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 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.

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

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.

Which city 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 $148, while the average daily cost in California is $198. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for North Carolina and California in more detail.



Accommodation

North Carolina's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $178. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $89.

For a normal double-occupancy room in California, $184 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in California, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $92, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    North Carolina $89
    California $92
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    North Carolina $178
    California $184

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in North Carolina is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $29 per person, per day, on local transportation in North Carolina.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in California than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $32 on transportation in California on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    North Carolina $29
    California $32

Hired Cars and Shuttles in North Carolina

Some specific examples of transportation prices in North Carolina:

  • Private Departure Transfer: Outer Banks to RDU by Luxury Vehicle: $538
  • Private Departure Transfer: Outer Banks to PFH by Luxury Vehicle: $283
  • Private Departure Transfer: Outer Banks to ORF by Luxury Vehicle: $240
  • Private Arrival Transfer: ORF to Outer Banks by Luxury Vehicle: $240

Hired Cars and Shuttles in California

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

  • San Diego: Private Transfer to/from San Diego Airport (SAN): $69
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to San Mateo City - One Way: $73
  • Private Airport Transfer from SFO to San Francisco: $79
  • Departure Private Transfer to San Francisco Cruise Port by Business Car: $84
  • Orange County: 1-Way Private Transfer to/from Anaheim Resort: $89
  • Los Angeles International Airport: Private Transfer to/from: $93
  • SF: Private Transfer to/from San Francisco Airport (SFO): $99
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to Oakland City - One Way: $105
  • Private San Francisco Transfer: Hotel to Airport or Cruise Port: $122
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to Union City - One Way: $137
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to Mountain View City - One Way: $147
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to San Francisco City - One Way: $166

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

North Carolina food costs typically run travelers around $36 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

On average, meal and food prices in California cost around $37 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $15.


  • Food Meals for one day
    North Carolina $36
    California $37

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in California

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

  • Carlsbad Village: 3-Hour Local Food Tour: $70
  • San Francisco: Mission District Walking Food Tour: $75
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $75
  • San Francisco: Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $79
  • North Beach: Curated 4-Course Food Tour: $99
  • Monterey: Guided Walking Food Tour with Tastings: $150
  • Napa Valley Wine Train: Gourmet Express Lunch or Dinner: $175
  • Los Angeles: 3-Hour Secret Food Tour: $217
  • Napa or Sonoma Dinner Transportation: $500

Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in North Carolina typically cost an average of $20 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Sightseeing expenses in California, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $49 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    North Carolina $20
    California $49

Tours and Activities in North Carolina

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

  • Amazing Asheville Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Charlotte: 4-Hour Private Party Tour by Electric Cart: $331
  • Pisgah Forest: Forest Bathing & Nature Therapy Walking Tour: $65

Tours and Activities in California

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

  • San Francisco: Highlights Self-Guided Audio Tour with App: $5.57
  • San Francisco: Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $14
  • San Diego: Haunted Historic Whaley House - Self-Guided Tour: $14
  • San Francisco: Exploratorium After Dark Entry Ticket (18+): $20
  • Los Angeles: Skip-the-Line Battleship Iowa Museum Ticket: $23
  • Amazing Temecula Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $27
  • Los Angeles: Urban Adventure Quest Mini Scavenger Hunt: $27
  • San Francisco: 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Urban Hiking Tour: $29
  • Downtown Los Angeles: Food, Arts and Culture Walking Tour: $35
  • Newport Beach: Year-Round Whale Watching Cruise: $36
  • San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences Entry Ticket: $37
  • San Jose: Winchester Mystery House Tour: $42

Alcohol

The average person spends about $23 on alcoholic beverages in North Carolina per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Typically, people visiting California spend on average $17 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    North Carolina $23
    California $17

Sample the Local Flavors in California

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

  • Healdsburg Wine Tasting and Food Pairing Guided Walking Tour: $119
  • San Francisco: Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $149
  • Malibu: Vintage VW Hippie Sightseeing Tour with Wine Tasting: $179
  • Golf Somm - A Sommelier-Led Golf and Wine Tour in Napa Valley: $308
  • 6-Hours Customized Private NAPA Valley Wine Tour From San Francisco Bay Area: $480
  • 6-Hour Customized Private LIVERMORE Valley Wine Tour From San Francisco Bay Area: $480
  • 6-Hours Customized Private RUSSIAN RIVER Valley Wine Tour From San Francisco Bay: $480
  • 6-Hours Customized Private SONOMA Valley Wine Tour From San Francisco Bay Area: $480
  • Napa Wine Tour: $500
  • Sonoma Wine Tours: $500
  • Napa Valley Wine Tour Planning and Transportation: $513
  • 8-Hour Napa Valley Wine Tour: $570


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.

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North Carolina vs. California Travel Comparison

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