A Travel Price Comparison for North Carolina Durham vs. Nags Head for Families, Food, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Durham or Nags Head?

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 Durham and Nags Head can help you decide which place is right for you.

Durham

Durham is a student-filled, sports oriented, and diverse city. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Nags Head

Other popular activities here include food.

Durham and Nags Head: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Durham or Nags Head?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Durham than Nags Head, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Durham is more touristy than Nags Head and is popular for its college town vibe as well as being the home of the famous Blue Devil basketball team. Also, Durham is famous for the Duke University Chapel. Nags Head is well known for

How is Durham different from Nags Head?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Durham or Nags Head?

Durham
Nags Head

Durham is great for its historical sights. However, Nags Head does not have museums and landmarks.

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.

Nags Head does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Durham
Nags Head

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Durham and Nags Head can be difficult as they are each notable in their own way.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Durham area. 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.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Nags Head. There are a wide variety of seafood restaurants that serve locally caught fish, shrimp, and crabs. Cajon flavors are popular and you'll also find cheese grits at many places.

Is Durham or Nags Head Better for Nightlife?

Durham
Nags Head

Durham is a popular place for nightlife. However, Nags Head is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Durham has a few options to choose from. 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.

Nags Head is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Is the Shopping Better in Durham or Nags Head?

Durham
Nags Head

Durham is a popular place for shopping. However, Nags Head is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

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.

Nags Head is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Durham or Nags Head Better for Families?

Durham
Nags Head

Nags Head 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.

Nags Head is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. It makes a wonderful base for the many family-friendly activities in the area. Jockey's Ridge is a fun place to visit with kids. There are also wonderful beaches and many kids enjoying flying kites.

Durham is a family-friendly city. 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 Durham or Nags Head Better for Couples?

Durham
Nags Head

Both Durham and Nags Head are notable destinations to visit as a couple.

Durham is a good city for couples to visit. 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.

Nags Head is a nice destination for couples. There are great seafood restaurants and a number of activities in the area that are fun for couples.

Is Durham or Nags Head Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Durham
Nags Head

Nags Head is very good for backpackers. However, Durham is not a good city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Nags Head is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. This is one of the more affordable places to stay in the Outer Banks, so it appeals to more budget-oriented travelers.

Durham is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. The student population means there are a number of parties and bars around town, but most backpackers overlook this city.


Is Durham or Nags Head Better for Students?

Durham
Nags Head

Durham is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Nags Head 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.

Nags Head is not popular with students.

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

Durham
Nags Head

Durham is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Nags Head does not have public transit.

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

Nags Head does not have public transit.

Is Durham or Nags Head a more walkable city?

Durham
Nags Head

Durham is adequate for its walkability. However, Nags Head is not a walkable destination.

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

Nags Head is not a walkable destination.


Should I spend more time in Nags Head or Durham?

How long in Durham or Nags Head?

Both Durham and Nags Head have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Nags Head than in Durham. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Durham, and 4-7 days is enough time in Nags Head.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Durham than Nags Head 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 Durham or Nags Head? Ideal Length of Stay
    Durham 1-3 
    Nags Head 4-7

One day in Durham or Nags Head?

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Durham. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Durham has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Many travelers enjoy the food when visiting the destination of Nags Head. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Durham or Nags Head?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the sports oriented destination of Durham. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Nags Head is a great place to explore. 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 Durham or Nags Head?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the diverse city of Durham. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Nags Head. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. 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 Durham or Nags Head?

Durham is a popular choice for travelers. 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 will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Many travelers enjoy the food when visiting the destination of Nags Head. This offers a variety of activities to choose from. 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.


Which place is cheaper, Nags Head or Durham?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Durham is $162, while the average daily cost in Nags Head is $149. 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 Durham and Nags Head in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Durham $92
    Nags Head $80
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Durham $184
    Nags Head $160
Compare Hotels in Durham and Nags Head

Looking for a hotel in Durham or Nags Head? 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 Durham


Hotels in Nags Head


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 and Nags Head Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Durham $33
    Nags Head $40

Is it cheaper to fly into Durham or Nags Head?

Prices for flights to both Nags Head and Durham 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
    Durham $44
    Nags Head $41

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Durham $26
    Nags Head $14

Tours and Activities in Durham

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

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

Tours and Activities in Nags Head

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

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Outer Banks Audio Driving Tour: $13
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Wright Brothers Carolina Dunes Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $15
  • Wright Brothers Carolina Dunes: Self-Guided Driving Tour: $15
  • Outer Banks Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $25
  • OBX Ghost Tours: $25
  • Manteo Historic Walking Tour: $28
  • Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest Kayak Tour: $49
  • 2-hour Outer Banks Wild Horse Tour by 4WD Truck: $57
  • Cape Hatteras Kayak Adventure in Rodanthe: $59
  • Alligator River Kayak Adventure: $59

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Durham $34
    Nags Head $12


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


Which is Bigger, Durham or Nags Head?

Durham has a larger population, and is about 60 times larger than the population of Nags Head. When comparing the sizes of Durham and Nags Head, 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 Durham or Nags Head?

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 Durham or Nags Head in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Durham as well as Nags Head. Most visitors come to Durham for the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Nags Head because of the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Durham is around the same temperature as Nags Head. Typically, the summer temperatures in Durham in July average around 79°F (26°C), and Nags Head averages at about 78°F (26°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Nags Head. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Durham this time of the year. In the summer, Durham often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Nags Head. Durham gets 259 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nags Head receives 274 hours of full sun.

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


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

Should I visit Durham or Nags Head in the Autumn?

Both Nags Head and Durham are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The autumn months attract visitors to Durham because of the shopping scene.

In October, Durham is generally around the same temperature as Nags Head. Daily temperatures in Durham average around 61°F (16°C), and Nags Head fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

It's quite sunny in Nags Head. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Durham. Durham usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Nags Head during autumn. Durham gets 211 hours of sunny skies, while Nags Head receives 205 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Durham usually receives less rain than Nags Head. Durham gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Nags Head receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


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

Should I visit Durham or Nags Head in the Winter?

Both Nags Head and Durham during the winter are popular places to visit. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Durham this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Nags Head for the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Nags Head. It's quite cold in Durham in the winter. Durham is around the same temperature as Nags Head in the winter. The daily temperature in Durham averages around 40°F (5°C) in January, and Nags Head fluctuates around 41°F (5°C).

In the winter, Durham often gets more sunshine than Nags Head. Durham gets 162 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nags Head receives 147 hours of full sun.

Nags Head gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Durham usually gets less rain in January than Nags Head. Durham gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Nags Head receives 4.1 inches (105 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Durham or Nags Head in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Durham and Nags Head.

In the spring, Durham is around the same temperature as Nags Head. Typically, the spring temperatures in Durham in April average around 60°F (16°C), and Nags Head averages at about 59°F (15°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Nags Head this time of the year. In Durham, it's very sunny this time of the year. Durham usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Nags Head during spring. Durham gets 251 hours of sunny skies, while Nags Head receives 262 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Durham usually receives around the same amount of rain as Nags Head. Durham gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Nags Head receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


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

Typical Weather for Nags Head and Durham

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