A Travel Price Comparison for California Palm Springs vs. Santa Barbara for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Palm Springs or Santa Barbara?

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 Palm Springs and Santa Barbara can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Palm Springs or Santa Barbara?

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a desert resort town located about two hours east of Los Angeles, most famously known as Hollywood's playground, where stars and starlets could escape for rest and relaxation but still be close enough to return for impromptu work.

It's no wonder that Palm Springs is increasingly popular as a weekend getaway for special occasions, and even for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Closer than the typical Las Vegas weekend for Southern California residents, Palm Springs provides a desert getaway with endless possibilities of activities, whether visitors want to gamble, shop, hike, or wander through an art gallery.

Climate in the high-desert is generally warm with highs in the 100s during the hot and dry summers, and lows in the mid 40s in the winter months, with sparse rainfall. However, if you're visiting during winter, be sure to pack versatile attire and layers as the days may be warm, but the nights in the low desert can get chilly enough to convince you to change into long pants.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is located in California, less than 100 miles from Los Angeles. It sits between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, giving it a stunning backdrop. The town has a population of just 90,000 but it still offers visitors many cultural, culinary, and shopping experiences that surpass many large cities. There are wide beaches along a beautiful coastline, impressive wineries, and many top rated restaurants. Many people see Santa Barbara as a hangout for the rich and famous, but with a university and diverse population, the city is much more relatable than you might expect, although travel prices here are still somewhat high.

Which place is cheaper, Santa Barbara or Palm Springs?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Palm Springs is $206, while the average daily cost in Santa Barbara is $162. 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 Palm Springs and Santa Barbara in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Palm Springs $120
    Santa Barbara $88
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Palm Springs $240
    Santa Barbara $176
Compare Hotels in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara

Looking for a hotel in Palm Springs or Santa Barbara? 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 Palm Springs


Hotels in Santa Barbara


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: Palm Springs Hotel Prices and Santa Barbara Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Palm Springs $52
    Santa Barbara $42

Is it cheaper to fly into Palm Springs or Santa Barbara?

Prices for flights to both Santa Barbara and Palm Springs 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
    Palm Springs $53
    Santa Barbara $46

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Barbara

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

  • Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour: $175

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Palm Springs $29
    Santa Barbara $27

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Palm Springs are as follows:

  • Joshua Tree National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Death Valley National Park Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $17
  • Joshua Tree National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Private 1-Hour Archery Experience around Joshua Tree National Park.: $28
  • Self-Driving Windmill Tour: $30
  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Admission Ticket: $30
  • The Cat's Meow Joshua Tree Adventurer Hidden Valley ScavengerHunt: $33
  • PS I Love You Palm Springs Immersive Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $35
  • Game-Guided Walking Tour in Scavenger Hunt + Trivia: $38
  • Tour of California Self-Guided Driving Bundle: $40
  • Palm Springs Windmill Tours: $60
  • South Palm Springs Architecture, History and Bike Tour: $99

Tours and Activities in Santa Barbara

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Santa Barbara are as follows:

  • Santa Barbara's Beginnings: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Crime Solving Detective Experience Santa Barbara: $15
  • Solvang City Self Guided Audio Tour: $20
  • Santa Barbara Trolley Tour: $30
  • Santa Barbara Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Make your own Chocolate Bark & Factory Tour: $45
  • Santa Barbara Highlights Private 2-Hour Driving Tour: $51
  • The Haunt: Solvang Ghost Hunting Tour: $55
  • Santa Barbara Ghost History and Mystery Walking Tour "Invisible Becomes Visible": $55
  • Guided Kayak Wildlife Tour in the Santa Barbara Harbor: $55
  • Breakfast and Lunch Food Tasting Experience in Santa Barbara: $55
  • Santa Barbara Ghost Tour "The Veil is Lifted" History & Mystery Walk: $55

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Palm Springs $13
    Santa Barbara $12

Typical Alcohol prices in Santa Barbara

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Santa Barbara:


  • Camping
    $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Barbara

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

  • Paranormal Pairing: Wine Tasting Walk with Ghost Storytelling: $105
  • Private Sidecar Wine Tasting Tour through Santa Ynez: $165
  • All-Inclusive Full-Day Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Ynez Valley: $189
  • Solvang Valley Small Group All-Inclusive Wine Tour : $194
  • ‚ÄčAll-Inclusive Full-Day Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara: $209
  • Santa Ynez Valley Biking and Wine Tasting Tour: $210
  • Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour: $215
  • Santa Barbara Small-Group Wine Tour to Private Estates & Wineries: $235
  • Small-Group Wine Tasting Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country: $235
  • Small-Group Wine Tour to Private Locations in Santa Barbara : $235
  • Santa Ynez Valley Cupcake and Wine Tour: $235
  • Santa Barbara Wine Tour Experience - Authentic and Boutique : $240


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

Which is Bigger, Palm Springs or Santa Barbara?

Santa Barbara is bigger, and its population is about 2 times larger than the population of Palm Springs. When comparing the population of Palm Springs vs. Santa Barbara, 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 and the activities that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Palm Springs or Santa Barbara?

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 Palm Springs or Santa Barbara in the Summer?

Both Santa Barbara and Palm Springs are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Santa Barbara because of the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Palm Springs is generally a little warmer than Santa Barbara. Daily temperatures in Palm Springs average around 73°F (23°C), and Santa Barbara fluctuates around 65°F (19°C).

In July, Palm Springs usually receives more rain than Santa Barbara. Palm Springs gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Santa Barbara receives 0 inches (1 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Palm Springs 73°F (23°C) 
    Santa Barbara 65°F (19°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or Santa Barbara in the Autumn?

Both Santa Barbara and Palm Springs during the autumn are popular places to visit. Furthermore, the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Santa Barbara this time of year.

Palm Springs is a little warmer than Santa Barbara in the autumn. The daily temperature in Palm Springs averages around 69°F (20°C) in October, and Santa Barbara fluctuates around 62°F (17°C).

Palm Springs usually gets less rain in October than Santa Barbara. Palm Springs gets 0.3 inches (7 mm) of rain, while Santa Barbara receives 0.5 inches (13 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Palm Springs 69°F (20°C) 
    Santa Barbara 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or Santa Barbara in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Palm Springs and Santa Barbara. Furthermore, many travelers come to Santa Barbara for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Palm Springs is a little warmer than Santa Barbara. Typically, the winter temperatures in Palm Springs in January average around 57°F (14°C), and Santa Barbara averages at about 52°F (11°C).

In January, Palm Springs usually receives less rain than Santa Barbara. Palm Springs gets 2 inches (52 mm) of rain, while Santa Barbara receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Palm Springs 57°F (14°C) 
    Santa Barbara 52°F (11°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or Santa Barbara in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Palm Springs as well as Santa Barbara. Additionally, many visitors come to Santa Barbara in the spring for the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty.

In April, Palm Springs is generally a little warmer than Santa Barbara. Daily temperatures in Palm Springs average around 62°F (17°C), and Santa Barbara fluctuates around 57°F (14°C).

Palm Springs usually gets less rain in April than Santa Barbara. Palm Springs gets 0.9 inches (24 mm) of rain, while Santa Barbara receives 1.1 inches (27 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Palm Springs 62°F (17°C) 
    Santa Barbara 57°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Santa Barbara and Palm Springs

Palm Springs Santa Barbara
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (52 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Feb 58°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 54°F (12°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Mar 59°F (15°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm) 55°F (13°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm) 57°F (14°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 59°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm)
Jun 69°F (20°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 65°F (19°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Aug 74°F (24°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 67°F (19°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm)
Oct 69°F (20°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.5 inches (13 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
Dec 57°F (14°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm) 52°F (11°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)


Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Palm Springs vs. Santa Barbara Travel Comparison

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