A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Gainesville vs. Columbia for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Gainesville or Columbia?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Gainesville or Columbia, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Where Should I go: Gainesville or Columbia?


Home to the University of Florida as well as Santa Fe College, the town of Gainesville has all of the shopping, entertainment, and restaurants that you could want in a college town - plus easy access to a number of outdoor adventures from canoeing, diving, and kayaking to birding, fishing, hiking, and biking. Some of the top features include the Butterfly Rainforest, the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, and Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park.


Both the largest and capital city of South Carolina, Columbia is literally the center of everything. Geographically it is located in the middle of the state, and it is the home to the University of South Carolina, the Army's Fort Jackson, as well as a variety of museums that celebrate the city's art, history, and culture.

Which city is cheaper, Columbia or Gainesville?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Gainesville is $172, 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Gainesville and Columbia in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gainesville $95
    Columbia -
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gainesville $190
    Columbia $0.00
Compare Hotels in Gainesville and Columbia

Looking for a hotel in Gainesville 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 Gainesville

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: Gainesville Hotel Prices and Columbia Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gainesville $32
    Columbia -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Gainesville

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Gainesville:

  • Private Transfer from Gainesville to Orlando (MCO) Airport: $453
  • Private Transfer from Gainesville to Port Canaveral: $658
  • Private Transfer from Gainesville to Orlando-Sanford (SFB) Airport: $676

Is it cheaper to fly into Gainesville or Columbia?

Prices for flights to both Columbia and Gainesville 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
    Gainesville $56
    Columbia $4.02
Typical Food prices in Gainesville

Some typical examples of dining costs in Gainesville are as follows:

  • Diner Breakfast for Two
  • Lunch at Chop Stix (for 2)

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Gainesville $16
    Columbia -
Typical Entertainment prices in Gainesville

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Gainesville are as follows:

  • Manatee Tour for Two
  • Tour Guide Tip

Tours and Activities in Gainesville

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

  • Butterfly Rainforest at Florida Museum of Natural History Ticket: $14

Tours and Activities in Columbia

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

  • Savannah: History & Ghosts Guided Tour with Beverage Stops: $20
  • Cascade Locks: 1-Hour Columbia River Sightseeing Cruise: $50
  • Portland: Columbia River Gorge 3-Hour Small Group Tour: $85
  • Cascade Locks: Columbia Gorge Sunday Brunch Cruise: $94
  • Portland: Columbia Gorge Flight Tour: $99
  • Portland: Multnomah Falls Scenic Air Tour: $199

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gainesville $39
    Columbia $70

Sample the Local Flavors in Columbia

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

  • Savannah: Pub Crawl and Ghost Tour: $30

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

When is the best time to visit Gainesville 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 Gainesville or Columbia in the Summer?

Both Columbia and Gainesville are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities.

In the summer, Gainesville is around the same temperature as Columbia. Typically, the summer temperatures in Gainesville in July are around 81°F (27°C), and Columbia is about 82°F (28°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Columbia. It's quite rainy in Gainesville. In July, Gainesville usually receives more rain than Columbia. Gainesville gets 6.8 inches (174 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain each month for the summer.

  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Gainesville 81°F (27°C) 
    Columbia 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Columbia in the Autumn?

Both Columbia and Gainesville during the autumn are popular places to visit.

In October, Gainesville is generally a little warmer than Columbia. Temperatures in Gainesville average around 71°F (22°C), and Columbia stays around 64°F (18°C).

Gainesville usually gets less rain in October than Columbia. Gainesville gets 2 inches (51 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain this time of the year.

  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Gainesville 71°F (22°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Columbia in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Gainesville and Columbia.

Gainesville is much warmer than Columbia in the winter. The temperature in Gainesville is usually 54°F (12°C) in January, and Columbia stays around 45°F (7°C).

In January, Gainesville usually receives less rain than Columbia. Gainesville gets 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain each month for the winter.

  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Gainesville 54°F (12°C) 
    Columbia 45°F (7°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Columbia in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Gainesville as well as Columbia.

In the spring, Gainesville is a little warmer than Columbia. Typically, the spring temperatures in Gainesville in April are around 69°F (20°C), and Columbia is about 64°F (18°C).

Gainesville usually gets less rain in April than Columbia. Gainesville gets 2 inches (50 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain this time of the year.

  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Gainesville 69°F (20°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Typical Weather for Columbia and Gainesville

Gainesville Columbia
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 54°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Feb 57°F (14°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm)
Apr 69°F (20°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm)
Sep 78°F (26°C) 5.5 inches (139 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm)
Dec 56°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)

Budget Your Trip

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Gainesville vs. Columbia Travel Comparison

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