A Travel Price Comparison for North Carolina Duck vs. Durham for Families, Couples, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Duck or Durham?

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

Should I visit Duck or Durham? 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.

Duck

Duck is a compact, charming, and laid-back beach town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include food, beaches, and hiking.

Durham

Durham is a student-filled, sports oriented, and diverse city. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Duck and Durham: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Duck or Durham?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Duck than Durham, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Duck is better known for its resorts, beaches, hiking, shopping, small town charm, and impressive beauty, while Durham is more popular for its museums and nightlife. Duck is more touristy than Durham and is known for its quaint atmosphere and small town charm. Also, Duck is famous for the wide sandy beach. Durham is well known for its college town vibe as well as being the home of the famous Blue Devil basketball team.

How is Duck different from Durham?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Duck or Durham?

Duck
Durham

Durham is a well-known place for its sights and museums. However, Duck is not a good beach town for its museums and history.

Durham offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Duke University is one of the most popular destinations in town. There are several museums on campus as well as the famous Duke Chapel. Elsewhere in Durham there's the Durham Museum of Life and Science.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Duck. Hanging out at the beach and enjoy water sports or outdoor activities are the main draw of this town. You won't find much in the form of museums or indoor activities.


Is the Food Better in Duck or Durham? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Duck
Durham

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at notable restaurants in both Duck and Durham.

Duck offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. For such a small town, there's a decent selection of restaurants that range from local seafood eateries to pizza delivery. Homemade ice cream is a favorite in the area, but you also can't skip out on the flagship Duck Donuts store.

Durham has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Barbecue is a favorite around town. You'll also find plenty of restaurants that cater to the student population, particularly along Nineth Street near Duke's campus.

Is Duck or Durham Better for Nightlife?

Duck
Durham

Durham is a popular place for nightlife. However, Duck is not a good beach town for nightlife and partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Durham. The younger population tends to hang out near campus and along Nineth Street. If you're looking for something less student oriented, head to downtown Durham.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Duck. It's known as a family-friendly destination that isn't often associated with a strong nightlife, but there is often live music and other festivals during the summer months.

Is Duck or Durham Better for Resorts?

Duck
Durham

Duck is very good for its resorts. However, Durham is not a resort destination.

Duck has a few great resort options. Most of the accommodation around town is in the form of vacation beach rental houses that are perfect for family gatherings or larger groups.

Durham is not a resort destination.


Is Duck or Durham Better for Beaches?

Duck
Durham

Duck is an amazing beach town to visit for the beach. However, Durham is not a beach destination.

With world-famous beaches, Duck is a very popular vacation destination. Long sandy beaches with great surf and a wonderful boardwalk make this a great beach destination. Kids play in the tidal pools and families relax under their beach umbrellas in a classic beach setting.

Durham is not a beach destination.

Is Duck or Durham Better for Hiking?

Duck
Durham

Duck is very good for the nearby hiking options. However, Durham is not a hiking destination.

Many people include a hike when visiting Duck. The Duck Trail runs for six miles and passes through town. It's popular with walkers, cyclists, and inline skaters.

Durham is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Duck or Durham?

Duck
Durham

Duck is a well-known place for its shopping areas. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Duck. Head to the Waterfront Shops for some of the town's best shopping. You can wander along the boardwalk and check out the independent vendors and local restaurants.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Durham. The Streets of Southpoint is the best mall in the area. Other shopping areas include Brightleaf Square and Nineth Street.


Is Duck or Durham Better for Families?

Duck
Durham

Duck is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Duck is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. Kid-friendly beaches, local ice cream joints, and the famed Duck Donuts all make this an ideal kid's beach destination. There's a waterpark nearby and plenty of water sports that the whole family can enjoy. The boardwalk is also a very family-friendly environment.

Durham is a family-friendly beach town. A highlight for kids is a visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science. It has both an indoor and an outdoor section and brings science to life for families. There's also an impressive playground and climbing area. Other activities in town include the Notasium and Eno River State Park. If you plan ahead you could also organize a trip to the Duke Lemur Center.

Is Duck or Durham Better for Couples?

Duck
Durham

Duck is a well-known place for couples. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Duck is a very popular place to visit for couples. It's a charming beach town with great local restaurants and a beautiful and peaceful setting. For couples who want to enjoy a relaxing beach town without the energy of a larger destination, then this is the perfect place. Much of the accommodation is in the form of rental houses, which can be a bit much for a couple, but the setting is perfect for a weekend escape.

Durham is a nice destination for couples. Have a picnic at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens or spend the day hiking at Eno River State Park. In the evening there's a wonderful selection of restaurants around town. Then you can check out a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or see a Durham Bulls game.

Is Duck or Durham Better for Students?

Duck
Durham

Durham is a well-known place for students. However, Duck is not popular with students.

Durham is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. Duke University has a stunning campus with a world class garden. There's also nearby Nineth Street, which has shops, restaurants, and bars that are geared toward the student population.

Duck is not popular with students.


Is Duck or Durham Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Duck
Durham

Both Duck and Durham offer respectable public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Duck. It's best to have a car if you want to exploring the Outer Banks and its many activities.

Public transit is mostly limited in Durham. There are buses around town, but you really need a car to explore the area.

Is Duck or Durham a more walkable city?

Duck
Durham

Duck is an amazing beach town to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Durham is not a good city for its walkability.

It is easy to get around Duck on foot. It's a wonderfully walkable and pedestrian-friendly town with a great boardwalk and many walking and cycling paths.

Durham is generally not a very walkable beach town. Downtown Durham and a few areas near Duke University are the most walkable areas.

For even more information, also check out Is Duck Worth Visiting? and Is Durham Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Durham or Duck?

How long in Duck or Durham?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Duck and Durham. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Duck than in Durham. Usually, 5-7 days is a good amount of time for Duck, and 1-3 days is enough time in Durham.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Durham than Duck 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 Durham.


  • How many days in Duck or Durham? Ideal Length of Stay
    Duck 5-7 
    Durham 1-3

One day in Duck or Durham?

Duck might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. 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.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Durham. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.


A weekend in Duck or Durham?

Duck 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.

Durham is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Five days in Duck or Durham?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Duck. 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.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the student-filled destination of Durham. This city offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Duck or Durham?

Duck is a small town with plenty to do. 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.

The sports oriented city of Durham offers nightlife and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City.


Which place is cheaper, Durham or Duck?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Duck is $188, while the average daily cost in Durham is $162. 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 Duck and Durham in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Duck $107
    Durham $92
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Duck $214
    Durham $184
Compare Hotels in Duck and Durham

Looking for a hotel in Duck or Durham? 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 Duck


Hotels in Durham


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: Durham Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Duck $66
    Durham $33

Is it cheaper to fly into Duck or Durham?

Prices for flights to both Durham and Duck 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
    Duck $45
    Durham $44

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Duck $13
    Durham $26

Tours and Activities in Durham

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

  • True Crime Tour: $13
  • Downtown Durham Historian-Guided Walking Tour: $16
  • Durham African American History Tour: $16
  • Durham NC: Art Walking Tour: $20

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Duck $45
    Durham $34


When comparing the travel costs between Duck and Durham, we can see that Duck 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 Duck Expensive? and Is Durham Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Duck or Durham?

Durham has a larger population, and is about 360 times larger than the population of Duck. When comparing the sizes of Duck and Durham, 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 Duck or Durham?

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 Duck or Durham in the Summer?

Both Durham and Duck are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The beaches, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Duck this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Durham for the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Duck is generally around the same temperature as Durham. Daily temperatures in Duck average around 78°F (26°C), and Durham fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

It's quite sunny in Durham. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Duck. Duck usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Durham during summer. Duck gets 279 hours of sunny skies, while Durham receives 259 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Durham. It's quite rainy in Duck. In July, Duck usually receives around the same amount of rain as Durham. Duck gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Duck 78°F (26°C) 
    Durham 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Duck or Durham in the Autumn?

Both Durham and Duck during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Duck for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Durham in the autumn for the shopping scene.

Duck is around the same temperature as Durham in the autumn. The daily temperature in Duck averages around 62°F (16°C) in October, and Durham fluctuates around 61°F (16°C).

In Durham, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Duck. In the autumn, Duck often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Durham. Duck gets 211 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Durham receives 211 hours of full sun.

Duck usually gets more rain in October than Durham. Duck gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Duck 62°F (16°C) 
    Durham 61°F (16°C)

Should I visit Duck or Durham in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Duck and Durham. Many visitors come to Duck in the winter for the shopping scene and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Durham for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Durham can be very cold during winter. Duck can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Duck is around the same temperature as Durham. Typically, the winter temperatures in Duck in January average around 41°F (5°C), and Durham averages at about 40°F (5°C).

Duck usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Durham during winter. Duck gets 168 hours of sunny skies, while Durham receives 162 hours of full sun in the winter.

Duck gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In January, Duck usually receives more rain than Durham. Duck gets 4.1 inches (105 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Duck 41°F (5°C) 
    Durham 40°F (5°C)

Should I visit Duck or Durham in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Duck as well as Durham. Most visitors come to Duck for the beaches, the small town charm, and the natural beauty during these months.

In April, Duck is generally around the same temperature as Durham. Daily temperatures in Duck average around 59°F (15°C), and Durham fluctuates around 60°F (16°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Durham. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Duck this time of the year. In the spring, Duck often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Durham. Duck gets 253 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Durham receives 251 hours of full sun.

Duck usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Durham. Duck gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Duck 59°F (15°C) 
    Durham 60°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Durham and Duck

Duck Durham
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 41°F (5°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 40°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Feb 42°F (6°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 50°F (10°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 59°F (15°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 60°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
May 67°F (19°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Jun 74°F (23°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 76°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Jul 78°F (26°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm)
Aug 78°F (25°C) 5 inches (127 mm) 78°F (26°C) 4.9 inches (125 mm)
Sep 72°F (22°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Oct 62°F (16°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Nov 53°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 53°F (11°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
Dec 45°F (7°C) 3.4 inches (85 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)