A Travel Price Comparison for South Carolina Columbia vs. Myrtle Beach for Nightlife, Families, Couples, and Food

Should you visit Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

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

Should I visit Columbia or Myrtle Beach? 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.

Columbia

Columbia is a welcoming, suburban, and friendly city. Other popular activities here include museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a high energy, party-filled, and busy beach city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. And you can't forget about the nightlife and beaches.

Columbia and Myrtle Beach: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Myrtle Beach. Although Columbia and Myrtle Beach are both popular with visitors, Myrtle Beach has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Myrtle Beach is more popular for its nightlife, resorts, beaches, and big city activities, while Columbia is known for its museums and shopping. Myrtle Beach is more touristy than Columbia and is known for its party-hard atmosphere, spring break crowds, and beachfront nightlife scene. It is also home to the Myrtle Beach boardwalk. Columbia is popular for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

the Myrtle Beach boardwalk
The Myrtle Beach boardwalk

How is Columbia different from Myrtle Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Columbia is very good for its museums and landmarks. However, Myrtle Beach does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Columbia. As the state capital, there are some decent museums around town like the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Military Museum, the South Carolina State Museum, and the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum.

Myrtle Beach does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Columbia or Myrtle Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at decent restaurants in both Columbia and Myrtle Beach.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Columbia. Barbecue and other southern favorites are among the more local dishes, but the city is also filled with fast food joints and other major chain restaurants.

Myrtle Beach may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Slices of pizza and seafood buffets are the most common options in the area. There are also themed restaurants and dinner shows that make for a fun night, even if the food isn't the highest quality.

Is Columbia or Myrtle Beach Better for Nightlife?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is renowned for nightlife and partying. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its evening party scene.

Myrtle Beach is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. This beach is famous for its nightlife. From all-night bars and clubs, to music concerts and outdoor venues, there's no shortage of things to do. Bachelor and Bachelorette parties and spring break crowds make this the place to be for a party.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Columbia. You'll find live music venues as well as low key bars and more trendy cocktail lounges.

Is Columbia or Myrtle Beach Better for Resorts?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a moderate beach city for its resorts. However, Columbia is not a resort destination.

Not known for its high-end resorts, Myrtle Beach offers a few options. While there are a handful of resorts in the area, like the popular Marriott Vacation Club, most hotels are crowded and lacking in space.

Columbia is not a resort destination.


Is Columbia or Myrtle Beach Better for Beaches?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a well-known place for the beache. However, Columbia is not a beach destination.

Myrtle Beach is considered a top beach destination. Most people head to the center of town and boardwalk for the nightlife and vibrant activities more than the actual beach. The stretches north and south have nice beaches lined with hotels and resorts, and a much more family-friendly atmosphere. If you want a more relaxed beach setting without the huge crowds, check out Myrtle Beach State Park.

Columbia is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Columbia is very good for its shopping areas. However, Myrtle Beach is a beach city with minimal options for shopping.

Many visitors go to Columbia to go shopping. You'll find independent and locally owned shops along Devine Street and in the Five Points area. Also interesting are the Vista, which is a warehouse district, and Trenholm Plaza.

Myrtle Beach is a good destination for shopping. The town is filled with souvenir shops, t-shirt shops, and candy vendors that make shopping entertaining.

Is Columbia or Myrtle Beach Better for Families?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Columbia is very good for its family-friendly activities. However, Myrtle Beach is a beach city with minimal options for its kid-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Columbia. Around town you'll find parks, playgrounds, and kid-friendly restaurants. There's a zoo in the area as well as a nice state park - Sesquicentennial State Park. There's also EdVenture Children's Museum, which is filled with hands-on exhibits.

For families, Myrtle Beach is not always the best place to visit. While this area isn't generally considered a family destination, there are some newer vacation clubs and resorts that cater specifically to families and have become popular. The Marriott Vacation Club is one of the most popular with families in Myrtle Beach.


Is Columbia or Myrtle Beach Better for Couples?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a popular place for its romantic activities. However, Columbia is not a good city for couples.

Myrtle Beach makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The beach area isn't exactly a romantic destination but for couples who enjoy going out and having fun together, there is no shortage of night time activities.

Columbia is not always the best place to visit for a couple. You'll find parks to explore and some nice restaurants that make for a good date night.

Is Columbia or Myrtle Beach Better for Students?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a well-known place for students. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

Myrtle Beach is a very popular beach city for students and younger travelers. University students flock to the area for spring break and end of year celebrations. If you're a student during those times, this is the place to be, otherwise, the area is best avoided.

Plenty of students visit Columbia. The University of South Carolina, and other nearby colleges all bring in a decent student population.

Is Columbia or Myrtle Beach Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Columbia is a city with a few options for its public transit. However, Myrtle Beach is a beach city with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Columbia. The COMET is the bus system through town, but you really must have your own car to enjoy the city.

Public transit is quite limited in Myrtle Beach. There are no real public transit options so you'll need a car to get around.


Is Columbia or Myrtle Beach a more walkable city?

Columbia
Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a moderate beach city for its high level of walkability. However, Columbia is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

Myrtle Beach is generally not very walkable. By the Boardwalk, it's easy to walk around, but traffic can still be congested and once you're out of the main strip, a car is essential.

Columbia is not a very walkable city. It's filled with suburban-style development and is generally very car dependent.

For even more information, also check out Is Columbia Worth Visiting? and Is Myrtle Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Myrtle Beach or Columbia?

How long in Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

Both Columbia and Myrtle Beach have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Myrtle Beach than in Columbia. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Columbia, and 2-7 days is enough time in Myrtle Beach.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Myrtle Beach than Columbia 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 Myrtle Beach.


  • How many days in Columbia or Myrtle Beach? Ideal Length of Stay
    Columbia 1-2 
    Myrtle Beach 2-7

One day in Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

In Columbia, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this suburban city offers. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. In one day, you should have a good grasp of this city.

The beach city of Myrtle Beach offers 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.

A weekend in Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

Columbia is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Myrtle Beach is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this beach city makes for a great vacation. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Myrtle Beach, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.


Five days in Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

You'll find nightlife and shopping around the friendly destination of Columbia. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

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

A week in Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

Columbia is a popular place to visit. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Myrtle Beach is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. It is common to spend one week here. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Myrtle Beach has to offer. This beach city offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, and Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Myrtle Beach 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 Myrtle Beach is $173. 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 Myrtle Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    Myrtle Beach $88
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    Myrtle Beach $176
Compare Hotels in Columbia and Myrtle Beach

Looking for a hotel in Columbia or Myrtle Beach? 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 Myrtle Beach


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 Myrtle Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    Myrtle Beach $24

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Myrtle Beach

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Myrtle Beach:

  • Private Departure Transfer to Myrtle Beach Airport (MYR): $36
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Myrtle Beach Airport MYR: $36
  • Myrtle Beach Intl. Airport (MYR) to Myrtle Beach - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $86

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

Prices for flights to both Myrtle Beach 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
    Myrtle Beach $56

Typical Food Prices in Myrtle Beach

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Myrtle Beach:


  • Dinner for Two
    $49
  • Diner Breakfast for Two
    $21

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Myrtle Beach

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

  • Murder Mystery Dinner Show in Myrtle Beach: $50
  • Polynesian Fire Luau and Dinner Show Ticket in Myrtle Beach: $67
  • North Dinner Cruise on a Paddle Wheel Boat: $70
  • Luau with Polynesian Dinner and Live Show: $71

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    Myrtle Beach $46

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

Typical Entertainment Prices in Myrtle Beach

Here are a few typical costs in Myrtle Beach for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Mini Golf for Two
    $18
  • Beach Chairs
    $15

Tours and Activities in Myrtle Beach

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

  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Myrtle Beach by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Myrtle Beach, SC: $15
  • Ghosts and Pirates Haunted City Walking Tour: $26
  • Murrells Inlet: Scenic Sunset Cruise: $29
  • Myrtle Beach Ghosts Tour: $30
  • Murrells Inlet: Saltwater Marsh Shelling & Eco Tour: $32
  • Myrtle Beach Military History Trolley Tour: $40
  • Myrtle Beach Area Ghosts, Pirates and Historic Families Trolley Tour: $40
  • The Comedy Shoppe at Wonders Theatre Ticket: $40
  • Early Myrtle Beach History and The WWII Years Trolley Tour: $40
  • Myrtle Beach History, Movies and Music Trolley Tour: $40
  • Waccamaw River Nature and Wildlife Tour: $41

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbia $88
    Myrtle Beach $16


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Columbia and Myrtle Beach, we can see that Myrtle Beach 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 Myrtle Beach would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Myrtle Beach 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 Myrtle Beach Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Columbia or Myrtle Beach?

Columbia has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Myrtle Beach. When comparing the sizes of Columbia and Myrtle Beach, 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 Myrtle Beach?

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 Columbia or Myrtle Beach in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbia and Myrtle Beach. The family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Columbia this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Myrtle Beach for the beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Columbia is around the same temperature as Myrtle Beach. Typically, the summer temperatures in Columbia in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Myrtle Beach averages at about 81°F (27°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Myrtle Beach this time of the year. In Columbia, it's very sunny this time of the year. Columbia usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Myrtle Beach during summer. Columbia gets 293 hours of sunny skies, while Myrtle Beach receives 283 hours of full sun in the summer.

Myrtle Beach receives a lot of rain in the summer. Columbia gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Columbia usually receives less rain than Myrtle Beach. Columbia gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while Myrtle Beach receives 8.1 inches (207 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbia 82°F (28°C) 
    Myrtle Beach 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Myrtle Beach in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Columbia as well as Myrtle Beach. Many travelers come to Columbia for the shopping scene. Additionally, many visitors come to Myrtle Beach in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene.

In October, Columbia is generally around the same temperature as Myrtle Beach. Daily temperatures in Columbia average around 64°F (18°C), and Myrtle Beach fluctuates around 65°F (18°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Myrtle Beach. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbia this time of the year. In the autumn, Columbia often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Myrtle Beach. Columbia gets 230 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Myrtle Beach receives 227 hours of full sun.

Columbia usually gets more rain in October than Myrtle Beach. Columbia gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Myrtle Beach receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Myrtle Beach 65°F (18°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Myrtle Beach in the Winter?

Both Myrtle Beach and Columbia are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Columbia in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Myrtle Beach for the shopping scene and the cuisine during these months.

Columbia is around the same temperature as Myrtle Beach in the winter. The daily temperature in Columbia averages around 45°F (7°C) in January, and Myrtle Beach fluctuates around 45°F (7°C).

Columbia usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Myrtle Beach during winter. Columbia gets 171 hours of sunny skies, while Myrtle Beach receives 180 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Columbia usually receives around the same amount of rain as Myrtle Beach. Columbia gets 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain, while Myrtle Beach receives 3.9 inches (98 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbia 45°F (7°C) 
    Myrtle Beach 45°F (7°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Myrtle Beach in the Spring?

Both Myrtle Beach and Columbia during the spring are popular places to visit. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Myrtle Beach because of the beaches and the activities around the city.

In the spring, Columbia is around the same temperature as Myrtle Beach. Typically, the spring temperatures in Columbia in April average around 64°F (18°C), and Myrtle Beach averages at about 62°F (17°C).

In Myrtle Beach, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Columbia. In the spring, Columbia often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Myrtle Beach. Columbia gets 273 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Myrtle Beach receives 278 hours of full sun.

Columbia usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Myrtle Beach. Columbia gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Myrtle Beach receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Myrtle Beach 62°F (17°C)

Typical Weather for Myrtle Beach and Columbia

Columbia Myrtle Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Feb 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 48°F (9°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm)
Mar 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
May 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 70°F (21°C) 4.4 inches (113 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 77°F (25°C) 6 inches (152 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 81°F (27°C) 8.1 inches (207 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm) 80°F (26°C) 6.9 inches (176 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 75°F (24°C) 5 inches (128 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 65°F (18°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm) 57°F (14°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
Dec 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm) 49°F (9°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)