A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Nags Head vs. Charleston for Food, Couples, Families, and Backpackers

Should you visit Nags Head or Charleston?

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

Should I visit Nags Head or Charleston? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Nags Head

Other popular activities here include food.

Charleston

Charleston is a historic, classic, and picturesque coastal town. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. Other reasons to visit include beaches, shopping, and museums.

Nags Head and Charleston: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Fun shopping
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Nags Head or Charleston?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Charleston than Nags Head, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Charleston is more touristy than Nags Head and is popular for its historic city market, low-country cuisine, Civil War history, and antebellum houses. Also, Charleston is famous for The Waterfront Park. Nags Head is well known for

How is Nags Head different from Charleston?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Nags Head or Charleston?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is a popular place for its historical sights. However, Nags Head does not have museums and landmarks.

Charleston is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. This city is famous for its many historic churches and plantations. The plantations are open to visit and will educate you on the city's past, which is heavily involved in slavery. You can also visit Fort Sumter National Monument by boat or take a tour of the USS Yorktown.

Nags Head does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Nags Head or Charleston? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is an amazing coastal town to visit for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Nags Head is not as popular, but is still a nice for its local cuisine and restaurants.

For foodies, Charleston is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. Food lovers will enjoy the city's low country classics. There are many local restaurants in town that serve southern specialties. You can also head a bit out of the town center if you want a waterfront restaurant. Local favorites include she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, cornbread, and fried green tomatoes.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Nags Head. There are a wide variety of seafood restaurants that serve locally caught fish, shrimp, and crabs. Cajon flavors are popular and you'll also find cheese grits at many places.

Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Nightlife?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is a popular place for nightlife. However, Nags Head is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Charleston has a few options to choose from. As a college town, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs around town. There's also a lively music scene. Head to the areas near the college for the most affordable and active nightlife. Popular clubs in town include Cure Night Club, Deco Nightclub, and Mynt.

Nags Head is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Music?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is a popular place for live music. However, Nags Head is not a live music destination.

The music scene in Charleston is active and vibrant. You can hear a number of local bands or enjoy a more widely known group at larger venues in the area.

Nags Head is not a live music destination.


Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Resorts?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is a popular place for its luxury resorts. However, Nags Head is not a resort destination.

Charleston has a handful of resorts to choose from. The town has mostly hotels and bed and breakfasts in the downtown area, but nearby Kiawah Island has a number of nice resorts to choose from. Kiawah Island is particularly kid-friendly if you're looking for a family beach vacation. If you have a bit more money to spend and want something more residential, check out nearby Seabrook Island.

Nags Head is not a resort destination.

Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Beaches?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is great for its beaches. However, Nags Head is not a beach destination.

Charleston is considered a top beach destination. The area has a number of beautiful and fun nearby beaches including Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, and Seabrook Island. Folly Beach is an active and quirky beach area, while Kiawah is more family-friendly. Seabrook is more residential and more expensive.

Nags Head is not a beach destination.

Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for its Old Town?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is an amazing coastal town to visit for its historic old town. However, Nags Head does not have a historic old town.

Charleston offers visitors a world-class historical old town to explore. Charleston's downtown is one of the most charming and well preserved Old Town's in the United States. It's easy to see why it's become a world class destination.

Nags Head does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Nags Head or Charleston?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is an amazing coastal town to visit for shopping. However, Nags Head is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in Charleston. The city is famous for its historic market in the center of town. Local goods, foods, and crafts are sold daily here. There are also many clothing and local shops throughout town, particularly along King Street, which has boutiques and high end outlets. Outside of town, stop by Tanger Outlet Mall if you want name brands at a discount price.

Nags Head is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Christmas?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is great for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Nags Head does not offer Christmas activities.

Charleston is a very popular destination during Christmas. During the Christmas season there are a number of festivals, light shows, and even a boat parade that everyone can enjoy.

Nags Head does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Christmas Markets?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is a popular place for visiting Christmas markets. However, Nags Head does not offer Christmas markets.

Many visitors go to the Christmas markets in Charleston. Marion Square hosts Christmas Markets on weekends throughout the holiday season.

Nags Head does not offer Christmas markets.


Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Families?

Nags Head
Charleston

Nags Head is notable for its family-friendly activities. Also, Charleston is not as famous, but is still a good coastal town to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Nags Head is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. It makes a wonderful base for the many family-friendly activities in the area. Jockey's Ridge is a fun place to visit with kids. There are also wonderful beaches and many kids enjoying flying kites.

Charleston is a family-friendly . The city has a number of family-friendly activities like carriage rides and boat rides. There's also an aquarium, a waterfront park, and many kid-friendly museums. The nearby beaches also make it a wonderful place to visit with kids.

Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Couples?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is an amazing coastal town to visit for romance. Also, Nags Head is not as popular, but is still a nice for its romantic activities.

Charleston makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. This beautiful city is one of the most popular wedding destinations in America. It's a very romantic setting with beautiful hotels and bed and breakfasts that are perfect for couples on their honeymoon or looking for a romantic setting.

Nags Head makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are great seafood restaurants and a number of activities in the area that are fun for couples.

Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nags Head
Charleston

Nags Head is a nice place to visit for backpackers. However, Charleston is a mediocre coastal town for backpackers and budget travelers.

It's common for backpackers to visit Nags Head. This is one of the more affordable places to stay in the Outer Banks, so it appeals to more budget-oriented travelers.

Charleston is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Hotels in the old town tend to be pricey and there isn't the backpacker community that you find in many other destinations. Still, there are a couple of hostels.


Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Students?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is a popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Nags Head is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Charleston. The city is a college town with a young vibe that is perfect for students. There's a nice university area where you'll find cheaper places to eat and a good nightlife scene.

Nags Head is not popular with students.

Is Nags Head or Charleston Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Nags Head does not have public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Charleston. While there are some buses, you really must have a car to fully experience the entire area.

Nags Head does not have public transit.

Is Nags Head or Charleston a more walkable city?

Nags Head
Charleston

Charleston is great for its walkability. However, Nags Head is not a walkable destination.

Charleston is very walkable. The downtown area is very walkable, but once you leave the historic heart, it's best to have a car.

Nags Head is not a walkable destination.


Should I spend more time in Charleston or Nags Head?

How long in Nags Head or Charleston?

Both Nags Head and Charleston have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Charleston has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Charleston than Nags Head. In general, 4-7 days is a good amount of time for Nags Head, and 2-7 days is enough time in Charleston.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Charleston than Nags Head 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 Charleston.


  • How many days in Nags Head or Charleston? Ideal Length of Stay
    Nags Head 4-7 
    Charleston 2-7

One day in Nags Head or Charleston?

With food around the of Nags Head, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

You'll find nightlife and live music around the quaint coastal town of Charleston. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Nags Head or Charleston?

With food around the destination of Nags Head, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

You'll find live music and food around the picturesque destination of Charleston. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal town has to offer. This coastal town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Nags Head or Charleston?

Nags Head, a popular , is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this . Your budget might influence how long you stay.

You'll find food and shopping around the historic coastal town of Charleston. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this coastal town makes for a great vacation. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal town has to offer.


A week in Nags Head or Charleston?

Nags Head is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this makes for a great vacation. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Charleston is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Charleston, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America, The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas.


Which place is cheaper, Charleston or Nags Head?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nags Head is $149, while the average daily cost in Charleston is $170. 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 Nags Head and Charleston in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nags Head $80
    Charleston $90
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nags Head $160
    Charleston $180
Compare Hotels in Nags Head and Charleston

Looking for a hotel in Nags Head or Charleston? 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 Nags Head


Hotels in Charleston


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: Nags Head Hotel Prices and Charleston Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nags Head $40
    Charleston $33

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Folly Beach - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $209
  • Charleston Airport to Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island -Roundtrip Private Transfer: $209
  • Charleston Airport: One-Way Transfer to Charleston: $153
  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Kiawah/Seabrook Islands – Arrival Private Transfer: $119
  • Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island to Charleston Airport –Departure Private Transfer: $105
  • Folly Beach to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer: $105
  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Folly Beach - Arrival Private Transfer: $105
  • Charleston Airport to Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island– Arrival Private Transfer: $105
  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Charleston city – Arrival Private Transfer: $88
  • From Boone Hall Plantation Entry with Transfers: $71
  • Private Transfer from Charleston Airport (CHS) to Charleston Port: $59
  • Private Transfer from Charleston City to Charleston Cruise Port: $55

Is it cheaper to fly into Nags Head or Charleston?

Prices for flights to both Charleston and Nags Head 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
    Nags Head $41
    Charleston $58

Typical Food Prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of dining costs in Charleston are as follows:


  • Lunch in downtown Charleston for two
    $21
  • Breakfast
    $26

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charleston

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

  • Charleston Sunset Blues & BBQ Dinner Cruise: $72
  • Charleston Harbor Luxury Dinner Cruise with Live Music: $88
  • Dinner Detective Interactive True Crime Dinner Show! (Charleston): $89
  • Luxury Harbor Dinner Cruise: $93
  • Savor the Flavors Upper King Street Food Tour: $95
  • Charleston Food Tour: $99
  • Historic Downtown Food Tour with Tastings: $99
  • Charleston Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $110
  • Downtown Charleston Food Tour: $110
  • Charleston Walking Brunch Tour With Secret Food Tours: $110
  • Charleston Upper King Street Food Tour: $110
  • Small Group Food Tour – Savor the Flavors: $110

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nags Head $14
    Charleston $22

Tours and Activities in Nags Head

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Nags Head.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $13
  • Outer Banks Audio Driving Tour: $13
  • Wright Brothers Carolina Dunes: Self-Guided Driving Tour: $13
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Wright Brothers Carolina Dunes Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $15
  • Outer Banks Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $25
  • OBX Ghost Tours: $25
  • Manteo Historic Walking Tour: $28
  • Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest Kayak Tour: $49
  • 2-hour Outer Banks Wild Horse Tour by 4WD Truck: $57
  • Cape Hatteras Kayak Adventure in Rodanthe: $59
  • Alligator River Kayak Adventure: $59

Typical Entertainment Prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Charleston are as follows:


  • Patriots Point (for 2)
    $60

Tours and Activities in Charleston

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

  • 2 Hours Private Morris Island and River Cruise: $295
  • 1.5-Hour Charleston Harbor Cruise with Live Narration: $42
  • 2 Hours Shem Creek Safari Kayak Tour: $52
  • 2-Hour Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Charleston: $54
  • 300 Years of War and Peacetime in A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • 90-Minute Charleston City Sightseeing Bus Tour : $37
  • Access Tour to the Cameron House from Outer Banks: $225
  • Afternoon Schooner Sightseeing Dolphin Cruise on Charleston Harbor: $56
  • An Amazing Guided Ghost Tour: $30
  • Behind the Scenes of Shem Creek Shrimp Walking Tour: $25
  • Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston: $78
  • Boone Hall Plantation All-Access Admission Ticket: $28

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nags Head $12
    Charleston $36

Sample the Local Flavors in Charleston

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

  • Charleston Women and Wine Tour: $18
  • Women and Wine Tour: $18
  • Guided Pub Crawl and Haunted History Tour: $30
  • Charleston Terrors Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $34
  • Speakeasy Sagas Prohibition Pub Crawl: $35
  • Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour: $35
  • Historic District Haunted Pub Crawl Tour: $40
  • Wadmalaw Island Wine Tasting and Tea Garden Trip: $135


When comparing the travel costs between Nags Head and Charleston, we can see that Charleston 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 Nags Head Expensive? and Is Charleston Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Nags Head or Charleston?

Charleston has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Nags Head. When comparing the sizes of Nags Head and Charleston, 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 Nags Head or Charleston?

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 Nags Head or Charleston in the Summer?

Both Charleston and Nags Head during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Nags Head for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Charleston in the summer for the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Nags Head is generally around the same temperature as Charleston. Daily temperatures in Nags Head average around 78°F (26°C), and Charleston fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

In Charleston, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Nags Head. In the summer, Nags Head often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Charleston. Nags Head gets 274 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Charleston receives 293 hours of full sun.

Charleston gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Nags Head. Nags Head usually gets less rain in July than Charleston. Nags Head gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while Charleston receives 6.9 inches (176 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nags Head 78°F (26°C) 
    Charleston 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Nags Head or Charleston in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Nags Head and Charleston. Also, most visitors come to Charleston for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Nags Head is cooler than Charleston in the autumn. The daily temperature in Nags Head averages around 62°F (16°C) in October, and Charleston fluctuates around 67°F (19°C).

In Nags Head, it's very sunny this time of the year. Nags Head usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Charleston during autumn. Nags Head gets 205 hours of sunny skies, while Charleston receives 197 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Nags Head usually receives more rain than Charleston. Nags Head gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Charleston receives 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nags Head 62°F (16°C) 
    Charleston 67°F (19°C)

Should I visit Nags Head or Charleston in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Nags Head as well as Charleston. Most visitors come to Nags Head for the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Charleston because of the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Nags Head can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Nags Head is much colder than Charleston. Typically, the winter temperatures in Nags Head in January average around 41°F (5°C), and Charleston averages at about 47°F (9°C).

In the winter, Nags Head often gets less sunshine than Charleston. Nags Head gets 147 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Charleston receives 188 hours of full sun.

Nags Head receives a lot of rain in the winter. Nags Head usually gets more rain in January than Charleston. Nags Head gets 4.1 inches (105 mm) of rain, while Charleston receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nags Head 41°F (5°C) 
    Charleston 47°F (9°C)

Should I visit Nags Head or Charleston in the Spring?

Both Charleston and Nags Head are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Also, the beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Charleston this time of year.

In April, Nags Head is generally cooler than Charleston. Daily temperatures in Nags Head average around 59°F (15°C), and Charleston fluctuates around 64°F (18°C).

It's quite sunny in Charleston. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Nags Head. Nags Head usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Charleston during spring. Nags Head gets 262 hours of sunny skies, while Charleston receives 275 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Nags Head usually receives more rain than Charleston. Nags Head gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Charleston receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nags Head 59°F (15°C) 
    Charleston 64°F (18°C)

Typical Weather for Charleston and Nags Head

Nags Head Charleston
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 41°F (5°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 47°F (9°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 42°F (6°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Mar 50°F (10°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 58°F (14°C) 4.3 inches (110 mm)
Apr 59°F (15°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 64°F (18°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 67°F (19°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Jun 74°F (23°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 78°F (26°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm)
Jul 78°F (26°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 82°F (28°C) 6.9 inches (176 mm)
Aug 78°F (25°C) 5 inches (127 mm) 81°F (27°C) 7.1 inches (181 mm)
Sep 72°F (22°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm) 76°F (25°C) 4.8 inches (121 mm)
Oct 62°F (16°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm)
Nov 53°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 58°F (15°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm)
Dec 45°F (7°C) 3.4 inches (85 mm) 51°F (10°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)