A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Marathon vs. Tampa for Beaches, Families, Couples, and Food

Should you visit Marathon or Tampa?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Marathon or Tampa, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Marathon

Marathon is a quaint, beautiful, and relaxing island. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Tampa

Tampa is a low-key, laid-back, and easy-going city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include food and beaches.

Marathon and Tampa: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Marathon or Tampa?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Tampa than Marathon, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Tampa is better known for its big city activities, while Marathon is more popular for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, and impressive beauty. Marathon is more touristy than Tampa and is known for its Loggerhead sea turtles, the Dolphin Research Center, Sombrero Beach, and its many places to scuba dive and snorkel. Tampa is well known for its amusement parks, wildlife parks, and popularity as a cruise ship port. Also, Tampa is famous for Busch Gardens.

How is Marathon different from Tampa?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is the Food Better in Marathon or Tampa? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Marathon
Tampa

Both Marathon and Tampa offer a number of notable restaurants to choose from.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Marathon. There are restaurants with waterfront terraces, raw bars, and other seafood eateries where you can enjoy fresh caught fish for a reasonable price.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Tampa. There are a surprising number of great local restaurants around town as well as a good food truck scene. Some favorite dishes include fresh caught seafood, Grouper sandwiches, and Cuban sandwiches.


Is Marathon or Tampa Better for Nightlife?

Marathon
Tampa

Marathon is a popular place for its evening party scene. However, Tampa is lacking in options for nightlife.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Marathon. Popular nightlife venues include JJ’s Dog House & Sports Bar, Brass Monkey, and Cabana Club.

Tampa is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. The city has some good nightclubs, sports bars, and other spots where locals enjoy spending the evening.

Is Marathon or Tampa Better for Resorts?

Marathon
Tampa

Marathon is an excellent place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Tampa is not a resort destination.

Marathon is known as a popular and fun resort destination. Popular resorts include Isla Bella Beach Resort and Tranquility Bay Resort.

Tampa is not a resort destination.

Is Marathon or Tampa Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Marathon
Tampa

Marathon is a popular place for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Tampa is lacking in options for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling.

Marathon has a few good snorkeling spots. There are many dive shops around Marathon and the area has dive spots that are great for every level. Some of the best sites are Sombrero Reef, Coffins Patch, and Thunderbolt wreck. There are also many snorkeling trips that head out to Sombrero Reef.

Tampa has a few snorkeling spots. While the water isn't always the clearest, there are some nice snorkeling and diving spots in the area. Options include Shell Key and Egmont Key, Crystal River, and Fort De Soto.


Is Marathon or Tampa Better for Beaches?

Marathon
Tampa

Both Marathon and Tampa have very good beaches worth visiting.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Marathon. Sombrero Beach is a popular spot for picnics, swimming and seeing the Loggerhead Turtles from April through October.

The beaches at Tampa attract visitors from all over. Popular beaches near Tampa include Ben T. Davis Beach, Fred Howard Park, and Indian Rocks Beach.

Is Marathon or Tampa Better for Families?

Marathon
Tampa

Marathon and Tampa are both very good destinations for the whole family.

Marathon is a very family-friendly destination. Kids will enjoy getting face-to-face with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center. Families can also explore Pigeon Key or play in the water at Sombrero Beach. Families will find no shortage of activities on the island.

Tampa is a very kid-friendly island. The city has a number of kid-oriented attractions including Busch Gardens Amusement Park, several kid-friendly museums, and a number of animal centers, aquariums, and wildlife rescue facilities.

Is Marathon or Tampa Better for Couples?

Marathon
Tampa

Marathon is an excellent place to visit for couples. However, Tampa is lacking in options for romance.

Marathon makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. With beautiful views, 7 Mile Bridge, and plenty of activities, this area makes a romantic destination for couples. There are beaches and waterfront spots that offer a romantic setting for couples.

Tampa is not the best destination for a couple to visit. The area does have great restaurants and some fun places to explore, but the downtown area has room for improvement and much of the city is suburban.


Is Marathon or Tampa Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Marathon
Tampa

Neither Marathon or Tampa offer decent public transit.

Public transit is quite limited in Marathon. There's no real public transportation in town. A car is essential.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Tampa. There is the street car that runs from downtown Tampa to Ybor City and stops at 11 stations.

Is Marathon or Tampa a more walkable city?

Marathon
Tampa

Marathon and Tampa are respectable when it comes to walkability.

Marathon is generally not a very walkable island. Shops and restaurants and spread out along a central road, making walking difficult to impossible.

Tampa is generally not very walkable. While there are some neighborhoods that are considered walkable, you really need a car if you hope to explore Tampa in depth.

For even more information, also check out Is Marathon Worth Visiting? and Is Tampa Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Tampa or Marathon?

How long in Marathon or Tampa?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Marathon and Tampa. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Marathon than in Tampa. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Marathon, and 2-3 days is enough time in Tampa.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Marathon than Tampa 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 Marathon.


  • How many days in Marathon or Tampa? Ideal Length of Stay
    Marathon 3-7 
    Tampa 2-3

One day in Marathon or Tampa?

In Marathon, many people enjoy the nightlife and food that this relaxing destination offers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

The city of Tampa offers 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.


A weekend in Marathon or Tampa?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Marathon. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Tampa 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 Tampa, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Marathon or Tampa?

Marathon is a fun place to experience. In Marathon, many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife that this destination offers. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Tampa 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.

A week in Marathon or Tampa?

In Marathon, many people enjoy the nightlife and food that this quaint destination offers. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is often enough time to do most activities.

Tampa 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, and The Best Historical Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Tampa or Marathon?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Marathon is $158, while the average daily cost in Tampa is $179. 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 Marathon and Tampa in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Marathon $76
    Tampa $85
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Marathon $152
    Tampa $170
Compare Hotels in Marathon and Tampa

Looking for a hotel in Marathon or Tampa? 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 Marathon


Hotels in Tampa


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: Marathon Hotel Prices and Tampa Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Marathon $47
    Tampa $69

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port: Private Transfer to Tampa hotels: $300
  • Tampa Airport (TPA): Transfer tо Tampa Bay Cruise Port: $300
  • Tampa Airport (TPA): Private Transfer to Tampa hotel/address: $202
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport (TPA) to Clearwater Beach: $187
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport TPA to Lakeland/Winter Haven: $187
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport (TPA) to St Petersburg Accommodation: $187
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to St Petersburg - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $174
  • Private transfer from Tampa airport To Zephyrhills, FL: $155
  • Private Transfer from TPA to Tampa / St Petersburg / Clearwater Beach : $120
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Clearwater: $120
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Lakeland / Winter Haven - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $107
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Tampa Bay Cruise Port - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $100

Is it cheaper to fly into Marathon or Tampa?

Prices for flights to both Tampa and Marathon 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
    Marathon $51
    Tampa $53

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tampa

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

  • Ybor City Food Tour On Sundays: $89

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Marathon $27
    Tampa $20

Tours and Activities in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • 1.5-hour Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise from Tampa: $31
  • 2 Hour Guided Segway Tour: $69
  • 2 Hour Private Floating Tiki Boat Tour in Tampa: $59
  • Adventure Island Water Park Ticket: $50
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Admission Ticket: $108
  • Discover Tampa with Local Stories from a Virtual Tour: $30
  • Downtown Tampa Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • Escape to Paradise: Private Island Boat Adventure in Tampa: $630
  • Ghost Hunters Paranormal Ghost Tour: $39
  • Ghost Investigation Tour Interactive Paranormal Experience 18Plus: $35
  • Ghost Investigation Tours with Interactive Paranormal Experience: $35

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Marathon $24
    Tampa $26

Sample the Local Flavors in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Bar Crawl on a 2023 Street Legal Golf Cart: $40
  • Haunted Pub Crawl: $40
  • Ybor City Private Brewery Tour by Custom Golf Cart: $200


When comparing the travel costs between Marathon and Tampa, we can see that Tampa is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Marathon or Tampa?

Tampa has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Marathon. When comparing the sizes of Marathon and Tampa, 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 Marathon or Tampa?

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 Marathon or Tampa in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Marathon and Tampa. Many visitors come to Marathon in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Tampa for the beaches, snorkeling, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, Marathon is generally around the same temperature as Tampa. Daily temperatures in Marathon average around 84°F (29°C), and Tampa fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Tampa this time of the year. In Marathon, it's very sunny this time of the year. Marathon usually receives more sunshine than Tampa during summer. Marathon gets 328 hours of sunny skies, while Tampa receives 265 hours of full sun in the summer.

Tampa receives a lot of rain in the summer. In July, Marathon usually receives less rain than Tampa. Marathon gets 3.3 inches (83 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Marathon 84°F (29°C) 
    Tampa 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Marathon or Tampa in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Marathon as well as Tampa. Most visitors come to Marathon for the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Tampa because of the city's sights and attractions.

Marathon is a little warmer than Tampa in the autumn. The daily temperature in Marathon averages around 80°F (27°C) in October, and Tampa fluctuates around 75°F (24°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Tampa. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Marathon this time of the year. In the autumn, Marathon often gets more sunshine than Tampa. Marathon gets 258 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Tampa receives 234 hours of full sun.

Marathon receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Marathon usually gets more rain in October than Tampa. Marathon gets 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Marathon 80°F (27°C) 
    Tampa 75°F (24°C)

Should I visit Marathon or Tampa in the Winter?

Both Tampa and Marathon are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The winter months attract visitors to Marathon because of the cuisine. Also, the cuisine are the main draw to Tampa this time of year.

In the winter, Marathon is a little warmer than Tampa. Typically, the winter temperatures in Marathon in January average around 70°F (21°C), and Tampa averages at about 60°F (15°C).

It's quite sunny in Tampa. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Marathon. Marathon usually receives more sunshine than Tampa during winter. Marathon gets 252 hours of sunny skies, while Tampa receives 200 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Marathon usually receives less rain than Tampa. Marathon gets 1.7 inches (43 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Marathon 70°F (21°C) 
    Tampa 60°F (15°C)

Should I visit Marathon or Tampa in the Spring?

Both Tampa and Marathon during the spring are popular places to visit. The beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Marathon this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Tampa for the beaches and the activities around the city.

In April, Marathon is generally a little warmer than Tampa. Daily temperatures in Marathon average around 77°F (25°C), and Tampa fluctuates around 71°F (22°C).

In Tampa, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Marathon. In the spring, Marathon often gets more sunshine than Tampa. Marathon gets 326 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Tampa receives 299 hours of full sun.

Marathon usually gets less rain in April than Tampa. Marathon gets 0.8 inches (21 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Marathon 77°F (25°C) 
    Tampa 71°F (22°C)

Typical Weather for Tampa and Marathon

Marathon Tampa
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 70°F (21°C) 1.7 inches (43 mm) 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm)
Feb 71°F (21°C) 1.4 inches (36 mm) 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 74°F (23°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Apr 77°F (25°C) 0.8 inches (21 mm) 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
May 81°F (27°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
Jun 83°F (28°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm)
Jul 84°F (29°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm)
Aug 84°F (29°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm)
Sep 83°F (29°C) 5.7 inches (144 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm)
Oct 80°F (27°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm) 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)
Nov 76°F (24°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Dec 72°F (22°C) 1.4 inches (35 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)