A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Destin vs. Tampa for Beaches, Families, Food, and Couples

Should you visit Destin or Tampa?

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


Destin is a family-friendly, beautiful, and relaxing beach town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the shopping, food, and beaches.


Tampa is a low-key, laid-back, and easy-going city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. It's also known for beaches.

How is Destin different from Tampa?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Destin or Tampa better for Food?

Local dishes are fun to try in both Destin and Tampa.

Destin offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The area has great seafood including crab chowder, seafood gumbo, and fried fish.

Tampa may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Some favorite dishes include fresh caught seafood, Grouper sandwiches, and Cuban sandwiches.

Is Destin or Tampa better for Nightlife?

Evening events are similar in both Destin and Tampa.

People don't go to Destin for the nightlife. 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.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Tampa. The city has some good nightclubs, sports bars, and other spots where locals enjoy spending the evening.

Is Destin or Tampa better for Beaches?

Destin and Tampa are good 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.

Tampa is considered a top beach destination. Popular beaches near Tampa include Ben T. Davis Beach, Fred Howard Park, and Indian Rocks Beach.

Is Destin or Tampa better for Families?

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

Destin is a very family-friendly place to visit. The area has beautiful sandy beaches, calm waters, and plenty of activities like Big Kahuna's Water Park.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Tampa. The city has a number of kid-oriented attractions including Busch Gardens Amusement Park, several kid-friendly museums, and a number of animal centers, aquariums, and wildlife rescue facilities.

Is Destin or Tampa better for Couples?

Both Destin and Tampa are good destinations to visit as a couple.

Destin is a nice destination for couples. 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.

Tampa is not always the best place to visit for a couple. The area does have great restaurants and some fun places to explore.

Is Destin or Tampa better for Public Transit?

Both Destin and Tampa offer public transit options.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Destin.

Public transit is quite limited in Tampa. There is the street car that runs from downtown Tampa to Ybor City and stops at 11 stations.

Is Destin or Tampa a more walkable city?

Destin and Tampa both are comparable when exploring on foot.

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

Tampa is generally not a very walkable beach town. While there are some neighborhoods that are considered walkable, you really need a car if you hope to explore Tampa in depth.

Destin and Tampa: Pros and Cons

  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Less popular with couples

Should I spend more time in Tampa or Destin?

How long in Destin or Tampa?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Destin and Tampa. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Destin than Tampa.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Destin is 5-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Tampa is 2-3 days.

  • How many days in Destin or Tampa? Ideal Length of Stay
    Destin 5-7 
    Tampa 2-3

One day in Destin or Tampa?

In Destin, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this peaceful destination offers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. This beach town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

Many travelers enjoy the when visiting the destination of Tampa. 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 Tampa?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Destin. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Tampa is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Destin or Tampa?

Destin is a fun place to experience. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Tampa. Most people come for the beaches. Five days may feel like too much time here unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Destin or Tampa?

In Destin, many people enjoy the shopping and food that this relaxing destination offers. Plenty of people spend one week here when traveling. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. One week is often enough time to spend here.

Travelers enjoy the when visiting the low-key destination of Tampa. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Which city is cheaper, Tampa or Destin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Destin is $153, while the average daily cost in Tampa is $119. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Destin and Tampa in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Destin $89
    Tampa $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Destin $178
    Tampa $120

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Destin $40
    Tampa $38

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

Also for Tampa, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Departure Transfer - to Tampa Airport (TPA): $28
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Tampa Airport (TPA): $32
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Tampa to Tampa International Airport (TPA): $44
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Land O' Lakes Florida: $60
  • Private Airport Transfer: Tampa International Airport (TPA) to Tampa: $61
  • Transfer from Tampa International Airport to Tampa: $75
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Tampa hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $82
  • Tampa hotel or address to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Private Transfer: $82
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to St Petersburg hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $83
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Clearwater Beach - Arrival Private Transfer: $83
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Bradenton: $110
  • Private Tampa Transfer: Cruise Port to Airport or Hotel: $113

Is it cheaper to fly into Destin or Tampa?

Prices for flights to both Tampa 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 Meals for one day
    Destin $41
    Tampa $35

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Destin $14
    Tampa $15
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

Tours and Activities in Destin

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

  • 4 Hour Fishing Trip on a Catamaran with an Experienced Captain: $799
  • Crab Island Sandbar Adventure: $82
  • Harbor Lights Tiki Cruise through Destin Harbor: $50
  • Private Banana Boat Tour: $53
  • Seas The Day 1.5 Hour Segway Tour 11 am daily: $49
  • Small Boat Sunset Cruise in Destin: $45
  • Summer Breeze 1 Hour Segway Tour 2:30 pm Daily: $38
  • Tiki Harbor Sightseeing Cruise: $50
  • Tiki Sunset Cruise: $61

Tours and Activities in Tampa

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

  • 1 Hour Haunted History Walking Tour: $23
  • Skip the Line: The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay Ticket: $26
  • Tampa Celebrity Homes Boat Tour: $30
  • 1.5-hour Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise from Tampa: $31
  • Tampa History Cruise: $31
  • VIP Ghost Hunters Tour Semi Private: $35
  • Skip the Line: ZooTampa at Lowry Park Admission Ticket: $45
  • Historic Ybor City Food and Drink Walking Tour: $59
  • 2-hour Tiki Boat BYOB Cruise in Tampa: $60
  • Adventure Island Water Park Ticket: $63
  • Tampa Indoor Skydiving Experience with 2 Flights & Personalized Certificate: $70
  • ZooQuarium 1-Day Ticket: $79

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Destin $39
    Tampa $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Bar Hunt: Tampa Takeover Bar Crawl: $12
  • Haunted Tampa Ghost and Pub Walking Tour - Ybor City: $26
  • Private Tampa Brewery Tour - Party Bus: $600

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Destin and Tampa, we can see that Destin is more expensive. And not only is Tampa much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Tampa would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Tampa 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 Tampa.

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Destin vs. Tampa Travel Comparison

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