A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Gainesville vs. Saint Petersburg for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Gainesville or Saint Petersburg, 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.

Gainesville

Gainesville is a active, vibrant, and high energy city. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a relaxed, fun-filled, and underrated coastal city. It's also known for museums, nightlife, and food.

Gainesville and Saint Petersburg: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Saint Petersburg than Gainesville, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Saint Petersburg is more popular for its food, resorts, and beaches, while Gainesville is known for its nightlife. Saint Petersburg is more touristy than Gainesville and is popular for its warm weather, sandy beaches, and outdoor activities. It is also home to St. Pete Beach. Gainesville is popular for being the home of the University of Florida

How is Gainesville different from Saint Petersburg?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Both Gainesville and Saint Petersburg have excellent landmarks and museums for visitors.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Gainesville can be an interesting and educational experience. There's a surprising number of museums around town such as the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, and the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. Also fascinating is the Historic Haile Homestead, the Butterfly Rainforest, and the city's planetarium.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Saint Petersburg. There are a variety of history, science, and art museums in the area. The Dalí Museum, Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, The Florida Holocaust Museum, and Imagine Museum of Contemporary Glass Art are some of the favorites.


Is the Food Better in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is notable for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Saint Petersburg makes for a great culinary experience. It's location on the Gulf Coast means that seafood is everywhere. You'll enjoy fresh oysters, fried calamari, grilled fish, and fried shrimp on many menus. Casual restaurants and local eateries are common around town.

Gainesville has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Casual eateries are popular around town, particularly with the student population. There are grills, diners, and bistros that serve local dishes at affordable prices.

Is Gainesville or Saint Petersburg Better for Nightlife?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Gainesville is great for nightlife. Also, Saint Petersburg is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for nightlife and partying.

Many people head to Gainesville for the nightlife scene. The nightlife centers around the student population. The two main party areas are Midtown and Downtown. Midtown is between Northwest 17th Street and Northwest 18th Street and it's convenient for students who live on campus. The area has a great stretch of bars and clubs. The Downtown area has many of the city's top clubs, and it's popular with upperclassmen and students who live off campus.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Saint Petersburg. There are beachside bars, rooftop restaurants, and dance clubs around town for those looking for a night out.

Is Gainesville or Saint Petersburg Better for Resorts?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a nice place to visit for its resorts. However, Gainesville is not a resort destination.

Saint Petersburg has a handful of resorts to choose from. You'll find most of the resorts near the beach. Many have pools and they range in style and budget level.

Gainesville is not a resort destination.


Is Gainesville or Saint Petersburg Better for Beaches?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is very popular for its beaches. However, Gainesville is not a beach destination.

The beaches in Saint Petersburg are among the best in the world. You'll find great sandy beaches with calm blue water and a relaxed atmosphere. Some of the best beaches include Egmont Key, Fort DeSoto Beach, Maximo Beach, and St. Pete's Municipal Beach.

Gainesville is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Both Gainesville and Saint Petersburg are good shopping destinations.

Gainesville is a great destination for shopping. You'll find all of the standard shopping options around town such as malls, shopping centers, and retail outlets. Two popular areas are the Neighborhoods at Butler and Celebration Pointe.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Saint Petersburg. You'll find plenty of shopping malls and shopping centers around town. Along the boardwalk and in John's Pass Village there are also restaurants and souvenir stores.

Is Gainesville or Saint Petersburg Better for Families?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is notable for its family-friendly activities. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Saint Petersburg is a very family-friendly place to visit. The beaches, waterparks, nature reserves, and entertainment centers all offer plenty of activities for families. There are plenty of places to play, laugh, and act silly around town so the whole family can have a good time. There's also the Great Explorations Children’s Museum and other educational opportunities for the young ones.

Gainesville is a family-friendly city. You'll find outdoor activities, nature parks, and a couple of museums that will appeal to all ages. Highlights for families include A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center, the Adventure Outpost, and Alfred A. Ring Park.


Is Gainesville or Saint Petersburg Better for Couples?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is notable for romance. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its romantic activities.

Saint Petersburg is a very popular place to visit for couples. There are sunset cruises, long sandy beaches, nice restaurants, and many other romantic activities around town. You can wander down the boardwalk or enjoy nature at the gardens and nature parks around town.

Gainesville makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples can enjoy wine tasting and fine dining or enjoying the city's many outdoor activities. Go on a picnic or explore one of the museums in Downtown Gainesville.

Is Gainesville or Saint Petersburg Better for Students?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Gainesville is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Saint Petersburg is not popular with students.

Gainesville is very popular with students. As the location of the University of Florida, you'll find many students around town. This keeps the energy high with plenty of evening activities and affordable entertainment options.

Saint Petersburg is not popular with students.

Is Gainesville or Saint Petersburg Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Gainesville is very good for times when you don't have a car. However, Saint Petersburg is not a good destination for its public transit.

While Gainesville offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There's a decent bus system that's free to students and employees of the university.

Public transit is generally limited in Saint Petersburg. There's a bus system, but most people rely on their own car to get around.


Is Gainesville or Saint Petersburg a more walkable city?

Gainesville
Saint Petersburg

Gainesville is very good for its walkability. However, Saint Petersburg is not a good destination for its high level of walkability.

Gainesville is somewhat walkable. Biking is actually a popular way to get around town and some areas are pedestrian-friendly.

Saint Petersburg is generally not very walkable. The downtown area is the most walkable part of town, but you really need a car to access most places.

For even more information, also check out Is Gainesville Worth Visiting? and Is Saint Petersburg Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Saint Petersburg or Gainesville?

How long in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

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

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Gainesville than Saint Petersburg 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 Gainesville.


  • How many days in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg? Ideal Length of Stay
    Gainesville 1-2 
    Saint Petersburg 2-4

One day in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

You'll find food and shopping around the active destination of Gainesville. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the underrated coastal city of Saint Petersburg. It's also a great beach destination, too. Most people visit for the beaches. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

You'll find shopping and museums around the active city of Gainesville. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the relaxed destination of Saint Petersburg. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. This coastal city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.


Five days in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

Gainesville is a popular choice for travelers. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

The relaxed coastal city of Saint Petersburg offers shopping and museums. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A week in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

Gainesville is a great place to explore. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Saint Petersburg. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people come for the beaches. Most people visit for the beaches. 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 in United States of America, The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, and Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Saint Petersburg or Gainesville?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Gainesville is $221, while the average daily cost in Saint Petersburg is $204. 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 Gainesville and Saint Petersburg in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gainesville $119
    Saint Petersburg $127
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gainesville $238
    Saint Petersburg $254
Compare Hotels in Gainesville and Saint Petersburg

Looking for a hotel in Gainesville or Saint Petersburg? 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 Saint Petersburg


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 Saint Petersburg Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gainesville $40
    Saint Petersburg $47

Is it cheaper to fly into Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

Prices for flights to both Saint Petersburg 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Gainesville $70
    Saint Petersburg $49
Typical Food Prices in Gainesville

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


  • Diner Breakfast for Two
    $17
  • Lunch at Chop Stix (for 2)
    $24

Typical Food Prices in Saint Petersburg

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Saint Petersburg:


  • Burger Dinner (for 2)
    $20
  • Indian Food Dinner (for 2)
    $37
  • Gelato (for 2)
    $8.00
  • Breakfast at Piper's Patio (for 2)
    $17

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Gainesville $44
    Saint Petersburg $13
Typical Entertainment Prices in Gainesville

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


  • Manatee Tour for Two
    $98
  • Tour Guide Tip
    $5.00

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: $15
  • Private Snorkeling Tour in Florida Springs: $250
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Gainesville by Operation City Quest: $10

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gainesville $49
    Saint Petersburg $41


When comparing the travel costs between Gainesville and Saint Petersburg, we can see that Gainesville is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

Saint Petersburg has a larger population, and is about 96% larger than the population of Gainesville. When comparing the sizes of Gainesville and Saint Petersburg, 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 Gainesville or Saint Petersburg?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Gainesville or Saint Petersburg in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Gainesville as well as Saint Petersburg. Most visitors come to Gainesville for the family-friendly experiences during these months. Additionally, the summer months attract visitors to Saint Petersburg because of the beaches and the family-friendly experiences.

Gainesville is around the same temperature as Saint Petersburg in the summer. The daily temperature in Gainesville averages around 81°F (27°C) in July, and Saint Petersburg fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

It's quite rainy in Saint Petersburg. Gainesville receives a lot of rain in the summer. Gainesville usually gets less rain in July than Saint Petersburg. Gainesville gets 6.8 inches (174 mm) of rain, while Saint Petersburg receives 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Gainesville or Saint Petersburg in the Autumn?

Both Saint Petersburg and Gainesville are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The autumn months attract visitors to Gainesville because of the shopping scene. Also, the shopping scene are the main draw to Saint Petersburg this time of year.

In the autumn, Gainesville is cooler than Saint Petersburg. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Gainesville in October average around 71°F (22°C), and Saint Petersburg averages at about 76°F (24°C).

In October, Gainesville usually receives less rain than Saint Petersburg. Gainesville gets 2 inches (51 mm) of rain, while Saint Petersburg receives 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain each month for the autumn. June to November in Gainesville is the hurricane season. June to November in Saint Petersburg is the hurricane season.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Gainesville 71°F (22°C) 
    Saint Petersburg 76°F (24°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Saint Petersburg in the Winter?

Both Saint Petersburg and Gainesville during the winter are popular places to visit. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Gainesville this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Saint Petersburg for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In January, Gainesville is generally cooler than Saint Petersburg. Daily temperatures in Gainesville average around 54°F (12°C), and Saint Petersburg fluctuates around 59°F (15°C).

Gainesville usually gets more rain in January than Saint Petersburg. Gainesville gets 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Saint Petersburg receives 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Gainesville 54°F (12°C) 
    Saint Petersburg 59°F (15°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Saint Petersburg in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Gainesville and Saint Petersburg. Also, many visitors come to Saint Petersburg in the spring for the beaches.

Gainesville is cooler than Saint Petersburg in the spring. The daily temperature in Gainesville averages around 69°F (20°C) in April, and Saint Petersburg fluctuates around 73°F (23°C).

In April, Gainesville usually receives around the same amount of rain as Saint Petersburg. Gainesville gets 2 inches (50 mm) of rain, while Saint Petersburg receives 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain each month for the spring. The hurricane season in Gainesville is June to November. The hurricane season in Saint Petersburg is June to November.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Gainesville 69°F (20°C) 
    Saint Petersburg 73°F (23°C)

Typical Weather for Saint Petersburg and Gainesville

Gainesville Saint Petersburg
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 54°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm) 59°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm)
Feb 57°F (14°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 67°F (20°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Apr 69°F (20°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 73°F (23°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
May 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 78°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 82°F (28°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm)
Sep 78°F (26°C) 5.5 inches (139 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 76°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 69°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Dec 56°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)