A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Hilton Head Island vs. Cape Cod for Families, Food, Resorts, and Beaches

Should you visit Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

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

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 Hilton Head Island and Cape Cod can help you decide which place is right for you.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is a family-friendly, relaxing, and peaceful coastal town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the shopping, food, and beaches.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod is a wealthy, maritime, and beautiful beach destination. It offers plenty of small town charm along with sights and activities, too. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Because of its quaint atmosphere, it draws plenty of visitors, too. It's also popular because of the beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Hilton Head Island and Cape Cod: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere


Is there more to do in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Cape Cod. Although Hilton Head Island and Cape Cod are popular destinations, Cape Cod has more sights and attractions for tourists. Cape Cod is very popular for its food, hiking, shopping, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Hilton Head Island attracts visitors for its resorts. Hilton Head Island is famous for its long sandy beaches, many golf courses, popular tennis camps, and accessible bike trails. Cape Cod is famous for its long scenic coastline, charming compact towns, and magnificent migrating whales. It is also well known for The Cape Cod National Seashore.

How is Hilton Head Island different from Cape Cod?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Cape Cod and Hilton Head Island. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is the Food Better in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Cape Cod is a very popular place for its restaurants. Also, Hilton Head Island is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Cape Cod has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. The region is famous for its fresh seafood and popular dishes include the fried clams and broiled lobster. There are also many diners and brunch cafes where you can enjoy pancakes or eggs benedict.

Hilton Head Island offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The island has many famous restaurants but reservations during the summer are a must. Restaurants can get very crowded during peak times. For some of the best restaurants head to Shelter Cove or Harbour Town. Popular local dishes include fried seafood and oysters.


Is Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod Better for Nightlife?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Neither Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod offer decent nightlife.

Hilton Head Island doesn't offer many options. There are a few sports bars and comedy clubs, but nightlife isn't really a thing in Hilton Head. This is very much a family destination that shuts down with the sunset.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Cape Cod. This area isn't really known for its nightlife, but the downtown of Hyannis has some activity at night.

Is Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod Better for Resorts?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Hilton Head Island is great for its luxury resorts. Also, Cape Cod is not as popular, but is still a nice beach destination for its resorts.

There are plenty of resorts in Hilton Head Island to choose from. Most of the accommodation in the area is in the form of weekly condo rentals, which usually include a pool and outdoor space. Tennis and golf are also popular on the island so many resorts have facilities for each.

Cape Cod has a handful of resorts to choose from. Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, White Elephant Resorts, and Chatham Bars Inn are favorite resorts in the Cape Cod area.

Is Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod Better for Beaches?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Hilton Head Island and Cape Cod are high quality choices for a beach vacation.

Hilton Head Island is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. The island has nice beaches that are popular with families. They are great for swimming during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. While some beaches may get a bit crowded during peak holidays, they're usually pretty relaxed and less crowded than many nearby beaches.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Cape Cod. Beaches in the area include long stretches of soft sand as well as tidal pools where kids can play. Several of the best beaches around Cape Cod include Mayflower Beach, Marconi Beach, and Race Point Beach.


Is Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod Better for Hiking?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Cape Cod is very good for its hiking trails. However, Hilton Head Island is not a hiking destination.

Many people include a hike when visiting Cape Cod. Hikes range from casual strolls to longer trails. Popular options include Bass Hole Boardwalk in Yarmouth and the 22 mile Cape Cod Rail Trail.

Hilton Head Island is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Cape Cod is a very popular place for its shopping areas. Also, Hilton Head Island is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Cape Cod. Many of the area's towns have charming Main Streets where you can enjoy shopping and dining.

Hilton Head Island is a great destination for shopping. The area has upscale shopping with designer names and local venues. Popular shopping areas include Shelter Cove Town Center and Harbor Town.

Is Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod Better for Families?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Hilton Head Island is an unbeatable place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Cape Cod is not as popular, but is still a nice beach destination for its family-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Hilton Head Island is very family-friendly. This area is a popular family-friendly beach destination with a number of summer events for the whole family, peaceful beaches, and family-friendly restaurants throughout. Older kids will enjoy cycling around the island's many bike trails or attending a popular tennis camp.

Cape Cod is a very family-friendly place to visit. The coastal towns have a number of kid-friendly activities. In the Upper Cape, Falmouth is one of the best towns for families. On Mid Cape, Dennis and Yarmouth are both kid-friendly. Dennis has a resorty vibe and Yarmouth has kid-friendly museums. On the Lower Cape, both Harwich and Orleans are family-friendly options.


Is Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod Better for Couples?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Cape Cod is a very popular place for couples. Also, Hilton Head Island is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.

Cape Cod makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. With its charming character and relaxing beach setting, honeymooners and couples will appreciate all that the area has to offer. There are peaceful settings and charming villages to explore. There are also award-winning restaurants and beautiful views.

Hilton Head Island is a nice destination for couples. While the area is most popular with families, it is a fun place to explore as a couple because of the many high end restaurants and the beautiful setting. Couples can rent bikes to explore or play a friendly game of tennis.

Is Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Cape Cod is a decent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Hilton Head Island is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Cape Cod. While there are buses and shuttles to help you get around, a car really is necessary to explore the area.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Hilton Head Island. You must have a car to get most places on the island, unless you bike. Rush hour during summer months can have intense traffic.

Is Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod a more walkable city?

Hilton Head Island
Cape Cod

Cape Cod is very good for its ease of walking around. However, Hilton Head Island is lacking in good options for its walkability.

Cape Cod is a somewhat walkable beach destination. Many of the small towns in the area have compact and walkable areas, but the region is spread out so it's helpful to have a car to get from place to place.

Hilton Head Island is generally not very walkable. You really need a car to get around, but for those who are motivated, there is a great network of bike trails. It's mostly used for recreational purposes though.


For even more information, also check out Is Hilton Head Island Worth Visiting? and Is Cape Cod Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Cape Cod or Hilton Head Island?

How long in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

Both Hilton Head Island and Cape Cod have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Cape Cod has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Cape Cod than Hilton Head Island. However, 5-7 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

Couples should spend more time in Cape Cod than Hilton Head Island. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Cape Cod that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cape Cod than Hilton Head Island 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 Cape Cod.


  • How many days in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod? Ideal Length of Stay
    Hilton Head Island 5-7 
    Cape Cod 5-7

One day in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

The coastal town of Hilton Head Island offers shopping and food. 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.

Cape Cod might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. This beach destination offers something for everyone. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

Hilton Head Island 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.

Cape Cod is a popular place to visit. Even though Cape Cod is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Five days in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

Hilton Head Island is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Hilton Head Island, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Cape Cod is a small town where visitors enjoy the shopping and food. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Most people come for the beaches. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Cape Cod has to offer.


A week in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

Hilton Head Island is a great place to explore. 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 Hilton Head Island has to offer. This coastal town offers something for everyone.

Cape Cod is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this beach destination makes for a great vacation. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. It offers something for everyone. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, and The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City.


Which place is cheaper, Cape Cod or Hilton Head Island?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Hilton Head Island is $243, while the average daily cost in Cape Cod is $183. 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 Hilton Head Island and Cape Cod in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Hilton Head Island $129
    Cape Cod $92
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Hilton Head Island $258
    Cape Cod $184
Compare Hotels in Hilton Head Island and Cape Cod

Looking for a hotel in Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod? 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 Hilton Head Island


Hotels in Cape Cod


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: Hilton Head Island Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Hilton Head Island $34
    Cape Cod $50

Is it cheaper to fly into Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

Prices for flights to both Cape Cod and Hilton Head Island 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
    Hilton Head Island $60
    Cape Cod $60

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Hilton Head Island

For Hilton Head Island, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Dolphin Watching 3-Course Dinner Cruise: $70
  • Sunset Dinner Cruise: $106
  • Hilton Head Sunset Dinner Cruise: $106
  • Sunset Hibachi Dinner Cruise : $115

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Hilton Head Island $23
    Cape Cod $27

Tours and Activities in Hilton Head Island

For Hilton Head Island, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • #1 Historical Horse Drawn Carriage Tour: $35
  • 1 Hour Private Dolphin Tour Hilton Head Island: $250
  • 2-Hour Hilton Head Guided Kayak Nature Tour: $45
  • 90 Minute Hilton Head Dolphin Tour: $48
  • 90 Minute Hilton Head Dolphin and Nature Cruise: $45
  • 90 minute Hilton Head Sunset Dolphin Cruise: $55
  • 90-Minute Dolphin and Nature Tour of Hilton Head: $45
  • Beaufort City Minibus Tour: $35
  • Beaufort Gullah Heritage Tour: $49
  • Beaufort’s #1 Horse & Carriage History Tour: $35
  • Daufuskie Island Daily Round Trip Ferry Tickets: $54
  • Daufuskie Island Guided History Tour from Hilton Head: $115

Tours and Activities in Cape Cod

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Cape Cod.

  • National Seashore Tour with Guided Hike: $65
  • 3-Hour Private Sightseeing Outdoor Escape Game in Eastham: $39
  • Cape Cod Explorer Tour: $80
  • Cape Cod Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Cape Cod Sunset Kayak Tour: $80
  • Kayak The Creek Nature Tour: $80
  • Mayflower Trolley Tour!: $38
  • Plymouth Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Private Open-Air Pedicab Tour in Provincetown: $117
  • Private Province Town Pedicab Tour: $149
  • The Anne Hutchinson Tour of Provincetown: $30
  • Truro Cape Cod Lighthouse and Highland House Museum Tour: $65

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Hilton Head Island $26
    Cape Cod $19


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Hilton Head Island Expensive? and Is Cape Cod Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod?

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 Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Hilton Head Island and Cape Cod. Many visitors come to Hilton Head Island in the summer for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Cape Cod for the beaches, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Hilton Head Island is a little warmer than Cape Cod in the summer. The daily temperature in Hilton Head Island averages around 82°F (28°C) in July, and Cape Cod fluctuates around 68°F (20°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Cape Cod this time of the year. In Hilton Head Island, it's very sunny this time of the year. Hilton Head Island usually receives less sunshine than Cape Cod during summer. Hilton Head Island gets 267 hours of sunny skies, while Cape Cod receives 304 hours of full sun in the summer.

Hilton Head Island gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Hilton Head Island usually receives more rain than Cape Cod. Hilton Head Island gets 7.9 inches (200 mm) of rain, while Cape Cod receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Hilton Head Island 82°F (28°C) 
    Cape Cod 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Hilton Head Island as well as Cape Cod. Most visitors come to Hilton Head Island for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Cape Cod because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Hilton Head Island is much warmer than Cape Cod. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Hilton Head Island in October average around 68°F (20°C), and Cape Cod averages at about 53°F (12°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Hilton Head Island this time of the year. In the autumn, Hilton Head Island often gets more sunshine than Cape Cod. Hilton Head Island gets 223 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Cape Cod receives 194 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Cape Cod. Hilton Head Island usually gets less rain in October than Cape Cod. Hilton Head Island gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Cape Cod receives 4.4 inches (111 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Hilton Head Island 68°F (20°C) 
    Cape Cod 53°F (12°C)

Should I visit Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod in the Winter?

Both Cape Cod and Hilton Head Island are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The winter months attract visitors to Hilton Head Island because of the shopping scene and the cuisine. Also, the shopping scene and the cuisine are the main draw to Cape Cod this time of year.

It's quite cold in Cape Cod in the winter. In January, Hilton Head Island is generally much warmer than Cape Cod. Daily temperatures in Hilton Head Island average around 48°F (9°C), and Cape Cod fluctuates around 31°F (-0°C).

Hilton Head Island usually receives more sunshine than Cape Cod during winter. Hilton Head Island gets 176 hours of sunny skies, while Cape Cod receives 153 hours of full sun in the winter.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Cape Cod. In January, Hilton Head Island usually receives less rain than Cape Cod. Hilton Head Island gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Cape Cod receives 4.2 inches (106 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Hilton Head Island 48°F (9°C) 
    Cape Cod 31°F (-0°C)

Should I visit Hilton Head Island or Cape Cod in the Spring?

Both Cape Cod and Hilton Head Island during the spring are popular places to visit. The beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Hilton Head Island this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Cape Cod for the beaches, the small town charm, and the natural beauty.

Hilton Head Island is much warmer than Cape Cod in the spring. The daily temperature in Hilton Head Island averages around 67°F (19°C) in April, and Cape Cod fluctuates around 45°F (7°C).

In Cape Cod, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Hilton Head Island. In the spring, Hilton Head Island often gets more sunshine than Cape Cod. Hilton Head Island gets 275 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Cape Cod receives 225 hours of full sun.

Cape Cod gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Hilton Head Island usually gets less rain in April than Cape Cod. Hilton Head Island gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Cape Cod receives 4.1 inches (103 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Hilton Head Island 67°F (19°C) 
    Cape Cod 45°F (7°C)

Typical Weather for Cape Cod and Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island Cape Cod
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 48°F (9°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 31°F (-0°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Feb 52°F (11°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 32°F (-0°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm)
Mar 58°F (15°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 38°F (3°C) 4 inches (102 mm)
Apr 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 45°F (7°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm)
May 73°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm) 62°F (17°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.9 inches (200 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (164 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Sep 77°F (25°C) 5.6 inches (141 mm) 62°F (17°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Oct 68°F (20°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 53°F (12°C) 4.4 inches (111 mm)
Nov 59°F (15°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm) 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Dec 52°F (11°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 36°F (2°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm)