Should you visit Gatlinburg or Charlottesville?
Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Gatlinburg and Charlottesville can help you decide which place is right for you.
Located in eastern Tennessee, Gatlinburg is a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for many it is a destination in and of itself. It's anything but natural, and most of its entertainment is centered around amusement park rides and gimmicky sights. You'll find no shortage of cheap hotels and restaurant options, many of which are the typical chains you would find in most tourist towns. It is a convenient town to pick up any necessities you may have forgotten before your visit to the nearby national park.
Located in central Virginia, Charlottesville is a little university town steeped in history and culture. Home to Thomas Jefferson, much of the town's architecture is heavily influenced by his hand, while the people scene is full of activities, dining, and entertainment. Many visitors are drawn to the area for the University of Virginia, the Historic Downtown Mall, plus many quaint vineyards and farms in the surrounding countryside.
Which city is cheaper, Charlottesville or Gatlinburg?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Gatlinburg is $152, while the average daily cost in Charlottesville is $123. 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Gatlinburg and Charlottesville in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $128 in Gatlinburg For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
For a normal double-occupancy room in Charlottesville, $128 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Charlottesville, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $64, such as in a hostel.
The price of a meal in Gatlinburg can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $68 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $27 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.
Food in Charlottesville costs travelers about $34 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.
Meals for one day
Typical Food prices in Gatlinburg
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Gatlinburg:
To get around in Gatlinburg, the average visitor spends $28 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Charlottesville than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $42 on transportation in Charlottesville on average per day.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charlottesville
Also for Charlottesville, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Arrival Transfer from Charlotteville Airport (CHO):
Private Departure Transfer to Charlottesville Airport (CHO):
In Gatlinburg, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $19 per person, per day.
Sightseeing expenses in Charlottesville, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $14 per day, per person.
Typical Entertainment prices in Gatlinburg
For Gatlinburg, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
Horseback Riding Photos
Horseback Riding (for 2)
Tours and Activities in Gatlinburg
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Gatlinburg.
Can-AM Maverick 1000 Adventure Vehicle Rental:
Foxfire Mountain: Waterfall Canopy Zip Line Tour:
Gatlinburg Ghost Tour:
Ghost and Haunt Tour of Gatlinburg:
Goliath: Extreme Mountain Zip Lining Adventure:
Great Smoky Mountains Waterfall Adventure Hiking Tour:
Impossibilities Magic Show at the Iris Theater Ticket:
Polaris 570 Ranger Adventure Vehicle Rental:
Tours and Activities in Charlottesville
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Charlottesville.
Immersive Art Experience at The Looking Glass Ticket:
Private Virginia BBQ Experience Tour:
Private Virginia Craft Beer Tour:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Gatlinburg, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $12.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Charlottesville, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $42.
Sample the Local Flavors in Gatlinburg
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Gatlinburg:
Gatlinburg's Best Moonshine Distillery Tour and Tastings:
Sample the Local Flavors in Charlottesville
Also in Charlottesville, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Private Wine Tours:
Weekday Virginia Private Custom Wine Tour from Charlottesville:
Virginia Private Custom Wine Tour from Charlottesville:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Gatlinburg and Charlottesville, we can see that Gatlinburg is more expensive. And not only is Charlottesville much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Charlottesville would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Charlottesville 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 Gatlinburg would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Gatlinburg than you might in Charlottesville.
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