A Travel Price Comparison for California Monterey vs. Redwood National Park for Families, Backpackers, Couples, and Beaches

Should you visit Monterey or Redwood National Park?

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 Redwood National Park. 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.

Monterey

Monterey is a nature-oriented, laid back, and relaxing city. Other popular activities here include scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and shopping.

Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is a monumental, grand, and impressive park. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. It's also popular because of the beaches and hiking.

Monterey and Redwood National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Monterey or Redwood National Park?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Monterey. Although Monterey and Redwood National Park are popular destinations, Monterey has more sights and attractions for tourists. Monterey is very popular for its museums, food, nightlife, scuba diving & snorkeling, and shopping, while Redwood National Park attracts visitors for its hiking and impressive beauty. Monterey is famous for its rugged coastline, diverse marine life, and excellent seafood. It is also well known for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Redwood National Park is famous for being the home of the world's tallest trees.

How is Monterey different from Redwood National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Monterey or Redwood National Park?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey is well known for its museums and landmarks. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for its historical sights.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Monterey. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a not-to-be-missed destination in town. You can also visit the Monterey State Historic Park or the Monterey Museum of Art.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Redwood National Park. There is little in the form of museums, but you can visit the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center on the south side of the park and see exhibits about Yurok culture and the area's ecology.


Is the Food Better in Monterey or Redwood National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey is well known for its restaurant scene. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Monterey is an experience not to be missed. Seafood and local produce are what make the food special. There are many great restaurants to you can choose from that will let you enjoy the classic seafood dishes like clam chowder or oysters, as well as fresh artichokes and local wine.

While Redwood National Park is not famous for its food, you'll find what you need there. There are no dining or grocery options within the park but there are some options just outside the park.

Is Monterey or Redwood National Park Better for Nightlife?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey is well known for its evening party scene. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for nightlife.

Monterey is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. There's a buzzing atmosphere at night with bars, breweries, and casual eateries all coming to life. Some of the best venues are found at the Old Fisherman's Wharf and along Alvarado Street.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Redwood National Park The laid back setting offers little in the form of nightlife.

Is Monterey or Redwood National Park Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey is a good destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Redwood National Park is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Grab a mask and fins and explore the underwater scenery in Monterey. Scuba diving offers an unforgettable experience. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary gives you the unique experience of seeing sea lions, otters, kelp forests, crabs, and more.

Redwood National Park is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Monterey or Redwood National Park Better for Beaches?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey and Redwood National Park both offer nice beaches.

Monterey offers a nice beach destination. The beaches highlight the laid by California vibe with sunbathers and beachgoers soaking up the atmosphere. There are both inlets and sandy beaches where you can see sea lions or explore the tidal pools.

Redwood National Park is a good option for a beach vacation. The park runs along the Pacific coastline and there are 70 miles of coastal trail in the park. Beaches are rugged and sandy and favorite sections include Gold Bluff Beach, Crescent Beach, and Enderts Beach, which has great tidal pools.

Is Monterey or Redwood National Park Better for Hiking?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is an amazing park to visit for its hiking trails. However, Monterey is not a hiking destination.

Redwood National Park is well-known for its hiking and trekking. Hikes range from coastal trails to world-renowned hikes through the redwoods. You'll feel humbled in the presence of these grand and majestic trees. Several of the most well-known hikes include Fern Canyon, the Cathedral Trees Trail, and Redwood Creek Trail.

Monterey is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Monterey or Redwood National Park?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey is well known for its shopping areas. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Monterey. You'll find both local vendors and tourist shops around town. Cannery Row is a popular destination, as is Old Fisherman's Wharf and the Old Farmer's Market.

Shopping in Redwood National Park can be found for those interested. You'll find park stores at the visitor centers if you want to pick up a small gift or souvenir.


Is Monterey or Redwood National Park Better for Families?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey is an amazing city to visit for its family-friendly activities. Also, Redwood National Park is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Monterey is very family-friendly. Monterey Bay Aquarium is a highlight for kids and adults alike. There's also the Monterey Zoo as well as lighthearted activities like a mirror maze. MY Museum is an interactive museum that's perfect for younger kids. There are also whale watching trips and nearby beaches.

Redwood National Park is a very family-friendly destination. There are plenty of kid-friendly hikes in the park and the kids will love exploring the varied landscapes and diverse ecosystems. Less than a mile long, Fern Canyon is the perfect hike for little kids and it's not-to-be-missed. Cathedral Trees Trail is three miles, and also a highlight of any trip to the park.

Is Monterey or Redwood National Park Better for Couples?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey and Redwood National Park both excellent destinations for a couple.

Monterey makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are many romantic inns in town as well as quaint restaurants and fun activities. There are also spas, wine bars, and plenty of shopping for couples to enjoy as well.

Couples visit Redwood National Park frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. There are historic lodges that make for a romantic getaway. You can fill your days with hikes through magical landscapes and breathtaking settings surrounded by the impressive redwoods.

Is Monterey or Redwood National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is an amazing park to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Monterey is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Redwood National Park, as it is a very popular park for budget travelers. There are miles of backcountry trails that let you can explore the park in relative peace and solitude. This is an amazing way to experience the park, but do make sure you purchase a permit in advance.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Monterey. There's a hostel in town as well as fun activities that will appeal to backpackers.


Is Monterey or Redwood National Park Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey is a city with a few options for its public transit. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Monterey. There is a bus system through the area.

Public transit is quite limited in Redwood National Park. There's no public transportation within the park.

Is Monterey or Redwood National Park a more walkable city?

Monterey
Redwood National Park

Monterey is well known for its ease of walking around. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for its walkability.

Monterey is a very walkable destination. If you stay near the town center, it's very walkable and easy to get around on foot.

Redwood National Park is not a very walkable city. The park is large and spread out, so you'll need a car to get around.

For even more information, also check out Is Monterey Worth Visiting? and Is Redwood National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Redwood National Park or Monterey?

How long in Monterey or Redwood National Park?

In either Monterey or Redwood National Park, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Redwood National Park than Monterey because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Monterey, and 3-5 days is enough time in Redwood National Park.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Monterey than Redwood National Park 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 Monterey.


  • How many days in Monterey or Redwood National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Monterey 1-3 
    Redwood National Park 3-5

One day in Monterey or Redwood National Park?

In Monterey, you'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Monterey, one day is sufficent for most.

The beautiful park of Redwood National Park offers . Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. 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 Monterey or Redwood National Park?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Monterey. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city. It offers something for everyone.

Redwood National Park is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Monterey or Redwood National Park?

Monterey is a fun place to experience. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Redwood National Park is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Redwood National Park, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Monterey or Redwood National Park?

You'll find nightlife and food around the laid back destination of Monterey. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Redwood National Park is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This park offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, The Best Photography Tours in United States of America, The Best Camping Tours in United States of America, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Redwood National Park or Monterey?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Monterey is $170, while the average daily cost in Redwood National Park is $111. 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 Monterey and Redwood National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Monterey $90
    Redwood National Park $44
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Monterey $180
    Redwood National Park $88
Compare Hotels in Monterey and Redwood National Park

Looking for a hotel in Monterey or Redwood National Park? 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 Monterey


Hotels in Redwood National Park


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: Monterey Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Monterey $32
    Redwood National Park $53

Is it cheaper to fly into Monterey or Redwood National Park?

Prices for flights to both Redwood National Park 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Monterey $56
    Redwood National Park $33

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Monterey

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

  • Guided Walking Food Tour with Tastings: $150

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Monterey $27
    Redwood National Park $33

Tours and Activities in Monterey

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

  • App self-guided tour Monterrey in California: $4.32
  • Self-Guided John Steinbeck Walking Tour with Audio: $7.99
  • Monterey Peninsula Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $8.99
  • San Fran Pacific Coast Self-Driving Tour App: $9.94
  • Uncover Monterey's Cannery Row: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • 17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Scenic 17-Mile Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $15
  • Monterey Fisherman's Wharf & Presidio Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $49
  • Monterey Cannery Row: Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $49
  • California: Self-Guided Driving Tours Bundle: $50
  • Monterey Bay Dolphin and Whale Watching Boat Tour: $60
  • Catamaran Sailing Cruise: $65

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Monterey $21
    Redwood National Park $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Monterey

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

  • Carmel Valley Wine Tasting Tour: $150


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

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



When is the best time to visit Monterey or Redwood National Park?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Monterey or Redwood National Park in the Summer?

Both Redwood National Park and Monterey during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Monterey because of the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Redwood National Park this time of year.

Monterey is a little warmer than Redwood National Park in the summer. The daily temperature in Monterey averages around 63°F (17°C) in July, and Redwood National Park fluctuates around 57°F (14°C).

Monterey usually gets less rain in July than Redwood National Park. Monterey gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 0.1 inches (3 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Monterey 63°F (17°C) 
    Redwood National Park 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Monterey or Redwood National Park in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Monterey and Redwood National Park. The shopping scene are the main draw to Monterey this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Redwood National Park for the hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Monterey is a little warmer than Redwood National Park. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Monterey in October average around 62°F (17°C), and Redwood National Park averages at about 55°F (13°C).

In October, Monterey usually receives less rain than Redwood National Park. Monterey gets 0.6 inches (14 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Monterey 62°F (17°C) 
    Redwood National Park 55°F (13°C)

Should I visit Monterey or Redwood National Park in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Monterey as well as Redwood National Park. Many travelers come to Monterey for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In January, Monterey is generally a little warmer than Redwood National Park. Daily temperatures in Monterey average around 51°F (11°C), and Redwood National Park fluctuates around 48°F (9°C).

It's quite rainy in Redwood National Park. Monterey usually gets less rain in January than Redwood National Park. Monterey gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 6 inches (152 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Monterey 51°F (11°C) 
    Redwood National Park 48°F (9°C)

Should I visit Monterey or Redwood National Park in the Spring?

Both Redwood National Park and Monterey are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Monterey in the spring for the beaches. Also, most visitors come to Redwood National Park for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months.

Monterey is a little warmer than Redwood National Park in the spring. The daily temperature in Monterey averages around 56°F (13°C) in April, and Redwood National Park fluctuates around 50°F (10°C).

In April, Monterey usually receives less rain than Redwood National Park. Monterey gets 1.1 inches (29 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Monterey 56°F (13°C) 
    Redwood National Park 50°F (10°C)

Typical Weather for Redwood National Park and Monterey

Monterey Redwood National Park
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 51°F (11°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 48°F (9°C) 6 inches (152 mm)
Feb 53°F (12°C) 1.8 inches (47 mm) 49°F (10°C) 4.7 inches (120 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 2.1 inches (55 mm) 50°F (10°C) 5.3 inches (135 mm)
Apr 56°F (13°C) 1.1 inches (29 mm) 50°F (10°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
May 59°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 53°F (12°C) 1.5 inches (37 mm)
Jun 62°F (16°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 56°F (13°C) 0.5 inches (13 mm)
Jul 63°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 57°F (14°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Aug 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm)
Sep 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.9 inches (23 mm)
Oct 62°F (17°C) 0.6 inches (14 mm) 55°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 52°F (11°C) 6.5 inches (164 mm)
Dec 51°F (10°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 49°F (9°C) 6 inches (153 mm)