A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Jacksonville vs. Columbus for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Jacksonville or Columbus?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Jacksonville and Columbus. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Jacksonville

Jacksonville is a fun, vibrant, and under-rated city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include beaches, shopping, and museums.

Columbus

Columbus is a friendly, welcoming, and down-to-earth city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Jacksonville and Columbus: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Jacksonville or Columbus?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Jacksonville. Although Jacksonville and Columbus are about the same size, Jacksonville has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Jacksonville is well known for its beautiful beaches and lively downtown area. Also, Jacksonville is famous for Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Columbus is well known for its youthful energy and its growing arts scene.

How is Jacksonville different from Columbus?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Jacksonville or Columbus?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville is a very popular place for its museums and history. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Jacksonville offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city has a number of museums that range from art museums to science or kid-friendly museums. Some favorites are the Museum of Science and History, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society, and Kingsley Plantation.

Columbus offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Popular museums around town include the Center of Science and Technology, the Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Ohio History Center.


Is the Food Better in Jacksonville or Columbus? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville is a very popular place for its restaurants. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Jacksonville. Local cuisine has its own identity. Unique dishes around town include garlic crabs, seafood boil, gumbo, and shrimp and grits. The local cuisine is similar to Lowcountry dishes with a lot of Cajun influence. If you want something different from seafood, you should try the barbecue.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Columbus. Hearty and heavy comfort food is the mainstay in this town. There's pizza, casseroles, sausage, and milkshakes around town.

Is Jacksonville or Columbus Better for Nightlife?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville is a very popular place for nightlife. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

Jacksonville has a large number of nightlife venues. The young population brings out the nightlife scene. There's a great concentration of bars and clubs in the area known as The Elbow, which is at the intersection of N. Ocean and E. Bay Street. You'll find plenty of cocktail bars, lounges, and clubs around town that make for a fun night out.

Columbus has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. The live music scene is growing. There are also a growing number of breweries around town.

Is Jacksonville or Columbus Better for Beaches?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville is a very popular place for its beaches. However, Columbus is not a beach destination.

Jacksonville is considered a top beach destination. There are a number of beaches that are just a short distance from the city. Some have a historic vibe while others are more lively. Atlantic Beach is about a half hour drive from the city. For a laid back vibe head to Neptune Beach and the most popular beach in the area is Jacksonville Beach.

Columbus is not a beach destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Jacksonville or Columbus?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville is a very popular place for shopping. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Jacksonville. There are countless malls and shopping districts around town. Some of the best shopping is found at St. John's Center, Five Points, and Avondale.

Columbus offers some nice shopping areas. In addition to the standard shopping malls and retail outlets, there are some interesting shops in the Short North Arts District, German Village, and Easton Town Center.

Is Jacksonville or Columbus Better for Families?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Columbus is an excellent place to visit for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Jacksonville is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Columbus. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a highlight for many families. Right by it is the Zoombezi Bay Waterpark. For hands-on science-based activities check out the Center of Science and Industry. Kids will also love the Legoland Discovery Center or the Anthony-Thomas Candy Factory. There are also many outdoor parks, greenways, and playgrounds to visit.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Jacksonville. It's filled with adventure parks, zoos, animal farms, nature centers, and gardens. Adults will have as much fun as kids exploring the city and all of its family-friendly attractions.

Is Jacksonville or Columbus Better for Couples?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville is a popular place for romance. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its romantic activities.

Jacksonville is a nice destination for couples. It's a young city that's near nature and has plenty of adventurous activities. There's sailing, botanical gardens, restaurants, and plenty of bars around town.

Most people don't think of Columbus as a couple's destination. You'll find restaurants and music venues that make for a nice date night. There are also wine tours and other entertainment options.


Is Jacksonville or Columbus Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville is a popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Jacksonville. There are a few hostels in town as well as affordable motels. The city has a young population with plenty to do. Although it's often overlooked by tourists, there's a surprising and underrated appeal to the backpacker crowd.

Columbus is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Although it's often overlooked by tourists, there is a hostel in town for backpackers and budget travelers.

Is Jacksonville or Columbus Better for Students?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville is a popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Columbus is not popular with students.

Plenty of students visit Jacksonville. There are a few colleges and universities in town. The city's population is also very young, making it a great place to study.

Columbus is not popular with students.

Is Jacksonville or Columbus Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville is a popular place for times when you don't have a car. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Jacksonville has some public transit options. The public transportation system includes trolleys, the Skyway, buses, water taxis, and the ferry.

Public transit is generally limited in Columbus. While there's a bus system, you'll really want to have a vehicle to get around town efficiently.


Is Jacksonville or Columbus a more walkable city?

Jacksonville
Columbus

Jacksonville and Columbus are notable when it comes to walkability.

Jacksonville is a somewhat walkable city. Downtown Jacksonville is the most walkable part of the city.

Columbus is somewhat walkable. The older neighborhoods are the most walkable, but if you want to get around town, you'll need to have a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Jacksonville Worth Visiting? and Is Columbus Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Columbus or Jacksonville?

How long in Jacksonville or Columbus?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Jacksonville or Columbus to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Jacksonville than Columbus because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Jacksonville, and 1-2 days is enough time in Columbus.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Jacksonville than Columbus 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 Jacksonville.


  • How many days in Jacksonville or Columbus? Ideal Length of Stay
    Jacksonville 2-3 
    Columbus 1-2

One day in Jacksonville or Columbus?

The city of Jacksonville offers food and shopping. 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.

In Columbus, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this welcoming city offers. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. In one day, you should have a good grasp of this city.

A weekend in Jacksonville or Columbus?

Jacksonville is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Jacksonville, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Columbus is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.


Five days in Jacksonville or Columbus?

Jacksonville is a popular choice for travelers. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

You'll find nightlife and shopping around the welcoming destination of Columbus. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

A week in Jacksonville or Columbus?

Jacksonville is a great place to explore. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Columbus is a popular place to visit. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, and The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Columbus or Jacksonville?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Jacksonville is $220, while the average daily cost in Columbus is $158. 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 Jacksonville and Columbus in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Jacksonville $92
    Columbus $72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Jacksonville $184
    Columbus $144
Compare Hotels in Jacksonville and Columbus

Looking for a hotel in Jacksonville or Columbus? 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 Jacksonville


Hotels in Columbus


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: Jacksonville Hotel Prices and Columbus Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Jacksonville $53
    Columbus $50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Jacksonville

Also for Jacksonville, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Carnival Port to Jacksonville Airport (JAX): $55
  • Jacksonville Airport (JAX) to Jacksonville Port - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $109
  • Jacksonville Airport (JAX) to Jacksonville Cruise Port -Arrival Private Transfer: $55
  • Jacksonville Airport (JAX) to Jacksonville City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $123
  • Jacksonville Airport (JAX) to Jacksonville City - Arrival Private Transfer: $61
  • JAX Airport Transfer to Amelia Island: $195
  • Carnival Cruise Port Transfer to Jacksonville: $339
  • Carnival Cruise Port Jacksonville to City - Arrival Transfer: $63

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Columbus

Also for Columbus, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Columbus to Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) - Departure Private Transfer: $66
  • Columbus Ohio (CMH) Airport Arrival or Departure Private Transfer: $180
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $132
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Arrival Private Transfer: $66

Is it cheaper to fly into Jacksonville or Columbus?

Prices for flights to both Columbus and Jacksonville 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
    Jacksonville $96
    Columbus $49

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Jacksonville

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

  • 1 Hour of Chocolate Pizza Making Class in Jacksonville: $18

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Jacksonville $20
    Columbus $46

Tours and Activities in Jacksonville

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

  • Jacksonville Ghosts and Ghouls Tour By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • 20 Minutes Chocolate & Candy Factory Tour in Jacksonville: $6.00
  • 90 Minute Self-Guided Arcimoto FUV Adventure: $125
  • Amelia Island Area Kayak Rental on Lofton Creek with Adventures Up The Creek: $36
  • Amelia Island Guided Kayak Tour of Lofton Creek : $60
  • Best of the Beaches E-Bike Tour: $100
  • Big Talbot Island Self Guided Tour with Smart Helmets: $115
  • CraigCat Boat Tour from Fernandina Beach: $145
  • Daytona Beach: 3 Hour Coastal Discovery Boat Cruise: $150
  • Downtown Fernandina Historical Walking Tour: $30
  • Eight Flags Road Tour: $50
  • Electric Bike Art and Architecture Guided Tour in Jacksonville : $60

Tours and Activities in Columbus

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

  • Columbus Scavenger Hunt Adventure : $21
  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Columbus with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus Ticket: $28
  • Trolley Pub Holiday Lights Tour in Columbus: $45
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Columbus by Crazy Dash: $10

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Jacksonville $20
    Columbus $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Jacksonville

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Jacksonville:

  • Jacksonville Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $30
  • Jax Brewery Tour (Drinks Included): $135


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

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


Which is Bigger, Jacksonville or Columbus?

Jacksonville has a larger population, and is about 8% larger than the population of Columbus. When comparing the sizes of Jacksonville and Columbus, 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 Jacksonville or Columbus?

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 Jacksonville or Columbus in the Summer?

Both Columbus and Jacksonville are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Jacksonville this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Columbus for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Jacksonville is a little warmer than Columbus. Typically, the summer temperatures in Jacksonville in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Columbus averages at about 77°F (25°C).

It's quite sunny in Columbus. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Jacksonville. Jacksonville usually receives more sunshine than Columbus during summer. Jacksonville gets 286 hours of sunny skies, while Columbus receives 254 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Columbus. It's quite rainy in Jacksonville. In July, Jacksonville usually receives more rain than Columbus. Jacksonville gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while Columbus receives 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Jacksonville 82°F (28°C) 
    Columbus 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Jacksonville or Columbus in the Autumn?

Both Columbus and Jacksonville during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Jacksonville for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Furthermore, many visitors come to Columbus in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In October, Jacksonville is generally much warmer than Columbus. Daily temperatures in Jacksonville average around 70°F (21°C), and Columbus fluctuates around 57°F (14°C).

It's quite sunny in Jacksonville. In the autumn, Jacksonville often gets more sunshine than Columbus. Jacksonville gets 214 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbus receives 179 hours of full sun.

Jacksonville usually gets more rain in October than Columbus. Jacksonville gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Columbus receives 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, June to November in Jacksonville is the hurricane season.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Jacksonville 70°F (21°C) 
    Columbus 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Jacksonville or Columbus in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Jacksonville and Columbus. Many visitors come to Jacksonville in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Columbus for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Columbus can be very cold during winter. Jacksonville is much warmer than Columbus in the winter. The daily temperature in Jacksonville averages around 53°F (12°C) in January, and Columbus fluctuates around 30°F (-1°C).

Jacksonville usually receives more sunshine than Columbus during winter. Jacksonville gets 191 hours of sunny skies, while Columbus receives 105 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Jacksonville usually receives more rain than Columbus. Jacksonville gets 3.3 inches (83 mm) of rain, while Columbus receives 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Jacksonville 53°F (12°C) 
    Columbus 30°F (-1°C)

Should I visit Jacksonville or Columbus in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Jacksonville as well as Columbus. Most visitors come to Jacksonville for the beaches and the activities around the city during these months.

In the spring, Jacksonville is much warmer than Columbus. Typically, the spring temperatures in Jacksonville in April average around 68°F (20°C), and Columbus averages at about 54°F (12°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Jacksonville this time of the year. In the spring, Jacksonville often gets more sunshine than Columbus. Jacksonville gets 285 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbus receives 200 hours of full sun.

Jacksonville usually gets less rain in April than Columbus. Jacksonville gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Columbus receives 3.2 inches (81 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, the hurricane season in Jacksonville is June to November.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Jacksonville 68°F (20°C) 
    Columbus 54°F (12°C)

Typical Weather for Columbus and Jacksonville

Jacksonville Columbus
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 53°F (12°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 30°F (-1°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)
Feb 56°F (13°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 33°F (1°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm)
Mar 62°F (17°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Apr 68°F (20°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 54°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm)
May 74°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 65°F (18°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm)
Jun 80°F (27°C) 5.7 inches (146 mm) 73°F (23°C) 4 inches (102 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 7.8 inches (199 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 7.1 inches (180 mm) 69°F (20°C) 3 inches (76 mm)
Oct 70°F (21°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Dec 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 35°F (2°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)