A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America San Diego vs. Vail for Families, Couples, Nightlife, and Music

Should you visit San Diego or Vail?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for San Diego and Vail. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

San Diego

San Diego is a idyllic, fun-filled, and hip coastal city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and live music.

Vail

Vail is a picturesque, scenic, and vibrant ski town. You'll find plenty of local activities in this small town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. It also has a unique and quaint vibe that attracts lots of visitors. Visitors also love the nightlife, live music, and food.

How is San Diego different from Vail?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is San Diego or Vail better for Food?

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine in both San Diego and Vail.

San Diego has a delicious food scene that relies on local flavors. The city has great seafood and a diversity of cuisines. Popular local dishes include fish tacos and California burritos.

Vail has a delicious food scene that relies on local flavors. The town has a diverse sampling of restaurants that include different ethnic options as well as taverns with comfort food.


Is San Diego or Vail better for Nightlife?

The vibe at night is comparable in San Diego and Vail.

Many people head to San Diego for the nightlife scene. The heart of the city's nightlife scene is in the Gaslamp District, which is filled with bars, clubs, and music venues.

The nightlife in Vail has something for everybody. Happy Hours start early, and then the partying can go late into the night.

Is San Diego or Vail better for Music?

San Diego and Vail are both destinations where visitors can find live music.

The music scene in San Diego draws a good crowd. Popular venues include the House of Blues, The Belly Up, and The Shout House.

The music scene in Vail is active and vibrant. You can often find live music at Shakedown Bar, Bridge Street Bar, and the Red Lion.

Is San Diego or Vail better for Resorts?

There are resorts to choose from in both San Diego and Vail.

With a selection of resorts, San Diego makes a nice vacation spot. Most people prefer to stay in hotels or VRBOs, but several popular resorts include Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Paradise Point, and the famous Hotel del Coronado.

Vail is known as a popular and fun resort destination. Designed as a resort town, Vail offers great accommodation. Nice resorts include Four Seasons Resort and Residences, the Ritz Carlton Club, and the Grand Hyatt.

Is San Diego or Vail better for Hiking?

Hiking trails can be found around both San Diego and Vail.

Many visitors go to San Diego for the hiking trails. The city is field with parks and has tons of natural beauty. Head to Torrey Pines State Park or Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail for some nice hikes.

Many visitors go to Vail for the hiking trails. Popular hikes near Vail include Booth Falls, Davos Trail, and Shrine Ridge.


Is San Diego or Vail better for Shopping?

If you're looking to go shopping, San Diego and Vail both offer plenty of spots.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting San Diego. Head to Fashion Valley or Westfield UTC for some fun shopping.

Vail is well-known for its shopping. It's easy to pop into the many shops around downtown Vail.

Is San Diego or Vail better for Families?

Both San Diego and Vail are family-friendly destinations.

With a huge array of activities for kids, San Diego is very family-friendly. It has a number of kid-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy. There's the world class zoo, several amusement parks, the beaches, aquariums, and more.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Vail is a very family-friendly destination. With its world class skiing, rock climbing, ice skating, and ice cream, kids love this ski resort. The resort town has two terrain parks - Golden Peak and Avanti. Avanti is perfect for kids. It has small jumps, wide rails, and kid-friendly amenities. Golden Peak is designed for more advanced athletes. Vail also has nice beginner slopes that are great for kids.

Is San Diego or Vail better for Couples?

Couples will find a longer list of romantic activities in Vail than San Diego.

Vail is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. Couples who enjoy skiing and outdoor adventure will appreciate everything that this ski town has to offer. There are nice restaurants, beautiful gardens, and plenty of romantic activities to choose from.

San Diego makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. For adventurous couples, there are many outdoor activities that you can enjoy together. There are also restaurants and a great nightlife in San Diego.

Is San Diego or Vail better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

For backpackers, both San Diego and Vail are fairly comparable places to visit.

It's common for backpackers to visit San Diego. Backpackers will enjoy the young vibe of the city. There are a few great hostels near the beach or in town.

It's common for backpackers to visit Vail. This ski town isn't completely closed off to budget travelers as there are a couple of hostels around town.


Is San Diego or Vail better for Public Transit?

San Diego and Vail both offer public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in San Diego. The city has a trolley (light rail system) as well as a bus system. Most people depend on cars to get around.

While Vail offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There is a free bus service through the area.

Is San Diego or Vail a more walkable city?

Vail is considered more walkable than San Diego.

Vail is a very easy ski town to get around on foot. The main downtown is pedestrian-only and perfect for popping in shops and restaurants.

San Diego is a somewhat walkable place. The downtown area is walkable, but if you want to travel further, you'll need to find a different form of transportation.

San Diego and Vail: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Cons
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere


Should I spend more time in Vail or San Diego?

How long in San Diego or Vail?

Both San Diego and Vail have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Vail than San Diego.

The ideal length of time for a trip to San Diego is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Vail is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in San Diego or Vail? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Diego 3-5 
    Vail 3-7

One day in San Diego or Vail?

Visitors enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of San Diego. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

Even though Vail is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in San Diego or Vail?

San Diego is a fun place to experience. Most people visit for the beaches. It's also a great beach destination, too. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. The entire area has lots to do.

Vail is a small town where visitors enjoy the nightlife and live music. Hikers are also drawn to this area. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This ski town offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in San Diego or Vail?

Visitors enjoy the live music and food when visiting the dynamic destination of San Diego. This coastal city offers something for everyone. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Plenty of people spend five days here when traveling. Five days is often enough time to spend here.

Vail is a small town with plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this ski town makes for a great vacation. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Most people head to the area for the skiing. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this ski town has to offer.

A week in San Diego or Vail?

The outdoorsy coastal city of San Diego offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. 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.

Vail is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Vail, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Which city is cheaper, Vail or San Diego?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Diego is $161, while the average daily cost in Vail is $233. 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 San Diego and Vail in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Diego $91
    Vail $139
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Diego $182
    Vail $278

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Diego $19
    Vail $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Diego

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

  • Private transfer: San Diego to San Diego Airport (SAN): $622
  • Private transfer: San Diego Airport (SAN) to San Diego: $622
  • San Diego Private Transfer To N. Hollywood/Burbank area.: $398
  • Tijuana Border Crossing Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $398
  • San Diego Private Transfer To Palm Springs.: $398
  • Private Transfer from San Diego to Hollywood Burbank: $397
  • San Diego Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $389
  • San Diego to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Departure Private Transfer: $357
  • San Diego to Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) - Departure Private Transfer: $342
  • Private Transfer From San Diego To Orange County.: $298
  • Private San Diego Transfer: Cruise Port to Airport or Hotel: $192
  • Private San Diego Transfer: Airport to Hotel or Cruise Port: $128

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vail

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

  • Private Airport Transfer Service - Vail Hotels to Denver Int'l Airport: $600
  • Private Transfer: Vail to Denver International Airport (DEN): $576
  • Transfer in private minivan from Vail city to Denver International Airport (DEN): $291
  • Private Eagle County Airport Transfer to Vail: $210
  • Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Beaver Creek: $190
  • Private Departure Transfer to Vail Airport EGE: $128
  • Shared Transfer from Vail or Beaver Creek to Denver Downtown: $99

Is it cheaper to fly into San Diego or Vail?

Prices for flights to both Vail and San Diego 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
    San Diego $36
    Vail $60
Typical Food prices in San Diego

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to San Diego:


  • Mexican Lunch for Two
    $27
  • Breakfast at Starbucks
    $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Diego

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

  • San Diego North Park Food Tour: $49
  • Liberty Station Food Tour: $49
  • Market and Guacamole Cooking Class in Tijuana Mexico: $89
  • Private Cooking Demonstration of Indian Fusion Cuisine in San Diego: $96
  • Farmers Market Tour & Social Cooking With A Chef: $100
  • San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise: $111
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Diego: $129
  • Secret Food Tours San Diego w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Diego $38
    Vail $106
Typical Entertainment prices in San Diego

For San Diego, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • San Diego Zoo
    $15
  • Sea World Parking
    $12

Tours and Activities in San Diego

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Diego.

  • 1-Hour Voodoo Escape Room Experience in San Diego: $35
  • 1Hr GPS Guided Scooter Tour: Harbor/Gaslamp Quarter: $63
  • 2 Hour Whale Watching Kayak Tour for Two: $77
  • 4 Hour Whale Watching/Eco Adventure: $163
  • Affordable, Luxury Sailing Tour of San Diego's Bay and Coastal Waterways: $112
  • All Day San Diego City and Shopping Tour: $95
  • All Inclusive Beer Tour-Party bus: $169
  • Behind-the-Scenes at Petco Park Tour: $23
  • Brothels, Bites and Booze: A Culinary Tour of San Diego's Questionable Past: $69
  • Catamaran Sailing Cruise on San Diego Bay for up to 12 Guests: $1,200
  • Catamaran Sailing Cruise on San Diego Bay for up to 6 Guests: $600
  • Coastal Beauty - Private Sunset & Night Photography Tour: $455

Tours and Activities in Vail

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Vail.

  • Aspen Independence Pass Day Tour: $545
  • Blackhawk-Central City Casino Tour from Vail: $377
  • Dillon Marina & Shopping Tour: $267
  • Fall Leaves Tour from Vail: $373
  • Glenwood Adventure Park Tour: $350
  • Glenwood Hot Springs Tour: $377
  • Historic Mining Town Tour: $693
  • Listen to a Tour Guide While you Drive between Vail & Denver: $3.75
  • Vail Segway Tour from Vail Village: $89

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Diego $17
    Vail $7.83

Sample the Local Flavors in San Diego

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

  • San Diego Bar Hunt: Slammin' San Diego Bar Crawl: $12
  • Wine Tasting Or Beer Tasting: $15
  • San Diego Brewery Tour: $85
  • San Diego Micro Brewery Tour: $91
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $95
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $101
  • Private San Diego Brewery Tour: $107
  • All inclusive brewery tour-Fire Truck: $189
  • Luxury Private Wine Tasting Tour to Guadalupe Valley from San Diego.: $249
  • Private Wine Tour of Temecula from San Diego: $475

Sample the Local Flavors in Vail

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

  • Vail Valley Brewery & Wine Tour: $377
  • Palisade Wine Tour from Vail: $779


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

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San Diego vs. Vail Travel Comparison

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