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

Should you visit Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

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 Virginia Beach can help you decide which place is right for you.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is a beautiful, resort-filled, and family-friendly coastal town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the beaches, shopping, and food.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a fun-filled, relaxing, and bustling coastal city. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the nightlife and beaches.

Hilton Head Island and Virginia Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students


Is there more to do in Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Hilton Head Island. Although Hilton Head Island and Virginia Beach are both popular with visitors, Hilton Head Island has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Hilton Head Island is more popular for its food, resorts, beaches, and shopping, while Virginia Beach is known for its nightlife. Hilton Head Island is more touristy than Virginia Beach and is known for its long sandy beaches, many golf courses, popular tennis camps, and accessible bike trails. It is also home to The Harbour Town Lighthouse. Virginia Beach is popular for its fun boardwalk, many seafood restaurants, and classic beach town vibe.

How is Hilton Head Island different from Virginia Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Virginia Beach 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 Virginia Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

Hilton Head Island 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.

Hilton Head Island has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. 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.

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 Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach Better for Nightlife?

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is very good for its evening party scene. However, Hilton Head Island is lacking in good options for nightlife.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe 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.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Hilton Head Island. 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.

Is Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach Better for Resorts?

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

Hilton Head Island is great for its luxury resorts. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its resorts.

Hilton Head Island is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. 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.

Virginia Beach has a few great resort options. 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.

Is Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach Better for Beaches?

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

Hilton Head Island is great for the beache. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for the beach.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Hilton Head Island. 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.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Virginia Beach. 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.


Is the Shopping Better in Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

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

Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach Better for Families?

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

Hilton Head Island is terrific for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its family-friendly activities.

Hilton Head Island is an amazing family-friendly coastal town to visit. 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.

Virginia Beach is known to be 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.

Is Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach Better for Couples?

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

Both Hilton Head Island and Virginia Beach are good destinations to visit as a couple.

Hilton Head Island is a good coastal town for couples to visit. 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.

Virginia Beach is a nice destination for couples. 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 Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach Better for Students?

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is very good for its student-friendly activities. However, Hilton Head Island is not popular with students.

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

Hilton Head Island is not popular with students.

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

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

Neither Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach offer decent public transit.

Public transit is quite limited 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.

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 Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach a more walkable city?

Hilton Head Island
Virginia Beach

Hilton Head Island and Virginia Beach are decent when it comes to walkability.

Hilton Head Island is generally not a very walkable coastal town. 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.

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 Hilton Head Island Worth Visiting? and Is Virginia Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Virginia Beach or Hilton Head Island?

How long in Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

Both Hilton Head Island and Virginia Beach have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Hilton Head Island has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Hilton Head Island than Virginia Beach. 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 Virginia Beach. 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 Hilton Head Island than Virginia Beach. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Hilton Head Island that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

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


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

One day in Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

In Hilton Head Island, you'll find shopping and food. Most people come for the beaches. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the fun-filled destination of Virginia Beach. This coastal city offers something for everyone. 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 Virginia Beach?

Hilton Head Island is a great place to explore. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Anyone can find something fun to do here. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Virginia Beach is a popular place to visit. Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the fun-filled coastal city of Virginia Beach. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Five days in Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Hilton Head Island. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. It offers something for everyone. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the destination of Virginia Beach. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Virginia Beach has to offer.


A week in Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

In Hilton Head Island, you'll find food and shopping. It's also a great beach destination, too. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. One week is usually enough time to experience most activities.

Virginia Beach is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this coastal city makes for a great vacation. 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, Virginia Beach 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 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 Hilton Head Island and Virginia Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Hilton Head Island $129
    Virginia Beach $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Hilton Head Island $258
    Virginia Beach $142
Compare Hotels in Hilton Head Island and Virginia Beach

Looking for a hotel in Hilton Head Island 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 Hilton Head Island


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: Hilton Head Island Hotel Prices and Virginia Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Hilton Head Island $34
    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 Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

Prices for flights to both Virginia Beach 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
    Virginia Beach $30

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
    Virginia Beach $21

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 Sunset Dolphin Cruise: $55
  • Beaufort City Minibus Tour: $35
  • Beaufort Ghost Walking Tours : $22
  • Beaufort Gullah Heritage Tour: $49
  • Beaufort’s #1 Horse & Carriage History Tour: $35
  • Complete History and Movie Walking Tour of Beaufort: $30
  • Daufuskie Island Daily Round Trip Ferry Tickets: $54
  • Dolphin Experience Tour : $28

Tours and Activities in Virginia Beach

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

  • Dolphin Kayak Tour in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $87
  • Kayak Dolphin Experience in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $90
  • Neptune Ghosts: Ghosts of the Coast By US Ghost Adventures: $24
  • Small Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour: $68
  • Sunset Dolphin Kayak Tours: $68
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Virginia Beach by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Dolphin Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour: $60
  • Kayak Dolphin Tours | Must Know How to Swim: $78
  • Morning Stand-Up Paddleboarding Tour: $45
  • Neptune Ghosts Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Sunset Stand-Up Paddleboarding Tour: $45
  • Virginia Historic Adventure!: $200

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Hilton Head Island $26
    Virginia Beach $11


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Hilton Head Island and Virginia Beach, we can see that Hilton Head Island 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 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 Virginia Beach.

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 Virginia Beach Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Hilton Head Island. When comparing the sizes of Hilton Head Island 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 Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach?

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 Virginia Beach in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Hilton Head Island and Virginia Beach. The beaches and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Hilton Head Island this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Virginia Beach for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Hilton Head Island is generally around the same temperature as Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Hilton Head Island average around 82°F (28°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Virginia Beach this time of the year. In Hilton Head Island, it's very sunny this time of the year. Hilton Head Island usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach during summer. Hilton Head Island gets 267 hours of sunny skies, while Virginia Beach receives 279 hours of full sun in the summer.

Virginia Beach receives a lot of rain 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 Virginia Beach. Hilton Head Island gets 7.9 inches (200 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Hilton Head Island 82°F (28°C) 
    Virginia Beach 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Hilton Head Island as well as Virginia Beach. Many travelers come to Hilton Head Island for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Virginia Beach in the autumn for the natural beauty of the area.

Hilton Head Island is a little warmer than Virginia Beach in the autumn. The daily temperature in Hilton Head Island averages around 68°F (20°C) in October, and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Virginia Beach. 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 around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach. Hilton Head Island gets 223 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 211 hours of full sun.

Hilton Head Island usually gets less rain in October than Virginia Beach. Hilton Head Island gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Hilton Head Island 68°F (20°C) 
    Virginia Beach 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach in the Winter?

Both Virginia Beach and Hilton Head Island are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Hilton Head Island in the winter for the shopping scene and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Virginia Beach for the cuisine during these months.

Virginia Beach can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Hilton Head Island is much warmer than Virginia Beach. Typically, the winter temperatures in Hilton Head Island in January average around 48°F (9°C), and Virginia Beach averages at about 39°F (4°C).

Hilton Head Island usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach during winter. Hilton Head Island gets 176 hours of sunny skies, while Virginia Beach receives 168 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Hilton Head Island usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Hilton Head Island gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Hilton Head Island 48°F (9°C) 
    Virginia Beach 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Hilton Head Island or Virginia Beach in the Spring?

Both Virginia Beach and Hilton Head Island during the spring are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Hilton Head Island for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months. Furthermore, the spring months attract visitors to Virginia Beach because of the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Hilton Head Island is generally a little warmer than Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Hilton Head Island average around 67°F (19°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

In Virginia Beach, 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 Virginia Beach. Hilton Head Island gets 275 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 253 hours of full sun.

Hilton Head Island usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Virginia Beach. Hilton Head Island gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Hilton Head Island 67°F (19°C) 
    Virginia Beach 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Virginia Beach and Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island Virginia Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 48°F (9°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 52°F (11°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 58°F (15°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 73°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.9 inches (200 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (164 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 77°F (25°C) 5.6 inches (141 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 68°F (20°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 59°F (15°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 52°F (11°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)