A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Fort Lauderdale vs. Columbia for Couples, Nightlife, Families, and Food

Should you visit Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

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 Fort Lauderdale and Columbia. 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.

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is a scenic, bustling, and spirited coastal city. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and shopping.

Columbia

Columbia is a suburban, friendly, and welcoming city. It's also known for nightlife, shopping, and museums.

Fort Lauderdale and Columbia: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Local Beaches
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Fort Lauderdale than Columbia. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Fort Lauderdale is very popular for its food, nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and impressive beauty, while Columbia attracts visitors for its museums. Fort Lauderdale is more touristy than Columbia and is known for its canals, beaches, walkable waterfront, and luxury resorts. It is also well known for The Local Beaches. Columbia is famous for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Fort Lauderdale different from Columbia?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Columbia is a good destination for its museums and landmarks. However, Fort Lauderdale does not have museums and landmarks.

Columbia is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. As the state capital, there are some decent museums around town like the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Military Museum, the South Carolina State Museum, and the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum.

Fort Lauderdale does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Fort Lauderdale is a popular place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Columbia is not a good city for its restaurants.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Fort Lauderdale. Seafood is the obvious option with popular dishes being fish tacos, sea bass, and scallop risotto. There are many waterfront restaurants or you could head to Las Olas Boulevard, which has many bistros, cafes, and restaurants.

Columbia may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Barbecue and other southern favorites are among the more local dishes, but the city is also filled with fast food joints and other major chain restaurants.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Columbia Better for Nightlife?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Fort Lauderdale is a well-known place for nightlife and partying. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its evening party scene.

Fort Lauderdale offers plenty to do in the evening. Trendy and upscale partying is the name of the game in this Florida city. Most people head to the beach, Las Olas Blvd, River Front and The New Hard Rock Seminole Hotel Complex for the best bars and clubs. You'll find the most activity around the weekends, but there really is something going on any night of the week.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Columbia. You'll find live music venues as well as low key bars and more trendy cocktail lounges.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Columbia Better for Resorts?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Fort Lauderdale is renowned for its resorts. However, Columbia is not a resort destination.

For the ultimate resort vacation, Fort Lauderdale is a great choice. Luxury beachfront resorts are plentiful in the area. Several of the most impressive include the Ritz-Carlton, W Fort Lauderdale, and the Dalmar. Most resorts have a beachfront pool, hot tubs, and depending on the resort, a kid's club.

Columbia is not a resort destination.


Is Fort Lauderdale or Columbia Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Fort Lauderdale is a popular place for its diving and snorkeling. However, Columbia is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Fort Lauderdale has a few good snorkeling spots. Although the snorkeling doesn't compare to what you'll find further south around the Florida Keys, there are some great places to pull your mask and fins out in the area. Popular snorkeling spots nearby include the Vista Park Reef, Pompano Beach, and Hollywood North Beach Park.

Columbia is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Columbia Better for Beaches?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Fort Lauderdale is renowned for the beache. However, Columbia is not a beach destination.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Fort Lauderdale. With seven miles of beautiful sandy beaches, a fun boardwalk, and impressive views, the beaches here are among the best in the area. They are surprisingly walkable and, while there can be crowds, there's still a laid-back and relaxing atmosphere.

Columbia is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Shopping is a popular activity in both Columbia and Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale is a great destination for shopping. For interesting local boutiques head to Las Olas Boulevard and for name brand stores you'll want to visit Sawgrass Mills Mall.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Columbia. You'll find independent and locally owned shops along Devine Street and in the Five Points area. Also interesting are the Vista, which is a warehouse district, and Trenholm Plaza.


Is Fort Lauderdale or Columbia Better for Families?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Fort Lauderdale is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Fort Lauderdale is a very kid-friendly coastal city. With seven miles of beautiful sandy beaches and a number of kid-oriented activities, the kids will love it here. Fun activities include Bluefoot Pirate Adventures, Butterfly World, and Funderdome. On sunny days there are many outdoor recreation areas and when the weather isn't cooperating, there are hands-on museums.

Columbia is a family-friendly coastal city. Around town you'll find parks, playgrounds, and kid-friendly restaurants. There's a zoo in the area as well as a nice state park - Sesquicentennial State Park. There's also EdVenture Children's Museum, which is filled with hands-on exhibits.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Columbia Better for Couples?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Fort Lauderdale is renowned for its romantic activities. However, Columbia is not a good city for couples.

Fort Lauderdale makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. Fine dining, beautiful beaches, and great shopping make for a great romantic getaway. Couples and honeymooners love relaxing at the beaches in Fort Lauderdale. A sunset walk on the beach and a stay at a romantic resort will make for an unforgettable trip.

Columbia is not always the best place to visit for a couple. You'll find parks to explore and some nice restaurants that make for a good date night.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Columbia Better for Students?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Columbia is a good destination for students. However, Fort Lauderdale is not popular with students.

Columbia is popular with students. The University of South Carolina, and other nearby colleges all bring in a decent student population.

Fort Lauderdale is not popular with students.


Is Fort Lauderdale or Columbia Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Fort Lauderdale and Columbia.

Public transit is generally limited in Fort Lauderdale. Transportation options include a water taxi and the Sun Trolley Hop-on Bus.

Public transit is mostly limited in Columbia. The COMET is the bus system through town, but you really must have your own car to enjoy the city.

Is Fort Lauderdale or Columbia a more walkable city?

Fort Lauderdale
Columbia

Fort Lauderdale is a well-known place for its high level of walkability. However, Columbia is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

Fort Lauderdale is a very walkable coastal city. It is one of the most walkable Florida communities with a boardwalk and several pedestrian areas that are fun to wander around.

Columbia is not a very walkable coastal city. It's filled with suburban-style development and is generally very car dependent.

For even more information, also check out Is Fort Lauderdale Worth Visiting? and Is Columbia Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Columbia or Fort Lauderdale?

How long in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Fort Lauderdale than Columbia because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Fort Lauderdale, and 1-2 days is enough time in Columbia.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Columbia than Fort Lauderdale 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 Columbia.


  • How many days in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia? Ideal Length of Stay
    Fort Lauderdale 3-7 
    Columbia 1-2

One day in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

The beautiful coastal city of Fort Lauderdale offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The friendly destination of Columbia offers shopping and museums. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.


A weekend in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

Fort Lauderdale is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

The city of Columbia offers museums and nightlife. A weekend here is typical. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities.

Five days in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

Fort Lauderdale is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Fort Lauderdale, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Columbia is a great place to explore. This city offers something for everyone. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

Fort Lauderdale is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. It is common to spend one week here. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Fort Lauderdale has to offer. This coastal city offers something for everyone.

Many people enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting Columbia. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America, The Best Train & Rail Tours in United States of America, and The Best Sightseeing Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Columbia or Fort Lauderdale?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Fort Lauderdale is $182, while the average daily cost in Columbia is $0.00. 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 Fort Lauderdale and Columbia in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Fort Lauderdale $96
    Columbia -
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Fort Lauderdale $192
    Columbia $0.00
Compare Hotels in Fort Lauderdale and Columbia

Looking for a hotel in Fort Lauderdale or Columbia? 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 Fort Lauderdale


Hotels in Columbia


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: Fort Lauderdale Hotel Prices and Columbia Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Fort Lauderdale $51
    Columbia -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Fort Lauderdale

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Transfer Private Vehicle from City -Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL): $40
  • Port Everglades to Fort Lauderdale Airport FLL-Departure Transfer: $40
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) to Port Everglades-Arrival Transfer: $40
  • Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) - Departure Private Transfer: $40
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) to Port Everglades - Arrival Private Transfer: $40
  • Fort Lauderdale to Miami Airport (MIA) - Departure Private Transfer: $46
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) to Coral Gables - Arrival Private Transfer: $48
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) to Doral hotel/address - Arrival Private Transfer: $50
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) to Boca Raton - Arrival Private Transfer: $52
  • Port Everglades Private Transfer from Weston: $58
  • Hard Rock Guitar Hotel Private Transfer (UP TO 14 PASSENGERS): $60
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport Private Transfer (Up To 14 Passengers): $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

Prices for flights to both Columbia and Fort Lauderdale 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
    Fort Lauderdale $49
    Columbia $5.03
Typical Food Prices in Fort Lauderdale

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Fort Lauderdale:


  • Quick Lunch
    $12

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Fort Lauderdale

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Fort Lauderdale.

  • Food Tour in Lauderdale By The Sea: $60
  • Hollywood Florida Walking Food Tour : $99
  • Downtown Fort Lauderdale Dinner & Drinks Tour: $109
  • Fort Lauderdale Beach Food Tour: $114

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Fort Lauderdale $15
    Columbia -

Tours and Activities in Fort Lauderdale

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

  • Audio Walking Tour of Las Olas Riverwalk: $7.25
  • Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk Self-guided Audio Walking Tour: $7.99
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Pembroke Pines by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Skip the Line: Flamingo Gardens Admission Ticket in Fort Lauderdale: $24
  • 1-Hour Interactive Pirate Cruise in Ft. Lauderdale (arrive 30 minutes early): $25
  • Water Taxi Evening Pass Sunset Cruise (up to 5 hours!): $25
  • Private BLU3 Nomad Scuba Demo Experience in Deerfield: $25
  • Ghosts and Ghouls Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Florida Everglades Airboat Adventure and Wildlife Encounter: $29
  • Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour: $30
  • Jungle Queen Riverboat 90-Minute Narrated Sightseeing Cruise in Fort Lauderdale: $31
  • Carrie B Cruises! Beautiful and Fun THE VENICE OF AMERICA TOUR!!!: $32

Tours and Activities in Columbia

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

  • Soda City: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Columbia: $12

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Fort Lauderdale $33
    Columbia $88
Typical Alcohol Prices in Fort Lauderdale

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Fort Lauderdale are as follows:


  • Beer
    $7.30

Sample the Local Flavors in Fort Lauderdale

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Ft Lauderdale Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $37
  • Guided Happy Hour Bar Crawl by Beer Bike: $64
  • Pedibus Pub Crawl in Fort Lauderdale: $74
  • Party Bike Bar Crawl: $74


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

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


Which is Bigger, Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

Fort Lauderdale has a larger population, and is about 47% larger than the population of Columbia. When comparing the sizes of Fort Lauderdale and Columbia, 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 Fort Lauderdale or Columbia?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Fort Lauderdale or Columbia in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Fort Lauderdale and Columbia. The beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Fort Lauderdale this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Columbia for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Fort Lauderdale is around the same temperature as Columbia. Typically, the summer temperatures in Fort Lauderdale in July average around 83°F (28°C), and Columbia averages at about 82°F (28°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbia this time of the year. In Fort Lauderdale, it's very sunny this time of the year. Fort Lauderdale usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia during summer. Fort Lauderdale gets 316 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 293 hours of full sun in the summer.

Columbia receives a lot of rain in the summer. Fort Lauderdale gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Fort Lauderdale usually receives more rain than Columbia. Fort Lauderdale gets 5.9 inches (149 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Fort Lauderdale 83°F (28°C) 
    Columbia 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Fort Lauderdale or Columbia in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Fort Lauderdale as well as Columbia. Many travelers come to Fort Lauderdale for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Columbia in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In October, Fort Lauderdale is generally a little warmer than Columbia. Daily temperatures in Fort Lauderdale average around 78°F (26°C), and Columbia fluctuates around 64°F (18°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Columbia. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Fort Lauderdale this time of the year. In the autumn, Fort Lauderdale often gets more sunshine than Columbia. Fort Lauderdale gets 275 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 230 hours of full sun.

Fort Lauderdale receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Fort Lauderdale usually gets more rain in October than Columbia. Fort Lauderdale gets 5.6 inches (143 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Fort Lauderdale 78°F (26°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Should I visit Fort Lauderdale or Columbia in the Winter?

Both Columbia and Fort Lauderdale are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Fort Lauderdale in the winter for the shopping scene and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Columbia for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Fort Lauderdale is much warmer than Columbia in the winter. The daily temperature in Fort Lauderdale averages around 67°F (20°C) in January, and Columbia fluctuates around 45°F (7°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale usually receives more sunshine than Columbia during winter. Fort Lauderdale gets 243 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 171 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Fort Lauderdale usually receives less rain than Columbia. Fort Lauderdale gets 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Fort Lauderdale 67°F (20°C) 
    Columbia 45°F (7°C)

Should I visit Fort Lauderdale or Columbia in the Spring?

Both Columbia and Fort Lauderdale during the spring are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Fort Lauderdale for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months.

In the spring, Fort Lauderdale is a little warmer than Columbia. Typically, the spring temperatures in Fort Lauderdale in April average around 75°F (24°C), and Columbia averages at about 64°F (18°C).

In Columbia, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Fort Lauderdale. In the spring, Fort Lauderdale often gets more sunshine than Columbia. Fort Lauderdale gets 300 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 273 hours of full sun.

Fort Lauderdale usually gets more rain in April than Columbia. Fort Lauderdale gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Fort Lauderdale 75°F (24°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Typical Weather for Columbia and Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Columbia
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 67°F (20°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Feb 68°F (20°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Mar 72°F (22°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm)
Apr 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 79°F (26°C) 6.4 inches (162 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 9.4 inches (238 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jul 83°F (28°C) 5.9 inches (149 mm) 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm)
Aug 83°F (28°C) 7.5 inches (191 mm) 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm)
Sep 82°F (28°C) 7.6 inches (194 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Oct 78°F (26°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Nov 73°F (23°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm)
Dec 69°F (21°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)