A Travel Price Comparison for Virginia Norfolk vs. Williamsburg for Families, Attractions, Food, and Couples

Should you visit Norfolk or Williamsburg?

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

Should I visit Norfolk or Williamsburg? 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.

Norfolk

Norfolk is a authentic, blue collar, and maritime city. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a quaint, well-preserved, and historic town. It's a gorgeous place to visit. It's also known for food, shopping, and museums.

Norfolk and Williamsburg: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Norfolk or Williamsburg?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Williamsburg than Norfolk, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Williamsburg is better known for its museums, food, historical sights, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Norfolk is more popular for its nightlife. Williamsburg is more touristy than Norfolk and is known for its historic and colonial charm, its award winning amusement parks, and its historical reenactments. Also, Williamsburg is famous for Colonial Williamsburg. Norfolk is well known for its naval base and military presence.

How is Norfolk different from Williamsburg?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Norfolk or Williamsburg?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a great destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

Williamsburg offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Colonial Williamsburg is like a living museum with reenactments and historic buildings that date back to the colonial days. In addition to the historic area, there are folk art museums and other historic sights in the area.

Norfolk offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are some interesting museums in town like the Chrysler Museum, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, and the Norfolk Police and Fire Museum. You should also check out the Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin.


Is the Food Better in Norfolk or Williamsburg? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a great destination for its restaurant scene. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Williamsburg makes for a great culinary experience. Head to Historic Williamsburg if you want to try some colonial classics. There are historic taverns that maintain their old world charm and serve dishes such as peanut soup and stewed beef. Around town you'll also find casual restaurants with pizza, macaroni and cheese, and burgers.

Norfolk has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. You'll find a decent collection of restaurants in the downtown area. Food options include local seafood, brunch, casual eateries, and fine dining.

Is Norfolk or Williamsburg Better for Nightlife?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

Norfolk is a good destination for its evening party scene. However, Williamsburg is a town with minimal options for nightlife.

Norfolk has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. Downtown is where you'll find the most busy nightlife venues. The city has great breweries, and the live music scene has taken off. There are also lounges, dance clubs, and wine bars to choose from.

Williamsburg doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. Despite its student population, there isn't much of a nightlife scene in town. There are restaurants where you can enjoy fine wine or cocktails, but nightclubs and bars are limited.

Is Norfolk or Williamsburg Better for its Old Town?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a must-visit destination for its historic old town. However, Norfolk does not have a historic old town.

The rich history of Williamsburg can be explored in its historical center. Colonial Williamsburg is an impressively maintained area with museums, shops, and taverns. There are live reenactments of historic events as well as blacksmiths, wig shops, and carriage rides. You can wander around without a ticket, but for access to many parts of the historic area you'll need to purchase a pass.

Norfolk does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Norfolk or Williamsburg?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a great destination for shopping. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping opportunities.

Williamsburg is an extremely popular place for shoppers. Charming shops both in the historic area and just outside sell unique items that reflect the city's past. There are souvenirs, food items, cookbooks, and home decor to choose from.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Norfolk. There's a mix of shopping malls, local boutiques, farmer's markets, and shopping centers around town.

Is Norfolk or Williamsburg Better for Families?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a must-visit destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Williamsburg is a very family-friendly destination. Older kids will appreciate the history in the area. For kids of all ages there are a number of amusement parks and water parks such as Great Wolf Lodge, Busch Gardens, and the award winning Water Country USA.

Norfolk offers lots of family activities. The Norfolk Zoo is always a hit with kids. You should also visit the USS Wisconsin which offers tours, as well as the Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum.

Is Norfolk or Williamsburg Better for Couples?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a great destination for romance. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for its romantic activities.

Couples visit Williamsburg frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Historic Williamsburg is filled with inns and charming restaurants that make this a beautiful destination for couples. There are quaint restaurants that serve colonial food and interesting southern shops with unique trinkets. You can also wander around the campus of William and Mary College.

Most people don't think of Norfolk as a couple's destination. There are some nice hotels and several great parks and outdoor activities.


Is Norfolk or Williamsburg Better for Students?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a must-visit destination for students. However, Norfolk is not popular with students.

Many students frequent Williamsburg. The College of William and Mary has a beautiful campus and students enjoy the charming atmosphere with colonial architecture around town. There are also good restaurants and a great collegiate vibe.

Norfolk is not popular with students.

Is Norfolk or Williamsburg Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Norfolk and Williamsburg.

Public transit is generally limited in Norfolk. While there are buses, ferries, and even lightrail in the area, you really want to have a car to get around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Williamsburg. There are buses around town, and they offer access to Historic Williamsburg, but for most places you'll need to have your own car.

Is Norfolk or Williamsburg a more walkable city?

Norfolk
Williamsburg

Norfolk is a good destination for its ease of walking around. However, Williamsburg is a town with minimal options for its walkability.

Norfolk is a somewhat walkable city. Downtown is the most walkable part of the city.

Williamsburg is generally not a very walkable city. Historic Williamsburg and the neighborhoods around the College of William and Mary are all walkable, but if you plan to visit the amusement parks then you'll absolutely need a car.


For even more information, also check out Is Norfolk Worth Visiting? and Is Williamsburg Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Williamsburg or Norfolk?

How long in Norfolk or Williamsburg?

It's fun to spend time in either Norfolk or Williamsburg. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Williamsburg due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Norfolk, and 2-4 days is enough time in Williamsburg.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Williamsburg than Norfolk 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 Williamsburg.


  • How many days in Norfolk or Williamsburg? Ideal Length of Stay
    Norfolk 1-2 
    Williamsburg 2-4

One day in Norfolk or Williamsburg?

In Norfolk, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this authentic city offers. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. In one day, you should have a good grasp of this city.

In Williamsburg, you'll find museums and food. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Norfolk or Williamsburg?

Norfolk is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

In Williamsburg, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Visiting the old town is also a must. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Williamsburg has to offer.

Five days in Norfolk or Williamsburg?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the maritime destination of Norfolk. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Williamsburg is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Norfolk or Williamsburg?

Norfolk is a popular place to visit. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Williamsburg. Many people enjoy the museums and food when visiting Williamsburg. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America, The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America, and The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Williamsburg or Norfolk?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Norfolk is $166, while the average daily cost in Williamsburg is $112. 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 Norfolk and Williamsburg in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Norfolk $84
    Williamsburg $66
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Norfolk $168
    Williamsburg $132
Compare Hotels in Norfolk and Williamsburg

Looking for a hotel in Norfolk or Williamsburg? 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 Norfolk


Hotels in Williamsburg


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: Norfolk Hotel Prices and Williamsburg Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Norfolk $54
    Williamsburg $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Norfolk

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Norfolk:

  • Bamville Transportation (Private & Airport Transfers): $275

Is it cheaper to fly into Norfolk or Williamsburg?

Prices for flights to both Williamsburg and Norfolk 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
    Norfolk $49
    Williamsburg $31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Norfolk

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

  • Norfolk Buffet Dinner Cruise : $101
  • Buffet Dinner Cruise: $101
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Dinner Cruise: $126
  • Norfolk 4th of July Buffet Dinner Cruise: $182

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Williamsburg

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

  • Guided Food Tour with Tastings: $84

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Norfolk $14
    Williamsburg $34

Tours and Activities in Norfolk

Here are a few actual costs in Norfolk for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Norfolk with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • Skip the Line: Virginia Living Museum Admission Ticket: $22
  • Neon District Contemporary Art Walking Tour: $32
  • Norfolk's Passport to Fun Admission Tickets and Savings: $37
  • Virginia Zoo & Battleship Wisconsin Combo Ticket: $38
  • Electric Bike Rental Downtown Norfolk (self guided tour) : $60
  • Elizabeth River Candlelit Buffet Lunch Cruise: $67
  • Elizabeth River Sunday Buffet Brunch Cruise: $95
  • Norfolk Buffet Brunch Cruise : $95
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Brunch Cruise: $104

Tours and Activities in Williamsburg

Here are a few actual costs in Williamsburg for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Williamsburg by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure Self-Guided City Game: $10
  • Colonial Self-Guided Walking Tour: $15
  • Colonial Williamsburg Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $15
  • Williamsburg East Ghost Tour: $16
  • Yorktown Battlefield Self-Guided Driving Tour: $17
  • The Original Ghost of Williamsburg Candlelight Walking Tour: $20
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Williamsburg by Zombie Scavengers: $20
  • Colonial Christmas Walking Tour: $20
  • Yorktown Hallowed Ground Candlelight Walking Tour: $20
  • We Shall Overcome: A Williamsburg Black History Experience: $24
  • Colonial Ghosts Tour By US Ghost Adventures: $24

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Norfolk $10
    Williamsburg -

Sample the Local Flavors in Williamsburg

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

  • Colonial Ghosts Boos and Brews Haunted Pub Crawl : $28
  • The Murder Tour and Pub Crawl: $48


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

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


Which is Bigger, Norfolk or Williamsburg?

Norfolk has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Williamsburg. When comparing the sizes of Norfolk and Williamsburg, 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 Norfolk or Williamsburg?

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 Norfolk or Williamsburg in the Summer?

Both Williamsburg and Norfolk are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Norfolk for the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Williamsburg because of the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Norfolk is generally around the same temperature as Williamsburg. Daily temperatures in Norfolk average around 79°F (26°C), and Williamsburg fluctuates around 78°F (26°C).

It's quite sunny in Williamsburg. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Norfolk. Norfolk usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Williamsburg during summer. Norfolk gets 279 hours of sunny skies, while Williamsburg receives 279 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Williamsburg. It's quite rainy in Norfolk. In July, Norfolk usually receives more rain than Williamsburg. Norfolk gets 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain, while Williamsburg receives 4.7 inches (120 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Norfolk 79°F (26°C) 
    Williamsburg 78°F (26°C)

Should I visit Norfolk or Williamsburg in the Autumn?

Both Williamsburg and Norfolk during the autumn are popular places to visit. The autumn months attract visitors to Norfolk because of the shopping scene. Also, the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Williamsburg this time of year.

Norfolk is around the same temperature as Williamsburg in the autumn. The daily temperature in Norfolk averages around 62°F (16°C) in October, and Williamsburg fluctuates around 61°F (16°C).

In Williamsburg, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Norfolk. In the autumn, Norfolk often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Williamsburg. Norfolk gets 211 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Williamsburg receives 211 hours of full sun.

Norfolk usually gets more rain in October than Williamsburg. Norfolk gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Williamsburg receives 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Norfolk 62°F (16°C) 
    Williamsburg 61°F (16°C)

Should I visit Norfolk or Williamsburg in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Norfolk and Williamsburg. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Norfolk this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Williamsburg for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Williamsburg. It's quite cold in Norfolk in the winter. In the winter, Norfolk is a little warmer than Williamsburg. Typically, the winter temperatures in Norfolk in January average around 39°F (4°C), and Williamsburg averages at about 38°F (4°C).

Norfolk usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Williamsburg during winter. Norfolk gets 168 hours of sunny skies, while Williamsburg receives 168 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Norfolk usually receives less rain than Williamsburg. Norfolk gets 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain, while Williamsburg receives 3.6 inches (93 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Norfolk 39°F (4°C) 
    Williamsburg 38°F (4°C)

Should I visit Norfolk or Williamsburg in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Norfolk as well as Williamsburg. Also, many visitors come to Williamsburg in the spring for the natural beauty.

In April, Norfolk is generally around the same temperature as Williamsburg. Daily temperatures in Norfolk average around 58°F (14°C), and Williamsburg fluctuates around 57°F (14°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Williamsburg. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Norfolk this time of the year. In the spring, Norfolk often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Williamsburg. Norfolk gets 253 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Williamsburg receives 253 hours of full sun.

Norfolk usually gets less rain in April than Williamsburg. Norfolk gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Williamsburg receives 3 inches (76 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Norfolk 58°F (14°C) 
    Williamsburg 57°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Williamsburg and Norfolk

Norfolk Williamsburg
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 38°F (4°C) 3.6 inches (93 mm)
Feb 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Mar 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 49°F (9°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Apr 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 57°F (14°C) 3 inches (76 mm)
May 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 66°F (19°C) 4 inches (102 mm)
Jun 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 74°F (24°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm) 78°F (26°C) 4.7 inches (120 mm)
Aug 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm) 78°F (25°C) 4.7 inches (120 mm)
Sep 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.6 inches (118 mm)
Oct 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Nov 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm)
Dec 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 43°F (6°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)