A Travel Price Comparison for North Carolina New Bern vs. Winston-Salem for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit New Bern or Winston-Salem?

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

Should I visit New Bern or Winston-Salem? 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.

New Bern

New Bern is a charming, laid back, and quaint town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. Other popular activities here include museums, food, and shopping.

Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is a under-rated, welcoming, and friendly city. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

New Bern and Winston-Salem: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in New Bern or Winston-Salem?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Winston-Salem than New Bern, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Winston-Salem is better known for its nightlife and historical sights, while New Bern is more popular for its small town charm. New Bern is more touristy than Winston-Salem and is known for being the birthplace of Pepsi. Winston-Salem is well known for it's southern character and quaint college campuses. Also, Winston-Salem is famous for Old Salem.

How is New Bern different from Winston-Salem?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Winston-Salem and New Bern. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in New Bern or Winston-Salem?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

Both New Bern and Winston-Salem have notable landmarks and museums for visitors.

New Bern is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. Many visitors check out the Tryon Palace while they're in town. Other museums include the New Bern Fireman's Museum, the Carolina Creations Fine Art & Contemporary Craft Gallery, and the New Bern Academy Museum.

Winston-Salem offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Old Salem has a nice concentration of museums and gardens. Outside of the old town you'll find several art museums like the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts and the Reynolda House Museum of American Art.


Is the Food Better in New Bern or Winston-Salem? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

Dining out at restaurants in both New Bern and Winston-Salem can be an enjoyable experience.

New Bern offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There are a number of local eateries, bistros, and cafes in town. You can sample southern favorites or something international. Popular dishes include fresh caught fish, crab cakes, and even tacos.

Winston-Salem has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. North Carolina barbecue is popular around town. The city is also the birthplace of Krispy Kreme donuts and during the holiday season you should sample the local Moravian Cookies.

Is New Bern or Winston-Salem Better for Nightlife?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is a popular place for nightlife. However, New Bern is not particularly known for nightlife and partying.

Winston-Salem has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. Local breweries are popping up around town. You'll also find active nightlife venues near the colleges and universities.

New Bern doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. There are a couple of pubs and breweries around town.

Is New Bern or Winston-Salem Better for its Old Town?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is a popular place for its historic old town. However, New Bern does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors go to Winston-Salem to see the historical old town. Nearby Old Salem is filled with historic museums, gardens, and restaurants. A ticket is required for most of the venues, but the atmosphere and architecture are charming.

New Bern does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in New Bern or Winston-Salem?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

Shopping is a popular activity in both Winston-Salem and New Bern.

New Bern is a great destination for shopping. There are local shops and boutiques that sell clothing, antiques, and gifts.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Winston-Salem. You'll find a mix of larger shopping malls, retail outlets, and shopping centers around town.

Is New Bern or Winston-Salem Better for Families?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is a popular place for its family-friendly activities. However, New Bern is not particularly known for its kid-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Winston-Salem. There are interactive museums like the Kaleideum science museums. There are also outdoor parks and playgrounds, kid-friendly restaurants, and a children's theater.

For families, New Bern is not always the best place to visit. Stand up paddle boarding and other outdoor activities are a fun way to experience the area with kids. You could also visit the New Bern Fireman's Museum, the Tryon Palace, or one of the parks around town.

Is New Bern or Winston-Salem Better for Couples?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

New Bern is a popular place for couples. However, Winston-Salem is a mediocre city for romance.

New Bern is a good town for couples to visit. The town's charm and quaint parks make this a nice weekend getaway. There are outdoor activities and the Tryon Palace which is nice to visit. There are also local restaurants around town.

Winston-Salem is not the best destination for a couple to visit. There are restaurants and movie theaters that make for a nice date night. There are also parks and walks that will get you outdoors.


Is New Bern or Winston-Salem Better for Students?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is a popular place for students. However, New Bern is not popular with students.

Winston-Salem is popular with students. Wake Forest University as well as colleges such as Salem College give parts of the city a collegiate vibe.

New Bern is not popular with students.

Is New Bern or Winston-Salem Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is a city with a few options for its public transit. However, New Bern is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Winston-Salem. There are bus routes, but they are limited in their frequency and convenience, making a car essential for most visitors.

Public transit is quite limited in New Bern. There's no real public transit in the area.

Is New Bern or Winston-Salem a more walkable city?

New Bern
Winston-Salem

New Bern is a popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Winston-Salem is a mediocre city for its walkability.

New Bern is a somewhat walkable town. The downtown area is walkable and nice to explore on foot.

Winston-Salem is generally not a very walkable town. The downtown area is the most pedestrian-friendly part of town, but most of the city requires a car.


For even more information, also check out Is New Bern Worth Visiting? and Is Winston-Salem Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Winston-Salem or New Bern?

How long in New Bern or Winston-Salem?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in New Bern or Winston-Salem to fill your time. In our opinion, Winston-Salem has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Winston-Salem than New Bern. However, 1-2 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in New Bern than Winston-Salem 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 New Bern.


  • How many days in New Bern or Winston-Salem? Ideal Length of Stay
    New Bern 1-2 
    Winston-Salem 1-2

One day in New Bern or Winston-Salem?

Even though New Bern is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

The city of Winston-Salem offers food and shopping. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in New Bern or Winston-Salem?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in New Bern. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities.

Winston-Salem 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. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Winston-Salem, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in New Bern or Winston-Salem?

New Bern is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. 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.

Winston-Salem 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 New Bern or Winston-Salem?

New Bern is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Winston-Salem is a great place to explore. 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.


Which place is cheaper, Winston-Salem or New Bern?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in New Bern is $140, while the average daily cost in Winston-Salem is $150. 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 New Bern and Winston-Salem in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    New Bern $76
    Winston-Salem $91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    New Bern $152
    Winston-Salem $182
Compare Hotels in New Bern and Winston-Salem

Looking for a hotel in New Bern or Winston-Salem? 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 New Bern


Hotels in Winston-Salem


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: New Bern Hotel Prices and Winston-Salem Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    New Bern $34
    Winston-Salem $23

Is it cheaper to fly into New Bern or Winston-Salem?

Prices for flights to both Winston-Salem and New Bern 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
    New Bern $41
    Winston-Salem $42

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    New Bern $26
    Winston-Salem $20

Tours and Activities in Winston-Salem

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Winston-Salem are as follows:

  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Winston-Salem by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Carolina History & Haunts Winston-Salem Historical Ghost Tour: $26

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    New Bern $30
    Winston-Salem $24


When comparing the travel costs between New Bern and Winston-Salem, we can see that Winston-Salem 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 New Bern Expensive? and Is Winston-Salem Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, New Bern or Winston-Salem?

Winston-Salem has a larger population, and is about 8 times larger than the population of New Bern. When comparing the sizes of New Bern and Winston-Salem, 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 New Bern or Winston-Salem?

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 New Bern or Winston-Salem in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both New Bern and Winston-Salem. The summer months attract visitors to New Bern because of the small town charm and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Winston-Salem this time of year.

In July, New Bern is generally around the same temperature as Winston-Salem. Daily temperatures in New Bern average around 80°F (27°C), and Winston-Salem fluctuates around 81°F (27°C).

Winston-Salem receives a lot of rain in the summer. New Bern gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, New Bern usually receives more rain than Winston-Salem. New Bern gets 6.6 inches (169 mm) of rain, while Winston-Salem receives 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    New Bern 80°F (27°C) 
    Winston-Salem 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit New Bern or Winston-Salem in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to New Bern as well as Winston-Salem. The shopping scene and the small town atmosphere are the main draw to New Bern this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Winston-Salem for the shopping scene.

New Bern is around the same temperature as Winston-Salem in the autumn. The daily temperature in New Bern averages around 65°F (18°C) in October, and Winston-Salem fluctuates around 62°F (17°C).

New Bern usually gets more rain in October than Winston-Salem. New Bern gets 3.4 inches (85 mm) of rain, while Winston-Salem receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    New Bern 65°F (18°C) 
    Winston-Salem 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit New Bern or Winston-Salem in the Winter?

Both Winston-Salem and New Bern are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to New Bern for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Winston-Salem in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Winston-Salem can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, New Bern is much warmer than Winston-Salem. Typically, the winter temperatures in New Bern in January average around 44°F (7°C), and Winston-Salem averages at about 40°F (4°C).

It's quite rainy in New Bern. In January, New Bern usually receives more rain than Winston-Salem. New Bern gets 4.1 inches (105 mm) of rain, while Winston-Salem receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    New Bern 44°F (7°C) 
    Winston-Salem 40°F (4°C)

Should I visit New Bern or Winston-Salem in the Spring?

Both Winston-Salem and New Bern during the spring are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to New Bern in the spring for the small town charm.

In April, New Bern is generally around the same temperature as Winston-Salem. Daily temperatures in New Bern average around 62°F (16°C), and Winston-Salem fluctuates around 61°F (16°C).

New Bern usually gets less rain in April than Winston-Salem. New Bern gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Winston-Salem receives 3.1 inches (80 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    New Bern 62°F (16°C) 
    Winston-Salem 61°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Winston-Salem and New Bern

New Bern Winston-Salem
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 44°F (7°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 40°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Feb 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm) 43°F (6°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm)
Apr 62°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 61°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)
May 69°F (21°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm) 69°F (21°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Jun 76°F (25°C) 5 inches (126 mm) 77°F (25°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Jul 80°F (27°C) 6.6 inches (169 mm) 81°F (27°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm)
Aug 79°F (26°C) 7.6 inches (192 mm) 80°F (26°C) 4.3 inches (109 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Oct 65°F (18°C) 3.4 inches (85 mm) 62°F (17°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 53°F (12°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Dec 48°F (9°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)