A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Gainesville vs. Virginia Beach for Nightlife, Families, Food, and Couples

Should you visit Gainesville or Virginia Beach?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Gainesville or Virginia Beach, 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 vibrant, high energy, and active city. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a relaxing, bustling, and fun-filled coastal city. It's a gorgeous place to visit. It's also known for nightlife and beaches.

Gainesville and Virginia Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Gainesville or Virginia Beach?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Gainesville than Virginia Beach. While Virginia Beach is larger than Gainesville, Gainesville has more sights and attractions for tourists. Gainesville is very popular for its museums, food, nightlife, and shopping, while Virginia Beach attracts visitors for its resorts, beaches, and impressive beauty. Virginia Beach is more touristy than Gainesville and is popular for its fun boardwalk, many seafood restaurants, and classic beach town vibe. Gainesville is famous for being the home of the University of Florida It is also well known for the Florida Museum of Natural History.

How is Gainesville different from Virginia Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Virginia Beach 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 Virginia Beach?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Gainesville is great for its historical sights. However, Virginia Beach does not have museums and landmarks.

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.

Virginia Beach does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Gainesville or Virginia Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Gainesville is a nice place to visit for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

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.

Virginia Beach may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Seafood is plentiful around town and there are all-you-can-eat buffets as well as high end, waterfront seafood restaurants. Make sure you try the She Crab Soup, soft shell crabs, and oysters.

Is Gainesville or Virginia Beach Better for Nightlife?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Gainesville is great for nightlife and partying. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its evening party scene.

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 Virginia Beach. While it's a family-friendly beach, there's still a great nightlife scene with many bars and clubs in the area. Popular places to hang out at night include Omega Bar, Peabody's Nightclub, and Sky Bar.

Is Gainesville or Virginia Beach Better for Resorts?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

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

Virginia Beach has a handful of resorts to choose from. Some of the best resorts in the area include the Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club, the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, and The Founders Inn and Spa.

Gainesville is not a resort destination.


Is Gainesville or Virginia Beach Better for Beaches?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a nice place to visit for its beaches. However, Gainesville is not a beach destination.

Virginia Beach has a beach worth visiting. The beaches are long and sandy, but they can get crowded during the summer months. The waves are just the right size for playing in the surf and the water temperature is usually warm enough to swim well into the fall months.

Gainesville is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Gainesville or Virginia Beach?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Gainesville is a nice place to visit for its shopping opportunities. However, Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Gainesville. 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.

Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Gainesville or Virginia Beach Better for Families?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach 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.

Virginia Beach is a very family-friendly place to visit. This is a popular family-friendly beach with a nice boardwalk, a fun waterpark, aquarium, and nice beaches. It attracts families in the area for its long beaches and fun atmosphere. Most restaurants have kid's menus and there are ice cream shops and minigolf around.

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 Virginia Beach Better for Couples?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Gainesville and Virginia Beach are both nice to visit as a couple.

Gainesville is a nice destination for couples. 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.

Virginia Beach makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples will enjoy a nice escape to the beaches and boardwalk. There are many great seafood restaurants, some with waterfront settings. There's also a variety of activities ranging from many golf to dance clubs.

Is Gainesville or Virginia Beach Better for Students?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Gainesville is great for its student-friendly activities. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for students.

Gainesville is a great city to visit as a student. 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.

Virginia Beach is a good city to visit for students. It's not as popular as more southern beach towns, but you'll still find students heading here for the spring break holidays.

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

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Gainesville is a nice place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Virginia Beach 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 limited or non-existant in Virginia Beach. There is very limited public transit in the area so you'll need to have a car to get around.


Is Gainesville or Virginia Beach a more walkable city?

Gainesville
Virginia Beach

Gainesville is a nice place to visit for its high level of walkability. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its ease of walking around.

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

Virginia Beach is generally not very walkable. Most people prefer to have a car but do note that parking can be a nightmare, particularly during the summer season.

For even more information, also check out Is Gainesville Worth Visiting? and Is Virginia Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Virginia Beach or Gainesville?

How long in Gainesville or Virginia Beach?

Both Gainesville and Virginia Beach have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Virginia Beach than in Gainesville. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Gainesville, and 5-7 days is enough time in Virginia Beach.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Gainesville than Virginia Beach 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 Virginia Beach? Ideal Length of Stay
    Gainesville 1-2 
    Virginia Beach 5-7

One day in Gainesville or Virginia Beach?

In Gainesville, you'll find museums and nightlife. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the bustling coastal city of Virginia Beach. 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 Virginia Beach?

Gainesville is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the bustling destination of Virginia Beach. This coastal city offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.


Five days in Gainesville or Virginia Beach?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Gainesville. It offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the fun-filled coastal city of Virginia Beach. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A week in Gainesville or Virginia Beach?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the city of Gainesville. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the destination of Virginia Beach. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for one week. In one week, you should have a good grasp of this coastal city.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America, and The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Virginia Beach 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 Virginia Beach is $126. 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 Virginia Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gainesville $119
    Virginia Beach $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gainesville $238
    Virginia Beach $142
Compare Hotels in Gainesville and Virginia Beach

Looking for a hotel in Gainesville or Virginia Beach? 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 Virginia Beach


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 Virginia Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gainesville $40
    Virginia Beach $39

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Virginia Beach

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Virginia Beach:


  • Beach Parking
    $10

Is it cheaper to fly into Gainesville or Virginia Beach?

Prices for flights to both Virginia Beach 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
    Virginia Beach $30
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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Gainesville $44
    Virginia Beach $21
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
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Gainesville Gems: $13
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Gainesville by Operation City Quest: $10

Tours and Activities in Virginia Beach

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Virginia Beach.

  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Virginia Beach by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Neptune Ghosts: Ghosts of the Coast By US Ghost Adventures: $24
  • Ziplining and Climbing at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium: $59
  • Wetland Zip Tour: $65
  • Sunset Dolphin Kayak Tours: $68
  • Small Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour: $68
  • Dolphin Kayak Tour in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $77
  • Kayak Dolphin Experience in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $77
  • Virginia Historic Adventure!: $200

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gainesville $49
    Virginia Beach $11


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

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


Which is Bigger, Gainesville or Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Gainesville. When comparing the sizes of Gainesville and Virginia Beach, 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 Virginia Beach?

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 Virginia Beach in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Gainesville as well as Virginia Beach. The summer months attract visitors to Gainesville because of the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, the beaches and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Virginia Beach this time of year.

In the summer, Gainesville is around the same temperature as Virginia Beach. Typically, the summer temperatures in Gainesville in July average around 81°F (27°C), and Virginia Beach averages at about 79°F (26°C).

It's quite rainy in Virginia Beach. Gainesville receives a lot of rain in the summer. Gainesville usually gets more rain in July than Virginia Beach. Gainesville gets 6.8 inches (174 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Gainesville 81°F (27°C) 
    Virginia Beach 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Virginia Beach in the Autumn?

Both Virginia Beach and Gainesville are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The shopping scene are the main draw to Gainesville this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Virginia Beach for the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Gainesville is generally a little warmer than Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Gainesville average around 71°F (22°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

In October, Gainesville usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Gainesville gets 2 inches (51 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the autumn. June to November is the hurricane season in Gainesville.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Gainesville 71°F (22°C) 
    Virginia Beach 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Virginia Beach in the Winter?

Both Virginia Beach and Gainesville during the winter are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Gainesville for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Virginia Beach in the winter for the cuisine.

Virginia Beach can get quite cold in the winter. Gainesville is much warmer than Virginia Beach in the winter. The daily temperature in Gainesville averages around 54°F (12°C) in January, and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 39°F (4°C).

Gainesville usually gets less rain in January than Virginia Beach. Gainesville gets 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Gainesville 54°F (12°C) 
    Virginia Beach 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Virginia Beach in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Gainesville and Virginia Beach. Also, most visitors come to Virginia Beach for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months.

In the spring, Gainesville is a little warmer than Virginia Beach. Typically, the spring temperatures in Gainesville in April average around 69°F (20°C), and Virginia Beach averages at about 58°F (14°C).

In April, Gainesville usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Gainesville gets 2 inches (50 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring. June to November in Gainesville is the hurricane season.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Gainesville 69°F (20°C) 
    Virginia Beach 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Virginia Beach and Gainesville

Gainesville Virginia Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 54°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 57°F (14°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 69°F (20°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 78°F (26°C) 5.5 inches (139 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 56°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)