A Travel Price Comparison for Ohio Columbus vs. Dayton for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Columbus or Dayton?

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

Should I visit Columbus or Dayton? 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: Columbus or Dayton?

Columbus

The capital city of Ohio, Columbus sits at the meeting point of America's Rust Belt, Bible Belt, Appalachia, and the Plains. It is also home of Ohio State University, which is a major financial and economic force in the city. While not always famous for it's sights and attractions, visitors will be pleasantly surprised by what they find here.

Dayton

Located in southwest Ohio, Dayton is known as the "Gem City." It's the original home of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the brothers who designed the first airplane. You'll also find the Dayton Aviation Heritage Park here, which is one of the only multi-site National Parks in the United States. The cities climate has four different seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall. The winter months are quite cold and you can expect a decent amount of snow in the area. Spring remains cool and there are infrequent showers. This is also the peak time for tornadoes in the area. Summer is hot and humid and can be unpleasant at times, but fall is crisp and refreshing with occasional storms and infrequent tornadoes.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage, and The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco.


Which place is cheaper, Dayton or Columbus?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Columbus is $158, while the average daily cost in Dayton is $323. 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 Columbus and Dayton in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $72
    Dayton $250
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $144
    Dayton $500
Compare Hotels in Columbus and Dayton

Looking for a hotel in Columbus or Dayton? 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 Columbus


Hotels in Dayton


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: Columbus Hotel Prices and Dayton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbus $50
    Dayton $25

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: $65
  • Columbus to Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) - Departure Private Transfer: $65
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $130
  • Columbus Ohio (CMH) Airport Arrival or Departure Private Transfer: $180

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbus or Dayton?

Prices for flights to both Dayton and Columbus 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
    Columbus $49
    Dayton $61

Typical Food Prices in Dayton

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


  • Noodle Company Lunch (for 2)
    $17
  • Indian Food Dinner (for 2)
    $34

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

Tours and Activities in Columbus

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

  • 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
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus Ticket: $28
  • The Escape Game Epic 60-Minute Adventures: $41
  • 1-Hour Themed Escape Room Adventure & Narrative: $41
  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Trolley Pub Holiday Lights Tour in Columbus: $45

Tours and Activities in Dayton

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

  • Daytona Beach: Guided Kayaking or Standup Paddling Tour: $65

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Dayton

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

  • Dive Bar Bus Crawl: $38


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


Which is Bigger, Columbus or Dayton?

Columbus has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Dayton. When comparing the sizes of Columbus and Dayton, 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 Columbus or Dayton?

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 Columbus or Dayton in the Summer?

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

In July, Columbus is generally around the same temperature as Dayton. Daily temperatures in Columbus average around 77°F (25°C), and Dayton fluctuates around 78°F (26°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Dayton. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbus this time of the year. In the summer, Columbus often gets less sunshine than Dayton. Columbus gets 254 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dayton receives 298 hours of full sun.

Columbus receives a lot of rain in the summer. Columbus usually gets more rain in July than Dayton. Columbus gets 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain, while Dayton receives 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbus 77°F (25°C) 
    Dayton 78°F (26°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Dayton in the Autumn?

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

Columbus is around the same temperature as Dayton in the autumn. The daily temperature in Columbus averages around 57°F (14°C) in October, and Dayton fluctuates around 57°F (14°C).

Columbus usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Dayton during autumn. Columbus gets 179 hours of sunny skies, while Dayton receives 188 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Columbus usually receives less rain than Dayton. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain, while Dayton receives 2.5 inches (64 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbus 57°F (14°C) 
    Dayton 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Dayton in the Winter?

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

The weather in Dayton can be very cold. Columbus can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Columbus is around the same temperature as Dayton. Typically, the winter temperatures in Columbus in January average around 30°F (-1°C), and Dayton averages at about 30°F (-1°C).

In the winter, Columbus often gets less sunshine than Dayton. Columbus gets 105 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dayton receives 129 hours of full sun.

Columbus usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Dayton. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain, while Dayton receives 2.1 inches (54 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbus 30°F (-1°C) 
    Dayton 30°F (-1°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Dayton in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbus and Dayton.

In April, Columbus is generally around the same temperature as Dayton. Daily temperatures in Columbus average around 54°F (12°C), and Dayton fluctuates around 55°F (13°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Dayton this time of the year. Columbus usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Dayton during spring. Columbus gets 200 hours of sunny skies, while Dayton receives 215 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Columbus usually receives less rain than Dayton. Columbus gets 3.2 inches (81 mm) of rain, while Dayton receives 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbus 54°F (12°C) 
    Dayton 55°F (13°C)

Typical Weather for Dayton and Columbus

Columbus Dayton
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 30°F (-1°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 30°F (-1°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm)
Feb 33°F (1°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 33°F (1°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
Mar 45°F (7°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Apr 54°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 65°F (18°C) 4 inches (102 mm)
Jun 73°F (23°C) 4 inches (102 mm) 74°F (23°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Jul 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Aug 75°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 76°F (25°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Sep 69°F (20°C) 3 inches (76 mm) 69°F (21°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)
Oct 57°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.5 inches (64 mm)
Nov 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)
Dec 35°F (2°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 35°F (2°C) 3 inches (75 mm)