A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America North Carolina vs. California for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit North Carolina or California?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between North Carolina and California can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: North Carolina or California?

North Carolina

North Carolina is a diverse state in the southern United States. The state has a variety of landscapes, with mountains, forests, and beaches all represented. The state's elevation ranges from sea level to 6,684 feet on Mount Mitchell, which is the highest point in North America east of the Mississippi. There are large cosmopolitan cities like Charlotte, and there are quaint college towns like Chapel Hill. North Carolina is the nineth most populous state in the country and the economy is currently centered around engineering, energy, biotechnology, and finance. Historically, the state's economy developed from the tobacco, textile, and furniture making industries.


California is the most populous state in the U.S. and is known for a variety of attractions such as Hollywood, warm beaches, the San Francisco bay area, Redwood trees, national parks, and stunning mountain vistas. With a variety of locations and activities to offer, California has become one of the premier travel destinations in the world.

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

Which place is cheaper, California or North Carolina?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in North Carolina is $185, while the average daily cost in California is $252. 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 North Carolina and California in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    North Carolina $112
    California $116
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    North Carolina $224
    California $232
Compare Hotels in North Carolina and California

Looking for a hotel in North Carolina or California? 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 North Carolina

Hotels in California

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.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    North Carolina $36
    California $43

Hired Cars and Shuttles in California

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

  • Private Transfer: Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to LA City Center: $27
  • One Way Transfer: Los Angeles from /to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) : $29
  • Private Arrival Transfer from John Wayne Orange County Airport SNA: $32
  • Private Departure Transfer to John Wayne Orange County Airport SNA: $32
  • Snow Summit to Ontario Airport (ONT) - Departure Private Transfer: $33
  • Ontario Airport (ONT) to Snow Summit - Arrival Private Transfer: $33
  • Transfer in private vehicle from San Francisco Airport to City: $35
  • Santa Catalina to Catalina Airport - Departure Private Transfer: $35
  • Avalon Airport (AVX) to Santa Catalina - Arrival Private Transfer: $35
  • Ontario Airport (ONT) to Ontario City - Arrival Private Transfer: $38
  • Shared ride Arrival Transfer John Wayne airport to Anaheim hotels: $38
  • Shared Airport Departure Transfer Anaheim and Orange County to John Wayne Airport: $38

Is it cheaper to fly into North Carolina or California?

Prices for flights to both California and North Carolina 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 Meals for one day
    North Carolina $45
    California $48

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in California

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

  • Thai Cooking Class in Fullerton near Disneyland: $66
  • Encinitas Food Tour: $70
  • Carlsbad Food Tour and Wine Tasting: $75
  • Pirates Dinner Adventure Buena Park: $79
  • Pizza and Gelato Tour in San Diego: $80
  • Santa Monica Delicious Donut Adventure & Walking Food Tour: $82
  • Little Italy Food and Drink Walking Tour: Pizza, Pasta & Piazzas: $85
  • Venice Beach LA Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco North Beach and Chinatown - Secret Food Tours: $89
  • Downtown Los Angeles Food Tour: $89
  • Gaslamp Quarter Downtown San Diego Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    North Carolina $25
    California $63

Tours and Activities in California

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

  • Pies & Pickaxes: A Historic Walking Tour of Julian, CA: $4.49
  • Avalon City: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.13
  • Historical San Anselmo: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.24
  • The Heart of Los Angeles’ Dreamland: A Self-Guide Tour in Culver City: $5.99
  • San Francisco's Barbary Past: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Gold Rush and Ghosts of Sacramento Smart Phone guided (App/GPS) Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Essential Downtown SLO: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $6.99
  • The Ghosts of San Francisco Haunted Audio App Walking Tour: $6.99
  • Journey into Joshua Tree: Audio Tour + Free Locals Guide!: $7.99
  • Historic Cannery Row: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of John Steinbeck's Monterey: $7.99
  • Historic Folsom: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Lost Souls of Hollywood Blvd: a Smartphone Audio Ghost Tour: $7.99

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    North Carolina $29
    California $21

Sample the Local Flavors in California

Also in California, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Long Beach Bar Hunt: Long Beach Boss Bar Crawl: $12
  • Sacramento Bar Hunt: Sacramento Sprint Bar Crawl: $12
  • San Diego Bar Hunt: Slammin' San Diego Bar Crawl: $13
  • Calaveras and Tuolumne Digital Wine Tasting Pass: $19
  • Vintner's Private Wine Tasting Experience: $20
  • San Francisco Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl : $30
  • LA Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $32
  • Wine Tasting Around the World: $48
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • DIY Wine Tour (Public Tour ~ Transportation Only): $59
  • Large Group Wine Tasting Tour (For 6+ Guests • We Drive Your Car): $60
  • Private Wine Tour Napa or Sonoma from $99 per person up to 7 & Concierge Service: $99

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

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

Which has a larger population, North Carolina or California?

California has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of North Carolina. When comparing the sizes of North Carolina and California, 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.