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

Should you visit Nags Head or San Francisco?

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

Should I visit Nags Head or San Francisco? 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

It's also popular because of the food.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a scenic, beautiful, and outdoorsy coastal city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Other reasons to visit include beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Nags Head and San Francisco: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Golden Gate Bridge


Is there more to do in Nags Head or San Francisco?

Visitors will usually find more to do in San Francisco than Nags Head, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. San Francisco is more touristy than Nags Head and is known for its striking bayfront setting, stunning urban hikes, quirky personality, and reputation within the tech industry. Also, San Francisco is famous for The Golden Gate Bridge. Nags Head is well known for

How is Nags Head different from San Francisco?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between San Francisco 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 San Francisco?

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for its historical sights. However, Nags Head does not have museums and landmarks.

Travelers visit San Francisco from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The city's landmarks are as diverse as the people who live there. The most recognizable landmark is the famous Golden Gate Bridge, but visitors also enjoy seeing Alcatraz Island, the Legion of Honor, the Palace of Fine Arts, as well as the small but fascinating Cable Car Museum.

Nags Head does not have museums and landmarks.


Is Nags Head or San Francisco Better for Theater?

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is a popular place for theatre. However, Nags Head is not a theatre destination.

If you have some extra time in San Francisco, take in a show. The city has around a dozen theaters where you can enjoy musicals or plays.

Nags Head is not a theatre destination.

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

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city 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, San Francisco is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. There are local dives as well as five star restaurants, with everything in between. Popular local dining experiences include sourdough bread bowls and Dungeness crab at Fisherman's Wharf, and dim sum in Chinatown. Head away from the touristy neighborhoods if you want to sample some of the more local restaurants around town.

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 San Francisco Better for Nightlife?

Nags Head
San Francisco

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

If you're looking for night time activities San Francisco has a few options to choose from. It has a great nightlife with many local bars and trendy clubs. For the best nightlife away from the tourists, head to Valencia Street or Polk Street. If you want to be in a more touristy area, check out Union Square. Popular clubs in the city include Temple San Francisco, Monarch, and Audio Nightclub.

Nags Head is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.


Is Nags Head or San Francisco Better for Music?

Nags Head
San Francisco

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

The music scene in San Francisco is active and vibrant. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

Nags Head is not a live music destination.

Is Nags Head or San Francisco Better for Beaches?

Nags Head
San Francisco

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

San Francisco is considered a top beach destination. Whether you're interested in surfing or simply taking in the dramatic views, the beaches of San Francisco will take your breath away. Some of the best beaches include Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, and Muir Beach.

Nags Head is not a beach destination.

Is Nags Head or San Francisco Better for Hiking?

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for hiking. However, Nags Head is not a hiking destination.

People visit San Francisco specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. The city's hikes take in the dramatic views of the bay and city. Just outside of town there are also countless hikes through the Redwoods and along the coastline. Popular hikes in the area include Lands End, Tomales Point Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore, and Muir Woods.

Nags Head is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Nags Head or San Francisco?

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for shopping. However, Nags Head is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in San Francisco. The city has excellent shopping from local vendors to recognizable brands. Union Square, Embarcadero, Fillmore Street and Haight Street are some of the best neighborhoods for shopping.

Nags Head is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Nags Head or San Francisco Better for Families?

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Nags Head is not as popular, but is still a nice for its family-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, San Francisco is a very family-friendly destination. With its many outdoor parks, hiking trails, beaches, and kid-friendly museums, this city makes a great family-friendly destination. There are also many amazing playgrounds with stunning views of the bay and city. Head to Chinatown for some unique and kid-friendly food, or down to Pier 39 for fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Nags Head is a very kid-friendly . 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.

Is Nags Head or San Francisco Better for Couples?

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for romance. Also, Nags Head is not as popular, but is still a nice for its romantic activities.

San Francisco is a great coastal city if you're traveling as a couple. Couples enjoy the romantic backdrop of this beautiful city. There are world-class restaurants and plenty of spas that couples can enjoy during a honeymoon or romantic getaway. There are also many scenic walks and breathtaking views that couples can appreciate.

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 San Francisco Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Nags Head is not as popular, but is still a nice for backpackers.

San Francisco is very popular with the backpacker crowd. The city is one of the more backpacker friendly cities in the United States. There are a handful of hostels throughout, many concentrated in the popular Union Square and Downtown neighborhoods of the city.

Nags Head is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. This is one of the more affordable places to stay in the Outer Banks, so it appeals to more budget-oriented travelers.

Is Nags Head or San Francisco Better for Students?

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Nags Head is not popular with students.

San Francisco is a very popular coastal city for students and younger travelers. As a large and dynamic city, the area is popular with international students who want to experience this unique side of the United States. Major universities in the area include University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and nearby, the University of California, Berkeley.

Nags Head is not popular with students.

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

Nags Head
San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Nags Head does not have public transit.

Public transit in San Francisco is top-notch. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

Nags Head does not have public transit.


Is Nags Head or San Francisco a more walkable city?

Nags Head
San Francisco

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

San Francisco is very walkable. It is compact enough to explore on foot, but given the large hills, it's a bit of a challenge, even for the most fit among us.

Nags Head is not a walkable destination.

Should I spend more time in San Francisco or Nags Head?

How long in Nags Head or San Francisco?

Both Nags Head and San Francisco have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, San Francisco has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in San Francisco than Nags Head. In general, 4-7 days is a good amount of time for Nags Head, and 3-7 days is enough time in San Francisco.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in San Francisco 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 San Francisco.


  • How many days in Nags Head or San Francisco? Ideal Length of Stay
    Nags Head 4-7 
    San Francisco 3-7

One day in Nags Head or San Francisco?

Many travelers enjoy the food when visiting the destination of Nags Head. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

People visit San Francisco because there is so much to do. 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 San Francisco?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Nags Head. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

People visit San Francisco because there is so much to do. Hikers are also drawn to this area. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in Nags Head or San Francisco?

Many travelers enjoy the food when visiting the destination of Nags Head. This offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.

People visit San Francisco because there is so much to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this coastal city 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 city has to offer.

A week in Nags Head or San Francisco?

Many travelers enjoy the food when visiting the of Nags Head. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling.So, one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

San Francisco 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 San Francisco, 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, San Francisco 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 San Francisco is $222. 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 San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nags Head $80
    San Francisco $130
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nags Head $160
    San Francisco $260
Compare Hotels in Nags Head and San Francisco

Looking for a hotel in Nags Head or San Francisco? 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 San Francisco


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 San Francisco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nags Head $40
    San Francisco $16

Typical Local Transportation Prices in San Francisco

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in San Francisco:


  • Taxi to SFO
    $45
  • Golden Gate Bridge Toll
    $6.00
  • Alcatraz Tour
    $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Francisco

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

  • San Francisco Airport (SFO): Transfer to Cruise Terminal: $565
  • Carmel 1-Way Transfer to/from San Francisco Airport: $535
  • SFO Airport Private Transfer to/from Sacramento: $414
  • Napa Valley 1-Way Transfer to/from the San Francisco Airport: $400
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO): Transfer to San Francisco: $348
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Calistoga Resorts Round-Trip Transfer: $295
  • Private Airport Transfer From SFO to Sonoma (One-way): $280
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from SFO to East Bay (one way): $262
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from Vallejo to SFO (one way): $259
  • Arrival Private Transfer SFO Airport to San Francisco City by SUV: $245
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) to San Francisco - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $221
  • Departure Private Transfer San Francisco to SFO Airport in a SUV: $203

Is it cheaper to fly into Nags Head or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco 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
    San Francisco $46

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Francisco

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

  • San Francisco Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $19
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $79
  • Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Bay: $82
  • Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $84
  • Mission District Food Tour with Tastings: $85
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $87
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89
  • Mission District Food Tour: $89
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $89
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $89

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nags Head $14
    San Francisco $46

Tours and Activities in Nags Head

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

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

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Francisco.

  • Streets and Stairways of San Francisco with Local Guided Tour: $50
  • "Summer of Love" tour in Haight-Ashbury in French: $63
  • 1 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $73
  • 1-Day San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Open Top Bus Tour: $63
  • 1-hour San Francisco Bay Area Photography Experience: $199
  • 1HR San Francisco Chinatown and Downtown GoCar Tour: $97
  • 2 or 3 Hour Private Group San Francisco City Tour Open-air Jeep: $169
  • 2-Day San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour (Unlimited Pass): $73
  • 2-Hour Double Decker City Tour of San Francisco: $73
  • 2-Hour Sunset or Evening Private Jeep Tour of San Francisco: $169
  • 2hrs- Beyond the Bridge - Marin Headlands GoCar Tour: $234
  • 3 Hour Sightseeing Small Group Guided Tour in San Francisco: $89

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Museums in San Francisco, The Best Outdoor Activities in San Francisco, and Things to Do In San Francisco on a Rainy Day.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nags Head $12
    San Francisco $22

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

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

  • Private Self Guided Tour and Bar Crawl in Chinatown San Francisco: $4.00
  • Chinatown San Francisco’s Bar Crawl: An Audio Tour: $4.99
  • Ghosts, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Walk with Spirits: A Haunted Pub Crawl in San Francisco: $45
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $85
  • San Francisco Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $125
  • Half-Day Wine Country Tour with Wine Tastings: $126
  • The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • Small Group: The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • From The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139


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

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 San Francisco Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Nags Head or San Francisco?

San Francisco has a larger population, and is about 230 times larger than the population of Nags Head. When comparing the sizes of Nags Head and San Francisco, 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 San Francisco?

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 Nags Head or San Francisco in the Summer?

Both San Francisco and Nags Head are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Nags Head for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to San Francisco in the summer for the beaches, the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Nags Head is generally a little warmer than San Francisco. Daily temperatures in Nags Head average around 78°F (26°C), and San Francisco fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).

It's quite rainy in Nags Head. In July, Nags Head usually receives more rain than San Francisco. Nags Head gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nags Head 78°F (26°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Nags Head or San Francisco in the Autumn?

Both San Francisco and Nags Head during the autumn are popular places to visit. Furthermore, most visitors come to San Francisco for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Nags Head is around the same temperature as San Francisco in the autumn. The daily temperature in Nags Head averages around 62°F (16°C) in October, and San Francisco fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).

Nags Head usually gets more rain in October than San Francisco. Nags Head gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nags Head 62°F (16°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Nags Head or San Francisco in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Nags Head and San Francisco. Most visitors come to Nags Head for the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to San Francisco because of the museums, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.

Nags Head can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Nags Head is much colder than San Francisco. Typically, the winter temperatures in Nags Head in January average around 41°F (5°C), and San Francisco averages at about 50°F (10°C).

Nags Head gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In January, Nags Head usually receives more rain than San Francisco. Nags Head gets 4.1 inches (105 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nags Head 41°F (5°C) 
    San Francisco 50°F (10°C)

Should I visit Nags Head or San Francisco in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Nags Head as well as San Francisco. Additionally, the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty are the main draw to San Francisco this time of year.

In April, Nags Head is generally around the same temperature as San Francisco. Daily temperatures in Nags Head average around 59°F (15°C), and San Francisco fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

Nags Head usually gets more rain in April than San Francisco. Nags Head gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nags Head 59°F (15°C) 
    San Francisco 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for San Francisco and Nags Head

Nags Head San Francisco
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 41°F (5°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Feb 42°F (6°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 50°F (10°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 59°F (15°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 58°F (14°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
May 67°F (19°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm) 60°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 74°F (23°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 78°F (26°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 63°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 78°F (25°C) 5 inches (127 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm)
Sep 72°F (22°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 62°F (16°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm)
Nov 53°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Dec 45°F (7°C) 3.4 inches (85 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)