A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Flagstaff vs. Rapid City

Should you visit Flagstaff or Rapid City?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Flagstaff and Rapid City can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Flagstaff

Located in northern Arizona near the San Francisco Peaks mountain range, Flagstaff is a small city surrounded by natural beauty. The city's proximity to a number of popular tourist sights, including Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and Historic Route 66, make it a common destination for tourists. It lies at an elevation of almost 7,000 feet with nearby areas climbing higher. In large part because of its altitude, the city has a cooler climate than the southern part of Arizona, which is famous for its low lying desert.

Rapid City

Rapid City is a large city in western South Dakota that is considered the gateway to the Black Hills National Forest. Rapid City is often used as a base for all types of outdoor activities, including tours to the infamous Mount Rushmore and surrounding parks. The city has a budding art scene and offers the perfect combination of a metropolitan city surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Rapid City experiences the best weather from June-September with temperatures in the 70's and 80's Fahrenheit. Temperatures drop to the low 20's F in the winter and the area receives the most rain pour in April and May.

Which city is cheaper, Rapid City or Flagstaff?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Flagstaff is $133, while the average daily cost in Rapid City is $93. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Flagstaff and Rapid City in more detail.



Accommodation

The average price for accommodation for two people in Flagstaff is $138. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $96 in Rapid City For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Flagstaff $69
    Rapid City $48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Flagstaff $138
    Rapid City $96

Food

Flagstaff food costs typically run travelers around $44 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

In Rapid City travelers spend around $19 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Flagstaff $44
    Rapid City $19

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $30 per day to get around in Flagstaff.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Rapid City than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $42 on transportation in Rapid City on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Flagstaff $30
    Rapid City $42

Entertainment

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $22 per person, per day in Flagstaff. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Sightseeing expenses in Rapid City, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $21 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Flagstaff $22
    Rapid City $21

Tours and Activities in Flagstaff

Here are a few actual costs in Flagstaff for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour from Flagstaff: $229
  • Antelope Slot Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour from Flagstaff: $236
  • Comprehensive Grand Canyon Tour from Flagstaff: $186
  • Dark Skies Astrophotography Tour: $50
  • Flagstaff Adventure Zipline Course: $61
  • Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course-Adult Course: $61
  • Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course-Kids Course: $30
  • Flagstaff Segway Tour: $89
  • Small-Group Haunted City Tour: $30
  • From Flagstaff or Sedona: Hopi Lands Cultural Tour & Lunch: $176
  • From Grand Canyon National Park Tour: $169
  • From Grand Canyon Railroad Full-Day Tour: $219

Tours and Activities in Rapid City

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

  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Full-Day Tour: $84
  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Bus Tour with Live Commentary: $84
  • Bus Tour of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills: $123
  • Bike Adventure on the Mickelson Trail - Private: $267
  • Southern Black Hills Bicycle Tour - Private: $267
  • Private Black Hills Monuments Full-Day Tour: $299
  • Black Hills: Private Tour of Mt. Rushmore & Flume Trail Hike: $299
  • Badlands National Park Private Tour: $299
  • Private Mickelson Trail Bicycling Tour/ Two Person Minimum: $299
  • Private Jeep Safari and Hiking Tour/ Two Person Minimum: $307
  • Private Badlands National Park Day Tour: $315
  • Private Mt Rushmore & Southern Black Hills Tour: $329

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Flagstaff may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $23 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Typically, people visiting Rapid City spend on average $5.54 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Flagstaff $23
    Rapid City $5.54


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Flagstaff and Rapid City, we can see that Flagstaff 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 Flagstaff would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Flagstaff than you might in Rapid City.

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Flagstaff vs. Rapid City Travel Comparison

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