the Winter?

Both Lancaster and Columbia during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Columbia for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

The weather in Lancaster can be very cold. Columbia is much warmer than Lancaster in the winter. The daily temperature in Columbia averages around 45°F (7°C) in January, and Lancaster fluctuates around 30°F (-1°C).

In the winter, Columbia often gets more sunshine than Lancaster. Columbia gets 171 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lancaster receives 153 hours of full sun.

Columbia usually gets more rain in January than Lancaster. Columbia gets 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain, while Lancaster receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbia 45°F (7°C) 
    Lancaster 30°F (-1°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Lancaster in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbia and Lancaster.

In the spring, Columbia is much warmer than Lancaster. Typically, the spring temperatures in Columbia in April average around 64°F (18°C), and Lancaster averages at about 53°F (12°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Lancaster this time of the year. In Columbia, it's very sunny this time of the year. Columbia usually receives more sunshine than Lancaster during spring. Columbia gets 273 hours of sunny skies, while Lancaster receives 237 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Columbia usually receives less rain than Lancaster. Columbia gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Lancaster receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Lancaster 53°F (12°C)

Typical Weather for Lancaster and Columbia

Columbia Lancaster
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 30°F (-1°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
Feb 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 33°F (0°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm)
Mar 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 42°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
May 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 63°F (17°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 77°F (25°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm) 46°F (8°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Dec 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm) 35°F (2°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)