A Travel Price Comparison for California Monterey vs. Palm Springs for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Monterey or Palm Springs?

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 Monterey and Palm Springs. 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.


When it comes to California, Monterey may not be mentioned half as much as you hear about Los Angeles or San Francisco, but it is a beautiful city to visit, with a diverse expanse of exciting and relaxing things to do, whether you're looking for adventure, a quiet getaway, or romance.

Located on California's central coast, the city of Monterey was the first State Capital of California. It was also home to many artists, athletes, and musicians, such as John Steinbeck, Clint Eastwood, and Ron Johnson.

Monterey has mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm, dry summers. Cold season runs from December to April and warm season, from July until October. The peak travel seasons are during summer, from July to September. If you want to avoid crowds, the months of April and October are ideal times to visit for fewer crowds and comfortable weather.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a desert resort town located about two hours east of Los Angeles, most famously known as Hollywood's playground, where stars and starlets could escape for rest and relaxation but still be close enough to return for impromptu work.

It's no wonder that Palm Springs is increasingly popular as a weekend getaway for special occasions, and even for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Closer than the typical Las Vegas weekend for Southern California residents, Palm Springs provides a desert getaway with endless possibilities of activities, whether visitors want to gamble, shop, hike, or wander through an art gallery.

Climate in the high-desert is generally warm with highs in the 100s during the hot and dry summers, and lows in the mid 40s in the winter months, with sparse rainfall. However, if you're visiting during winter, be sure to pack versatile attire and layers as the days may be warm, but the nights in the low desert can get chilly enough to convince you to change into long pants.

Which city is cheaper, Palm Springs or Monterey?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Monterey is $136, while the average daily cost in Palm Springs is $165. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Monterey and Palm Springs in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Monterey $72
    Palm Springs $96
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Monterey $144
    Palm Springs $192

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Monterey $26
    Palm Springs $42

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Monterey

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

  • Monterey Peninsula Airport One Way Transfer: $43
  • Private transfer from Monterey to SFO: $370

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palm Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Palm Springs:

  • Palm Springs Private Transfer To San Diego, CA.: $398
  • Palm Springs International Airport One Way Transfer: $37
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Arrival Private Transfer: $365
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO -Round-Trip Private Transfer: $597
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO - Arrival Private Transfer: $299
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $729
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM SPRINGS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $197
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM SPRINGS - Arrival Private Transfer: $98
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM DESERT - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $212
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM DESERT - Arrival Private Transfer: $106
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $970
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Arrival Private Transfer: $485

Is it cheaper to fly into Monterey or Palm Springs?

Prices for flights to both Palm Springs and Monterey 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 Meals for one day
    Monterey $45
    Palm Springs $42

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Palm Springs

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Palm Springs.

  • Private French-Inspired Cooking Class with a Fun Local: $72

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Monterey $22
    Palm Springs $23

Tours and Activities in Monterey

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

  • Historic Cannery Row: Explore John Steinbeck's Monterey on an audio walking tour: $5.00
  • Monterey State Historic Park and Fisherman’s Wharf: A seaside audio walking tour: $5.20
  • Big Sur Self-Driving Audio Tour in California (Highway 1, Pacific Coast Highway): $7.60
  • Scenic 17 Mile Drive Self-Driving Audio Tour: $8.00
  • The Original Monterey Walking Tours: Guided Tours of Historic Monterey 10 AM: $25
  • The Original Monterey Walking Tours : Guided Tours of Cannery Row 2 PM: $27
  • Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour: $65
  • 3-Hour Monterey Bay Winter Whale-Watching Tour in California: $65
  • Half-Day Whale Watching Tour From Monterey: $75
  • 1-Hour Monterey and Cannery Row Sea Car Tour: $75
  • 17-Mile Drive Guided E-Bike Tour: $79
  • Monterey Bay: Sunset Catamaran Sailing Cruise: $95

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Palm Springs are as follows:

  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Desert: $250
  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs: $250
  • Joshua Tree National Park: Driving Tour: $179
  • Modern & More Bike Tours Palm Springs: $55
  • Mods & Icons Tour of Palm Springs: $127
  • Palm Springs All-City Tour: $323
  • Palm Springs Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour: $29
  • Palm Springs Windmill Self-Driving Tour Interactive Fun Safe: $49
  • Indian Canyons Bike and Hike Adventure: $119
  • Indian Canyons Hiking Tour by Jeep: $175
  • Playground of the Stars Palm Springs Tour: $323
  • Private Golden Days Tour of Palm Springs: $323

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Monterey $17
    Palm Springs $10

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

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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Monterey vs. Palm Springs Travel Comparison

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