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

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

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 food and beaches.

Destin and Tampa: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Destin or Tampa?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Tampa than Destin, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Tampa is better known for its nightlife, scuba diving & snorkeling, and big city activities, while Destin is more popular for its resorts, shopping, and impressive beauty. Destin is more touristy than Tampa and is popular for its powdery sand and turquoise water, its kid-friendly environment, and its local waterfront seafood restaurants. Tampa is well known for its amusement parks, wildlife parks, and popularity as a cruise ship port. Also, Tampa is famous for Busch Gardens.

How is Destin different from Tampa?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Destin
Tampa

Local dishes at restaurants 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. 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.

Tampa has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are a surprising number of great local restaurants around town as well as a good food truck scene. Some favorite dishes include fresh caught seafood, Grouper sandwiches, and Cuban sandwiches.


Is Destin or Tampa Better for Nightlife?

Destin
Tampa

Tampa is a moderate city for nightlife. However, Destin is a mediocre beach town for nightlife and partying.

Most people don't head to Tampa specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. The city has some good nightclubs, sports bars, and other spots where locals enjoy spending the evening.

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 Tampa Better for Resorts?

Destin
Tampa

Destin is an excellent place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Tampa is not a resort destination.

Destin is known as a popular and fun resort destination. 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.

Tampa is not a resort destination.

Is Destin or Tampa Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Destin
Tampa

Tampa is a moderate city for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. However, Destin is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Snorkeling is an option in Tampa. While the water isn't always the clearest, there are some nice snorkeling and diving spots in the area. Options include Shell Key and Egmont Key, Crystal River, and Fort De Soto.

Destin is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Destin or Tampa Better for Beaches?

Destin
Tampa

Destin and Tampa are great 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 Tampa. Popular beaches near Tampa include Ben T. Davis Beach, Fred Howard Park, and Indian Rocks Beach.

Is the Shopping Better in Destin or Tampa?

Destin
Tampa

Destin is a popular place for its shopping areas. However, Tampa is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Destin has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. 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.

Tampa is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Destin or Tampa Better for Families?

Destin
Tampa

You'll find great 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 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, Tampa is very family-friendly. 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?

Destin
Tampa

Destin is a popular place for couples. However, Tampa is lacking in options for romance.

Destin is a good beach town for couples to visit. 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.

Tampa is not the best destination for a couple to visit. The area does have great restaurants and some fun places to explore, but the downtown area has room for improvement and much of the city is suburban.

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

Destin
Tampa

Neither Destin or Tampa 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 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
Tampa

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

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

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 Tampa Worth Visiting?.

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 in Tampa. Usually, 5-7 days is a good amount of time for Destin, and 2-3 days is enough time in Tampa.

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

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

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


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

Travelers enjoy the food 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.


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, Tampa 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 Tampa is $179. 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 Tampa in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Destin $111
    Tampa $85
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Destin $222
    Tampa $170
Compare Hotels in Destin and Tampa

Looking for a hotel in Destin or Tampa? 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 Tampa


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 Tampa Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Destin $50
    Tampa $69

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Destin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Destin:

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

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

  • Private transfer: From Tampa to airport and vice versa : $18
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Tampa Airport (TPA): $36
  • Tampa Airport to Tampa Bay Cruise Port Private Arrival Transfer: $50
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa hotels - Arrival Private Transfer : $50
  • Tampa hotels to Tampa Bay Cruise Port-Departure Private Transfer : $50
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Lakeland / Winter Haven - Arrival Private Transfer: $53
  • Private Transfer to/from Tampa Airport (TPA): $69
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Tampa Airport TPA to Tampa City in Business Car: $72
  • Departure Private Transfer: Tampa City to Tampa Airport TPA in Business Car: $72
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Tampa Bay Cruise Port - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $100
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa Hotels - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $100
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Lakeland / Winter Haven - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $107

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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Destin $51
    Tampa $53

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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tampa

For Tampa, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking Class near Disney in Tampa Florida: $88
  • Ybor City Food Tour On Sundays: $89

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Destin $17
    Tampa $20
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: $70
  • 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
  • Destin Harbor Fireworks Cruise: $40
  • Destin Harbor Sunset Eco Dolphin Cruise: $35
  • Destin Private Guided Sunset Cruise up to 6 Passengers: $230
  • Crab Island Catamaran Tour with Dolphin Watching: $59
  • Private Sunset Cruise with Dolphin Watching: $348
  • Snorkeling and Dolphin Watching Cruise: $45
  • Sunset Cruise with Soft Drinks on a Tiki-Themed Boat: $72

Tours and Activities in Tampa

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

  • Ybor City Immigrant influence Smart Phone guided App (GPS) walking tour: $6.50
  • Tampa Riverwalk: A Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $7.27
  • Smartphone Audio Private Walking Tour in Tampa Riverwalk: $7.99
  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour: $26
  • Discover Tampa with Local Stories from a Virtual Tour: $30
  • Sunset and Night Cruises Tour: $30
  • The Official Downtown Tampa Ghost Tour: $30
  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • Downtown Tampa Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • Shared Ybor City Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • Tampa Celebrity Homes Boat Tour: $31
  • Tampa History Cruise: $31

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Destin $49
    Tampa $26

Sample the Local Flavors in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Bar Crawl on a 2023 Street Legal Golf Cart: $40
  • Haunted Pub Crawl: $40
  • Ybor City Private Brewery Tour by Custom Golf Cart: $200


When comparing the travel costs between Destin and Tampa, we can see that Destin 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 Tampa Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Destin or Tampa?

Tampa has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Destin. When comparing the sizes of Destin and Tampa, 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 Tampa?

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 Tampa in the Summer?

Both Tampa and Destin during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Destin for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Tampa because of the beaches, snorkeling, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Destin is generally around the same temperature as Tampa. Daily temperatures in Destin average around 82°F (28°C), and Tampa fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

Tampa gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Destin. Destin usually gets less rain in July than Tampa. Destin gets 7.4 inches (189 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Destin or Tampa in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Destin and Tampa. The autumn months attract visitors to Destin because of the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the city's sights and attractions are the main draw to Tampa this time of year.

Destin is cooler than Tampa in the autumn. The daily temperature in Destin averages around 69°F (21°C) in October, and Tampa fluctuates around 75°F (24°C).

Destin gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Destin usually receives more rain than Tampa. Destin gets 4.2 inches (107 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Destin 69°F (21°C) 
    Tampa 75°F (24°C)

Should I visit Destin or Tampa in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Destin as well as Tampa. The shopping scene and the cuisine are the main draw to Destin this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Tampa for the cuisine.

In the winter, Destin is much colder than Tampa. Typically, the winter temperatures in Destin in January average around 50°F (10°C), and Tampa averages at about 60°F (15°C).

Destin receives a lot of rain in the winter. Destin usually gets more rain in January than Tampa. Destin gets 4.6 inches (117 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Destin 50°F (10°C) 
    Tampa 60°F (15°C)

Should I visit Destin or Tampa in the Spring?

Both Tampa and Destin are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Destin for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Tampa in the spring for the beaches and the activities around the city.

In April, Destin is generally around the same temperature as Tampa. Daily temperatures in Destin average around 68°F (20°C), and Tampa fluctuates around 71°F (22°C).

In April, Destin usually receives more rain than Tampa. Destin gets 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Destin 68°F (20°C) 
    Tampa 71°F (22°C)

Typical Weather for Tampa and Destin

Destin Tampa
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 50°F (10°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm) 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm)
Feb 54°F (12°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 60°F (16°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Apr 68°F (20°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
May 74°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
Jun 80°F (27°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (189 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 7.4 inches (188 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 5.3 inches (135 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm)
Oct 69°F (21°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)
Nov 61°F (16°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm) 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Dec 54°F (12°C) 4.3 inches (109 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)