A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Flagstaff vs. South Lake Tahoe for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Flagstaff or South Lake Tahoe?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Flagstaff and South Lake Tahoe can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Flagstaff or South Lake Tahoe?


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.

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe is the largest town on the famous Lake Tahoe that straddles the California-Nevada border in the Sierra Mountain Range. Located just south of Reno, Nevada and about 2 hours east of Sacramento, the Lake Tahoe area is easily accessible to many visitors.

Lake Tahoe is known for skiing and other winter sports, as well as plenty of warm weather activities such as hiking, swimming, boating, mountain biking, and more.

South Lake Tahoe has plenty of accommodations, restaurants, bars, and shopping. This is a good town to base yourself if you're looking to explore the area, as it has a large number of amenities.

Located on the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe is the town of Stateline. Here you can find some casinos, as gambling is legal in Nevada.

If you're looking to go skiing or snowboarding, the Heavenly Ski Resort can be found on the southern edge of the town of South Lake Tahoe. Naturally, more ski resorts are located around the lake as well.

As swimming is also popular, several beach areas are on the southern section of the lake including the Regan Memorial City Beach, Lakeside Beach, Pope Beach, Emerald Bay State Park, and the Edgewood Resort area (on the Nevada side).

Which place is cheaper, South Lake Tahoe or Flagstaff?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Flagstaff is $166, while the average daily cost in South Lake Tahoe is $118. 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 Flagstaff and South Lake Tahoe in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Flagstaff $86
    South Lake Tahoe $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Flagstaff $172
    South Lake Tahoe $108
Compare Hotels in Flagstaff and South Lake Tahoe

Looking for a hotel in Flagstaff or South Lake Tahoe? 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 Flagstaff

Hotels in South Lake Tahoe

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: Flagstaff Hotel Prices and South Lake Tahoe Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Flagstaff $37
    South Lake Tahoe $24

Hired Cars and Shuttles in South Lake Tahoe

Some specific examples of transportation prices in South Lake Tahoe:

  • Departure Transfer Northstar/Squaw Valley to Reno Tahoe Airport: $165
  • Heavenly Mountain to Reno Tahoe Airport RNO - Departure Transfer: $110
  • Heavenly Mountain to Sacramento Airport SMF, Departure Transfer: $220
  • Northstar/Squaw Valley to Sacramento Airport - Departure Transfer: $220

Is it cheaper to fly into Flagstaff or South Lake Tahoe?

Prices for flights to both South Lake Tahoe and Flagstaff 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
    Flagstaff $55
    South Lake Tahoe $38

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Flagstaff $28
    South Lake Tahoe $56

Tours and Activities in Flagstaff

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

  • Grand Canyon South Rim: Self-Guided GPS Audio Tour: $11
  • Full-Day Grand Canyon South Rim Audio Driving Tour: $11
  • Grand Canyon South Rim: Audio Driving Tour: $12
  • Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour of Sedona: $13
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Flagstaff, AZ: $15
  • Flagstaff Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Family Friendly Haunted Walking Tour: $25
  • Ghosts of Route 66 Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Downtown Haunted History Walking Tour: $28
  • Downtown Flagstaff Haunted History Tour: $28
  • Flagstaff Ghosts Tour By Us Ghost Adventures: $30
  • Mountain Town Of Madness, Original *Adult Only* Haunted Downtown Flagstaff Tour: $30

Tours and Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for South Lake Tahoe are as follows:

  • Driving Lake Tahoe: A Self-Guided Audio Tour From Tahoe City to Incline Village: $9.99
  • Driving Lake Tahoe: A Self-Guided Tour from South Lake Tahoe to Tahoe City: $12
  • Driving Lake Tahoe: A Self-Guided Tour From Incline Village to South Lake Tahoe: $12
  • Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Tallac Historic Site Pope House Tour: $16
  • Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Tallac Historic Site Grand Estates Tour: $20
  • Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided Driving Tour: $25
  • Full Day Self-Guided Bike Tour of Lake Tahoe: $69
  • Guided Tour of Historic Virginia City and Carson City from South Lake Tahoe: $70
  • Sunset Kayak Experience in Lake Tahoe: $75
  • Introductory Snowshoe Shared Experience: $75

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Flagstaff $29
    South Lake Tahoe $34

Sample the Local Flavors in Flagstaff

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Flagstaff:

  • Spirits With The Spirits, Haunted Pub Crawl Of Downtown Flagstaff: $50
  • Haunted Pub Crawl with Guide: $50

Sample the Local Flavors in South Lake Tahoe

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

  • Lake Tahoe: Emerald Bay Sunset Wine Tasting Yacht Cruise: $150

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Flagstaff and South Lake Tahoe, we can see that Flagstaff is more expensive. And not only is South Lake Tahoe much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to South Lake Tahoe would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in South Lake Tahoe 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 South Lake Tahoe.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Flagstaff Expensive? and Is South Lake Tahoe Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Flagstaff or South Lake Tahoe?

Flagstaff has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of South Lake Tahoe. When comparing the sizes of Flagstaff and South Lake Tahoe, 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.