A Travel Price Comparison for North Carolina Raleigh vs. Wilmington for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Raleigh or Wilmington?

Should I visit Raleigh or Wilmington? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Raleigh

Raleigh is the capital city of the state of North Carolina. The city has a population of about 450,000 and is home to many colleges and university including North Carolina State University, Shaw University, Saint Augustine's College, Meredith College and Peace University. The city has a wide range of museums, restaurants, theaters, and parks. There's also an extensive greenway system that is great for biking or running.

Wilmington

Wilmington is a port city in southeastern North Carolina. It's a great city to visit for it's nearby beaches, large historic district, and quaint atmosphere. The city has a population of about 115,000 and it's the eighth largest city in the state.

Wilmington is also home to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as well as the EUE Screen Gems Studios. This is the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside of California. The studio, which opened in 1984, helped grow Wilmington into a major base for film and television production. The city has been the backdrop for many movies and tv shows including Iron Man 3, Sleepy Hollow, One Tree Hill, and Revolution.

Which city is cheaper, Wilmington or Raleigh?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Raleigh is $151, while the average daily cost in Wilmington is $163. 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 Raleigh and Wilmington in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $83. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Raleigh the cost is $166 on average.

The prices for places to stay in Wilmington can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $96, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $192.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Raleigh $83
    Wilmington $96
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Raleigh $166
    Wilmington $192

Food

While meal prices in Raleigh can vary, the average travelers spends about $46 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Raleigh should cost around $18 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Raleigh is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

Wilmington food costs typically run travelers around $45 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Raleigh $46
    Wilmington $45
Typical Food prices in Raleigh

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Raleigh:


  • The Pit Authentic BBQ (for 3)
    $84

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Raleigh

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

  • Raleigh, NC - Walking Food Tours: $62

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $30 per day to get around in Raleigh.

To get around in Wilmington, the average visitor spends $38 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Raleigh $30
    Wilmington $38

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Raleigh

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Raleigh:

  • Raleigh to Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU) - Departure Private Transfer: $124

Is it cheaper to fly into Raleigh or Wilmington?

Prices for flights to both Wilmington and Raleigh 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.





Entertainment

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $30 per person, per day in Raleigh. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

In Wilmington, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $14 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Raleigh $30
    Wilmington $14

Tours and Activities in Raleigh

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

  • Trolley Pub Public Tour of Raleigh: $41

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Raleigh may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $22 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Wilmington, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $31.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Raleigh $22
    Wilmington $31

Sample the Local Flavors in Raleigh

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

  • Raleigh Bar Hunt: Rowdy Raleigh Bar Crawl: $12


When comparing the travel costs between Raleigh and Wilmington, we can see that Wilmington 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.

Budget Your Trip

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Raleigh vs. Wilmington Travel Comparison

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