A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Destin vs. Pensacola for Beaches, Food, Resorts, and Families

Should you visit Destin or Pensacola?

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 Pensacola can help you decide which place is right for you.

Destin

Destin is a peaceful, family-friendly, and beautiful beach town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the beaches, shopping, and food.

Pensacola

Pensacola is a fun-filled, active, and entertaining beach town. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Destin and Pensacola: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Destin or Pensacola?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Pensacola. Although Destin and Pensacola are popular destinations, Pensacola has more sights and attractions for tourists. Pensacola is very popular for its museums, food, nightlife, beaches, and hiking, while Destin attracts visitors for its impressive beauty. Pensacola is more touristy than Destin and is known for its white sand beaches and long running naval history. It is also well known for Gulf Islands National Seashore. Destin is famous for its powdery sand and turquoise water, its kid-friendly environment, and its local waterfront seafood restaurants.

How is Destin different from Pensacola?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Destin or Pensacola?

Destin
Pensacola

Pensacola is very good for its sights and museums. However, Destin does not have museums and landmarks.

Pensacola is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. On a rainy day there are some nice museums in the area. You can visit the National Naval Aviation Museum, the Historic Pensacola Village, the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, or Pensacola Children's Museum.

Destin does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Destin
Pensacola

Pensacola is notable for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Destin is not as famous, but is still a good beach town to visit for its restaurants.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Pensacola makes for a great culinary experience. You'll find no shortage of seafood options around town. Oysters, shrimp, and fresh fish are popular on the menus. You'll also find lots of Cajun flavors as well as casual sandwiches and pizza.

Destin has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. 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.

Is Destin or Pensacola Better for Nightlife?

Destin
Pensacola

Pensacola 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 Pensacola. There's a casual nightlife scene with pubs, live music, and a mellow but fun setting.

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 Pensacola Better for Resorts?

Destin
Pensacola

Luxury resorts are fairly comparable in Destin and Pensacola.

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.

Pensacola is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Family-friendly resorts with pools, waterslides, and lazy rivers are common. You'll also find beachfront hotels and more affordable options set back from the beach.


Is Destin or Pensacola Better for Beaches?

Destin
Pensacola

Pensacola is terrific for its beaches. Also, Destin is not as famous, but is still a good beach town to visit for the beache.

With world-famous beaches, Pensacola is a very popular vacation destination. White sand beaches with blue water and mild temperatures make this a wonderful beach destination. Some of the best beaches include Casino Beach, Perdido Key Beach, and Opal Beach.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Destin. 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.

Is Destin or Pensacola Better for Hiking?

Destin
Pensacola

Pensacola is a moderate beach town for the nearby hiking options. However, Destin is not a hiking destination.

Pensacola has hiking trails if you want to get outside. Step away from the beachfront development and you'll find some nice nature parks with quiet walking trails.

Destin is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Destin or Pensacola?

Destin
Pensacola

Both Destin and Pensacola are nice shopping destinations.

Destin is a great destination for shopping. 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.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Pensacola. There are sprawling shopping malls and shopping centers as well as local boutiques and quintessential souvenir shops.


Is Destin or Pensacola Better for Families?

Destin
Pensacola

You'll find very good kid-friendly activities in either Destin or Pensacola.

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, Pensacola is very family-friendly. Kid-friendly beaches, minigolf, a zoo, and even a few museums make this a great family destination. There are family-friendly resorts and kid-friendly restaurants that make for an easy vacation that everyone will enjoy.

Is Destin or Pensacola Better for Couples?

Destin
Pensacola

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

Pensacola is a very popular place to visit for couples. Beautiful beaches and sunset cruises make this a great romantic getaway. You'll find great restaurants for a date night and plenty of activity once the sun goes down. During the day you can lounge on the beach or by the pool, sip drinks, and enjoy a vacation with your loved one.

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 Pensacola Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Destin
Pensacola

Neither Destin or Pensacola 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 Pensacola. There's a bus system, but it's not particularly helpful to vacationers.


Is Destin or Pensacola a more walkable city?

Destin
Pensacola

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

Pensacola is generally not very walkable. It's not a particularly walkable city and you'll want to have a car to fully enjoy your vacation.

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 Pensacola Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Pensacola or Destin?

How long in Destin or Pensacola?

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

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Pensacola 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 Pensacola.


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

One day in Destin or Pensacola?

You'll find food and shopping around the beach town of Destin. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Pensacola. 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 Pensacola?

You'll find shopping and food around the relaxing destination of Destin. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This beach town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Pensacola is a great place to explore. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. 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 Pensacola?

You'll find food and shopping around the peaceful beach town of Destin. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this beach town makes for a great vacation. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this beach town has to offer.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Pensacola. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. 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 Pensacola?

Destin is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Destin, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the entertaining destination of Pensacola. This beach town 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, Pensacola 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 Pensacola is $198. 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 Pensacola in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Destin $111
    Pensacola $115
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Destin $222
    Pensacola $230
Compare Hotels in Destin and Pensacola

Looking for a hotel in Destin or Pensacola? 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 Pensacola


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 Pensacola Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Destin $50
    Pensacola $64

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Destin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Destin:

  • Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport One Way Transfer: $119

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Pensacola

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Pensacola:


  • Boca Grande Causeway Toll
    $5.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Pensacola

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Pensacola:

  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS) to Pensacola - Arrival Private Transfer: $54
  • Pensacola to Pensacola International Airport (PNS) - Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS) to Destin, FL - Arrival Private Transfer: $71
  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS) to Pensacola - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $109
  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS) to Destin, FL - Roundtrip Private Transfer: $141

Is it cheaper to fly into Destin or Pensacola?

Prices for flights to both Pensacola 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
    Pensacola $48

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

Typical Food Prices in Pensacola

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


  • Two Ice Creams
    $6.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Pensacola

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

  • Seville Stroll Food Tour: $72

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Destin $17
    Pensacola $13
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:

  • Flippers Adventures Dolphin Cruise: $25
  • Dolphin & Sunset Cruises: $32
  • Destin Harbor Sunset Eco Dolphin Cruise: $35
  • Kayak Adventure in Destin and Fort Walton Beach : $35
  • Chakras Sound Bath Meditation Experience in Destin: $35
  • Stand Up Paddle Board Adventures in Destin and Fort Walton Beach: $35
  • Fort Walton Beach: Fireworks Cruise on the Emerald Coast: $40
  • Snorkeling and Dolphin Watching Experience in Destin: $40
  • Fireworks Cruise on the Emerald Coast: $40
  • Destin Harbor Fireworks Cruise: $40
  • Family Friendly Snorkeling and Dolphin Tour: $40
  • Hydrojet Dolphin Cruise in Destin FL : $40

Typical Entertainment Prices in Pensacola

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


  • Bike Rental
    $16

Tours and Activities in Pensacola

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

  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Pensacola by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Pensacola by Zombie Scavengers: $20
  • Public Dolphin & Scenic Bay Sightseeing Cruise, Pensacola FL: $30
  • Ghosts and Graveyard Tour of Pensacola: $34
  • Hop-on Hop-off Tour in Pensacola : $35
  • Frisky Mermaid Public Dolphin + Sightseeing Cruise Up to 49 Pax: $37
  • Pensacola Beach Jolly Dolphin Cruise and Scenic Bay Tour: $39
  • Pensacola Shared Trolley Ghost and Mystery Tour: $45
  • Land Paddle Tour in Pensacola: $50
  • Seville Quarter Haunted Ghost Tour, Investigation, and Luncheon: $50
  • Seville Haunted Luncheon and Ghost Tour: $50
  • 1hr Segway Tour Downtown : $57

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Destin $49
    Pensacola $44

Sample the Local Flavors in Pensacola

Also in Pensacola, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Walking Pub Tour : $21


When comparing the travel costs between Destin and Pensacola, we can see that Pensacola is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Destin or Pensacola?

Pensacola has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Destin. When comparing the sizes of Destin and Pensacola, 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 Pensacola?

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 Destin or Pensacola in the Summer?

Both Pensacola and Destin are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The summer months attract visitors to Destin because of the beaches and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Pensacola this time of year.

In the summer, Destin is around the same temperature as Pensacola. Typically, the summer temperatures in Destin in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Pensacola averages at about 82°F (28°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Pensacola. It's quite rainy in Destin. In July, Destin usually receives around the same amount of rain as Pensacola. Destin gets 7.4 inches (189 mm) of rain, while Pensacola receives 7.4 inches (189 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Destin 82°F (28°C) 
    Pensacola 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Destin or Pensacola in the Autumn?

Both Pensacola and Destin during the autumn are popular places to visit. The shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Destin this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Pensacola for the hiking trails and the shopping scene.

In October, Destin is generally around the same temperature as Pensacola. Daily temperatures in Destin average around 69°F (21°C), and Pensacola fluctuates around 69°F (21°C).

Pensacola gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Destin. Destin usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Pensacola. Destin gets 4.2 inches (107 mm) of rain, while Pensacola receives 4.2 inches (107 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, June to November in Pensacola is the hurricane season.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Destin 69°F (21°C) 
    Pensacola 69°F (21°C)

Should I visit Destin or Pensacola in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Destin and Pensacola. Many travelers come to Destin for the shopping scene and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Pensacola in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Destin is around the same temperature as Pensacola in the winter. The daily temperature in Destin averages around 50°F (10°C) in January, and Pensacola fluctuates around 51°F (10°C).

Pensacola receives a lot of rain in the winter. Destin gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In January, Destin usually receives around the same amount of rain as Pensacola. Destin gets 4.6 inches (117 mm) of rain, while Pensacola receives 4.6 inches (117 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Destin 50°F (10°C) 
    Pensacola 51°F (10°C)

Should I visit Destin or Pensacola in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Destin as well as Pensacola. Many visitors come to Destin in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to Pensacola for the beaches during these months.

In the spring, Destin is around the same temperature as Pensacola. Typically, the spring temperatures in Destin in April average around 68°F (20°C), and Pensacola averages at about 67°F (20°C).

Destin usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Pensacola. Destin gets 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain, while Pensacola receives 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, the hurricane season in Pensacola is June to November.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Destin 68°F (20°C) 
    Pensacola 67°F (20°C)

Typical Weather for Pensacola and Destin

Destin Pensacola
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 50°F (10°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm) 51°F (10°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm)
Feb 54°F (12°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 54°F (12°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm)
Mar 60°F (16°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 60°F (16°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm)
Apr 68°F (20°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 67°F (20°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
May 74°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 74°F (24°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Jun 80°F (27°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm) 80°F (27°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (189 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (189 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (188 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (188 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 5.3 inches (135 mm) 78°F (26°C) 5.3 inches (135 mm)
Oct 69°F (21°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 69°F (21°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Nov 61°F (16°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm) 61°F (16°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Dec 54°F (12°C) 4.3 inches (109 mm) 54°F (12°C) 4.3 inches (109 mm)