A Travel Price Comparison for Colorado Durango vs. Vail for Families, Couples, Hiking, and Backpackers

Should you visit Durango or Vail?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Durango and Vail. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.


Durango is a scenic and nature-filled small town. You'll find plenty of local activities in this small town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Since it has a quaint atmosphere, you'll want to spend time soaking it all in. Visitors also love the hiking.


Vail is a vibrant, upscale, and resort-filled ski town. Since it offers so much small town charm with a variety of activities, it attracts plenty of visitors, too. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. Other reasons to visit include food, hiking, and shopping.

Durango and Vail: Pros and Cons

  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Quaint atmosphere
  • Less popular at Christmas
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less walkable
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere

How is Durango different from Vail?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Durango or Vail Better for Hiking?


Hiking trails can be found around both Durango and Vail.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Durango. Popular nearby hikes include Animas Mountain Trail, Falls Creek Trail, and Purgatory Trail.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Vail. Popular hikes near Vail include Booth Falls, Davos Trail, and Shrine Ridge.

Is Durango or Vail Better for Christmas?


Vail is usually the more popular destination around Christmas.

Vail offers plenty of sights and activities around Christmas. The town is a winter wonderland during the holidays. Check out the iconic Christmas tree lighting and wander through the fairytale streets.

Durango offers some nice Christmas activities. It is a great Christmas town where you can meet Santa, go skiing, and even take the Polar Express.

Is Durango or Vail Better for Families?


Both Durango and Vail are family-friendly destinations.

Durango is a very family-friendly destination. In the area you'll find ziplining, alpine slides, and plenty of outdoor areas to explore - and of course there's the railroad.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Vail is a very family-friendly destination. With its world class skiing, rock climbing, ice skating, and ice cream, kids love this ski resort. The resort town has two terrain parks - Golden Peak and Avanti. Avanti is perfect for kids. It has small jumps, wide rails, and kid-friendly amenities. Golden Peak is designed for more advanced athletes. Vail also has nice beginner slopes that are great for kids.

Is Durango or Vail Better for Couples?


There's generally more to do as a couple in Vail than Durango.

Vail is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. Couples who enjoy skiing and outdoor adventure will appreciate everything that this ski town has to offer. There are nice restaurants, beautiful gardens, and plenty of romantic activities to choose from.

Most people don't think of Durango as a couple's destination. The town may not be the first romantic destination that comes to mind, but the railroad combined with wandering the downtown can make for a great couple's getaway.

Is Durango or Vail Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Durango and Vail are both good destinations for backpackers.

Plenty of backpackers visit Durango. With plenty of parks and outdoor areas nearby, backpackers will have plenty of places to explore.

Vail is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. This ski town isn't completely closed off to budget travelers as there are a couple of hostels around town.

Is Durango or Vail a more walkable city?


Vail is generally more walkable than Durango.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Vail. The main downtown is pedestrian-only and perfect for popping in shops and restaurants.

Durango is a somewhat walkable place. While the Main Street through town is walkable, it's not as pedestrian-friendly as some small towns.

Should I spend more time in Vail or Durango?

How long in Durango or Vail?

Both Durango and Vail have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Vail than Durango.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Durango is 2-3 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Vail is 3-7 days.

  • How many days in Durango or Vail? Ideal Length of Stay
    Durango 2-3 
    Vail 3-7

One day in Durango or Vail?

Durango is a small town where visitors enjoy the . Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

In Vail, you'll find food and shopping. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. One reason most visitors come is for the skiing. This ski town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Durango or Vail?

Durango is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. Hikers are also drawn to this area. 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.

In Vail, you'll find shopping and skiing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the skiing. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Five days in Durango or Vail?

Durango is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. This small town offers something for everyone. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Vail is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Vail has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Durango or Vail?

Because Durango is a small town, it's easy to explore in a short amount of time. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Vail. In Vail, you'll find nightlife and live music. One reason most visitors come is for the skiing. It's also a relaxing resort destination. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

Which place is cheaper, Vail or Durango?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Durango is $153, while the average daily cost in Vail is $291. 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 Durango and Vail in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Durango $79
    Vail $174
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Durango $158
    Vail $348
Compare Hotels in Durango and Vail

Looking for a hotel in Durango or Vail? 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 Durango

Hotels in Vail

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: Durango Hotel Prices and Vail Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Durango $27
    Vail $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vail

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

  • Transfer in private minivan from Vail city to Denver International Airport (DEN): $291
  • Shared Transfer from Vail or Beaver Creek to Denver Downtown: $99
  • Private Transfer: Vail to Denver International Airport (DEN): $576
  • Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Beaver Creek: $190
  • Private Eagle County Airport Transfer to Vail: $210
  • Private Departure Transfer to Vail Airport EGE: $128
  • Private Airport Transfer Service - Vail Hotels to Denver Int'l Airport: $600

Is it cheaper to fly into Durango or Vail?

Prices for flights to both Vail and Durango 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
    Durango $50
    Vail $74

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Durango $46
    Vail $133
Typical Entertainment prices in Durango

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Durango's activities, tours, and tickets:

  • Hot Springs (for 2)
  • Tubing (for 2)

Tours and Activities in Durango

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

  • 12-Zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $141
  • Fun Tour by Tuk Tuk around Durango Old Town, Garai and Goiuria: $93
  • Private Full-Day Fishing Experience in San Juan River: $400
  • Private Guided Tour by Tuk Tuk of Durango and Elorrio: $93
  • Private Guided Tour by tuk tuk of Durango and Atxondo: $93
  • Private Tour in Durango and Mendiola by Tuk Tuk: $93
  • Province of Vizcaya Half-Day Private Guided Tuk Tuk Tour: $218

Tours and Activities in Vail

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

  • Aspen Independence Pass Day Tour: $545
  • Blackhawk-Central City Casino Tour from Vail: $377
  • Dillon Marina & Shopping Tour: $267
  • Fall Leaves Tour from Vail: $373
  • Glenwood Adventure Park Tour: $350
  • Glenwood Hot Springs Tour: $377
  • Historic Mining Town Tour: $693
  • Listen to a Tour Guide While you Drive between Vail & Denver: $3.75
  • Vail Segway Tour from Vail Village: $89

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Durango $30
    Vail $9.79

Sample the Local Flavors in Vail

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

  • Vail Valley Brewery & Wine Tour: $377
  • Palisade Wine Tour from Vail: $779

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Durango and Vail, we can see that Vail is more expensive. And not only is Durango much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Durango would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Durango 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 Vail would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Vail than you might in Durango.

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Durango vs. Vail Travel Comparison

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