A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Key West vs. Tampa for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Key West or Tampa?

Should I visit Key West or Tampa? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Key West

Key West is both a city and an island as well as the southern most Florida Key. It is also the southern most city in the continental United States. The island is only about four miles long and one mile wide. The total land mass covers just 4.2 square miles. The most famous street in town is Duval Street, which runs just 1.1 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. There are 14 blocks. The size of the island doubled during the 1950s when many of the salt ponds along the eastern side of the island were filled in.

Tampa

On the north shore of Tampa Bay, across the water from Saint Peterburg, is the city of Tampa. The city has a population of almost 350,000. The metropolitan area includes Tampa, St. Peterburg, and Clearwater. It has about 2.9 million residents and is the second largest metropolitan area in the state. The city is a popular destination for outdoor activities and in 2008 it was ranked the 5th best outdoor city by Forbes.

Which city is cheaper, Tampa or Key West?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Key West is $170, while the average daily cost in Tampa is $119. 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 Key West and Tampa in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $106. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Key West the cost is $212 on average.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $120 in Tampa For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Key West $106
    Tampa $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Key West $212
    Tampa $120

Food

The price of a meal in Key West can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $38 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $15 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

On average, meal and food prices in Tampa cost around $35 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $14.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Key West $38
    Tampa $35

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Key West

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Key West.

  • Key West Sunset Dinner Cruise with Tropical Buffet: $68
  • Sunset Cruise with Buffet Dinner and Open Bar: $69
  • Private Secret Food Tour of Key West: $103
  • Secret Food Tour of Key West w/ Private Tour Option: $221

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Key West is $41 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

Tampa's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $38 per person, per day on transportation in Tampa.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Key West $41
    Tampa $38
Typical Local Transportation prices in Key West

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Key West:


  • Rental Car for One Day
    $38

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Key West

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Key West:

  • Round-Trip Transfer: Fort Lauderdale to Key West: $198
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Key West Airport: $116
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Key West Airport to Hotel: $116
  • Private Airport Transfer in Key West, Florida: $209
  • Key West International Airport One Way Transfer: $53

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

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

  • Private Departure Transfer - to Tampa Airport (TPA): $28
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Tampa Airport (TPA): $32
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Tampa to Tampa International Airport (TPA): $44
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Land O' Lakes Florida: $60
  • Private Airport Transfer: Tampa International Airport (TPA) to Tampa: $61
  • Transfer from Tampa International Airport to Tampa: $75
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Tampa hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $82
  • Tampa hotel or address to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Private Transfer: $82
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to St Petersburg hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $83
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Clearwater Beach - Arrival Private Transfer: $83
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Bradenton: $110
  • Private Tampa Transfer: Cruise Port to Airport or Hotel: $113

Is it cheaper to fly into Key West or Tampa?

Prices for flights to both Tampa and Key West 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.





Entertainment

Key West's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $26 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Tampa can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $15 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Key West $26
    Tampa $15

Tours and Activities in Key West

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Key West are as follows:

  • 2 Hour Private Highlights of Key West Walking Tour: $99
  • 2-Hour Private Sunset Cruise around Key West: $200
  • 2-Hour Private Sunset Cruise on Tiki Bar Boat in Key West: $457
  • 4-Hour Private Sand Bar Cruise on a Tiki Bar Boat in Key West: $565
  • 6th Sense Haunted Tour of Key West: $25
  • Adults only Champagne Celebration Sunset Cruise from Key West: $79
  • All-Inclusive Water Adventure Excursion in Key West: $129
  • Booze Cruise Key West Private Charter: $248
  • Cultural Walking Tour of Key West with Food and Drink Tastings: $240
  • Do It All Watersports Adventure with Lunch: $148
  • Easy Stroll Audio Tour Downtown Key West: $7.99
  • Florida Keys Afternoon Reef Snorkel & Sail Adventure: $69

Tours and Activities in Tampa

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

  • Skip the Line: The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay Ticket: $26
  • Tampa Celebrity Homes Boat Tour: $30
  • Tampa History Cruise: $31
  • 1.5-hour Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise from Tampa: $31
  • VIP Ghost Hunters Tour Semi Private: $35
  • Skip the Line: ZooTampa at Lowry Park Admission Ticket: $45
  • Historic Ybor City Food and Drink Walking Tour: $59
  • 2-hour Tiki Boat BYOB Cruise in Tampa: $60
  • Adventure Island Water Park Ticket: $63
  • Tampa Indoor Skydiving Experience with 2 Flights & Personalized Certificate: $70
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Admission Ticket: $110
  • Nature Lovers Combo Tour: $136

Alcohol

The average person spends about $13 on alcoholic beverages in Key West per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Typically, people visiting Tampa spend on average $20 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Key West $13
    Tampa $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Key West

Also in Key West, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Key West Haunted Pub Crawl and Ghost Tour: $23
  • Yes, Queen! Drag Queen Pub Crawl of Key West: $34
  • Key West Pub Crawl: $35

Sample the Local Flavors in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Bar Hunt: Tampa Takeover Bar Crawl: $12
  • Haunted Tampa Ghost and Pub Walking Tour - Ybor City: $26
  • Private Tampa Brewery Tour - Party Bus: $600


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

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Key West vs. Tampa Travel Comparison

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