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

Should you visit Palm Springs or Santa Monica?

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 Monica can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Palm Springs or Santa Monica?

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 Monica

When it comes to visiting Los Angeles, Santa Monica is high on the must-see-and-do list. Chances are you'll recognize the iconic ferris wheel from Pacific Park in films and TV shows, and nothing beats the relaxed yet bustling vibe of this laid-back city.

Santa Monica is a popular and diverse beach town, cultural hub, fitness venue, shopping district, and neighborhood full of unique and trendy restaurants, all rolled into one. Visited by more than 6 million people a year, it's no wonder you'll always find a crowd there.

So whether you're up for a high-end shopping spree, bicycling down the waterfront, an eclectic food crawl or simply a stroll down the promenade, Santa Monica is sure to have something in store for you.

The weather in Santa Monica is moderate, with average summer highs in the low to mid 70s and winter climate that rests comfortably around the low 50s. Though flip flops and sandals are considered year-round footwear in Los Angeles, bring comfortable walking shoes for browsing galleries, malls, and boutiques. Santa Monica is the perfect place to break out your California-casual wardrobe.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Monica or Palm Springs?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Palm Springs is $165, while the average daily cost in Santa Monica is $168. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Palm Springs and Santa Monica in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Palm Springs $96
    Santa Monica $98
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Palm Springs $192
    Santa Monica $196
Compare Hotels in Palm Springs and Santa Monica

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


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 Monica Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Palm Springs $42
    Santa Monica $40

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palm Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Palm Springs:

  • Palm Springs International Airport One Way Transfer: $37
  • PALM SPRINGS to Palm Springs Airport (PSP) - Departure Private Transfer: $98
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM SPRINGS - Arrival Private Transfer: $98
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM DESERT - Arrival Private Transfer: $106
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to INDIAN WELLS - Arrival Private Transfer: $124
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LA QUINTA/INDIO - Arrival Private Transfer: $124
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM SPRINGS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $197
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM DESERT - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $212
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to INDIAN WELLS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $249
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LA QUINTA/INDIO - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $249
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO - Arrival Private Transfer: $299
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Arrival Private Transfer: $365

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Monica

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santa Monica:

  • Santa Monica to Los Angeles Airport (LAX) - Departure Private Transfer: $61
  • Private Transfer From Santa Monica Area To Los Angeles Airport (LAX).: $79
  • Private Transfer to/from LAX Airport: $100
  • Santa Monica to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Deparure Private Transfer: $113
  • Malibu or Pacific Palisades Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $115

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

Prices for flights to both Santa Monica 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 $42
    Santa Monica $42

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Palm Springs

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

  • Private French-Inspired Cooking Class with a Fun Local: $72

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Monica

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

  • Taste of Santa Monica Walking Food Tour: $84

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Palm Springs $23
    Santa Monica $30

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

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

  • Palm Springs Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour: $29
  • Palm Springs Windmill Self-Driving Tour Interactive Fun Safe: $49
  • Modern & More Bike Tours Palm Springs: $55
  • The Legends & Icons Tour of Palm Springs: $114
  • Indian Canyons Bike and Hike Adventure: $119
  • Mods & Icons Tour of Palm Springs: $127
  • Indian Canyons Hiking Tour by Jeep: $175
  • Joshua Tree National Park: Driving Tour: $179
  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs: $250
  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Desert: $250
  • Playground of the Stars Palm Springs Tour: $323
  • Palm Springs All-City Tour: $323

Tours and Activities in Santa Monica

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

  • Virtual Guided Cultural Tour of Los Angeles: $5.00
  • Self-Guided Tour of Santa Monica in Los Angeles: $19
  • Bvc 02 -half Day Tour Santa Monica.: $45
  • Experience a beach séance with a medium in Santa Monica: $48
  • From The O.J. Simpson Tour: $49
  • Half Day Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach: $53
  • Malibu Celebrity Homes Tour: $55
  • The OJ Simpson Tour: $55
  • Santa Monica & Venice Bike Tour: $70
  • Half-Day Private Gas-Powered Scooter Tour in Los Angeles: $70
  • Santa Monica and Venice Beach Bike Adventure Tour: $74
  • Santa Monica and Venice 3-Hour Electric Bike Tour: $79

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Palm Springs $10
    Santa Monica $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Monica

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

  • Vintage VW Hippie Tour to Malibu with wine tasting: $148


When comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and Santa Monica, we can see that Santa Monica 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.


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

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 Monica in the Summer?

Both Santa Monica and Palm Springs are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities.


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In the summer, Palm Springs is around the same temperature as Santa Monica. Typically, the summer temperatures in Palm Springs in July are around 73°F (23°C), and Santa Monica is about 70°F (21°C).

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


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Palm Springs 73°F (23°C) 
    Santa Monica 70°F (21°C)

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

Both Santa Monica and Palm Springs during the autumn are popular places to visit.


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In October, Palm Springs is generally around the same temperature as Santa Monica. Temperatures in Palm Springs average around 69°F (20°C), and Santa Monica stays around 67°F (20°C).

Palm Springs usually gets more rain in October than Santa Monica. Palm Springs gets 0.3 inches (7 mm) of rain, while Santa Monica receives 0.2 inches (6 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Palm Springs 69°F (20°C) 
    Santa Monica 67°F (20°C)

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

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Palm Springs and Santa Monica.


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Palm Springs is around the same temperature as Santa Monica in the winter. The temperature in Palm Springs is usually 57°F (14°C) in January, and Santa Monica stays around 57°F (14°C).

In January, Palm Springs usually receives more rain than Santa Monica. Palm Springs gets 2 inches (52 mm) of rain, while Santa Monica receives 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Palm Springs 57°F (14°C) 
    Santa Monica 57°F (14°C)

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

The spring brings many poeple to Palm Springs as well as Santa Monica.


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In the spring, Palm Springs is around the same temperature as Santa Monica. Typically, the spring temperatures in Palm Springs in April are around 62°F (17°C), and Santa Monica is about 61°F (16°C).

Palm Springs usually gets more rain in April than Santa Monica. Palm Springs gets 0.9 inches (24 mm) of rain, while Santa Monica receives 0.2 inches (4 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Palm Springs 62°F (17°C) 
    Santa Monica 61°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Santa Monica and Palm Springs

Palm Springs Santa Monica
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (52 mm) 57°F (14°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
Feb 58°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 58°F (15°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm)
Mar 59°F (15°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm) 58°F (15°C) 0.4 inches (10 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm) 61°F (16°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 63°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Jun 69°F (20°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0 inches (0 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 70°F (21°C) 0 inches (0 mm)
Aug 74°F (24°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 71°F (22°C) 0 inches (0 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm) 70°F (21°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Oct 69°F (20°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 67°F (20°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Dec 57°F (14°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.6 inches (15 mm)


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Palm Springs vs. Santa Monica Travel Comparison

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