A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Daytona Beach vs. Marathon for Nightlife, Resorts, Beaches, and Families

Should you visit Daytona Beach or Marathon?

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

Should I visit Daytona Beach or Marathon? 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.

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is a lively, fun, and party-hard beach city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, live music, and beaches.

Marathon

Marathon is a quaint, beautiful, and relaxing island. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Daytona Beach and Marathon: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Not as many resort options
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Daytona Beach or Marathon?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Daytona Beach than Marathon, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Daytona Beach is better known for its nightlife, music, shopping, and big city activities, while Marathon is more popular for its food, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and impressive beauty. Daytona Beach is more touristy than Marathon and is popular for its spring break culture, wild parties, and the Daytona 500 NASCAR race. Also, Daytona Beach is famous for The Daytona International Speedway. Marathon is well known for its Loggerhead sea turtles, the Dolphin Research Center, Sombrero Beach, and its many places to scuba dive and snorkel.

How is Daytona Beach different from Marathon?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is the Food Better in Daytona Beach or Marathon? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Marathon is a popular place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Daytona Beach is not a good beach city for its restaurants.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Marathon area. There are restaurants with waterfront terraces, raw bars, and other seafood eateries where you can enjoy fresh caught fish for a reasonable price.

Daytona Beach offers some easy restaurants to choose from. This beach is more about the parties and drinks than it is about the food.


Is Daytona Beach or Marathon Better for Nightlife?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Daytona Beach is a must-visit destination for nightlife. Also, Marathon is not as popular, but is still a nice island for nightlife and partying.

Daytona Beach is a world class party destination. Spring break is when the parties are at their peak. For the most active nightlife head to A1A from Ormond-by-the-Sea to Ponce Inlet, Main and Beach Streets, and Seabreeze Boulevard, ONE DAYTONA and International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach, and Granada Boulevard in Ormond Beach.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Marathon. Popular nightlife venues include JJ’s Dog House & Sports Bar, Brass Monkey, and Cabana Club.

Is Daytona Beach or Marathon Better for Music?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Daytona Beach is a nice place to visit for live music. However, Marathon is not a live music destination.

The music scene helps keep Daytona Beach active and fun. You can see live music at the Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Bandshell and The Roof.

Marathon is not a live music destination.

Is Daytona Beach or Marathon Better for Resorts?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Marathon is a well-known place for its resorts. However, Daytona Beach is not a good beach city for its luxury resorts.

Marathon is known as a popular and fun resort destination. Popular resorts include Isla Bella Beach Resort and Tranquility Bay Resort.

Daytona Beach has a few resort options worth checking out. Many resorts in the area focus more on affordability than luxury. The oceanfront hotels usually have nice beachfront pools and rooms with balconies and oceanfront views. You'll pay a bit more for the waterfront rooms.


Is Daytona Beach or Marathon Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Marathon is a popular place for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Daytona Beach is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Marathon has a few good snorkeling spots. There are many dive shops around Marathon and the area has dive spots that are great for every level. Some of the best sites are Sombrero Reef, Coffins Patch, and Thunderbolt wreck. There are also many snorkeling trips that head out to Sombrero Reef.

Daytona Beach is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Daytona Beach or Marathon Better for Beaches?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Marathon is a well-known place for the beach. Also, Daytona Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach city to visit for its beaches.

Marathon is considered a top beach destination. Sombrero Beach is a popular spot for picnics, swimming and seeing the Loggerhead Turtles from April through October.

Many people head to Daytona Beach to enjoy the beach. The city's beaches are lively and festive, so if you're looking for a beach with music, drinking, and partying, then this is your place. In the surrounding areas you'll find some quieter, more family-friendly beaches. It's also best to avoid the Spring Break crowds if you're hoping for a quieter and more family-friendly vacation.

Is the Shopping Better in Daytona Beach or Marathon?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Daytona Beach is adequate for shopping. However, Marathon is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Daytona Beach is a good destination for shopping. Souvenir shops and t-shirt shops are the main shopping you'll find in this area. The boardwalk is lined with gimmicky shops where you can pick up magnets or beach paraphernalia.

Marathon is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Daytona Beach or Marathon Better for Families?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Marathon is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. However, Daytona Beach is not a good beach city for its kid-friendly activities.

Marathon is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. Kids will enjoy getting face-to-face with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center. Families can also explore Pigeon Key or play in the water at Sombrero Beach. Families will find no shortage of activities on the island.

Daytona Beach is not always a place people visit with their families. Although it's best avoided during spring break, Daytona with kids can be fun when the crowds aren't too bad. There are water parks, surfing lessons, and of course the beach. The restaurants are usually family-friendly as well with many offering kid's menus and early opening hours.

Is Daytona Beach or Marathon Better for Couples?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Marathon is a well-known place for couples. Also, Daytona Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach city to visit for romance.

Marathon is a very popular place to visit for couples. With beautiful views, 7 Mile Bridge, and plenty of activities, this area makes a romantic destination for couples. There are beaches and waterfront spots that offer a romantic setting for couples.

Daytona Beach is a nice destination for couples. While romance isn't exactly what comes to mind when you first think of Daytona, couples who like to party and be out and about will enjoy a visit to Daytona Beach. There's plenty to do and some very great seafood restaurants in the area, so it's not hard to turn it into a couple's destination.

Is Daytona Beach or Marathon Better for Students?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Daytona Beach is a must-visit destination for its student-friendly activities. However, Marathon is not popular with students.

Daytona Beach is a great destination for students. It's one of the original Spring Break destinations, and the trend continues. If you're a student looking to cut loose, you'll find plenty of likeminded vacationers in the area, with many bars and hotels catering specifically to the younger crowd.

Marathon is not popular with students.


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

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Neither Daytona Beach or Marathon offer decent public transit.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Daytona Beach. There's limited transportation options around town so you really must have a private vehicle. If you've been out drinking, you can call a taxi or an Uber.

Public transit is quite limited in Marathon. There's no real public transportation in town. A car is essential.

Is Daytona Beach or Marathon a more walkable city?

Daytona Beach
Marathon

Marathon is a moderate island for its ease of walking around. However, Daytona Beach is not a good beach city for its walkability.

Marathon is generally not very walkable. Shops and restaurants and spread out along a central road, making walking difficult to impossible.

Daytona Beach is not a very walkable beach city. This area requires a car if you want to access restaurants, nightlife, or anything away from your hotel.

For even more information, also check out Is Daytona Beach Worth Visiting? and Is Marathon Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Marathon or Daytona Beach?

How long in Daytona Beach or Marathon?

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

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

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


  • How many days in Daytona Beach or Marathon? Ideal Length of Stay
    Daytona Beach 7 
    Marathon 3-7

One day in Daytona Beach or Marathon?

The beach city of Daytona Beach offers live music and nightlife. 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.

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife when visiting the quaint destination of Marathon. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.


A weekend in Daytona Beach or Marathon?

Daytona Beach is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Marathon. Most people come for the beaches. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Five days in Daytona Beach or Marathon?

Daytona Beach is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Many travelers enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the quaint destination of Marathon. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.

A week in Daytona Beach or Marathon?

Daytona Beach is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This beach city offers something for everyone.

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife when visiting the beautiful island of Marathon. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling.So, one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, and The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Marathon or Daytona Beach?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Daytona Beach is $211, while the average daily cost in Marathon is $158. 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 Daytona Beach and Marathon in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Daytona Beach $84
    Marathon $76
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Daytona Beach $168
    Marathon $152
Compare Hotels in Daytona Beach and Marathon

Looking for a hotel in Daytona Beach or Marathon? 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 Daytona Beach


Hotels in Marathon


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: Daytona Beach Hotel Prices and Marathon Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Daytona Beach $53
    Marathon $47

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Daytona Beach

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Daytona Beach:

  • Private Transfer from Daytona to Orlando-Sanford (SFB) Airport: $200
  • Private Transfer from New Smyrna Beach to Orlando-Sanford (SFB) Airport: $185

Is it cheaper to fly into Daytona Beach or Marathon?

Prices for flights to both Marathon and Daytona Beach 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
    Daytona Beach $80
    Marathon $51

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Daytona Beach

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

  • Polynesian Fire and Dinner Show Ticket in Daytona Beach: $53

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Daytona Beach $28
    Marathon $27

Tours and Activities in Daytona Beach

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

  • St. Johns River Nature Cruise at Blue Spring State Park : $23
  • 2-Hour Glass Bottom Guided Eco Tour in Flagler County-Small-group: $85
  • Guided Kayaking or Standup Paddling Tour: $65
  • Dolphin and Manatee Kayak Tour of Daytona Beach: $65
  • Dolphin and Manatee Stand Up Paddleboard Tour in Daytona Beach: $65
  • Guided Wildlife Eco Kayak Tour in New Smyrna Beach: $45
  • New Smyrna Dolphin and Manatee Kayak and SUP Adventure Tour: $65
  • Orlando Manatee and Natural Spring Adventure Tour at Blue Springs: $65
  • Ormond Beach Manatee and Nature Tour Kayaking or Paddle Boarding: $59
  • Small-Group Sailing Tour in Daytona Beach: $79
  • The Great Daytona Wine Bar Tour: $40
  • Wildlife Tour of Indian River Lagoon with Experienced Captain: $32

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Daytona Beach $43
    Marathon $24

Sample the Local Flavors in Daytona Beach

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

  • Dive Bar Bus Crawl: $38
  • Dive Bar Bus Crawl from Daytona Beach: $40


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

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


Which is Bigger, Daytona Beach or Marathon?

Daytona Beach has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Marathon. When comparing the sizes of Daytona Beach and Marathon, 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 Daytona Beach or Marathon?

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 Daytona Beach or Marathon in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Daytona Beach as well as Marathon. Many travelers come to Daytona Beach for the beaches, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Marathon in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Daytona Beach is around the same temperature as Marathon. Typically, the summer temperatures in Daytona Beach in July average around 81°F (27°C), and Marathon averages at about 84°F (29°C).

Daytona Beach receives a lot of rain in the summer. Daytona Beach usually gets more rain in July than Marathon. Daytona Beach gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 3.3 inches (83 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Daytona Beach 81°F (27°C) 
    Marathon 84°F (29°C)

Should I visit Daytona Beach or Marathon in the Autumn?

Both Marathon and Daytona Beach are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Daytona Beach in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene. Also, most visitors come to Marathon for the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In October, Daytona Beach is generally cooler than Marathon. Daily temperatures in Daytona Beach average around 74°F (23°C), and Marathon fluctuates around 80°F (27°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Marathon. It's quite rainy in Daytona Beach. In October, Daytona Beach usually receives less rain than Marathon. Daytona Beach gets 4.1 inches (105 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Daytona Beach 74°F (23°C) 
    Marathon 80°F (27°C)

Should I visit Daytona Beach or Marathon in the Winter?

Both Marathon and Daytona Beach during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Daytona Beach for the shopping scene and the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Marathon because of the cuisine.

Daytona Beach is cooler than Marathon in the winter. The daily temperature in Daytona Beach averages around 58°F (14°C) in January, and Marathon fluctuates around 70°F (21°C).

Daytona Beach usually gets more rain in January than Marathon. Daytona Beach gets 2.8 inches (70 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 1.7 inches (43 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Daytona Beach 58°F (14°C) 
    Marathon 70°F (21°C)

Should I visit Daytona Beach or Marathon in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Daytona Beach and Marathon. The spring months attract visitors to Daytona Beach because of the beaches and the activities around the city. Furthermore, the beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Marathon this time of year.

In the spring, Daytona Beach is cooler than Marathon. Typically, the spring temperatures in Daytona Beach in April average around 69°F (21°C), and Marathon averages at about 77°F (25°C).

In April, Daytona Beach usually receives more rain than Marathon. Daytona Beach gets 2.2 inches (57 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 0.8 inches (21 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Daytona Beach 69°F (21°C) 
    Marathon 77°F (25°C)

Typical Weather for Marathon and Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach Marathon
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 58°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (70 mm) 70°F (21°C) 1.7 inches (43 mm)
Feb 59°F (15°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 71°F (21°C) 1.4 inches (36 mm)
Mar 65°F (18°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 74°F (23°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm)
Apr 69°F (21°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm) 77°F (25°C) 0.8 inches (21 mm)
May 75°F (24°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 81°F (27°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 6 inches (152 mm) 83°F (28°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 84°F (29°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 6.2 inches (157 mm) 84°F (29°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Sep 80°F (26°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm) 83°F (29°C) 5.7 inches (144 mm)
Oct 74°F (23°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 80°F (27°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm)
Nov 66°F (19°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 76°F (24°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
Dec 60°F (16°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm) 72°F (22°C) 1.4 inches (35 mm)