A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Durham vs. Rapid City for Attractions, Families, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Durham or Rapid City?

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 Rapid City can help you decide which place is right for you.

Durham

Durham is a sports oriented, diverse, and student-filled city. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Rapid City

Rapid City is a friendly, fascinating, and activity-filled city. Other popular activities here include food, hiking, and shopping.

Durham and Rapid City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Home to Mount Rushmore
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Durham or Rapid City?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Rapid City than Durham. While Durham is larger than Rapid City, Rapid City has more sights and attractions for tourists. Rapid City is more popular for its museums and hiking, while Durham is known for its nightlife. Rapid City is more touristy than Durham and is popular for its proximity to Mount Rushmore and many other iconic parks. It is also home to Mount Rushmore. Durham is popular for its college town vibe as well as being the home of the famous Blue Devil basketball team.

How is Durham different from Rapid City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Rapid City 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 Rapid City?

Durham
Rapid City

Rapid City is an amazing city to visit for its sights and museums. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

You'll find many recognizable landmarks that put Rapid City on the map. You'll find a wide variety of museums and landmarks nearby. Popular places to visit that aren't far from town include the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, the South Dakota Air & Space Museum, and the Journey Museum & Learning Center. There's also the Museum of Geology and the National Presidential Wax Museum. And of course, there's the iconic Mount Rushmore.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Durham can be an interesting and educational experience. 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.


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

Durham
Rapid City

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Durham and Rapid City can be difficult as they are each good 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 Rapid City. You'll find local restaurants in town that serve local specialties such as chislic (grilled meat), fry bread, and walleye (a local fish.

Is Durham or Rapid City Better for Nightlife?

Durham
Rapid City

Durham is very good for nightlife and partying. However, Rapid City is lacking in good options for its evening party scene.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe 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.

Rapid City is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. You'll find some places with live music and good drinks, but the city isn't really known for its nightlife scene.

Is Durham or Rapid City Better for Hiking?

Durham
Rapid City

Rapid City is a well-known place for the nearby hiking options. However, Durham is not a hiking destination.

Rapid City is a popular spot for hiking. The region is filled with national parks, state parks, and natural areas with wonderful hiking trails. You don't have to travel far to get into nature and experience some of South Dakota's best natural beauty.

Durham is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Durham or Rapid City?

Durham
Rapid City

Both Durham and Rapid City are good shopping destinations.

Many visitors go to Durham to go shopping. The Streets of Southpoint is the best mall in the area. Other shopping areas include Brightleaf Square and Nineth Street.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Rapid City. Rapid City has some interesting local shops as well as larger malls and shopping centers.

Is Durham or Rapid City Better for Families?

Durham
Rapid City

Rapid City is an amazing city to visit for its family-friendly activities. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Rapid City is one of the most popular family destinations. Nearby national parks and outdoor activities, this is the perfect base for exploring the area with kids. Nearby you'll find the Big Thunder Gold Mine, which has tours and lets you pan for gold, and Custer State Park, which is filled with wildlife. Wall Drug is worth a stopoff, as is Dinosaur Park.

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 Rapid City Better for Couples?

Durham
Rapid City

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

Rapid City is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples will enjoy the amazing national parks in the area and the easy access to iconic landmarks like Mount Rushmore. There are many opportunities for wildlife spotting as well as great hiking trails and unique landscapes.

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 Durham or Rapid City Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Durham
Rapid City

Rapid City is a well-known place for backpackers. However, Durham is not a good city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Rapid City is a very popular city for backpackers and budget travelers. Backpackers will appreciate the surrounding natural beauty and the nearby national parks.

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 Rapid City Better for Students?

Durham
Rapid City

Durham is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Rapid City is not popular with students.

Durham is very popular with students. 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.

Rapid City is not popular with students.

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

Durham
Rapid City

Both Durham and Rapid City offer decent public transit options.

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

Public transit is mostly limited in Rapid City. While there are a few buses, this isn't a realistic option for traveling through the region.


Is Durham or Rapid City a more walkable city?

Durham
Rapid City

Durham and Rapid City both are decent when exploring on foot.

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

Rapid City is generally not a very walkable city. While the downtown is walkable, most visitors use the city as a base for exploring the surrounding areas, and this requires a car.

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

Should I spend more time in Rapid City or Durham?

How long in Durham or Rapid City?

It's fun to spend time in either Durham or Rapid City. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Rapid City due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Durham, and 2-4 days is enough time in Rapid City.

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

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

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


  • How many days in Durham or Rapid City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Durham 1-3 
    Rapid City 2-4

One day in Durham or Rapid City?

With museums and nightlife around the sports oriented city of Durham, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Durham, one day is sufficent for most.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Rapid City. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Durham or Rapid City?

With nightlife and food around the destination of Durham, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Rapid City is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Durham or Rapid City?

Durham, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Rapid City. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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 Durham or Rapid City?

Durham is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the fascinating destination of Rapid City. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in 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 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, and The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Rapid City 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 Rapid City is $116. 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 Rapid City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Durham $92
    Rapid City $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Durham $184
    Rapid City $120
Compare Hotels in Durham and Rapid City

Looking for a hotel in Durham or Rapid City? 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 Rapid City


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 Rapid City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Durham $33
    Rapid City $53

Is it cheaper to fly into Durham or Rapid City?

Prices for flights to both Rapid City 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
    Rapid City $23

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rapid City

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

  • Roller Coaster Tickets with Dinner and Show in Rapid City: $70

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Durham $26
    Rapid City $26

Tours and Activities in Durham

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

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

Tours and Activities in Rapid City

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

  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Rapid City, SD: $15
  • Mount Rushmore Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $15
  • Black Hills & Badlands: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tours: $20
  • Bus Tour of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills: $133
  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Tour with Two Meals and a Music Variety Show: $164
  • Badlands Winter Wonderland Adventure: $239
  • Full-Day Private Sightseeing Tour in South Dakota: $275
  • NEW! Half Day Tour of the Black Hills: $289
  • Badlands Sunset and Wildlife Adventure : $289
  • From Private Spearfish Canyon Tour: $650
  • From Private Devils Tower Tour and Hike: $650
  • Private Black Hills Monuments Full-Day Tour: $650

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Durham $34
    Rapid City $6.93


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Durham Expensive? and Is Rapid City Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Durham or Rapid City?

Durham has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Rapid City. When comparing the sizes of Durham and Rapid City, 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.