A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Destin vs. Marathon for Resorts, Beaches, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Destin or Marathon?

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 Destin and Marathon can help you decide which place is right for you.

Destin

Destin is a relaxing, peaceful, and family-friendly beach town. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include food, beaches, and shopping.

Marathon

Marathon is a beautiful, relaxing, and quaint island. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Destin and Marathon: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Destin or Marathon?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Marathon. Although Destin and Marathon are both popular with visitors, Marathon has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Marathon is more popular for its nightlife, scuba diving & snorkeling, and impressive beauty, while Destin is known for its shopping. Destin is popular for its powdery sand and turquoise water, its kid-friendly environment, and its local waterfront seafood restaurants. Marathon is popular for its Loggerhead sea turtles, the Dolphin Research Center, Sombrero Beach, and its many places to scuba dive and snorkel. It is also home to The Dolphin Research Center.

How is Destin different from Marathon?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Destin
Marathon

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Destin and Marathon.

Destin offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The area has great seafood including crab chowder, seafood gumbo, and fried fish. You can find wonderful local restaurants that have waterfront views and menus that feature freshly caught seafood. Many restaurants also have kid-friendly menus. During peak season, reservations are recommended.

Marathon has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are restaurants with waterfront terraces, raw bars, and other seafood eateries where you can enjoy fresh caught fish for a reasonable price.


Is Destin or Marathon Better for Nightlife?

Destin
Marathon

Marathon is very good for nightlife. However, Destin is a mediocre beach town for nightlife and partying.

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.

Destin doesn't offer many options. The region is more popular as a family-friendly beach destination than it is for it's nightlife. Head to the Harbor area for the most lively nightlife.

Is Destin or Marathon Better for Resorts?

Destin
Marathon

Luxury resorts are fairly comparable in Destin and Marathon.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Destin. Popular options include the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, as well as Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort & Spa. Most of the accommodation in the area is in the form of condos that include a kitchen and separate bedrooms. Most of these complexes also have pools, hot tubs, and even kids clubs.

Marathon is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Popular resorts include Isla Bella Beach Resort and Tranquility Bay Resort.

Is Destin or Marathon Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Destin
Marathon

Marathon is very good for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. However, Destin is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

It's worth going snorkeling or scuba diving in Marathon. 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.

Destin is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Destin or Marathon Better for Beaches?

Destin
Marathon

Destin and Marathon are excellent choices for a beach vacation.

Destin is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. This area is famous for its powdery white sand, beautiful blue waters, and calm waves. The beaches are large enough that they never get incredibly crowded, but you will find the largest crowds during the summer months. These beaches are particularly popular with families and seniors.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Marathon. Sombrero Beach is a popular spot for picnics, swimming and seeing the Loggerhead Turtles from April through October.

Is the Shopping Better in Destin or Marathon?

Destin
Marathon

Destin is a nice place to visit for shopping. However, Marathon is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Destin. In the shopping centers around town you'll find a number of unique boutique shops that are fun to explore. They have boutique-style beach clothes, local art, and any beach supplies that you may have forgotten.

Marathon is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Destin or Marathon Better for Families?

Destin
Marathon

You'll find excellent kid-friendly activities in either Destin or Marathon.

Destin is a very family-friendly place to visit. The area has beautiful sandy beaches, calm waters, and plenty of activities for kids like Big Kahuna's Water Park. This is one of the more kid-friendly areas in Florida and many families return year after year with their kids. There are also many condos available for rent and kids can have their own room, kitchens are available for meal preparation, and there are washers and dryers to clean clothes. Many of these condo complexes also have kid-friendly pools

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Marathon is very family-friendly. 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.


Is Destin or Marathon Better for Couples?

Destin
Marathon

Marathon is notable for romance. Also, Destin is not as famous, but is still a good beach town to visit for its romantic activities.

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.

Destin makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. For a relaxing beach vacation, this is a nice option for couples. A lot of the accommodation is in the form of condos, so it may not have the romantic resort vibe you're going for though. There are many great seafood restaurants and quiet beaches that have beautiful sunsets.

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

Destin
Marathon

Neither Destin or Marathon offer decent public transit.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Destin. There is almost no public transit so a car is essential. Some condo complexes do over golf carts to get around the grounds.

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

Is Destin or Marathon a more walkable city?

Destin
Marathon

Marathon is a moderate island for its walkability. However, Destin is a mediocre beach town for its high level of walkability.

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

Destin is not a very walkable beach town. The area is very spread out and not walkable so you'll need a car to access restaurants and most forms of entertainment.


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

Should I spend more time in Marathon or Destin?

How long in Destin or Marathon?

Both Destin and Marathon have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Marathon has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Marathon than Destin. In general, 5-7 days is a good amount of time for Destin, and 3-7 days is enough time in Marathon.

Families should spend more time in Marathon than Destin. 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 Destin. 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.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Marathon than Destin 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 Marathon.


  • How many days in Destin or Marathon? Ideal Length of Stay
    Destin 5-7 
    Marathon 3-7

One day in Destin or Marathon?

The beach town of Destin offers shopping and food. 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.

Many travelers enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the destination of Marathon. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Destin or Marathon?

Destin is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. 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.

Marathon is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Destin or Marathon?

Destin is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Destin, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Marathon. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Most people come for the beaches. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A week in Destin or Marathon?

Destin is a great place to explore. 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 Destin has to offer. This beach town offers something for everyone.

Many travelers enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the beautiful destination of Marathon. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.


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


Which place is cheaper, Marathon or Destin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Destin is $192, 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 Destin and Marathon in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Destin $111
    Marathon $76
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Destin $222
    Marathon $152
Compare Hotels in Destin and Marathon

Looking for a hotel in Destin 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 Destin


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: Destin Hotel Prices and Marathon Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Destin $50
    Marathon $47

Is it cheaper to fly into Destin or Marathon?

Prices for flights to both Marathon and Destin 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
    Destin $51
    Marathon $51

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Destin

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

  • 3 Hour Destin Dinner Cruise: Solaris Yacht in Miramar Beach: $128
  • 3 Hour Sunset Dinner Cruise by Solaris Yacht in Miramar Beach: $128
  • 3 Hour Sunset and Fireworks Dinner Cruise Solaris Miramar Beach: $128
  • Mother's Day Sunset Dinner Cruise: SOLARIS Yacht Miramar Beach FL: $128

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Destin $17
    Marathon $27
Typical Entertainment Prices in Destin

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Destin are as follows:


  • 1 Day Rental Umbrella and Chairs
    $40

Tours and Activities in Destin

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

  • FAMOUS Destin Dolphin Cruise & Crab Island Sandbar: $80
  • 1 Hour and 30 Minutes Harbor Sightseeing Cruise from Destin: $60
  • 3 Hour Crab Island and Dolphin Cruise from Destin : $70
  • Chakras Sound Bath Meditation Experience in Destin: $35
  • Clear Kayaking Eco Adventure Tour in Marianna: $75
  • Crab Island Dolphin Jetski Adventure : $227
  • Destin Harbor Sunset Eco Dolphin Cruise: $35
  • Half Day or Full Day Private Emerald Coast Tour: $2,568
  • Private Sunset Cruise with Dolphin Watching: $348
  • Snorkeling and Dolphin Watching Cruise: $41
  • Sunset Cruise with Soft Drinks on a Tiki-Themed Boat: $70
  • Dolphin & Sunset Cruises: $32

Tours and Activities in Marathon

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

  • Snorkel Adventure at Sombrero Key Light Reef: $80
  • Florida: Sunset Champagne Cruise on the Marathon Mermaid: $82

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Destin $49
    Marathon $24


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


Which is Bigger, Destin or Marathon?

Destin has a larger population, and is about 20% larger than the population of Marathon. When comparing the sizes of Destin 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 Destin 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 Destin or Marathon in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Destin as well as Marathon. The beaches and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Destin this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Marathon for the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences.

Destin is around the same temperature as Marathon in the summer. The daily temperature in Destin averages around 82°F (28°C) in July, and Marathon fluctuates around 84°F (29°C).

Destin receives a lot of rain in the summer. Destin usually gets more rain in July than Marathon. Destin gets 7.4 inches (189 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 3.3 inches (83 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Destin 82°F (28°C) 
    Marathon 84°F (29°C)

Should I visit Destin or Marathon in the Autumn?

Both Marathon and Destin are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Destin for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Marathon in the autumn for the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Destin is cooler than Marathon. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Destin in October average around 69°F (21°C), and Marathon averages at about 80°F (27°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Marathon. It's quite rainy in Destin. In October, Destin usually receives less rain than Marathon. Destin gets 4.2 inches (107 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Destin 69°F (21°C) 
    Marathon 80°F (27°C)

Should I visit Destin or Marathon in the Winter?

Both Marathon and Destin during the winter are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Destin in the winter for the shopping scene and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Marathon for the cuisine during these months.

In January, Destin is generally much colder than Marathon. Daily temperatures in Destin average around 50°F (10°C), and Marathon fluctuates around 70°F (21°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Destin. Destin usually gets more rain in January than Marathon. Destin gets 4.6 inches (117 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 1.7 inches (43 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Destin 50°F (10°C) 
    Marathon 70°F (21°C)

Should I visit Destin or Marathon in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Destin and Marathon. Most visitors come to Destin for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Marathon because of the beaches and the natural beauty.

Destin is cooler than Marathon in the spring. The daily temperature in Destin averages around 68°F (20°C) in April, and Marathon fluctuates around 77°F (25°C).

In April, Destin usually receives more rain than Marathon. Destin gets 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain, while Marathon receives 0.8 inches (21 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Destin 68°F (20°C) 
    Marathon 77°F (25°C)

Typical Weather for Marathon and Destin

Destin Marathon
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 50°F (10°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm) 70°F (21°C) 1.7 inches (43 mm)
Feb 54°F (12°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 71°F (21°C) 1.4 inches (36 mm)
Mar 60°F (16°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 74°F (23°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm)
Apr 68°F (20°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 77°F (25°C) 0.8 inches (21 mm)
May 74°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 81°F (27°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Jun 80°F (27°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm) 83°F (28°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (189 mm) 84°F (29°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (188 mm) 84°F (29°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 5.3 inches (135 mm) 83°F (29°C) 5.7 inches (144 mm)
Oct 69°F (21°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 80°F (27°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm)
Nov 61°F (16°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm) 76°F (24°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
Dec 54°F (12°C) 4.3 inches (109 mm) 72°F (22°C) 1.4 inches (35 mm)