A Travel Price Comparison for Virginia Richmond vs. Shenandoah National Park for Backpackers, Attractions, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

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 Richmond and Shenandoah National Park can help you decide which place is right for you.

Richmond

Richmond is a friendly, historical, and growing city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a breathtaking, serene, and beautiful national park. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include hiking, skiing, and food.

Richmond and Shenandoah National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Skyline Drive
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Shenandoah National Park. Although Richmond and Shenandoah National Park are popular destinations, Shenandoah National Park has more sights and attractions for tourists. Shenandoah National Park is very popular for its skiing, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Richmond attracts visitors for its museums, nightlife, and shopping. Shenandoah National Park is more touristy than Richmond and is popular for its local wildlife, dramatic viewpoints, and world class hiking trails. It is also well known for Skyline Drive. Richmond is famous for its cultural and historical sights.

How is Richmond different from Shenandoah National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Shenandoah National Park and Richmond. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Richmond or Shenandoah National Park Better for Skiing?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is very good for snow skiing. However, Richmond is not a skiing destination.

Head to Shenandoah National Park for some great skiing and other winter activities. You'll find skiing and snowboarding at nearby Massanutten Resort, which is near Harrisonburg, Virginia. It's a family-friendly setting with slopes that are classified as "easiest", "more difficult", and "most difficult".

Richmond is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Richmond is great for its historical sights. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for its sights and museums.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Richmond. The city has a long history which you can learn about at one of the many museums. There's the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, and the Black History Museum. There are also landmarks and historical homes.

Shenandoah National Park offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. While most people spend their time outdoors enjoying the setting, there are museums in the area, as well as visitor centers that have exhibits and informative displays.

Is the Food Better in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Foodies will find both Richmond and Shenandoah National Park both to be nice destinations.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Richmond area. The food scene has been growing around town, and there are food halls and local restaurants that serve diverse and interesting dishes. You'll find Indian, Asian, and European restaurants in addition to local classics.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Shenandoah National Park. There are several restaurants along skyline drive where you can pick up a casual meal like fried chicken, burgers, or pasta.

Is Richmond or Shenandoah National Park Better for Nightlife?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Richmond is a city with good options for its evening party scene. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Richmond has a few options to choose from. You'll find diverse bars and clubs around town. Pubs are usually laid back with a relaxed atmosphere. You'll also find live music that includes bluegrass, country, and jazz.

Most people don't head to Shenandoah National Park specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. There are a number of breweries in the area, but most people enjoy stargazing and sitting by the campfire at night.


Is Richmond or Shenandoah National Park Better for Hiking?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a world-class destination for the nearby hiking options. However, Richmond is not a hiking destination.

Many people visit Shenandoah National Park specifically for its hiking. There are more than 500 miles of trails in the park that pass through varied landscapes and take you to beautiful viewpoints. Visitors range from weekend visitors to long term hikers who come to experience the breathtaking beauty and serene setting.

Richmond is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Richmond is a city with good options for its shopping areas. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for shopping.

Richmond has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. You'll find shopping malls and shopping centers around town, but there are also eclectic shopping streets and boutique outlets.

Shenandoah National Park is a good destination for shopping. There are a handful of gift shops along Skyline Drive were you can pick up souvenirs or t-shirts.

Is Richmond or Shenandoah National Park Better for Families?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is notable for its family-friendly activities. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Shenandoah National Park is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. There are tons of kid-friendly hikes to overlooks or waterfalls. Kids will love scrambling over the rocks or running through the forest. There are also plenty of campgrounds where families can hang out, toast marshmallows and enjoy some quality time together.

Richmond is a family-friendly city. The Children's Museum of Richmond offers hands-on exhibits that will keep young ones entertained. Another fun option is the Science Museum of Virginia. The city also has parks and outdoor places to explore as well as playgrounds and kid-friendly restaurants.


Is Richmond or Shenandoah National Park Better for Couples?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is notable for couples. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Shenandoah National Park is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples who enjoy nature will love a visit to the park. There are beautiful views and scenic spots that will make for a wonderful and romantic trip. Hiking, biking, and exploring will fill your time with adventure and fun.

Richmond is a nice destination for couples. Kayaking or tubing on the James River is a great activity for couples. There are also museums and many restaurants that are perfect for a date night.

Is Richmond or Shenandoah National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a world-class destination for backpackers. However, Richmond is a mediocre city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Shenandoah National Park is a very popular national park to visit for backpackers. Backpackers love the hiking trails and backcountry camping. Many people head to the park to escape into nature and enjoy some low key time in a serene setting.

Richmond is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's not a popular backpacker destination, and most people breeze through town.

Is Richmond or Shenandoah National Park Better for Students?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Richmond is a city with good options for its student-friendly activities. However, Shenandoah National Park is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Richmond. There are a couple of colleges and universities in town such as Virginia Commonwealth University.

Shenandoah National Park is not popular with students.


Is Richmond or Shenandoah National Park Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Richmond is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Richmond. There are buses around town, but the availability and reliability is limited.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Shenandoah National Park. There's no real public transit in the park.

Is Richmond or Shenandoah National Park a more walkable city?

Richmond
Shenandoah National Park

Richmond is a city with good options for its ease of walking around. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for its walkability.

Richmond is a somewhat walkable city. There are some walkable neighborhoods such as the Fan and Museum District, but most people prefer to get around by car.

Shenandoah National Park is not a walkable city. While there are plenty of hiking trails, a car is a must to reach most trailheads.

For even more information, also check out Is Richmond Worth Visiting? and Is Shenandoah National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Shenandoah National Park or Richmond?

How long in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

In either Richmond or Shenandoah National Park, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Shenandoah National Park than Richmond because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Richmond, and 3-5 days is enough time in Shenandoah National Park.

Families should spend more time in Shenandoah National Park than Richmond. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Shenandoah National Park, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Shenandoah National Park than Richmond. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Shenandoah National Park that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.


  • How many days in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Richmond 1-2 
    Shenandoah National Park 3-5

One day in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

With food and shopping around the growing city of Richmond, there's plenty to do. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one day is just the right amount of time to spend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

The beautiful national park of Shenandoah National Park offers food and skiing. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


A weekend in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

With shopping and museums around the historical destination of Richmond, there's plenty to do. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation.A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Shenandoah National Park is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the historical city of Richmond. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Shenandoah National Park is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Shenandoah National Park, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

Richmond is a great place to explore. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Shenandoah National Park is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This national park offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in United States of America, The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America, The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, and The Best Photography Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Shenandoah National Park or Richmond?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Richmond is $161, while the average daily cost in Shenandoah National Park is $125. 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 Richmond and Shenandoah National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Richmond $101
    Shenandoah National Park $53
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Richmond $202
    Shenandoah National Park $106
Compare Hotels in Richmond and Shenandoah National Park

Looking for a hotel in Richmond or Shenandoah National Park? 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 Richmond


Hotels in Shenandoah National Park


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: Richmond Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Richmond $72
    Shenandoah National Park $70

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Richmond

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Richmond:

  • Richmond Airport (RIC) to Richmond City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $120
  • Richmond Airport (RIC) to Richmond city - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • Richmond City to Richmond Airport (RIC) - Departure Private Transfer: $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

Prices for flights to both Shenandoah National Park and Richmond 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
    Richmond $21
    Shenandoah National Park $28

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Richmond

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

  • Church Hill Food Tour in Richmond, VA: $80
  • Church Hill Food Tour: $80
  • Trendy Carytown Food Tour: $80
  • The Carytown Food Tour in Richmond: $85
  • Arts District Walking Food Tour: $85
  • Delicious Pizza & Ice Cream Tour of Richmond: $90
  • Arts District Food Tour in Richmond: $90
  • Pizza & Ice Cream Tour: $90

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Richmond $13
    Shenandoah National Park $34

Tours and Activities in Richmond

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

  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Richmond: $44
  • Church Hill Chillers Ghost Tour: $30
  • Church Hill Segway Tour in Richmond: $80
  • Creepy Tales on Campus Ghost Tour: $30
  • Discover Downtown Richmond Bike Tour: $125
  • Guided Walking Tour of Richmond: $38
  • Haunted Capitol Hill Ghost Tour: $30
  • Highlights of Hollywood Cemetery Walking Tour: $30
  • Historic Trolley Tour: $38
  • Hollywood Cemetery Segway Tour in Richmond: $76
  • Hollywood Cemetery Tour Richmond Lore and Civil War: $24
  • Phantoms of Franklin Ghost Tour: $30

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Richmond -
    Shenandoah National Park $7.14

Sample the Local Flavors in Richmond

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

  • Richmond Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $29
  • Richmond Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl : $34
  • Drink Richmond Craft Brewery Crawl: $74
  • Richmond Craft Brewery Crawl By Junket: $74
  • Brewery Tour of Richmond, VA: $90


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Richmond Expensive? and Is Shenandoah National Park Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Richmond or Shenandoah National Park?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Richmond or Shenandoah National Park in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Richmond as well as Shenandoah National Park. Many travelers come to Richmond for the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, many visitors come to Shenandoah National Park in the summer for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

Richmond is around the same temperature as Shenandoah National Park in the summer. The daily temperature in Richmond averages around 78°F (26°C) in July, and Shenandoah National Park fluctuates around 77°F (25°C).

Richmond receives a lot of rain in the summer. Richmond usually gets more rain in July than Shenandoah National Park. Richmond gets 5 inches (128 mm) of rain, while Shenandoah National Park receives 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Richmond 78°F (26°C) 
    Shenandoah National Park 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Richmond or Shenandoah National Park in the Autumn?

Both Shenandoah National Park and Richmond are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Richmond in the autumn for the shopping scene. Also, most visitors come to Shenandoah National Park for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In the autumn, Richmond is a little warmer than Shenandoah National Park. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Richmond in October average around 59°F (15°C), and Shenandoah National Park averages at about 56°F (13°C).

In October, Richmond usually receives around the same amount of rain as Shenandoah National Park. Richmond gets 3.5 inches (90 mm) of rain, while Shenandoah National Park receives 3.3 inches (84 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Richmond 59°F (15°C) 
    Shenandoah National Park 56°F (13°C)

Should I visit Richmond or Shenandoah National Park in the Winter?

Both Shenandoah National Park and Richmond during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Richmond for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Shenandoah National Park because of the skiing, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Shenandoah National Park can be very cold. Richmond can be very cold during winter. In January, Richmond is generally much warmer than Shenandoah National Park. Daily temperatures in Richmond average around 36°F (2°C), and Shenandoah National Park fluctuates around 32°F (-0°C).

Richmond usually gets more rain in January than Shenandoah National Park. Richmond gets 3.2 inches (83 mm) of rain, while Shenandoah National Park receives 2.8 inches (70 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Richmond 36°F (2°C) 
    Shenandoah National Park 32°F (-0°C)

Should I visit Richmond or Shenandoah National Park in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Richmond and Shenandoah National Park. Also, the natural beauty are the main draw to Shenandoah National Park this time of year.

Richmond is a little warmer than Shenandoah National Park in the spring. The daily temperature in Richmond averages around 58°F (14°C) in April, and Shenandoah National Park fluctuates around 54°F (12°C).

In April, Richmond usually receives around the same amount of rain as Shenandoah National Park. Richmond gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Shenandoah National Park receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Richmond 58°F (14°C) 
    Shenandoah National Park 54°F (12°C)

Typical Weather for Shenandoah National Park and Richmond

Richmond Shenandoah National Park
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 36°F (2°C) 3.2 inches (83 mm) 32°F (-0°C) 2.8 inches (70 mm)
Feb 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (80 mm) 35°F (1°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Mar 49°F (9°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
Apr 58°F (14°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 54°F (12°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
May 67°F (19°C) 3.8 inches (98 mm) 63°F (17°C) 4 inches (102 mm)
Jun 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Jul 78°F (26°C) 5 inches (128 mm) 77°F (25°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Aug 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (113 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Sep 71°F (21°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Oct 59°F (15°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm) 56°F (13°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Dec 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 36°F (2°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)